Our Catholic Earthcare team are eagerly anticipating Pope Francis’ ecological encyclical, and the opportunity it will bring to galvanise environmental action – both in the Catholic Church and beyond.
The date when the encyclical will be released and its specific content is not yet known. However it is expected that it will be announced in June or July 2015, and will explore human ecology and our relationship the natural environment. The release of the encyclical will preempt the UN climate talks, which will take place in Paris in December 2015.
Earthcare Director Jacqui Rémond says: “The encyclical has a significant influence because it sets a benchmark for learning for everyone in the Church, which includes the cardinals, the bishops, the clergy and the lay people. This message will have an incredible ripple effect through the church and beyond.”
A commitment the environment by the Catholic Church is not new, and the two previous Popes – Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI – have both spoken out about climate change and other environmental issues. However this is the first time that a Pope will devote an entire encyclical to ecology.
When the encyclical is released, we plan to respond immediately and lead a number of activities and events. We are also working with Catholic Mission to produce a book that offers a response to the encyclical from a different sectors in the community. Our own staff member, Tess Corkish, will be providing the ‘Youth Response’ for the book.
More details about our response to the encyclical will be available soon.