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Baltimore Archbishop Reacts to Pope's Encyclical on Environment

Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori applauded the Vatican’s warning about climate change and its impact, especially on the poor. In an encyclical on the environment, Pope Francis charged that those who have ridiculed concern for the environment are putting vulnerable populations at risk.

Thursday’s release of the encyclical, “Laudato Si’: On Care for our Common Home,” comes at a time during which climate is a divisive topic on the presidential campaign trail, and some questioning the role of the pope. Quoting a bible verse, Francis rejected that man had dominion over the earth, and linked those who stand in the way of addressing global warming to those who stand in the way of eliminating global poverty. He also blamed overconsumption, consumerism, dependence on fossil fuels, and the indifference of the powerful and wealthy. Francis added that if more is not done about the effects of increased methane and carbon dioxide on the oceans and the global food supply, the developing world and the poorest of the poor will be the hardest hit.  

In a statement, Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori applauded the pope for calling attention to the need for responsible environmental stewardship.

“His message is simple and echoes that of the Book of Genesis: ‘God gave us this world, and He asks us to take care of it.’,” Lori said. “Whether one agrees or not with the scientific consensus on the link between human activity and recent climate change, the Holy Father rightly makes the moral case that the need remains for us to act to protect our environment.”

World leaders are hailing the 192-page paper as historic, and say it should resonate in major global conferences. The pope is calling for a binding international treaty that would have rich countries help poorer ones adapt from fossil fuels to clean energy.

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