What’s not to love about this Pope? His moral courage is an example to us all. Via The Guardian:
Pope Francis has called on the world’s rich nations to begin paying their “grave social debt” to the poor and take concrete steps on climate change, saying failure to do so presents an undeniable risk to humanity.
The pope’s 180-page encyclical on the environment is not only a moral call for action on phasing out the use of fossil fuels, as was expected. It is also a document infused with an activist anger and concern for the poor, casting blame on the indifference of the powerful.
“The foreign debt of poor countries has become a way of controlling them, yet this is not the case where ecological debt is concerned,” Francis wrote. “In different ways, developing countries, where the most important reserves of the biosphere are found, continue to fuel the development of richer countries at the cost of their own present and future.
“The developed countries ought to help pay this debt by significantly limiting their consumption of non-renewable energy and by assisting poorer countries to support policies and programmes of sustainable development.”
In a press conference on Thursday in Vatican City to mark the release of Francis’s encyclical, Cardinal Peter Turkson, who wrote a draft and is the pope’s point-man on social justice issues, said it was imperative for “practical proposals not to be developed in an ideological, superficial or reductionist way”.
“For this, dialogue is essential,” he said.
The encyclical – a statement of papal teaching – describes an “ecological crisis” and includes a section devoted to the latest scientific findings. It argues that climate change is not just a “global problem with serious implications”, but has an impact felt disproportionately by the world’s poorest people.
Francis writes: “Those who possess more resources and economic or political power seem mostly to be concerned with masking the problems or concealing their symptoms”. The failure to respond, he says, points to the loss of a “sense of responsibility for our fellow men and women upon which all civil society is founded”.
He calls access to safe water a “basic and universal human right” and says depriving the poor of access to water is akin to denying the right to a life.
The Argentinean pontiff heaps praise on efforts made by scientists to find solutions to man-made problems, and lashes out at those who intervene in the service of “finance and consumerism”.