Pope Francis Urges Climate-Change Action in Encyclical

The climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all.

TIME

Pope Francis rocked the international community Thursday with the long-anticipated release of his climate encyclical, an authoritative church teaching poised to reshape the international conversation on climate change.

The letter—named Laudato Si’ or “Praise Be to You,” quoting a song to nature that Saint Francis wrote 800 years ago—is a powerful, prophetic, and personal plea for governments, religions, businesses and individuals to work together to address climate change, much of which Francis says is caused by humans.

Technically this is Pope Francis’ second encyclical—he completed Pope Benedict XVI’s Lumen Fidei, “The Light of Faith,” in June 2013 not long after he was elected. But it is the first one that is solely his, and its significance as a window into Francis’ thoughts and where he hopes to take the Catholic Church cannot be overstated.

Of all of Francis’ careful moves, this one is particularly calculated. It is difficult to…

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