The Union Community Responds to Pope’s Climate Encyclical

Categories: Press Releases


June 18, 2015

Contact: Joey Longley, 419-953-5495

Leaders at Union Seminary Respond to Pope Francis’ Climate Encyclical

President Serene Jones, Dean Mary Boys, and Karenna Gore Hope Document Spurs Reflection and Change

NEW YORK, NY— Following the release of Pope Francis’ encyclical addressing the devastating environmental, theological, and moral consequences of climate change, Union Theological President Serene Jones offered the following statement:

“The Pope’s Encyclical on Climate Change is a clear call to all people of faith and all people of conscience to care for the Earth and all who inhabit it,” said President Jones. “Francis correctly identifies our ‘throwaway culture’ and the burden of climate change primarily on the poor as the moral underpinnings of serious action on the climate. As we move to divest our endowment from fossil fuels and further green our campus, I join Francis in calling for sweeping systemic changes to save our planet.”

Sister Mary Boys, Dean of Academic Affairs and Skinner and McAlpin Professor of Practical Theology offered this statement:

“Today’s release of the encyclical Laudato Si (Praise Be To You) is a teachable moment for our world. Pope Francis calls our attention to an urgent moral question regarding care for our common home, the Earth. Contrary to what some pundits have said, he is not the first pope to address environmental issues, although today’s encyclical is the most extensive papal treatment of the relationship between environmental ethics, economic matters, and human solidarity. Pope Francis has issued a call to action to all peoples to live in new ways that contribute to the flourishing of creation. We may debate the particulars, but not turn away from the moral issue at hand.”

Karenna Gore, director of the Center for Earth Ethics at Union also released a statement:

“This is a man who has a poetic and beautiful style of communicating, and it’s going to be a pleasure to read,” said Gore. “We’ve all been struggling with the language around this, and he is a master of the language and the moral framework. It’s an exciting moment for people to stop and consider the magnitude of what we are up against. Pope Francis articulates the deep connection between our current development paradigm and the climate crisis. We need to rethink the way we prioritize short-term financial gain for the few over long-term well-being for the whole.”