The most anticipated papal letter for decades will be published in five languages on Thursday. It will call for an end to the ‘tyrannical’ exploitation of nature by mankind. Could it lead to a step-change in the battle against global warming?
Pope Francis on a visit to the Philippines in January. Photograph: Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images
Saturday 13 June 2015 07.44 EDT Last modified on Saturday 13 June 2015 19.01 EDT
Pope Francis will call for an ethical and economic revolution to prevent catastrophic climate change and growing inequality in a letter to the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics on Thursday.
In an unprecedented encyclical on the subject of the environment, the pontiff is expected to argue that humanity’s exploitation of the planet’s resources has crossed the Earth’s natural boundaries, and that the world faces ruin without a revolution in hearts and minds. The much-anticipated message, which will be sent to the world’s 5,000 Catholic bishops, will be published online in five languages on Thursday and is expected to be the most radical statement yet from the outspoken pontiff.
However, it is certain to anger sections of Republican opinion in America by endorsing the warnings of climate scientists and admonishing rich elites, say cardinals and scientists who have advised the Vatican.
The Ghanaian cardinal, Peter Turkson, president of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and a close ally of the pope, will launch the encyclical. He has said it will address the root causes of poverty and the threats facing nature, or “creation”.
In a recent speech widely regarded as a curtain-raiser to the encyclical, Turkson said: “Much of the world remains in poverty, despite abundant resources, while a privileged global elite controls the bulk of the world’s wealth and consumes the bulk of its resources.”