Today Pope Francis released a unique and striking encyclical, the highest form of papal doctrine, addressing a wide breadth of ecological concerns. The document is notably ambitious in scope, wonderfully clear and concise, and passionate in its call for environmental stewardship and the development of a new moral ecology with greater concern for the Earth. Pope Francis, who worked as a chemist before entering the seminary, stands firmly with modern science; the document leaves no doubt that humans are responsible for the rapid degradation of the environment witnessed over the last 200 years. I was particularly impressed with the inclusion of social, economic, political, moral and cultural discussions that are fundamental to solving the environmental crisis we face. As a whole, I felt the encyclical made a convincing moral, ethical, and practical argument for drastic change in our relationship to the earth.
It’s wonderful to see so much attention brought to these fundamentally important issues. The coverage in the news has been widespread; even the presidential candidates have made (rather bland) remarks concerning the document.
The best opinion is an informed opinion; read the encyclical yourself. Unlike most encyclicals, which are addressed to Christendom, this encyclical is addressed to all the people of the earth, regardless of faith. You can read the encyclical on the Vatican’s website here.