Monday, June 29, 2015

News Articles on Pope Francis’ Encyclical on the Environment

News Articles on Pope Francis’ Encyclical on the Environment

Dear Forum Colleagues,

We are excited to share news with you about Pope Francis’ Papal encyclical on the environment: “Praised Be: On the Care of Our Common Home” (Laudato Si’).

You can read the encyclical on the Vatican site:

There are a number of resources on the Forum site ( to provide you more information on the encyclical, including “Frequently Asked Questions on the Papal Encyclical,” a video recording and transcript of the Yale panel discussion entitled “Pope Francis and the Environment: Why His New Climate Encyclical Matters,” and more.

In this newsletter, you will find recent news articles that address the encyclical. I’m including the articles that feature Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim first.


On June 18, the Vatican officially released the encyclical -- a letter sent by the Pope that is addressed to the world's 1.2 billion Catholics. The Pope also extended this call to action to all people around the world. This is a crucial moment in the religion and ecology movement, as this is the first encyclical in the history of the Church to address environmental concerns. In the encyclical, Pope Francis declared climate change and environmental protection as related moral, social, and ecological issues. This teaching document could serve as a motivating force for the over one billion Catholics of the world and many other people of spiritual and environmental conviction. The encyclical will undoubtedly bring much needed global attention and focus to these issues.

For recent news articles, visit:

For the archive of past news articles, visit:

Elizabeth McAnally
California Institute of Integral Studies
Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale
Website Manager & Newsletter Editor

1. Articles about the Encyclical that feature Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim
How to Read Pope Francis on the Environment
Interviewee: Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim
Interviewer: Robert McMahon
Council on Foreign Relations
June 18, 2015

The new encyclical from Pope Francis about the environment, Laudato Si, sharply criticizes man-made abuses of the environment and lays out the church's most detailed case for urgent moves to mitigate climate change. The encyclical, a long, formal letter that conveys the pope's teachings, is both a call to action on the global stage and new guidance for how Catholics should regard ecology, say Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim of Yale University's Forum on Religion and Ecology, in a written Q&A. "While discussions about social justice have been robust in Catholic and Christian contexts, this encyclical marks the first time social and environmental concerns are brought together," write Tucker and Grim.

Pope Francis sounds the alarm on the environment and he wants everyone to listen
By Matthew Bell
PRI's The World
June 18, 2015

The head of the Roman Catholic Church released an official document in Rome on Thursday that has been creating buzz for months. It’s called an encyclical, the highest form of teaching issued by a pope, and it is addressed to everyone — literally — in the whole world. “I would like to enter into dialogue with all people about our common home,” Francis writes.

Listen to the interview with John Grim on the encyclical at (Note: Hit the play button at the top of the page for the audio. The whole segment, including the piece on Francis, starts at 13:23. The interview with John Grim is at 17.50 – 21.17.)

Will Pope's Much-Anticipated Encyclical Be A Clarion Call On Climate Change?
By Sylvia Poggioli
June 16, 2015

In April this year, on Earth Day, Pope Francis urged everyone to see the world through the eyes of God, as a garden to cultivate.

Pope Calls for Moral Campaign on Climate Crisis By Kieran Cooke
Climate News Network
June 17, 2015

Pope Francis has challenged climate change deniers by declaring that the destruction of the ecosystem is a moral issue that has to be tackled, or there will be grave consequences for us all.

Pope Francis’ climate change encyclical expected to make global impact
By Ed Stannard
New Haven Register
May 30, 2015

Pope Francis’ much anticipated encyclical about climate change will make a major impact throughout the Roman Catholic Church and beyond, propelled by the severity of the issue and the pope’s personal popularity, say religious and environmental leaders in Connecticut. According to Mary Evelyn Tucker, who teaches in Yale’s schools of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Divinity and Law, “This is the most important thing that will happen in our lifetime on the environment.”

