Pope's Encyclical Largely Ignored at Sunday Mass

Without guides, few priests take up environmental cause
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 22, 2015 10:27 AM CDT
Pope's Encyclical Largely Ignored at Sunday Mass
Pope Francis salutes upon arrival at the hospital Cottolengo of Turin, northern Italy, Sunday, June 21, 2015.   (L' Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP)

Many Catholics are applauding Pope Francis' environmental encyclical addressing climate change and global inequality, which made a splash around the world last week. But on the first Sunday since "Praise Be to You" was published, few priests or bishops spoke of its lessons from the pulpit, reports the New York Times in a conclusion it reached after visiting parishes and speaking to both Mass attendants and Catholic leaders. There were certainly exceptions: A priest in Peru drew praise for discussing vanishing glaciers and polluted environments, for instance. But Times reporters found parishes across India, Italy, Argentina, Chile, and the US appeared not to mention the pope's message—perhaps not altogether unsurprisingly.

The Times reports it can take months for encyclicals to be read, broken down, and dispersed, and any influence taken from Francis' encyclical at Mass was likely the work of priests' own, quick research. (That Peruvian priest said he downloaded the encyclical on Thursday but relied on summaries of its stand-out points.) More will likely take up the cause as priests receive guides on how best to teach the encyclical, which is almost 200 pages long; at least one such guide is already available. A priest in Phoenix, who referenced the encyclical generally yesterday, tells the Arizona Republic that his church "will be responding to the document by taking action after we have studied it." (Read what Pope Francis thinks of weapons makers.)

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