On July 1, Catholic youth hosted a rally outside of St. Basil Catholic Church in Los Angeles to motivate the faithful into seeking solutions and demanding action in the battle to end man-made climate change, Yes magazine reports.
“It did not stir the emotions as it does now,” says Allis Druffel, a speaker at the rally, commenting on how Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ made Catholics take notice of environmental issues.
“It is the hope of my colleagues and myself that Los Angeles Catholic churches and households will become real leaders in what Pope Francis is calling for in Laudato Si’ — to tackle the injustices of poverty, poor health and poor economic situations while caring for all of creation, both of which go hand in hand,” Druffel says.
A recent Pew survey found that 71 percent of U.S. Catholics believe in global warming but only 47 percent believe human activity is causing the change.
The pope’s encyclical acknowledges that there are other factors that contribute to global warming, but says, “a number of scientific studies indicate that most global warming in recent decades is due to the great concentration of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen oxides and others) released mainly as a result of human activity.”
Patrick Carolan, co-founder of the Global Catholic Climate Movement, knows that predetermined ideas about climate change are preventing a lot of Catholics from embracing the pope’s teaching. Carolan’s international coalition seeks to end climate change by raising awareness within the Church and advocating with others, particularly the poor who suffer the effects of climate change.
“I hope and pray that Catholics will take a look at the encyclical and read it with an open mind and put aside any biases,” he says.