Pope Francis' Integral Ecology
By Dave Pruett
Huffington Post
May 28, 2015

There's a new term being bandied about, and it's high time we paid heed: integral ecology. Whenever the same notion arises synchronously in a number of different contexts -- in this case the Catholic Church, the Occupy movement, the climate movement, and the new-economy movement -- it's an idea whose time has arrived.

Pope Francis poised to weigh in on climate change with major document
By Michelle Boorstein
Washington Post
April 27, 2015

The largely secular climate movement is about to get what some predict will be a historic boost from an intriguing source: Pope Francis.

2. More Articles on Pope Francis, Climate Change, and the Environment

Pope Francis: The Cry of the EarthBy Bill McKibben
The New York Review of Books
June 18, 2015

The old conceit that the president has a “bully pulpit” needs updating; it’s clear that the pulpit at St. Peter’s Basilica is now the bulliest of all. Pope Francis may lack legions, but he has 6.3 million followers on Twitter, and for a week now the world has been following leaks of his new encyclical on climate change and the environment.

Pope Francis, in Sweeping Encyclical, Calls for Swift Action on Climate Change
By Jim Yardley and Laurie Goodstein
New York Times
June 18, 2015

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis on Thursday called for a radical transformation of politics, economics and individual lifestyles to confront environmental degradation and climate change, as his much-awaited papal encyclical blended a biting critique of consumerism and irresponsible development with a plea for swift and unified global action.

Top Ten Takeaways from 'Laudato Si'
By James Martin, S.J.
America Magazine
June 18, 2015

Pope Francis’ revolutionary new encyclical calls for a “broad cultural revolution” to confront the environmental crisis. “Laudato Si” is also quite lengthy. Can it be summarized? In other words, what are the main messages, or “takeaways” of this encyclical?

Francis' Momentous Encyclical: On Care for Our Common Home
By Dave Pruett
Huffington Post
June 19, 2015

"We are in trouble just now because we do not have a good story. We are between stories." -- Father Thomas Berry

I'm not Catholic. Nevertheless, fond of this pope, I've eagerly awaited the release of Laudato Si', Francis' encyclical on ecology and climate. Immediately after its June 18 release, I paged wildly through it and was blown away. Laudato Si' is absolutely stunning in sweep, depth, and wisdom. It is exactly the right document, at the right moment, by the right person.

World View of Global Warming: The Photographic Documentation of Climate Change 
By Gary Braasch
World View of Global Warming
June 2015

"The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth,” warns Pope Francis. “Bring the whole human family together,” he urges, “redefine our notion of progress, move forward in a bold cultural revolution."  With words that read in many places as a textbook of ecology and economics, using phrases that often ring with spiritual power, Pope Francis calls on all people to cease despoiling the Earth, stop human-made climate change, care much more for poor and indigenous cultures, and begin “redefining our notion of progress.”

The pope’s effect on politics 
By Barrie Dunsmore
Rutland Herald
June 21, 2015

This past week Pope Francis inserted himself directly into the 2016 U.S. presidential elections. Whether or not that was the intent, it is a clear consequence of the pope’s new encyclical on the environment — because this document puts him on a collision course with the Republican Party.

Tell Us How Your Church Addressed the Pope’s Encyclical
New York Times
June 21, 2015

The encyclical by Pope Francis released on Thursday did not merely present a papal view on the environment and climate change. It was also an urgent call to action. The document appeared intended to persuade followers around the world to change their behavior, in hopes of protecting a fragile planet.

For Faithful, Social Justice Goals Demand Action on Environment
By Justin Gillis
New York Times
June 20, 2015

For an earnest young Christian named Ben Lowe, revelation came on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, in Africa. A relentless warming of the lake was reducing the catch of fish, the people were going hungry — and he had learned of scientific evidence that climate change was to blame.

