Among the issues he has been most vocal on as he sets about his own papal course, Pope Francis has been perhaps harshest on climate change. And, days before the Vatican was set to release the encyclical on the issue, it was leaked to the press. Considering the importance he has previously placed on climate change issues, what does Pope Francis' leaked draft encyclical on the environment say?
Obtained and published by Italian magazine L'Espresso and translated by The Guardian, Pope Francis warned that failure to halt the "unprecedented destruction of the ecosystem" by the end of this century will bring about "grave consequences for all of us."
Francis attributed climate change to human activity, a point he has also made before. Explaining that the encyclical was addressed to everyone, regardless of religion, he wrote:
[Earth] is protesting for the wrong that we are doing to her, because of the irresponsible use and abuse of the goods that God has placed on her. We have grown up thinking that we were her owners and dominators, authorized to loot her.
Humanity is called to take note of the need for changes in lifestyle and changes in methods of production and consumption to combat this warming, or at least the human causes that produce and accentuate it. Numerous scientific studies indicate that the greater part of the global warming in recent decades is due to the great concentration of greenhouse gases … given off above all because of human activity.
The Vatican quickly condemned the leak. Vatican Head of Communications Father Federico Lombardi criticized the L'Espresso journalist who published the draft and rescinded his Holy See press credentials.
[Cover image via Franco Origlia/Getty Images News]