Papal Encyclical on the environment?

It’s being reported that Pope Francis will soon issue a Papal Encyclical on the environment.

My question has to do with how this might fit in with Catholic teaching that the Pope is only infallible regarding issues of Faith and Morals. I’m sure most are aware that “Global Warming” is seen by many as a politically divisive issue, and that the dire warnings issued by Al Gore and those of his ilk have not happened. (See as an example.) So, does the use of a Papal Encyclical mean the the RCC considers Global Warming a faith and morals issue, and therefore the Pope is infallible on this topic? Or does a Papal Encyclical just put out the best thinking of the RCC at the time that is not binding on Catholics? Thanks in advance.

I’m no expert on such things, but it seems that when the Holy Father puts forth a teaching document, it would be spiritually prudent to prayerfully consider what he says, regardless of the often misunderstood “infallibility” issue. How we treat the world God has given us is indeed a matter of faith and morals.

It will be interesting to compare what Pope Francis has to say on environmental issues with those of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I.

In regard to your question, encyclicals are not infallible per se, but they are part of church teaching and the faithful should respect the teaching even though it’s not strictly dogmatic.

On a side note, We are called to be good stewards of the earth, regardless of the cause of global warming, most concepts of environmental protection due to global warming reflect good stewardship principals.

Remember also that the Christian Faith is not subject to political parties…there are far too many times in America where republican politics is treated as synonymous with Christian living.

Global warming resides in the domain of science which is outside the purview strictly speaking of the Church.

Moral matters, of course, like our obligation concerning tending to the Earth and not damaging it does lie within morally binding parameters that the Church has established.

But don’t forget how the Church reacted to Galileo, but that was likely bad behavior and lack of good judgment on both sides.

I wish good Pope Francis would hurry up and release the darn encyclical, so we could stop worrying and speculating about what it might say, and get on with implementing what it does say!

My feeling is that, like a lot of encyclicals, there will be a lot of talk and criticism over it, and not much action (I’m feeling jaded this morning, I guess).

He will probabaly be consistent with all that has already been taught as compiled in chapter ten of the Compendium if the Social Doctrine of the Church

  1. The Magisterium underscores human responsibility for the preservation of a sound and healthy environment for all TEN

Troubling and political -

We don’t need another Al Gore with misinformation and a fallacy for a agenda . We need solid teaching of Catholicism

The global warming crusade goes well beyond protecting the planet . It’s about money transfer and so many things that do nothing to help the environment but do grow a heavy political hand of government

The Pope alone, or when he speaks with the Bishops, is infallible only on faith and morals, and even then only in certain circumstances ( as explicity expressed in ’ tone ’ of document ). Obviously mankind has an obligation to ’ care ’ for the natural gifts of nature God has given us. This is a moral imperative, a moral issue. But the specifics of how this is to be done have not been given in Revelation, so these discussions usually boil down to " prudential judgments " on the part of everyone - including the Pope.

It is unlikely that the document will present a morally obligatory schema of actions which need to be taken. or must be taken. And when it comes to the hot button issue of man made global warming or whether man can or should attempt to do something about it, this would definitely fall into the category of " prudential judgment, " and could not be viewed as " infallible teaching. " Prudential judgments, even by the Pope really have no obligatory force.


Anybody else miss our German Shepherd right about now?

At least it wasn’t an encyclical on the greatest moral evil of our time; youth unemployment.

I have always liked our German Shepherd, and yes I do miss him.

I myself am perfectly ok with our present Holy Father.

And we will get it.

Not really.

God placed the current Pope there for a reason that’s much larger than my personal feelings and opinions.

I find comments like this equate the pope to the president of a nation or some other politician instead of the Vicar of Christ, the holder of the keys, appointed by the Holy Spirit.

Such comments reveal a lack of belief in the church’s divine mandate.

To the contrary, Jon, I’m counting on it. :thumbsup:

Good to hear, I’m sure you are, I just think we should be emphasizing this point rather than wishing for a past figure.


I had heard this Letter was going to have strong emphasis on Human Ecology. Continuing and developing the theme from past pontiffs.

I’m cautiously optimistic - Pope Francis concern for humanity seems to be born out of true Christian love for us sheep.

So many of us ‘conservatives’ have seen ‘social justice’ issues used in furtherance of stateist agendas so it can be hard to not reflexively assume that this is occurring. Frankly (pun intended) - our leftest friends have more to worry about: In that the Pope will probably call all of to repent and not just assume that one group of people is in need of re-education, derision, and confiscation.

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