With the launching today of Pope Francis' encyclical on the environment, "Laudato Si', on Care for Our Common Home," being so warmly received by Catholics and non-Catholics alike, I'd like to remind you of two of the most important editorials NCR has written in the last year:
Climate change is church's No. 1 pro-life issue (May 20, 2014)
There may have been a time when moving from a point of indecision on the matter of climate change, to a decision on whether it is real and caused by humans or not, required leaps of faith of somewhat equal proportions. But that was a long time and a lot of science ago. The science, as it has developed, may not be perfect, but it is long past time that the question turn from whether human activity is causing climate change to what do we do about it. The Catholic church should become a major player in educating the public to the scientific data and in motivating people to act for change.
Finding a fix for climate change and its potentially disastrous consequences, particularly for the global poor, is not the work of a single discipline or a single group or a single political strategy. Its solution lies as much in people of faith as in scientific data, as much or more in a love for God's creation as it does in our instinct for self-preservation.
2015 could be the year we save the earth ( Jan. 2, 2015)
When it comes to our planet's health, "2015 could be a decisive year in history," Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, told a gathering in London in November. We agree with the bishop: 2015 could go down in history as the year we saved the earth. We hope Catholics around the world can muster the spiritual and political clout to help make it happen.
On behalf of the U.S. bishops, Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami and Bishop Richard Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, wrote to the EPA in July supporting national carbon reduction standards and encouraging Catholics to weigh in during a public commenting period that ended Dec. 1.
We applaud these efforts and encourage the U.S. bishops to do more. They have pulpits, blogs and diocesan newspapers as platforms and will have Francis' encyclical to form their message. By further leveraging alliances with groups like Franciscan Action Network and Catholic Climate Covenant, Catholics could become opinion leaders for carbon reduction in 2015.