Operation Noah welcomes 'timely' climate encyclical
Independent Catholic News
June 18, 2015

Operation Noah has welcomed Pope Francis' 'bold stance on climate change ahead of the critical COP21 UN climate negotiations this December'. "His concerns for people and the planet resonate loud and clear at a time of increasing climate instability affecting the world's poor and vulnerable and threatening the integrity of God's creation. His council urges us to take seriously the complex moral and social issues that climate change poses."

Church of England Welcomes Climate Encyclical
Church of England
June 18, 2015

The Church of England's lead on the environment, Bishop of Salisbury the Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, has given a wholehearted welcome to today's Papal Encyclical on climate change.

Anglican environmental network chair welcomes Papal climate encyclical 
Anglican Communion News Service
June 18, 2015

People of faith need to focus on the moral and spiritual elements of the crisis brought about by rapid climate change, Archbishop of Cape Town Thabo Makgoba, chair of the Anglican Communion Environmental Network, said today in response to Pope Francis's encyclical on the issue.

Archbishop joins faith leaders calling for action on climate change
Archbishop of Canterbury
June 16, 2015

The Archbishop of Canterbury has joined faith leaders in Britain pledging to fast and pray for the success of key international negotiations over climate change, in a new declaration warning of the “huge challenge” facing the world over global warming.

Pope Francis warns of destruction of world's ecosystem in leaked encyclical 
By Stephanie Kirchgaessner and John Hooper in Rome
The Guardian
June 15, 2015

Pope Francis will this week call for changes in lifestyles and energy consumption to avert the “unprecedented destruction of the ecosystem” before the end of this century, according to a leaked draft of a papal encyclical. In a document released by an Italian magazine on Monday, the pontiff will warn that failure to act would have “grave consequences for all of us”.

Pope Francis' encyclical: PIK-scientists to speak in the Vatican and in Berlin 
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)
June 12, 2015

When the much anticipated environmental encyclical will be launched on 18 June, John Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) will give a speech in the Vatican. He's the only scientist to join Cardinal Peter Turkson for the presentation.

On the ethics of energy
By Bill Patenaude
Catholic Ecology
June 10, 2015

Just in time for the Pope's eco-encyclical, moral theologians offer guidance on ethical energy production and use. A copy of "Catholic Moral Traditions and Energy Ethics for the Twenty-First Century" can be downloaded here:

Torah, Pope Francis, & Crisis Inspire 300+ Rabbis to Call for Climate Action
Religion News Service
June 10, 2015

PHILADELPHIA – More than 300 rabbis — inspired by the climate crisis, the Torah’s call for a Sabbatical Year of releasing the Earth from overwork, and the impending Papal Encyclical on the climate crisis — have joined their voices in the Rabbinic Letter on the Climate Crisis — a call to action to prevent further climate-fuelled disasters and work toward eco-social justice.

Climate encyclical expected to send strong moral message to the world 
By Barbara Fraser
Catholic News Service
National Catholic Reporter
June 8, 2015

Lima, Peru -- Pope Francis' upcoming encyclical on ecology and climate is expected to send a strong moral message -- one message that could make some readers uncomfortable, some observers say.

5 Reasons Pope Francis' Encyclical on the Environment Matters
By Reynard Loki
June 7, 2015

Pope Francis' forthcoming encyclical on the environment has been described as "long-awaited" and "much-anticipated." In addition to being Francis' first encyclical, it will be the first encyclical on the environment in the history of the Roman Catholic Church.

About Pope Francis’ Encyclical, “Laudato sii
By Terri MacKenzie
Ecospirituality Resources
June 5, 2015

In keeping with the Lent material I have been writing since 2004, I shall provide a 5-session program – “Praised be: On the care of the common home” — for those who wish to integrate Lent’s 2016 Scripture readings and the encyclical. It will be available free by November 1st:

All children deserve a healthy climate
By Mitchell C. Hescox
Eco Catholic
National Catholic Reporter
June 3, 2015

Pope Francis' increasingly powerful statements on global warming highlight that climate action is becoming a growing moral imperative for all people of faith. Why? Because climate action is about saving people.

