At the 20th World Congress of the International Association of Penal Law, Pope Francis suggested adding “ecological sin against the common home” to the catechism.
During his speech, he called environmental destruction “a sin against future generations” and said that it’s “manifested in the acts and habits of pollution and destruction of the harmony of the environment.”
The pope has spoken out about climate change previously. In 2015, he published an encyclical on the topic that drew both praise and criticism.
Overall, surveys on the encyclical found that conservative Catholics were less concerned about climate change after reading the pope’s words, rather than more concerned, according to Grist. The public’s response to the pope’s stance on climate change has drawn concern that his environmental activism may not ultimately be successful.
However, Emma Frances, an assistant professor of communication studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas told Grist that having the pope officially make environmental destruction a sin could help sway Catholics who are unsure of whether they should seriously weigh environmental issues.
“The idea of casting environmental damage as an ecological sin really amplifies how important the pope and Catholics think environmental damage is,” she said.
The full article from Grist is available here.