Pope Francis started his nine-day tour of Latin America, his first as pontiff, on Sunday, arriving in Quito, Ecuador, where he said, "No one, save Jesus Christ, possesses his or her own light." During his trip, Francis is likely to focus on poverty and inequality as well as reiterate his concern for the environment.
"I have come as a witness of God's mercy and of faith in Jesus Christ," Francis said in his prepared remarks at the welcome ceremony Sunday in Quito.
Children in traditional dress greeted the pope at the Mariscal Sucre airport, and shook hands with many of them. more >>
Close to 100 evangelical and Roman Catholic leaders in the U.S. have united in a message calling on Christians to act on their "moral obligation" to fight climate change, which they also called a pro-life issue, following on Pope Francis' environmental encyclical released last week.
"As Catholic and evangelical leaders, we are deeply inspired by Pope Francis' encyclical addressing our shared responsibility to be prudent stewards of creation. Pope Francis has issued a bold call to action, and the clock is ticking on a challenge that requires a collective effort in service of the global common good," the religious leaders said in a full-page advertisement on the back page of Politico.
"As citizens of the most powerful nation in human history, we have a unique responsibility to promote sustainable development, reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and build a thriving culture of life that protects human dignity," they added. more >>
It's courageous, it's prophetic, it's challenging, it's holistic, it's wonderful: That's what I think of Pope Francis' environmental encyclical "Laudato Si', on Care for Our Common Home."
Quoting his patron saint, Francis of Assisi – who is also the patron saint of ecology – Pope Francis begins his papal letter with a beautiful verse from the saint's Canticle of the Creatures: " 'Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with colored flowers and herbs.'
"St. Francis of Assisi reminds us," writes the pope, "that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us. … more >>
Several evangelical groups have praised Pope Francis' major encyclical on the environment released on Thursday, which warns that climate change is real and is impacting all of God's creation, including impoverished people in different corners of the world. Francis said that it's wrong to treat nature and other living creatures as "mere objects" for "human domination."
"We are grateful that the pope has joined with over 300 Evangelicals like Rick Warren, Rich Stearns, and Bill Hybels, and other Christian leaders who understand climate change is the greatest moral challenge of our time and the greatest opportunity for hope. It's time to make hope happen by fueling the unstoppable clean energy transition, stopping the ideological battles, and working together," said in a statement Rev. Mitch Hescox, president & CEO, Evangelical Environmental Network.
"Creating a new energy economy that benefits all and addresses climate change is not about a political party but living as a disciple of Jesus Christ. We urge all people of good will, especially fellow Christian conservatives, to read and study these timely words from Pope Francis." more >>
Scientists are praising Pope Francis' upcoming encyclical on climate change, a major written work calling on Christians to care for the planet and reverse harmful effects, which is set to be released on Thursday.
"The encyclical is going to go out to over 1 billion Catholics — that's a way of getting a message across to a segment of society that the scientific community could never do," said Jeff Kiehl of National Center for Atmospheric Research, according to USA Today. "I mean it's just unbelievable."
NASA climatologist Gavin Schmidt added: more >>
A congregation in Michigan seeking to restore a church sign has rejected a $500 donation from animal rights group PETA amid concerns over the conditions of their offer to help, but only if they can include their own message under Jesus Christ, saying: "Road to hell is paved with bacon."
J. Todd Vanaman, pastor of Dixie Baptist Church of Clarkston, told The Christian Post that the sign, known as the "Hi-Way Pulpit," is "not a billboard advertisement."
"PETA offered $500 for a one week advertisement for their cause, which is not in keeping with our purpose, therefore we respectfully declined," said Vanaman. more >>