Pope Francis throws the weight of his office behind tackling climate change

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Pope Francis waves as he arrives to lead the general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on April 15, 2015. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi
*Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-POPE-CLIMATE, originally transmitted on April 15, 2015 or with RNS-POPE-POLLS, originally transmitted on Sept. 16, 2015.

Pope Francis waves as he arrives to lead the general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on April 15, 2015. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-POPE-CLIMATE, originally transmitted on April 15, 2015 or with RNS-POPE-POLLS, originally transmitted on Sept. 16, 2015.

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NEW YORK (RNS) Pope Francis hopes his upcoming encyclical on climate change will influence the next round of talks in Paris on global warming.

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  • Pope Francis will influence nothing because bien pensant conventional wisdom rendered in turgid Vaticanese is perfectly redundant and useful only as a soporific. His predecessors had teachings people worked to unpack. Francis has gassy press releases.

  • Fran

    God’s kingdom or heavenly government (Daniel 2:44; Matthew 4:17) will soon fix all environmental problems we now face as well as pollution that has been caused by man to our home, earth (Revelation 11:18).

    This will be accomplished during its upcoming millennial rule, with Christ Jesus as its King (Isaiah 11:1-9)

  • James Carr

    Your comment makes absolutely no sense.

  • Frank

    It is journalistically dishonest and unethical to imply, as in this article, that there is no consensus that climate change is human-caused, when 99.8% of climate scientists agree that it is.

    Shame on the author for perpetuating a lie which is harming all of us, even it helps a very few remain very rich.

  • Actually, it’s in plain English and you cannot make sense of it. Problem’s yours, not mine, nor that of anyone who has been following the unhappy course of this pontificate.

  • It is journalistically dishonest and unethical to imply, as in this article, that there is no consensus that climate change is human-caused, when 99.8% of climate scientists agree that it is.

    It takes quite a bit of chutzpah to accuse others of dishonesty while whipping a phony descriptive statistic out of your rear-end. (And offering no acknowledgement of the data manipulation and corruption of the peer-review process which have been well known for some years).

  • opheliart

    “a Christian who does not protect creation … is a Christian who does not care about the work of God.”

    Big statements by big heads.
    It would be interesting to look into the activities and archives of each of these so-called concerned Religionists and see exactly how they care for the environment … CREATED LIFE? How about the life of women dying in hospital beds.


    The green pope? Seriously? PROVE IT! An encyclical you pay somebody to do to make you look like you care does not tell us how YOU and YOUR brothers live. And what of those sexually abused children you ignored in Argentina? And what of Barros in Chile? Misadvised? Care-less? Where is your Spiritual Vision, pope? Your concern? Or are you just a Political Puppet to keep the dollars flowing …

    We detest hypocrisy.

  • Ben in oakland

    Nothing like a battle rotate between a conservative catholic and a catholic who’s not conservative enough.

  • Doc Anthony

    The only reason for the artificial alleged doubtful messed-up figure of “99.8%” is because any climate researcher, any prominent scientists, who even DARE to dissent at all about the flawed IPCC global warming religion numbers, gets to suffer the Inquisition-level punishment that prominent climate researcher and meteorologist Dr. Lennart Bengtsson got.


    Scientist dissenters are being silenced. That’s on top of Climategate — remember Climategate? Remember the Broken Hockey Stick? Remember how some important years of correct climate data numbers are FOREVER LOST TO US because the original climata data numbers got FUDGED by the IPCC Climategaters looking to preserve their global warming sales-pitch $$$$$$$$ ?

    So Pope Francis is being used and exploited by the Global Warming Religion to silence the dissenters — not just religionist dissenters but even qualified SCIENTISTS. Go figure!!

  • Someone may pick up the pieces and make a credible research program of it all – when Messrs. Mann, Thompson, Jones, et al have retired.

