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Pope’s New Encyclical to Spark Controversy?

AFP Gabriel Bouys
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Newspaper claims document will address climate change but Vatican has yet to confirm.

The theme of climate change in Pope Francis’ forthcoming encyclical is likely to cause controversy within the Church, according to an article in yesterday’s Guardian newspaper.

The newspaper says Francis’ truly first encyclical, which is expected to be published in the first half of 2015 and link “human ecology” with environmental concerns, will be aimed at influencing a crucial UN climate meeting in Paris. 

Countries are hoping to conclude 20 years of negotiations at the UN meeting in the fall, and sign a universal commitment to reducing emissions. 

The article quotes a speech made by Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, the Argentine chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, who recently told an audience in London that the Pope hopes to influence the meeting to “make all people aware of the state of our climate and the tragedy of social exclusion.”

The Vatican has so far not officially given any hint the encyclical will cover the theme of climate change, only that “human ecology” will be a major topic. 

According to Vatican insiders, Francis is also expected to use his scheduled visit to the United Nations headquarters in New York in September to promote the themes raised in his encyclical. 

The Pope’s encyclical is likely to garner widespread support, the Guardian says, but it speculates that Francis will encounter some stiff resistance within the Church. In particular, it points to Cardinal George Pell, prefect of the Secretariat on the Economy, who has long been a climate change sceptic. 

The article also expects probable opposition from US evangelical groups, one of the most vocal critics of the science supporting climate change. 

Diane Montagna is Rome correspondent for Aleteia’s English edition.

    

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