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Catholics and Climate Change

Pope Francis' recent views on climate change are sparking debates within the Catholic community. Joining us are Mark Potosnak, a member of the Catholic Climate Covenant and assistant professor of environmental science at DePaul University, and Mary Anne Hackett, president and CEO of Catholic Citizens of Illinois.

What is an encyclical?

When Pope Francis released the encyclical on climate change, it sparked debate from multiple sides. However, many people may not know what an encyclical is or its purpose. According to the Resource Catholic Climate Covenant, an encyclical is “an exceptionally high-level teaching document issued by a pope.” Encyclical letters have been addressed to Catholics or in recent decades, to “all people of goodwill.” Pope Francis said, “This encyclical is aimed at everyone. Let us pray that everyone can receive its message and grow in responsibility toward the common good that God has entrusted to us.”

Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich spoke about the pope’s encyclical on Thursday after its release. Watch his statement in this web extra video.