Pope clears schedule to work on environment encyclical

Pope Francis reportedly cleared his schedule last week to focus on a final revision of his upcoming encyclical on the environment.

The document is expected to be released in June or July.

According to a Catholic News Service report, the encyclical will build on what Pope Francis’s predecessors have said.

The document is expected to present ecology as the ultimate pro-life, pro-poor, pro-family issue.

But the Pope does not pretend to have a technical solution to the problem of climate change, the CNS article stated.

However, he does feel a responsibility to remind Christians of their religious obligation to safeguard creation, beginning with human beings who are created in the image and likeness of God.

For Pope Francis, like Pope Benedict XVI, safeguarding creation is not simply about protecting plants and animals, or just about ensuring the air, water, and land will support human life for generations to come, the CNS article continued.

Those things are part of the task.

“We need to see — with the eyes of faith — the beauty of God’s saving plan, the link between the natural environment and the dignity of the human person,” Pope Francis wrote in a speech prepared for young people in the Philippines in January.

Flying from Sri Lanka to the Philippines on the same trip, Pope Francis told reporters that Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, and a team from his office had prepared drafts of the ecology document.

During an early March visit to Ireland, Cardinal Turkson spoke about the principles underlying the Pope’s upcoming letter, insisting “this is not some narrow agenda for the greening of the Church or the world”.

“It is a vision of care and protection that embraces the human person and the human environment in all possible dimensions.”

All people are called to be “protectors” of the environment and of one another, especially the poor, the cardinal said.

Japan’s Catholic bishops recently asked Pope Francis to include in his encyclical a warning against the use of nuclear power.


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