Thursday, June 18, 2015

Pope's Encyclical On Environmental Protection Issued; Republican Presidential Candidates May Be Pressed

The Vatican this morning released Pope Francis' much anticipated Encyclical Laudato Si: On Care For Our Common Home, as well as a Press Guide to the lengthy document.  The Encyclical begins:
1. “LAUDATO SI’, mi’ Signore” – “Praise be to you, my Lord”. In the words of this beautiful canticle, Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us....
2. This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her. We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will. The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life. This is why the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor....
In an article earlier this week, the New York Times suggests that the Encyclical will put pressure on Catholic Republican candidates for President who have questioned scientific findings on human causes of climate change and opposed policies to tax or regulate the burning of fossil fuels. These include Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio who "have courted influential and deep-pocketed donors, such as the billionaire brothers Charles G. and David H. Koch, who vehemently oppose such climate policies." Other announced or likely Catholic candidates are Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal and Chris Christie.  AP reports that, speaking to reporters yesterday, Jeb Bush said:
I go to church to have my faith nourished, to have my faith challenged.  That's why I go to Mass. I don't go to Mass for economic policy or for things in politics.