I published an article at Examiner.com. It is reprinted below.
His Holiness Pope Francis released his much-anticipated paper on the global crisis. Focusing on the human responsibility for climate change, he passionately advocates that humanity do what it takes to make a "civilization of love." A Vatican encyclical on this topic is a first.
Some Initial Commentary About the Pope's Letter
A leading expert on the Vatican, John L. Allen, Jr., described it this way, "Laudato Si' seems destined to go down as a major turning point, the moment when environmentalism claimed pride of place on a par with the dignity of human life and economic justice as a cornerstone of Catholic social teaching. It also immediately makes the Catholic Church arguably the leading moral voice in the press to combat global warming and the consequences of climate change."
Former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, released a statement about the letter. In it he said:
"As Pope Francis reaffirms, climate change is an all-encompassing threat: it is a threat to our security, our health, and our sources of fresh water and food. Such conditions could displace tens of millions of people, dwarfing current migration and fuelling further conflicts. I applaud the Pope for his strong moral and ethical leadership. We need more of such inspired leadership."
There is a Wikipedia article summarizing the letter here.
Here is a quotation from Section 82, page 60 of the Pope's letter:
"When nature is viewed solely as a source of profit and gain, this has serious consequences for society. This vision of “might is right” has engendered immense inequality, injustice and acts of violence against the majority of humanity, since resources end up in the hands of the first comer or the most powerful: the winner takes all. Completely at odds with this model are the ideals of harmony, justice, fraternity and peace as proposed by Jesus."
The official link to the 184 page PDF is here. Note that the table of contents is at the end. (He's THE POPE. He can put the table of contents wherever he wants.) You can also download the PDF here:
My Own Writing On the Global Crisis
In my own writing, I've put a summary of the global crisis and its major factors here. This includes an interview I did with Dennis Meadows, author of Limits to Growth, a book which was largely correct in its predictions, so far. Also, I've written a summary and review of four key papers about the global crisis, here; a sermon here; and reference to the political changes we need to make in the United States here, here and here. I've also done a series of reviews of allegorical movies which are pointing the way towards political revolution help to solve the global crisis:
A Prayer by Pope Frances for Our Earth
On page 178-179, Pope Francis offers one of two prayers for the Earth:
A Prayer for Our Earth
you are present in the whole universe
and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love,
that we may protect life and beauty.
Fill us with peace, that we may live
as brothers and sisters, harming no one.
O God of the poor,
help us to rescue the abandoned
and forgotten of this earth,
so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives,
that we may protect the world and not prey on it,
that we may sow beauty,
not pollution and destruction.
Touch the hearts
of those who look only for gain
at the expense of the poor and the Earth.
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,
to be filled with awe and contemplation,
to recognize that we are profoundly united
with every creature
as we journey towards your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day.
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle
for justice, love and peace.
by Pope Francis
The global crisis goes forward exponentially like a snowball gathering momentum towards an apparent inevitable crash—what scientists such as Dennis Meadows call "overshoot and collapse" on a global scale. If there is a solution, it is to be found in another snowball with exponential growth—that of human creativity, human passion, and human cultural evolution. Such human forces of progress may force the dominant, most powerful institutions of our era to respond to the challenge of the global crisis. Let's work for that!