Pope Francis has preached about the need to protect the earth and all of creation as a broad message on the environment and it has caused little controversy since he first started in 2013. But now. Francis is preparing to deliver a high influential encyclical this summer on environmental degradation and the effects climate change has had on the poor. He is alarming some conservatives in the United States who loath having the Catholic Church speak out on a cause they don’t believe in.
Earlier this week on Tuesday the Vatican held a one-day conference on the issue which is front and center for the Vatican. Pope Francis frames his thinking around global warming as a moral issue. The one-day conference was for scientists as well as religious leaders.
There were several observers at the event that don’t believe the Pope should be involved in tis debate including members of Chicago-based Heartland Institute who held a press conference and urged the pope not to back the United Nation’s climate agenda. Although past Popes have spoke to the issue, Pope Francis has a voice that reaches much further. “Francis will get a hearing on this issue that I think the previous popes, Benedict and John Paul II, did not have,” says Bruce Morrill, the Edward A. Malloy professor of Catholic studies at Vanderbilt University Divinity School in Nashville, Tenn., who is also a Catholic priest.
In the United States, the upcoming encyclical will be accompanied by a 12-week campaign being prepared with Catholic bishops, to raise the issue of climate change in sermons, homilies, news media interviews and letters to newspapers.