Poll: Minority of U.S. Catholics know pope’s climate views

francisA new survey has found fewer than half of U.S. Roman Catholics said they knew of Pope Francis’ bombshell encyclical on curbing climate change — and only a fraction of those heard about it from the pulpit — in the month after he released the document with an unprecedented call for the church to take up his message.

Forty percent of American Catholics and 31 percent of all adults said they were aware of the encyclical, according to the poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and Yale University. Among Catholics who knew about the document, just 23 percent said they heard about it at Mass.

The survey, conducted July 17-19, provides an early measure of the impact of the encyclical in the United States, where Francis is expected to press his teaching on the environment in his first visit to the country next month.

The United States is home to some of the staunchest objectors to mainstream science on climate change and to government intervention aimed at easing global warming, along with a segment of Catholics who think the pope should be talking far more about marriage and abortion than the environment.

In the encyclical Francis called global warming a largely manmade problem driven by overconsumption, a “structurally perverse” world economic system and an unfettered pursuit of profit that exploited the poor and risked turning the Earth into an “immense pile of filth.” He urged people of all faiths and no faith to save God’s creation for future generations.

Environmental advocates hoped the encyclical would transform public discussion of climate change from a scientific to a moral issue. But Catholics in the survey were not significantly more likely than Americans in general to think of global warming in moral terms. Just 43 percent of Catholics and 39 percent of all adults said they considered global warming a moral issue. A very small percentage viewed climate change as having a connection to religion or poverty.

“That’s unfortunate,” said Dan Misleh, executive director of the Catholic Climate Covenant, which works closely with the U.S. bishops on environmental protection and has distributed model sermons and parish bulletin inserts on the encyclical. “There’s a clear human impact. That’s going to be our challenge — to explain that this environmental question is really a human thriving question.”

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Comments (4)

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    His climate views are of no relevance to his religion or the observance and guidance of such.

    His climate views have relevancy possibly only in the area of politics.

    Apparently the DOPE doesn’t realize that he was not elected as a political head of state.

    Even though Vatican City is regarded as a sovereign state, he was supposedly elected with divine inspiration as a leader of the faith and definitely not as a politician.

    It would be nice if he’d get off the stupid politics.

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      This is part of the derangement disorder afflicting the modern left. They cannot separate politics from religion, education, media, or anything else, and politics [b]always[/b] come first.

      It seems only yesterday that the left was apoplectic that conservative politics were being preached from the pulpit. Many conservatives like myself have purposely avoided those churches, not because we disagreed with the messages, but because a sound political principle should stand on its own merits and not be confused with faith.

      Preachers should focus on principles of faith, letting their congregations sort out where the lines of politics cross or blur.

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    john from Michigan


    The Pope is infallible in articles of faith. His infallibility is limited to those articles of faith. When the Pope says something stupid that is political and not an article of faith, his opinion carries no more weight than a homeless man on the streets of New York. On global warming, his opinion is so blatantly wrong, he clearly should be ignored.

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    That stampede is from those who have finally had enough of the gross exaggeration formally known as global warming . The Pope isn’t at fault for being duped. Millions were too .
    Do a few hours of homework and it becomes obvious the science is not settled and never was .

    A political and money making agenda tried and failed to hijack principles of science … but reality won .

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