Pope Francis to enter climate change fray with green thesis on June 18
Pope Francis’s hotly-anticipated environmental manifesto will be published on June 18, six months ahead of an international conference on climate change in Paris, the Vatican said Thursday.
The papal encyclical, a letter sent by the pope to all Roman Catholic bishops, is expected to criticise rampant consumerism and capitalism and was written after consultations with numerous experts and scientists.
An encyclical is a statement of fundamental principles designed to guide Catholic teaching on a subject.
This will be the first such text written by Francis’s pen alone: the previous encyclical, published in 2013 and dedicated to questions of faith, had been mainly drawn up by the Argentine’s predecessor Benedict XVI.
The document will be entitled “Laudato sii”, or “Be praised” — words from Saint Francis of Assisi’s “Canticle of the Creatures”, which the pope’s namesake wrote shortly before his death in 1226.
Considered one of the earliest examples of Italian literature, it is a celebration of God and his creatures, a hymn to Brother Sun, Mother Earth, Sister Moon and Brothers Wind and Air.
While environmentalists have keenly welcomed the pope’s support on climate change ahead of the United Nations talks in December in the French capital, critics say religion should not play a role in the debate.