“Cultivating and Caring for Creation,” 12 new on-line videos and study guides in anticipation of Pope Francis’ coming encyclical, “Praised Be,” on the environment Green Spirit Television
June 2, 2015

Produced by (GSTV), a participant in (RCTV), “Cultivating and Caring for Creation” is narrated by Bishop Donald Bolen, chair of Justice and Peace, Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) and includes content from several Canadian Catholic eco justice leaders.

Awaiting ecology encyclical, Catholic groups prepare for pope’s message
By Dennis Sadowski
Catholic News Service
May 27, 2015

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Few papal encyclicals have been as eagerly awaited as Pope Francis’ upcoming statement on the environment.

Encyclical on environment sparks hope among academics, activists
By Thomas Reese
National Catholic Reporter
May 26, 2015

The encyclical on the environment, which Pope Francis is expected to release in June or July, is stimulating a great deal of discussion and hope in academia and the environmental movement.

Catholics organize to promote pope's climate change message
USA Today
May 25, 2015

NEW YORK (AP) — When Pope Francis releases his much-anticipated teaching document on the environment and climate change in the coming weeks, a network of Roman Catholics will be ready.

Catholics prepare for pope's climate stance
By Rachel Zoll, Associated Press
The Columbian
May 23, 2015

NEW YORK — There will be prayer vigils and pilgrimages, policy briefings and seminars, and sermons in parishes from the U.S. to the Philippines.

The Catholic Case for Tackling Climate Change
By Stephen Seufert
The Huffington Post
May 21, 2015

Pope Francis's much anticipated encyclical on the environment and address to the UN provides Catholics a rare opportunity to take the lead on presenting the moral argument surrounding climate change.

Nuclear weapons: the greatest threat to the environment 
By Thomas C. Fox
National Catholic Reporter
May 20, 2015

As the Vatican gets set to roll out its highly anticipated encyclical on the environment, it is wise to recall the greatest signal threat to the global environment is the explosion of a nuclear weapon.

Pope Francis endorses climate action petition
By Brian Roewe
National Catholic Reporter
May 15, 2015

A petition calling for world leaders to address climate change and “drastically cut carbon emissions” received a big endorsement last week in Rome from the pope.

How will the world react to Pope Francis's encyclical on climate change? 
By Neil Thorns
The Guardian
May 14, 2015

Whatever the Pope says in his highly-anticipated climate message it will present challenges - not just for climate sceptics, but for all Catholics, on how we should act to protect our environment and the world’s poorest people

Key advisor blasts US criticism to pope’s environmental stance
By Inés San Martín, Vatican correspondent
May 12, 2015

ROME — Pope Francis’ closest cardinal advisor on Tuesday blasted “movements in the United States” hostile to the pontiff’s forthcoming document on the environment, claiming the criticism is fueled by a form of capitalism protecting its own interests.

Pope says environmental sinners will face God's judgment for world hunger 
AFP in Vatican City
The Guardian
May 12, 2015

Pope Francis has warned “the powerful of the Earth” they will answer to God if they fail to protect the environment to ensure the world can feed its population.

A papal statement on climate change could lead to greener Britain
By Soli Salgado
National Catholic Reporter
May 8, 2015

A third of British Catholics say they would consider “greening” their lifestyles should Pope Francis make an official statement on climate change.

Pope Francis: ‘If We Destroy Creation, Creation Will Destroy Us’
By Kieran Cooke
May 6, 2015

A declaration at the end of a meeting in Rome hosted by the Vatican made a plea to the world’s religions to engage and mobilize on the issue of climate change.

Pope Francis has given the climate movement just what it needed — faith
By Chris Mooney
Washington Post
April 30, 2015

This week — and it still feels strange to write this — the major climate change news story came out of the Vatican.

