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With Pope Francis’ long-awaited encyclical, Catholic Church enters climate change debate




Pope Francis is pictured during his weekly general audience at St Peter's square on June 17, 2015 at the Vatican.
Pope Francis is pictured during his weekly general audience at St Peter's square on June 17, 2015 at the Vatican.
ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images

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Pope Francis is set to unveil his climate change statement Thursday, attributing our warming planet mostly to human activity and the use of fossil fuels.

Francis has been working on the document for nearly a year and the Catholic Church has prepared a careful, month-long rollout of the document. But Rome-based newsmagazine L’Espresso published a 192-page draft of the piece in Italian earlier this week, drawing immediate condemnation from the Catholic Church, which called the leak an “heinous act.”

Francis in September will visit the United States to address both the United Nations and the U.S. Congress. Many conservatives have criticized the pope for weighing in on an issue as controversial as that of climate change and in the form of an encyclical no less -- the most influential document a pope can author.

What are the political and societal implications of the encyclical?

Guests:

Jason Berry, religion writer at GlobalPost. His latest story for the publication looks the leak of Pope Francis’s encyclical on climate change. He is the author of “Render unto Rome: The Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church” (Broadway Books, 2012)

Ben Schreckinger, a reporter at POLITICO. His latest piece looks at the impact of Pope Francis’ climate change statement on the GOP.