In a very significant way, Pope Francis is weighing in on the Climate Change controversy. According to The Guardian world news report two days ago, the Pope is soon set to issue an encyclical calling for more than a billion Catholics to “take action” on climate change, “on moral and scientific grounds.”
According to Bishop Marcelo Sorondo, the chancellor of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the Pope wants to have a direct influence on the 2015 UN climate conference in Paris, the culmination of decades of negotiations that will help determine the planet’s future.
“The idea is to convene a meeting with leaders of the main religions to make all people aware of the state of our climate and the tragedy of social exclusion,” Sorondo was quoted as saying in the Observer.
This is a big deal for several reasons. First, encyclicals are reserved for issues of high priority to the pope, and what is high priority to him becomes a high priority of the church. As there are in excess of 1.2 billion Catholics on this planet, this edict could have a profound effect. Second, according to the Guardian article he is doing this to directly affect the outcome of a very important meeting in the fall of 2015: The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change will meet, and their expressed intent is to create a legally binding global agreement to take action on climate change.
In many countries where Catholics have a strong political presence, this encyclical is destined to have a measurable effect.