Pope Francis’ call to action on the climate crisis

In May of 2015, Pope Francis released his encyclical Laudato Si’, the Italian title taken St. Francis of Assisi’s beautiful “Canticle of the Creatures”: “Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with colored flowers and herbs.”

Prejudging a papal encyclical

Not long after St. John XXIII’s social encyclical Mater et Magistra made its appearance in 1961, a wisecrack began making the rounds among Catholics who’d taken umbrage: “Mater, si; magistra, no” — mother, yes; teacher, no. In other words, the church has a maternal relationship with her members but is not their teacher on matters of an economic, political and social nature.

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