  • So Pope Francis is being used and exploited

    I doubt Michael Mann or the crew at the University of East Anglia care one way or another about Francis; they’re not using him. Francis does this sort of thing quite spontaneously. Our bishops are not very grounded so are influenced by the kultursmog in their judgments and menu of concerns, and that’s a phenomenon lay Catholics have had to be sadly accustomed to since about 1966. This has not been a problem with the papacy any time recently, so we’re all on uncertain ground.

  • Stephanie Sipe, OPA

    Yours is the exact type of thinking that has allowed for the destruction of the planet.

  • Greg

    Opheliart, the Catholic Church has been saying that man has a duty before God to be good stewards of His Creation. This has been proclaimed since the Second Vatican Council (1964), and even since the industrial revolution. Here’s a snippet from the US Bishops, but nothing new here. The pope is only preaching Catholic doctrine, and the preservation of our planet: conservative Vs. liberal Catholics?? There is no such thing, you are either Catholic, or not Catholic.
    USCCB: Stewards of Creation:
    “The Bible contains a profound message about the stewardship of material creation: God created the world, but entrusts it to human beings. Caring for and cultivating the world involves the following:
    Joyful appreciation for the God-given beauty and wonder of nature; Protection and preservation of the environment, which would be the stewardship of ecological concern; Respect for human life—shielding life from threat and assault, doing everything that can be done to enhance this gift…”

  • opheliart

    Um, Greg … if I read the pope’s words correctly, he said, “Christian.” And the point of your comment is? Does your pope speak for ALL Christians? I hardly think so … I know many, MANY Christians who think the pope is full of bull, and the RCC deceitful.
    Regarding your “duty” … just words … and more words … so very many Catholics and OUR environment is what? Where are all your dutiful, caring, concerned Catholics on the issue of climate, environment, wildlife?
    As for HOW and WHERE he and his colleagues actually care beyond their fancy regimes remains to be seen … in all their style and wealth and riches. Kinda late to be portraying the dutiful steward on issues concerning environment.

    And the sex abuse of the children in Argentina and women dying in hospital beds—what is your Catholic DUTY with these?

  • Greg

    Opheliart, until you have a track record of your own, there is no need to take swipes at the Catholic Church. The Church has done more for the world than any other institution over the past 2000 years. I would like for you to list all the great works, as well as, all the great failures of your religious affiliation, those who profess gnosis. I will admit the Catholic Church is not perfect, but she learns from every failure, and never repeats. And as for being good stewards of God’s creation, well, the Church was professing it decades before Al Gore was even born.

  • You might be clearer about the antecedents of your pronouns. Also, ‘destruction’ does not mean what you think it means.

  • Religion is in the way.

    We need alternatives to carbon fuel – immediately. Yet we are decades away thanks to Republikans who refuse to examine science, reason or practical solutions. Their primary funding comes from Right Wing Evangalicals who were wrong about women’s rights in the 1920s, wrong about black rights in the 1960s and wrong about Gay rights in the 2000’s.

    Religion is always the ignorant bouncer/deal breaker stopping progress – ever the enemy of freedom and science. Disgusting.

  • Greg

    Actually most of the big breaks in science have come from people of Faith, and I do believe that the answer to Carbon fuel will come from a prayerful scientist who implores God Almighty to help him/her find that solution. And that answer will likely be associated with cracking the water molecule, much energy in that hydrogen bond.

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  • Diana

    When is someone going to tell this Pope that Climate Change is a scam and a part of United Nations Agenda 21? Climate Change that Al Gore speaks about is based on junk science. If you want to know if the Climate Change science is for real check out whose payroll the scientists is on.

  • DougSlug

    Well, to be fair, it’s not all in plain English. You did throw in a bit of French there.

  • @Greg,

    “most of the big breaks in science have come from people of Faith”

    Ridiculous. That is like saying most scientists have hands and feet! LOL!

    Today we see Christianity promoting the unscientific voodoo philosophies of Creationism and Intelligent design – eschewing all science and the human power of observation.

