Pope Francis denounced xenophobia and "aggressive nationalism" in his new encyclical, “Fratelli Tutti.”
The Encyclical remains a text that inspires and provokes, simultaneously forcing us to question our behavior- our excessive consumerism powered by polluting energy sources that contribute to climate change - and empowering us to swap our habits for new, more sustainable and more fulfilling ways of living.
There could be no more urgent political or policy agenda. There are two global crises that are increasing exponentially in scale this year, trapped in a vicious reinforcing cycle, one making the other worse.
Today it is the Pope himself being challenged as a heretic of sorts. He is a heretic to those who subscribe to the conventional, reductionist belief system that sees science as separate from spirituality, and religion as separate from politics and economics.
I happily join the 840,000 of my Catholic sisters and brothers in exhorting the COP21 negotiators to develop the international frameworks needed for a climate of justice.
Pope Francis, addressing climate change before a Congress dominated by Republicans -- more than half of whom deny its reality -- and Democrats who despair of doing anything about it, was a prophet of hope rather than doom. If Francis can make a difference here, he may yet go down in history as the pope who saved the world.
"The United States -- and this Congress -- have an important role to play."
Modern science understands that everything is connected to everything. So too do all major religions, and virtually all wisdom traditions understand this core principle, often summarized by the concept of "oneness."
When Francis speaks to Congress and the United Nations this week, as he did in Havana recently, this call for all of us to be responsible will no doubt be a part of his message to this country. And the timing is perfect.
The world's great religions insist that our secular leaders must either adapt to the new reality or be replaced. In the Pope's words, "What would induce anyone, at this stage, to hold on to power only to be remembered for their inability to take action when it was urgent and necessary to do so?"