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Pope Francis warns of destruction of Earth’s ecosystem in leaked encyclical?
What does encyclical means? – encyclical. Roman Catholic Church. a letter addressed by the pope to all the bishops of the church. (of a letter) intended for wide or general circulation; general.
Encyclical is (Latin encyclicus) meaning ‘general‘ An encyclical was originally a circular letter sent to all the churches of a particular area in the ancient Roman Church. At that time, the word could be used for a letter sent out by any bishop.
The word comes from Latin encyclicus (from the Greek ἐν κύκλῳ en kykloi) meaning “general” or “encircling”, which is also the origin of the word “encyclopedia“.
It was not exactly the modern-day equivalent of Martin Luther’s 95 theses, but a letter posted on the wall of the Vatican press office excoriating a journalist for publishing a leaked papal letter has created a stir nonetheless.
Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican head of communications, criticised Sandro Magister of L’Espresso magazine for publishing a draft of Pope Francis’s highly anticipated encyclical on the environment.
Lombardi wrote that the story released three days before a planned rollout of the nearly 200-page statement was an “obviously inappropriate initiative” that had been a source of major inconvenience for other journalists and caused serious disruption.
The leak of the draft document on Monday afternoon sent journalists in Rome into a frenzy, disrupting the elaborate plans of many news organisations on how they would cover the papal statement – the first of its kind. Some media outlets hesitated to report details of the draft after an email from Lombardi explicitly stated that doing so would be a breach of professional practices.
One correspondent, the National Catholic Reporter’s Joshua McElwee, aired his frustration and reluctance to publish a story about the leaked draft on Twitter on Monday night. By Tuesday, he was tweeting about how “another screaming match” had broken out within the press corp, where there was intense disagreement over how the leak should have been handled.
While the church has been infused with high drama for 2,000 years, the leak has horrified the Vatican, with one official calling it an act of sabotage against the popular Argentinian pontiff. L’Espresso’s publication has also spurred a flurry of anxious questions as to who leaked it, and why?
The intrigue has been deepened by the fact that Vatican insiders consider the journalist at the heart of the controversy a conservative critic of Pope Francis and his reform agenda.
“He is more of a traditionalist,” one Vatican official said of Magister. “He loved Benedict and is very, very critical of Francis … he has got an agenda.”
“I don’t think this is about the issue of climate change. It is about change in the church – it is about the dynamism, about the way of looking at reality and calling it reality. It is about not having a judging church, which threatens some people.”
Austen Ivereigh, a biographer of the pope, said: “The pope and his close collaborators will be horrified by this leak. It is hard to know what the intention behind it was: to damage Francis, or for money, or both.”
Magister distanced himself from the situation, saying it had little to do with him. “To be honest, it’s not me that got the text, but the editor of L’Espresso, who informed me about it after he decided to put it online,” he said in an email exchange with the Guardian on Monday night.
He said he had merely added a few sentences of introduction to the text, which included his byline. “I have not the faintest idea … why the text was passed on to the editor of L’Espresso. I think it was random. There are dozens of copies of the encyclical that have been floating around over the last few days. This was bound to happen,” he wrote.
John Allen, a close follower of the Vatican and associate editor of the Crux, agreed that leaks of Vatican documents are quite common in the Italian press.
“In some ways, I’m surprised it took this long,” he said in an email. “Some have suspected an effort to sabotage the encyclical, but it’s hard to see how an advance look at what everyone already knew the pontiff was going to say accomplishes that. I’d read it instead as par for the course – whenever there’s a document coming out that’s generating intense interest, somebody’s going to try to get an early peek, attracting a massive online audience in the process.”
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But another media outlet, Italian newspaper La Stampa, seemed to have no doubt that it was an act meant to hurt Francis. It said the leak had served two purposes: to weaken the message of the encyclical, which La Stampa said was “harshly critical” of the environmental policies of some superpowers, and to hurt efforts by the pope to change the church from within.
From the Vatican’s perspective, it was just the last in a long line of embarrassing press leaks. Earlier this year, L’Espresso also published the internal meeting minutes and expenses of Cardinal George Pell, which showed that the Vatican’s economics minister had spent about €500,000 (£360,000) setting up the church’s new economic ministry.
