In anticipation of the new papal encyclical on the environment (reportedly due out this month, and titled Laudato si’ [Praised Be You]), the press is seeking a way to make sense out of information “floating around” concerning the contents of the encyclical. At this point, no one really knows what the encyclical will say, although there are educated guesses. (See Fr. Robert Sirico’s discussion on the encyclical here.)
Peter Smith at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette did a “round-up” of various Vatican watchers, officials and teachers, asking for opinions on this environmental encyclical. Included in this group was Kishore Jayabalan, director of Istituto Acton (Acton’s Rome office.) Jayabalan told Smith that:
… he hopes the pope emphasizes “our freedom and responsibility in caring for God’s creation” and the poor.
But Mr. Jayabalan, a self-described “climate-change skeptic,” said the church has no expertise on that topic. While Catholics are bound to obey papal teaching on theology and morals, he wrote in an online commentary, they are free to disagree on environmental policy.
“I would hate to see the pope’s moral authority squandered on trendy progressive causes, many of which are in fact deeply anti-Christian in their worldview and anthropology,” he said in an email.
Again, the document has yet to be released. Will this document fall in line with papal teaching on the environment from the likes of St. John Paul II and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, or will it depart into a discussion that takes humanity from the center of creation?