Praised Be: Pope Francis Issues A Moral Call for Climate Action


On June 18th, Pope Francis released his encyclical, Laudato Sii (Praised Be), in which he makes the connection between our faith commitment to love others and the emerging climate crisis. The encyclical demonstrates that climate change is a moral issue that requires Catholic concern and action.


What is a papal encyclical? 

Encyclicals are formal letters issued by a pope to the universal Catholic Church—its bishops and Catholics everywhere—concerning moral, doctrinal and disciplinary matters.The earliest Encyclicals date back to 1740 and are an important part of the Catholic Social Teaching. The Pope is one of the most popular public figures in the world, both in and outside of the Church. Regardless of their religious beliefs, people around the world will admire Pope Francis, and his leadership can create an atmosphere where world leaders will act on climate change in Paris in December of 2015 at the UN climate negotiations.


What are the key messages?

According to the Catholic News Service, Miami Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, said the encyclical will highlight climate change as “a moral issue,” pointing out that the poor suffer the most from consequences of improper care of the environment even though “they have contributed the least to climate change.” He said the pope would not be speaking as a scientist or a politician but as a shepherd and that the bishops, who “aren’t novices” on care for the environment, cannot “opt out” of this conversation. Pope Francis will challenge the assumptions of “both the left and the right” with the document, said Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, New Mexico, chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace. The Pope calls this approach to stewardship integral ecology.


What is MNIPL doing? 

MNIPL worked with local Catholic partners to host a prayer circle on the encyclical Thursday June 18th  at St Thomas More Catholic Church in St Paul. Throughout the fall, we'll also be hosting Climate Conversations in Catholic Churches across the state, in partnership with St Thomas University. 

We'll also be hosting a Pope Francis Welcome Party, as the Pope visits the US in September! Find more info here


What do Catholics have to say?

Sister Kathleen Mary Kiemen, SSND; Co-director, Center for Earth Spirituality and Rural Ministry spoke at a recent event on the Catholic persepctive for climate action. You can watch Sister Kathleen’s talk here and here for part two.

Catholics took the streets for the Tar Sands Resistance March, read more here