The Huffington Post
By Kate Sheppard
September 24, 2015
« The United States — and this Congress — have an important role to play. »
WASHINGTON — In his remarks to Congress Thursday, Pope Francis called on the U.S. to take « courageous actions » to address climate change.
The words echoed his encyclical on the environment, which was released in June.
« In Laudato Si, I call for a courageous and responsible effort to ‘redirect our steps’ and to avert the most serious effects of the environmental deterioration caused by human activity, » Francis said. « I am convinced that we can make a difference and I have no doubt that the United States — and this Congress — have an important role to play. »
« Now is the time for courageous actions and strategies, » he said, calling for a « culture of care » and « an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature. »
He called for an economy that is « modern, inclusive and sustainable, » one that considers the plight of both the poor and the planet. And he pushed for technology to be used to make progress that « is healthier, more human, more social. »
« I am confident that America’s outstanding academic and research institutions can make a vital contribution in the years ahead, » he continued.
Advocates for climate action have been hoping that the pope will be able to shift the conversation on climate change in a Congress where the Republican majority has been hostile to the issue.
But there are signs the pope’s message is already resonating. A group of 11 House members, led by Catholic Rep. Chris Gibson (R-N.Y.), last week introduced a resolution calling on their colleagues to work « constructively » to « create and support economically viable, and broadly supported private and public solutions. »
Anna Aurilio, director of Environment America’s Washington office, said in a statement that the pope’s message « is helping to rally the public in a way that politicians can no longer ignore. »