Excitement has been building for months about the release of an encyclical on climate change by Pope Francis.

A Papal Encyclical is a formal teaching document that outlines the official position of the Catholic Church on important issues. Most popes release at least one encyclical during their tenure. But public awareness of past releases was usually pretty limited.

PEPPARD: “In prior generations, people in the pews might have heard that the pope was making comments on some kind of issue. Their pastors, priests, etc. might have talked about it from the pulpit on Sunday. Newspapers might have covered it in a very superficial and distant sort of way. Social media has changed all that.”

That’s Christiana Peppard of Fordham University. She thinks the combination of the topic, Pope Francis’ enormous popularity, and modern communications have the potential to greatly amplify the impact of this encyclical.

PEPPARD: “One really interesting wild card aspect here is that of social media. And frankly, Francis is the most retweeted person in the world.”

Using 21st century tools, Pope Francis is helping guide humanity’s response to climate change.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.
Home Page Photo: Copyright protected.

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Bud Ward

Bud Ward is Editor of Yale Climate Connections. He started his environmental journalism career in 1974. He later served as Assistant Director of the U.S. Congress's National Commission on Air Quality,...