In 2012, Pope Benedict’s butler, Paolo Gabriele, was arrested after Vatican investigators found documents – including some that belonged to the pope – in his flat. Gabriele is believed to have leaked documents to investigative journalists, possibly to undermine efforts by the Vatican to become more financially transparent, though his alleged motives were not clear.
Pope Francis warns of destruction of Earth’s ecosystem in leaked encyclical
Vatican condemns early release of document in which pontiff calls on people to change their lifestyles and energy consumption or face grave consequences.
Pope Francis will this week call for changes in lifestyles and energy consumption to avert the “unprecedented destruction of the ecosystem” before the end of this century, according to a leaked draft of a papal encyclical. In a document released by an Italian magazine on Monday, the pontiff will warn that failure to act would have “grave consequences for all of us”.
Francis also called for a new global political authority tasked with “tackling … the reduction of pollution and the development of poor countries and regions”. His appeal echoed that of his predecessor, pope Benedict XVI, who in a 2009 encyclical proposed a kind of super-UN to deal with the world’s economic problems and injustices.
According to the lengthy draft, which was obtained and published by L’Espresso magazine, the Argentinean pope will align himself with the environmental movement and its objectives. While accepting that there may be some natural causes of global warming, the pope will also state that climate change is mostly a man-made problem.
“Humanity is called to take note of the need for changes in lifestyle and changes in methods of production and consumption to combat this warming, or at least the human causes that produce and accentuate it,” he wrote in the draft. “Numerous scientific studies indicate that the greater part of the global warming in recent decades is due to the great concentration of greenhouse gases … given off above all because of human activity.”
The pope will also single out those obstructing solutions. In an apparent reference to climate-change deniers, the draft states: “The attitudes that stand in the way of a solution, even among believers, range from negation of the problem, to indifference, to convenient resignation or blind faith in technical solutions.”
The leak has frustrated the Vatican’s elaborate rollout of the encyclical – a papal letter to bishops – on Thursday. Its release had been planned to come before the pope’s trip to the US, where he is due to address the United Nations as well as a joint meeting of Congress.
Journalists were told they would be given an early copy on Thursday morning and that it would be released publicly at noon following a press conference. Cardinal Peter Turkson, who wrote an early draft of the encyclical, and Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, a noted climate scientist in Germany, were expected to attend the press conference. On Monday evening, the Vatican asked journalists not to publish details of the draft, emphasising that it was not the final text. A Vatican official said he believed the leak was an act of “sabotage against the pope”.
The draft is not a detailed scientific analysis of the global warming crisis. Instead, it is the pope’s reflection of humanity’s God-given responsibility as custodians of the Earth.
At the start of the draft essay, the pope wrote, the Earth “is protesting for the wrong that we are doing to her, because of the irresponsible use and abuse of the goods that God has placed on her. We have grown up thinking that we were her owners and dominators, authorised to loot her. The violence that exists in the human heart, wounded by sin, is also manifest in the symptoms of illness that we see in the Earth, the water, the air and in living things.”
He immediately makes clear, moreover, that unlike previous encyclicals, this one is directed to everyone, regardless of religion. “Faced with the global deterioration of the environment, I want to address every person who inhabits this planet,” the pope wrote. “In this encyclical, I especially propose to enter into discussion with everyone regarding our common home.”
According to the leaked document, the pope will praise the global ecological movement, which has “already travelled a long, rich road and has given rise to numerous groups of ordinary people that have inspired reflection”.
In a surprisingly specific and unambiguous passage, the draft rejects outright “carbon credits” as a solution to the problem. It says they “could give rise to a new form of speculation and would not help to reduce the overall emission of polluting gases”. On the contrary, the pope wrote, it could help “support the super-consumption of certain countries and sectors”.
The document is not Francis’s first foray into the climate debate. The pontiff, who was elected in 2013, has previously noted his disappointment with the failure to reach a global accord on curbing greenhouse gas emissions, chiding climate negotiators for having a “lack of courage” during the last major talks held in Lima, Peru.
Francis is likely to want to influence Republicans in Washington with his remarks. Most Republicans on Capitol Hill deny climate change is a man-made phenomenon and have staunchly opposed regulatory efforts by the Obama administration.
The encyclical will make for awkward reading among some Catholic Republicans, including John Boehner, the Republican speaker of the House. While many Republicans have praised the pope, it will not be unprecedented for them to make a public break with the pontiff on the issue of global warming.