An early version of the much anticipated papal encyclical on the place of humanity in the environment was leaked by the Italian newspaper l’Espresso. The version now on the internet is in Italian; no official translation into other languages has yet been made available. Rev. Federico Lombardi, the official papal spokesman said on June 15, "You are invited to respect the journalistic honesty that requests you wait for the official publication of the final text."
 
The official publication of the document, which in Latin is known as Laudato Si -- On the care of the common home -- is expected at 12 noon on June 18. 
 
Speaking to the faithful assembled in St Peter’s Square on June 14, Pope Francis said that his document on caring for God’s creation is not just for some, but for all of humanity. He added that it should serve to awaken people to the destruction and recovery of the environment.  “This encyclical is addressed to all,” he said, and invited the world to participate in its publication “with a renewed attention to environmental degradation, but also to recovery” of one’s own land. “Let us pray so that everyone may receive (the encyclical’s) message and grow in responsibility toward the common home God has entrusted to us.”
 
In speaking to the crowds in the square, the Pope spoke of the Gospel readings of the day which focus on two parables that use the image of planting seeds. Pope Francis noted that in the parable of the mustard seed in the Gospel of Mark, he noted how despite being the smallest of seeds, once it is planted it becomes the “largest of all plants.” The pontiff added that the kingdom of God is like the mustard seed since it is often viewed as “a humanly small and apparently irrelevant reality.” 
 
“To enter and become a member one needs to be poor in heart; not trusting in their own abilities, but in the power of the love of God; not acting to be important in the eyes of the world, but precious in the eyes of God, who prefers the simple and the humble,” the Pope explained. By living according to God’s word, then God’s power “bursts through us and transforms what is small and modest into a reality that leavens the whole mass of the world and of history,” he continued.
 
Advocates of the theory of anthropocentric global climate change have heralded the forthcoming document as a groundbreaking justification on the basis of religion for their position. Catholic critics of the Pope, including Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, have called on the Pope to remain aloof from scientific debates.
 


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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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