Charles Redfern (Hey! I know that guy!) has written a piece for Huffington Post that examines what went on behind the scenes of Pope Francis’ (leaked already) encyclical letter on the environment. For all we may want to applaud the Pope as setting new standards for forward-thinking, Chuck writes:
Our craving for dramatic arcs clouds the real, more complex, and more fascinating story leading up to this encyclical. The Catholic Church, which has been friendly to science since at least the 19th century, has developed a set of social teachings more aligned with social democracy than anything else. Several of its orders have launched climate change initiatives — including the Franciscan Action Network and EcoJesuit — and The Catholic Coalition on Climate Change has been in operation since 2006. Pope Francis now stands at the center of that larger drama and is an excellent actor. I say that as a full complement: Good leaders — such as Saint Francis, Gandhi, King, Mandela, Lincoln, and Churchill — grasp that they’re involved in real-life theater, where gestures participate in the substance.
Here‘s the encyclical letter, itself.