    Religion first says “NO!” then it says “OKAY” then, when the outlawed thing is shown to work it says “look how clever god is!”

    Blatantly a stupid argument. Ridiculous.

    Most big breaks are denied by the church and happen despite the church.

    Ask Galileo about what the church did to him after his proof that the sun was the center of the solar system and not earth.

    Your reading assignment is “Galileo’s Daughter” – maybe you’ll learn how religion has been nothing but pain in Science’s neck!

  • @Diana,

    “If you want to know if the Climate Change science is for real check out whose payroll the scientists is on….”


    If you want to know if Climate Change is real JUST LOOK AT THE EVIDENCE FOR YOURSELF!
    Any 2nd grader can comprehend the thousands of obvious measurements over 200 years of DATA RECORDS showing our atmospheric gasses have changed – the amount of Carbon (a man made gas) has risen to astronomical levels and is overwhelming the atmosphere.


    Again – THE EVIDENCE has been recorded for more than a century. The Oceans absorb Carbon gas as water absorbs all gases in the atmosphere equally – the increased carbon is ACIDIFYING THE OCEANS.

    JUST STOP doing the “LALALA” routine – AND READ A FREAKIN’ Science BOOK!

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  • dmj76

    Dear Sir

    Please give me an example of an engineering or scientific society (ASME, IEEE, etc) that attacks the the majority view of climate change.

    Yes, this is contraversial in that the level of uncertainty is very large. That makes it more frightening, not less. On the other hand, people who are not scared by nuclear war are certainly not going to be scared by climate change.

  • dmj76

    Dear Art Deco

    We are not English majors here, give us a break.

  • dmj76

    Galileo wrote pamplets which were disrespectful of the Pope. He was lucky not to be burned alive. Popes expect obedience.

    Most scientists today do not believe in a personal god. However, we should give credit where due. Descartes, Newton, and Maxwell were Christians.

  • dmj76


    You are not going to change her mind. You know that. Don’t you get frustrated after a while?

  • Greg

    Diana, I agree that “climate change,” or “global warming,” is a crock: the books have been cooked (recently revealed), and there is no way to prove that additional CO2, or CO, in the atmosphere, will actually cause warming. Certainly the levels have increased, but there is no way to prove that the weather has been affected by it. Moreover, we are currently going through a pole shift, and that would likely have more of a weather effect. We go through these every 50000 years or so, and it will be the first one that has been monitored by scientists. That aside, there is a real situation bubbling up regarding the planet our Lord has given to us, and if we destroy it by pollution, toxic or nuclear waste, then we do not have another planet to move to. Our Lord has given this planet to us to live on and care for. That is what the pope will mostly address. The Global Warming scientists who have been bought and paid for, should fess up, and be honest, but the goal is still a clean planet.

  • Their Christianity was not the reason for their insights.
    Their blasphemy is.

    All human progress happens despite religion, not because of it.

    “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” – (Phillipians 4:19)

    This of course is obvious nonsense. Good grief!
    No Vaccines? No Anti-biotics? No cures for tooth decay? No treatments for Diabetes or strokes? No Medicines for Epilepsy? No insights about psychiatry?
    What about the wrongness of slavery? The wrongness of Bigotry? The Wrongness of vicarious redemption? The wrongness of genocide? All of that is recommended by this pathetic fable.

    If God is all I need who will explain the wrongness of slavery or genital mutilation? Not God – as he recommends them!

    These ancient stories are useless.

  • I can’t give up.

    Lies must be confronted. We should all be doing it more often.

    Religion prohibits thinking – these problem are all connected.

  • @Greg,

    “Certainly the levels have increased, but there is no way to prove that the weather has been affected by it.”


    The increase in temperature over the globe is real data – the amount of increase is directly connected to the carbon and methane increase. These things were predicted precisely 10 years ago and are happening exactly as predicted in lock step.

