It feels appropriate today 8th September, when Catholic Christians celebrate the birthday of Mary, blessed Mother of the Lord Jesus Christ, to feature Pope Francis as a champion of the environment.
Even before the publication of his “green” encyclical, Laudate Si’, (Praise Be to You!) Pope Francis had become known for his advocacy of care for the earth and for speaking out on climate change. His chosen papal name, Francis, after Saint Francis of Assisi famously in tune with all creatures and with the poor, was an early indication of the Pope’s concerns and interpretation of the Christian ethos.
The Pope’s 2015 encyclical Laudate Si’: On Care for our Common Home is a call, not only to the Christian community but also to all the people of the world, “to hear the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor”. It sets forward a challenge to ecological conversion, through changes in lifestyle and in society, and through strong political action.
“The human environment and the natural environment deteriorate together; we cannot adequately combat environmental degradation unless we attend to causes related to human and social degradation. In fact, the deterioration of the environment and of society affects the most vulnerable people on the planet: both everyday experience and scientific research show that the gravest effects of all attacks on the environment are suffered by the poorest”. Pope Francis.