Pope Francis’ Encyclical on Global Warming 
By Henry Auer
Global Warming Blog
April 30, 2015

Pope Francis, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, will soon issue a papal encyclical on global warming. An encyclical is a document transmitted through the church hierarchy to its 5,000 bishops, and from them to all 400,000 parish priests. In this way its contents are presented to the parishioners of every Catholic church throughout the world, about 1.2 billion people.

Blessed Are the Climate Advocates
By Michael Shank
May 1, 2015

This week, while at Vatican City in Rome to manage press for the first-ever meeting on climate change between Pope Francis and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, my faith in a force more powerful was renewed.

Pope Francis Unlikely to Sway Catholic Republicans on Climate Change
By Katherine Bagley
InsideClimate News
May 1, 2015

As Pope Francis steps up his moral campaign for global action on climate change, Republican Roman Catholics in Congress are more likely to listen to fossil fuel interests and party leaders than their pontiff, religious and political researchers say, based on lawmakers' track records.

Vatican presses politicians on climate change
By Roger Harrabin, BBC environment analyst
April 28, 2015

The Vatican Science Academy has challenged politicians to end their "infatuation" with a form of economic growth that is ruining the Earth.

Pope Francis Steps Up Campaign on Climate Change, to Conservatives’ Alarm
By Coral Davenport and Laurie Goodstein
New York Times
April 27, 2015

WASHINGTON — Since his first homily in 2013, Pope Francis has preached about the need to protect the earth and all of creation as part of a broad message on the environment. It has caused little controversy so far.



MAY 12th – 17th 2015, ROME)
-Fr. Cedric Prakash sj*
 The Caritas Internationalis (CI) 20th General Assembly was held in Rome, Italy from May 12th to 17th 2015.  The Assembly (held once every four years) was a significant moment in the life of this global Catholic humanitarian relief and development confederation. The Assembly focussed on the theme ‘One Human Family Caring for Creation’. It brought together more than four hundred participants from nearly one hundred and fifty countries from across the globe. It was a veritable United Nations representing reality and experience in many profound ways.

The Assembly began with an inaugural Mass celebrated by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Basilica. In his homily, Pope Francis complimented the global Caritas family for the work they do all over but did not mince words when he said “we must do what we can so that everyone has something to eat but we must also remind the powerful of the earth that God will call them to judgement one day and there it will be revealed if they really tried to provide food for him in every person (Mtw. 25:35) and if they did what they could do to preserve the environment so that it could produce this food.”

The formal inauguration of the Assembly took place on May 13th with an address by Cardinal Oscar Maradiaga, the President of Caritas Internationalis and with messages coming in from other personalities including the Secretary General of the United Nations Ban-Ki Moon.

Three plenary sessions with eminent speakers helped set the tone, deliberations and the decisions of this Assembly; these were: (i) ‘A Poor Church for the Poor’ (speakers: Dominican Fr. Gustavo Gutierrez, the founder of Liberation Theology and Dr. Beverley Haddad, an Anglican priest from South Africa), (ii) ‘Growing Inequalities, a challenge for the one human family’ (speakers: well-known economist Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute, Columbia University and Indian Jesuit Human Rights Activist Fr. Cedric Prakash (iii) ‘Climate Change and its effects on human development’ (speakers: Cardinal Peter Turkson, the President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and Sylvia Ribeiro from Mexico, Director of the etc Group for Latin America)

The keynote speakers and particularly Gutierrez challenged the august assembly to address more substantially the pressing problems that plague our world today. At each of these Plenary Sessions, there were also valuable interventions from Caritas grassroot representatives.

The assembly was marked by an emotional farewell speech by the outgoing President Cardinal Maradiaga and the election of the new President Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila.  The assembly also reconfirmed its Secretary General Michel Roy. Mr. Roy as the Secretary General has been at the helm of the activities of the Confederation since the last four years.

