Catholics largely unaware of Pope Francis’ call for climate action


A recent survey found that a majority of American Catholics remain unaware that Pope Francis has called for immediate action to address the environmental and cultural problems caused by unfettered transnational corporate capitalism — not the least of which is cataclysmic changes to the environment increasingly gathered under the banner of climate change.

The survey, conducted in mid-July, did show that the percentage of Catholic adults (43 percent) aware of the encyclical was slightly larger than that of non-Catholic adults (39 percent).

The Romero Institute has been uncomfortable about the degree to which mainstream media in the United States have narrowly defined the Pope’s landmark encyclical, Laudato Sii, as solely about climate change; however, it seems the Church has not been particularly avid in spreading even that narrow message.

According to the poll, less than half of the Catholic poll respondents knew that Laudato Sii existed. Of the 40 percent of American Catholics who said they had heard of the encyclical, a meager 23 percent of them heard of it during Mass.

The Romero Institute has long known that Laudato Sii, which we consider one of the most important writings of our time, was the initial salvo in a long campaign aimed at changing the human family’s approach to its care for the environment and each other. We join Pope Francis in asserting that the excesses of unfettered free market capitalism are a corrosive force on society, but we know more needs to be done to get the message out.

Part of our mission is too help Catholics organize around Pope Francis’ exhortation around the ‘Common Care for our Home.’ In the meantime, we implore the readers of this blog to read Laudato Sii in order to receive a full picture of the multi-faceted moral argument the Pope is making regarding our obligation to the environment and each other and the factors he believes is preventing the human family from fulfilling that obligation.

Please help our cause by donating here. The Romero Institute has also launched a campaign to request the Pope revoke the Doctrine of Discovery, a series of 15th century Papal Bulls that have provided the legal and moral rationale for the wholesale siezure of indigenous lands and the ensuing destruction of their culture.

Please sign the petition here. Together we are making a difference.

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