What does Pope Francis’s encyclical on climate change mean for the church? Will this encourage further acceptance of climate change? Will more conservation efforts be taken with this stance? Today host Yuri Rashkin was joined in the studio by the Vicar General of the Diocese of Madison James Bartylla, director of the Catholic Multicultural Center Andy Russell and UW Professor Jonathan Martin to discuss the encyclical released last Thursday on the environment.
In the encyclical, released on Thursday, June 18, Pope Francis backed the scientific evidence supporting climate change, saying “Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods.”
In his continuing support of helping the poor, he added that many live around areas affected by global warming, arguing that consumption in rich countries is destroying poor ones.
The document is controversial for religious Republicans, many of which deny the existence of climate change, adding that Christians have misinterpreted the Bible. He continues:
“We are not God. The earth was here before us and it has been given to us. This allows us to respond to the charge that Judaeo-Christian thinking, on the basis of the Genesis account which grants man “dominion” over the earth (cf. Gen 1:28), has encouraged the unbridled exploitation of nature by painting him as domineering and destructive by nature. This is not a correct interpretation of the Bible as understood by the Church.”
Many environmentalists, Catholic and otherwise, are hoping the document will inspire continued talks about public policy regarding climate change and shift behaviors towards conservation.
Listen to the latest edition of A Public Affair to hear more.