In its path-breaking final message at the conclusion of the assembly, Caritas Internationalis provided for the Church and the world at large a bold vision for the care of creation; with regard to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) the message states that “no target should be considered as met unless achieved for all income and social groups; this fundamental, person-centred strategy must be central.” The message also urged Governments to look beyond their own borders and to recognise the moral imperative that is inherent in care for creation.
The CI Assembly was indeed a memorable event on several counts; among them: focussing on the immediate need and importance to mainstream the dimensions of justice, liberty, equity and solidarity in every activity of “caritas”; urging all to have the courage to first address and change what is endemic if one is truly serious about “caring for creation” (the theme of the Assembly); the words and actions of Pope Francis were referred to all the time. “Evangelli Gaudium” was the fulcrum of several of the talks and deliberations; the forthcoming encyclical on the “environment” is eagerly awaited and is expected to be blue-print for a more definitive course of action.

There was plenty of sharing by the participants on the tremendous good being done at the local, national and regional levels by Caritas Organisations; meaningful interventions are taking place in its ‘Food for all’ campaign and its endeavours to build a civilisation of love. The participants also felt hopeful that despite the reluctance of several Bishops / Priests / Dioceses / Organisations there would be a paradigm-shift in the works of ‘National Caritas’ with greater emphasis on advocacy and accompanying the poor, the marginalised, the displaced, the exploited and the refugees.  All also experienced a deep sense of bonding and belonging to “the one human family” (part of the theme). It is hoped that networking and collaboration would be enhanced in more tangible ways.  Finally, the Strategic Framework (2015 – 2019) which was adopted on the last day will again hopefully see the beginning of rejuvenated efforts towards justice, peace and the integrity of creation.

The assembly also named Archbishop Oscar Romero who was murdered for standing with the poor and exploited of El Salvador (and who was beatified on May 23rd 2015) as one of its patrons together with their previously proclaimed patrons St. Martin de Porres of Peru and Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta. 

The highlight of the Assembly was its visible courage to respond to the signs of the times!  It is hoped that the immediate future will see some marked changes in the way the works of Caritas will unfold in one hundred and sixty four countries across the globe.

(* Fr. Cedric Prakash SJ is the Director of PRASHANT, the Ahmedabad-based Jesuit Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace. He was one of the keynote speakers at the Caritas Internationalis 20th General Assembly)
Address: ‘PRASHANT’, Hill Nagar, Near Saffron Hotel, Drive-in Road, Ahmedabad – 380052                                                                  Phone: (079) 27455913, 66522333     Fax:  (079) 27489018       Cell: 9824034536                      

Fr. Cedric Prakash SJ analyses "Laudato Si", part 1 on RADIO VATICAN (June 25th 2015)

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Fr. Cedric Prakash SJ analyses "Laudato Si", part 1

Fr. Cedric Prakash SJ (right) with Card. Peter Turkson (left), the president of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace - RV
25/06/2015 13:00
The much- awaited encyclical of Pope Francis on the environment and development was finally released on June 18, in a press conference here in the Vatican.   Entitled, “‘Laudato Si’ -  On the Care of  Our Common Home'”, the 190-page encyclical connects the care of the natural ‎world with justice for the poorest and most vulnerable people, and argues that only by radically reshaping our ‎relationships with God, with our neighbours and with the natural world, can we hope to avoid ‎the threat of self-destruction facing our planet today.   The title of the encyclical “Laudato Si” is a phrase taken from the 13th-century Canticle of the Sun (also called the Canticle of the Creatures), a poem and prayer composed by Francis of Assisi, the popular 13th century Italian saint known for his humility, poverty and love for nature.   Well, to know more about the encyclical, we called on the phone Indian Jesuit priest Fr. Cedric Prakash, a well-known human rights and peace ‎activist, who heads the human rights centre in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, called Prashant. Fr. Cedric begins the first of  this 2-part interview today, by giving us his opinion on “Laudato Si”.