Monday, June 22, 2015

CATHOLICISM - Duty to Protect the Earth?

"Do Catholics have a religious duty to protect the Earth?" PBS NewsHour 6/18/2015


SUMMARY:  Today the Pope released an encyclical calling for action to combat climate change.  Judy Woodruff speaks to Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, D.C., about what the encyclical means to Catholic doctrine, and how it could influence international policy.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  Pope Francis made an unprecedented call to action to tackle climate change today.  He issued the first encyclical dedicated solely to the environment, calling it one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day.

It was the kickoff of an effort to spread the message to the faithful and others in months to come.

Pope Francis issued a nearly 200-page document casting climate change as a moral issue, not simply a political or economic debate.

Lead climate researchers joined in the formal release at the Vatican.

JOHN SCHELLNHUBER, Director, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research:  I think the encyclical, by listening to the science and to reflecting to the science, is bringing together two big messages.  One message comes from reasoning, from ingenuity, from technological progress.  The other comes from faith, moral, ethical values, Christianity, but they combine into one message.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  That message, to the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, is:  Global warming is mostly manmade.  It comes heavily from burning fossil fuel.  And it disproportionally harms the poor.

In the encyclical, the pontiff warns:  “The pace of consumption, waste and environmental change has so stretched the planet’s capacity that our contemporary lifestyle, unsustainable as it is, can only precipitate catastrophes.”

Rich countries must act immediately, Francis says, to cut consumption of fossil fuels and help poor nations create sustainable development.

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