Pope Francis Expected to Speak About the Environment in Address to Congress

FILE - Pope Francis arrives for his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, Aug. 26, 2015. (PHOTO CREDIT: AP)
FILE – Pope Francis arrives for his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square, Aug. 26, 2015. (PHOTO CREDIT: AP)

When he addresses a joint session of the U.S. Congress next week, Pope Francis is expected to speak about the environment, and the need to combat climate change.

The Pope recently released an encyclical – or papal letter – on the environment. In the encyclical, entitled On Care for Our Common Home, he writes the Earth “cries out” because of the “harm inflicted on her by irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her.”

What’s more, he says, is that people have come to see themselves as “lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will.”

Jerry Kotas will assist Pope Francis when he leads Mass in Washington September 23rd at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. He’s an official with Interfaith Power and Light, a non-profit organization concerned about climate change, and a former scientist who worked for the Environmental Protection Agency.

He says the pope brings a “fresh, new energy” to environmental issues, including climate change.

“He calls things as they are and he says these issues of climate change and our call to care for our common home are moral issues,” says Kotas. “He said technology is part of the answer, but we ourselves must change. We must transform our hearts. We must change and alter our lifestyles.”

Pope Francis’ encyclical has been praised by many environmentalists, but criticized by those who say the pope should concentrate on religious matters.

Kotas says the Pope believes the United States, as a major producer and consumer of natural resources, must set an example as a protector of the environment.

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SOURCE: VOA News, Joe DeCapua

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