Pope Francis’s Eco-Manifesto Looks Like a Game-Changer in the U.S. by John L. Allen Jr.
Now that Pope Francis finally has released his long-awaited encyclical letter on the environment, blaming “unfettered greed” for mounting pollution, global warming, and climate change, and framing strong limits on fossil fuels and greenhouse gases as a clear moral imperative, the question becomes: So what?
Despite a remarkable degree of hype in the run-up to Thursday’s presentation of Laudato Si’, the title of the pontiff’s 184-page ecological manifesto — which, among other things, caused the Vatican website to crash in response to massive demand to read the text — it’s still reasonable to wonder whether the pope’s exhortations will have any real-world impact.
After all, other moral authorities have weighed in on the same issues for some time, and it’s not as if the planet is notably cooler or cleaner as a result.
At least in the United States, however, there are three arenas where Laudato Si’ seems likely to have an immediate echo: the 2016 presidential race, the pope’s trip to the country in September, and the management of Catholic facilities all across America.
You can read Pope Francis’s ecological encyclical Laudato Si’ in its entirety online in English from the Vatican website. The official English title is “ENCYCLICAL LETTER LAUDATO SI’ OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS ON CARE FOR OUR COMMON HOME”.
The title Laudato Si’ comes from a song written by St. Francis; here’s an English translation of the first lines: “Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with coloured flowers and herbs.”