Is the U.S. seen as the world’s “last bastion” of climate change denial?
“The church bulletin inserts are nearly ready to go,” claims the New York Times. So are the emails to every Roman Catholic parish in the United States with preaching suggestions for the first Sunday after Pope Francis releases his “encyclical” (report) on the environment.
A week after that, on June 28th, churches worldwide are being asked to ring their bells at noon to commemorate a “Thank you, Pope Francis” march in Rome being held on that day.
Never before, say church leaders, has a papal encyclical been anticipated so eagerly by so many.
Advocates for the environment and the poor are excited, because Francis is expected to make the case that climate change, unchecked development, and over-consumption are exacerbating problems for the poor.
However, the leaders of the Catholic Church in the United States may be harder to win over, writes the New York Times.
At the spring meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops last week, bishops from around the country said they were withholding their enthusiasm until they saw the document on Thursday the 18th of June, writes The New York Times.
Some said they were wary about getting the church enmeshed in the debate over climate change, a contentious issue in the United States.
They also expressed concern about allying with environmentalists, some of whom promote “population control” as a remedy, since the Church sees abortion and contraception as “great evils” writes The New York Times.
Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami gave a presentation to the bishops on the climate change encyclical as chairman of the committee on domestic justice and human development.
He said the pope’s message would ultimately “transcend” the divisions over the environment and climate change, writes The New York Times.
“The pope is not approaching this as a scientist, he’s not approaching this as a politician,” Archbishop Wenski said at a news conference. “I think he’s trying to approach the issue of creation care as a pastor and as a teacher.”