Francis, a boxer in his youth, pulls no punches: "Doomsday predictions can no longer be met with irony or disdain. We may well be leaving to coming generations debris, desolation and filth."
By taking a strong stance on climate change, Pope Francis shows not only his concern for all of creation, but his particular concern for the poor. Investing in soil health especially in dry parts of the world will help to meet the food and water needs of millions.
The most important thing "Laudato Si'" has done is turn the scientific, opaque and frightening climate change issue into something three dimensional and human. The simplicity of the language appeals directly to the moral center of a loving, complicated, chaotic yet broken humanity.
Today, Pope Francis officially released his encyclical, "Laudato Si ("Be Praised"), On the Care of Our Common Home," calling on "every person living on this planet" to urgently address climate change, reduce the use of fossil fuels, and transition to clean energy.
Political history is filled with people who were oppressed or vilified or murdered, ending up decades later on a postage stamp or a billboard. But throughout the weekend we hear, time and again, how the spirit of Romero lives on in each one of us.
Through the encyclical on the environment, Pope Francis is reminding the world truths which are self-evident -- that the world we share isn't ruled or owned by anyone and that our time on this planet is limited.
There is one very practical measure, immediately realizable and eminently feasible that is, as it were, staring the pope right in the face: The pope should not only end the Catholic Church's morally absurd and repugnant opposition to contraception, but should urge all families to engage in responsible family planning.
Our craving for dramatic arcs clouds the real, more complex, and more fascinating story leading up to this encyclical. The Catholic Church, which has been friendly to science since at least the 19th century, has developed a set of social teachings more aligned with social democracy.
Can Pope Francis and thousands of Catholic--and other--personnel recover, emerge, and get back to their vital work, regaining trust?
It is a line repeated with tiresome regularity in right-wing circles: Pope Francis has no business proposing solutions to the crisis of global climate change. He is not a scientist, they say. He should stick to morals and to matters of faith and doctrine.
The emphasis on pain capability is beneath the complexity of traditional moral theology, and specious for everyone else who isn't a strict utilitarian.
Efforts like those of EcoPeace come at a critical moment in human history. Environmental degradation and climate change have become the focus of concern for people of all faiths worldwide.
Ironically, Sister Pat taught me to have faith. Not in God, but in people. Because there are people out there who are just amazing through and through. Who do good everyday for all the right reasons. And for me, that's even more impressive than an all-powerful being.
There's a new term being bandied about, and it's high time we paid heed: integral ecology. Whenever the same notion arises synchronously in a number of different contexts -- in this case the Catholic Church, the Occupy movement, the climate movement, and the new-economy movement -- it's an idea whose time has arrived.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, a moderate on most issues, has described the Irish vote as a "reality check." It is certainly that.
Like so many, I am mourning the loss of actress, comedian and writer, Anne Meara. Partnered in every sense of the word with Jerry Stiller, her husband of 61 years, she brought smiles to all of us, but there was so much more to her career than many of us appreciated.