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Pope Francis' Encyclical On The Environment Gets Early Praise From Bay Area Catholics

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) – Pope Francis on Thursday issued a strong warning on climate change in his latest document, urging the world to deal with the problem now. The document, called an encyclical, has received early praise among Catholics in the Bay Area.

"Catholic teaching, now includes teaching about the environment," said the Rev. Michael C. McCarthy, a Jesuit priest at Santa Clara University.

McCarthy said past popes have spoken on the environment, but none like Francis, who has sent out a global call to action to save the planet. "No pope has ever talked about the reality of climate change and how that has a direct effect on the poor with the clarity that Pope Francis has," he said.

In a nearly 200 page document titled "Laudato Si" or "Praised Be," Francis squarely backed scientists who say global warming is mostly manmade.

The Pontiff tweeted out that "the earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth."

Francis also blamed an economic system where the rich exploit the poor, and put profits ahead of the common good.

The pope also called for a change in our "throwaway" consumer lifestyle.

The pope's bold stance won praise among Catholics attending Mass in San Jose on Thursday.

"I completely agree with him.  It's been a long standing problem and someone needs to emphasize how much wrong we're doing," said Sergio Nunez, a Catholic.

Glenn Frizzell, also a Catholic, said, "I'm a little surprised that he's outside of the religious realm but it's something that needs to be said."

McCarthy said the pope is not just speaking to only Catholics or Christians; he's trying to influence the whole world.

"I presume that this will have an immense effect because there are very few people who have the kind of moral authority at a universal level as the Pope does," he said.

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