U.S. President Barack Obama, left, and Jeb Bush, who is vying to be his successor, are among those who have commented on the Pope’s encyclical.

Reaction from around the world

By 
  • June 28, 2015

There are as many opinions on Pope Francis’ encyclical as there are people. Here are a few — both pro and con — from political leaders and media personalities around the world.

U.S. President Barack Obama

I welcome His Holiness Pope Francis’ encyclical, and deeply admire the Pope’s decision to make the case — clearly, powerfully and with the full moral authority of his position — for action on global climate change...

I look forward to discussing these issues with Pope Francis when he visits the White House in September. And as we prepare for global climate negotiations in Paris this December, it is my hope that all world leaders — and all God’s children — will reflect on Pope Francis’ call to come together to care for our common home.

NY Times

A Pope in Rome worries about how we can shepherd the planet safely into the future. If only (Sen. Mitch McConnell) from Kentucky and others in Congress could join him in thinking bigger.

The Guardian UK

Pope Francis’ encyclical on climate change, Laudato Si’, is the most astonishing and perhaps the most ambitious papal document of the past 100 years, since it is addressed not just to Catholics, or Christians, but to everyone on Earth. It sets out a program for change that is rooted in human needs but it makes the radical claim that these needs are not primarily greedy and selfish ones...

The Pope is scathing, and rightly so, about the lack of action that has followed high-minded declarations in the past. Why should this time be different? The answer, not entirely reassuring, is that we cannot go on as we are. Self-interest alone will not avert the catastrophe. Without a moral and imaginative structure that links our wellbeing to that of others, so that their suffering feels as urgent as ours, or is at least measured on the same scales, we will render our planet uninhabitable. The Pope is trying to change our understanding of human nature. Many people will disagree with his understanding. But he is right that no smaller change will do.

Caroline Wyatt, BBC religious affairs correspondent

Unusually for papal teaching, this encyclical is not just addressed to Roman Catholics but to everyone on Earth: calling on all humans to help save the planet that the Pope says we are in danger of destroying.

Pope Francis wants to influence the debate on the environment ahead of a UN summit on climate change later this year — more evidence of a pontiff determined to act as a catalyst for change, and a powerful diplomatic player on the world stage.

Bernd Nilles, Secretary General, CIDSE

The coming months will be critical for decisions about development and care for the planet. We hope that politicians and decision makers will take the strong messages of the encyclical on board and that the outcomes of these international meetings will put the common interest first and be able to make the difference.

New York Newsday

Weaving theology and ethics with scientific evidence to make the case that protecting the environment and vulnerable populations is a moral imperative, Pope Francis has crafted a message the world should hear.

Chicago Tribune

Some sermons make you think or feel, some leave you itching to take action. And some sermons cause slight bruising because you’ve been called out for not doing enough of the aforementioned.

We suspect Pope Francis won’t mind if you feel chagrined after taking in his extraordinary manifesto on protecting the Earth.

Irish Times

The Pope is brutally frank on where obligations rest; almost totally among wealthier countries — and within them, with the powerful multinational corporations. Again here, the message goes beyond individual responsibility for ensuring we make meaningful efforts to secure a better global environment. The call to action applies to humankind.

Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the UN Environment Program

The UN Environment Program welcomes Pope Francis’ unambiguous call to action in the face of global environmental degradation and climate change. This encyclical is a clarion call that resonates not only with Catholics, but with all of the Earth’s peoples. Science and religion are aligned on this matter: The time to act is now.

U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum

The Church has gotten it wrong a few times on science, and I think that we probably are better off leaving science to the scientists and focusing on what we do — what we’re really good at, which is — which is theology and morality... When we get involved with political and controversial scientific theories, I think the Church is probably not as forceful and credible.

Jeb Bush, U.S. presidential hopeful

I don’t get economic policy from my bishops or my cardinal or my Pope.

Peter Foster, Financial Post

Apart from a general condemnation of free markets, property rights and fossil-fuelled growth, Francis suggests that unreliable and expensive renewable energy be forced on the wretched of the Earth, albeit with the guilty rich footing the bill. Does he want to keep the poor “always with us” because they are his main constituency? He seems far more concerned with afflicting the comfortable than comforting the afflicted.

Ultimately, it seems, Francis doesn’t want to save the poor from bad weather; he wants to save them from Walmart.

Rush Limbaugh, American conservative commentator

(Pope Francis wants) everybody ... living equally in misery.

Greg Gutfleld, Fox News

(Pope Francis) wants to be a modern Pope. All he needs is dreadlocks and a dog with a bandana and he could be on Occupy Wall Street.

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