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NEW YORK — There will be prayer vigils and pilgrimages, policy briefings and seminars, and sermons in parishes from the U.S. to the Philippines.

When Pope Francis releases his much-anticipated teaching document on the environment and climate change in the coming weeks, a network of Roman Catholics will be ready. These environmental advocates — who work with bishops, religious orders, Catholic universities and lay movements — have been preparing for months to help maximize the effect of the statement, hoping for a transformative impact in the fight against global warming.

"This is such a powerful moment," said Patrick Carolan, executive director of Franciscan Action Network, a Washington-based advocacy group formed by Franciscan religious orders. "We're asking ourselves, 'What would be the best way for us to support the faith community in getting this out and using it as a call to action?'"

Francis is issuing the encyclical by the end of June with an eye toward the end-of-year U.N. climate change conference in Paris. While previous popes have made strong moral and theological arguments in favor of environmental protection, Francis will be the first to address global warming in such a high-level teaching document.

The pope, who will address the U.N. General Assembly Sept. 25 when he visits the U.S., has said he wants the encyclical to be released in time to be read and absorbed before the Paris talks. Advocates are pressing for a binding, comprehensive agreement among nations to curb rising global temperatures, which scientists say are largely driven by carbon emissions.

"People are really putting a lot of weight on this," said Nancy Tuchman, director of the Institute of Environmental Sustainability at Loyola University Chicago. "I think the real hope is that he says it like it is and tells us there has to be a call to action and it has to be immediate."


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Archived Comments

    May 24, 2015 at 3:11 p.m.

    But...but...but...Limbaugh and FOX and Coulter et al., ad nauseum, all say none of this is happening!

    Also, BENGHAZI!!!

  • carpenterretired
    May 24, 2015 at 3:39 p.m.

    Well that pope just does not know that Fox news is the sole source of truth about everything and that the rest of the media lies about everything and that the Fox faithful who worship the gospel of greed will be able to take their wealth with them if they get run over by a truck.

  • DontDrinkDatKoolAid
    May 24, 2015 at 3:58 p.m.

    So then, the Catholic Church should loss their tax exempt status.

    May 24, 2015 at 4:36 p.m.

    Hey KoolAid - how do you figure that the church's position on an environmental issue means it should lose its tax status? Don't tell me that you though this up all on your own - Rush prep you on this one??

  • DontDrinkDatKoolAid
    May 24, 2015 at 4:53 p.m.

    Who is Rush for one, and when the Church becomes a political function of a Government endeavor they are outside their bounds.

  • drs01
    May 24, 2015 at 6:08 p.m.

    I care what the Pope says about this topic about as much as the flaming liberal eco freaks. It's all bull crap. Unless we fix some of our more pressing problems, it really doesn't matter.
    We can ride bicycles and eat tree bark as the country self-destructs.

  • nwar
    May 24, 2015 at 9:25 p.m.

    You rock Pope Frank! Take 'em down.

  • mitchstoner
    May 24, 2015 at 9:38 p.m.

    Can't eat tree bark, it will kill trees. If we are riding bikes--i.e. exercising more--we are exhaling more carbon dioxide. No win all the way around.

    Nope, the only way for the planet to survive is for ALL us humans to go out and lie down in our yards or in the woods and allow insects and animals to consume us.

    After all, survival of the planet, trees, and animals is FAR more important than the human race.

    Really, anyone read this past week that three nations have now revealed that daily temperature records have been systemically falsified for a number of years to conform with global warming predictions? Remember about 10 years ago the predictions that the Arctic ice cap would disappear by 2008? Or was it 2010? They seem to change their predictions so often. And last year the size of the Arctic ice cap was larger than in many years? Verified by satellite images and widely published, yet ignored by most "global man-caused climate change" proponents? Who is it that is actually in denial, anyway? The majority of scientists once believed the sun orbited around the earth, you might recall. Attaching PhD to your name does not mean you are always right.

    I believe climate is changing, just as it always has. Nothing about change necessarily spells the end of life as we know it. There is evidence both the Antarctic and the Sahara were once luxuriant with life. The end of that probably had some early Chicken Little types screaming "we are all doomed unless we stop slaughtering mammoths!" But we are still around. For better or worse.

    May 24, 2015 at 10:14 p.m.

    What is it about responsible stewardship of the planet that riles up the Bagger idjits?

  • mitchstoner
    May 24, 2015 at 10:42 p.m.

    Don't confuse responsible stewardship with idiotic crusades against industry, the "rich," and the Republican Party.

    You really want to do something significant for the planet and the human race? Quit railing against your favorite demons and start volunteering at a Boys Club or in a Salvation Army homeless shelter. Go to Africa to work in an orphanage. Sponsor some refugees from Myanmar into the U.S. Travel to Brazil to help indigenous tribes stand against the theft of their land. Go to an American Indian reservation to work in substance and alcohol abuse programs.

    Ranting about the evil conservatives accomplishes nothing.