    The increase in ice melt is directly proportional to sea level rise across the equator – it is clear, irrefutable data.

    The increase in Carbonic Acid in the seas is conclusively tied to matching levels of Carbon in the atmosphere – the data line up exactly.

    Coral reefs are dying at a breakneck speed because of the acidification breaks down calcium – oysters are disappearing because they cannot grow their shells in the acidic harbors.

    You clearly have no idea.

  • Greg

    Max, of course the CO and CO2 have increased, as we burn Carbon based fuels, but there is no way to verify a warming trend, especially when pseudo science adjusts the temperatures to make it fit their model. Read for yourself
    As for the weather, well it goes through cycles; that is a natural occurrence. Back in the 1970s they were claiming an imminent ice age, and global cooling. Now they are on the warming kick. I have news, read the Farmer’s Almanac; it is more accurate than Al Gore.

  • Borne

    Bullcrap, Greg. The Catholic church deserves one big swipe to make it history forever. What we’ll never know is how much more progress in medicine and science would have been made if the Cathosick church hadn’t been there to get in the way of it.

    Catholicism is one sick gang, headed by the mafioso in the Vati-can. Let’s get rid of it.

  • Greg

    Hi Borne, I’m sorry about your dislike for the Catholic Church, but whether it be the university system of higher education, or the hospital system we know today, or the great arts, as well as Beethoven, Mozart, just to name a few, these have come to us today from the Church. So at least show some appreciation…

  • Greg,

    You are willfully ignoring all the evidence,

    2.4 MILLION POUNDS of carbon are dumped into the global atmosphere every second – 100% is created by human industrial activities.

    The Carbon has nowhere to go except into the Oceans and into Plants.

    Plants only absorb 50,000 pounds of carbon per Second GLOBALLY!

    Snap out of it!


  • Greg

    Atheist, we are all waiting for you to find a solution to the problem. You can complain all day long, but what are YOU doing about it? If I had my way, I would ground the president’s gas-hog plane, let him travel on an electric bus with all of his protection inside the bus, and not 50 gas hog SUVs in tow. I would give people who live within 5 miles of their jobs a tax credit, I would have Congress meet by Skype, and not traveling to the Capital. I would no longer issue government vehicles to any government worker, and no receiptable gas vouchers. They can travel by bus, or use their own transportation like the rest of us, and travel on their own nickel. In the meantime, we need to find a way to crack the water molecule into H2 and (1/2)O. That way we can burn Hydrogen as fuel, and its by-product is simply water. That will be the solution to hydrocarbon fuels.

  • Borne

    Way to miss the point Greg.

  • Greg

    Borne, tell us the solution to the problem. And don’t say electric cars. We need also to get off electricity in this world, as well. The amount of Nuclear Waste we are dumping will ultimately destroy this planet. My solution starts at the top, so it would be across the board. Now point by point, tell us how to get past hydrocarbon based fuels. My

  • Steven Deedon

    Not sure what motivates your mean spirited nonsense. What Francis is doing on climate is largely based on a 2014 joint workshop put on by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, “Sustainable Humanity, Sustainable Nature: Our Responsibility”: bit.ly/1xwJEiM But the PAS has been working on the issue of climate change, etc for years (Google it if you doubt).

  • Steven Deedon

    Greg, to claim that HUNDREDS of scientists from the 190-some member countries of the United Nations across the world who have contributed on a volunteer basis to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and it’s assessments on climate are all paid off by some villain of your choice will require a LOT of evidence, and as far as I see, you have NONE. You also need to smarten up on what the pope is actually up to; you can get a sense of that from the recent Vatican workshop, “Sustainable Humanity, Sustainable Nature, Our Responsibility.” Before you you get too carried way with anti-science on climate, you should also look up the summary reports of climate scientists published in Science or Nature: 97% or more of all climate science published in the major science journals during recent 10 years ALL agrees on climate changel

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