MIAMI (CBSMiami) - Pope Francis has entered the climate change debate with his latest manifesto.
In a sweeping and sharply worded encyclical, one of the Catholic Church's most authoritative teaching documents, Pope Francis called for a revolution to combat climate change. He points to scientific studies that show humans "throw away culture" is mainly responsible for environmental destruction. An issue, he says, harms the poor the most.
Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski is part of the council that is tasked with helping to roll out the pope's message.
"Prudence would tell us to take action, to mitigate human effects on climate change and to also assure that those who are most vulnerable are protected from the damage that climate change might visit upon them," said Wenski.
Bishop Peter Baldacchino said the message goes beyond faith, it's "Not only for Catholics but for the whole human race."
Pope Francis wrote only swift and unified global action in politics, economics and individual lifestyles could put a stop to the destruction of the environment. He called for a cultural revolution to correct what he called a "structurally perverse" economic system where the rich exploited the poor. In doing so, they were turning the Earth into an "immense pile of filth."
"God gave us the Earth, he gave it to us as stewards and we have to be good stewards so we can hand it down to future generations," said Wenski.
Some bishops and public figures are skeptical about getting the church mixed up in such a controversial issue.
Presidential candidate and former Florida governor Jeb Bush said political issues have no place in faith.
" I think religion ought to be about making us better as people and less about the things that end up getting into the political realm," said Bush.
Wenski and other South Florida church leaders say they hope the pope's message will transcend any divide.
"He may not be a scientist, but he has an obligation to deal with and work with scientists and economists and politicians. He's not making a political statement," said Father Juan Sosa. "He's talking about a moral statement that affect the lives of other people."
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