In the U.S., Climate Politics Trump the Pope's Message

The encyclical "Laudato si: On the Care of Our Common Home" might have scored public relations points among environmentalists last year, but according to a new study, it didn't score any points with Catholics or the broader U.S. population.

1 minute read

October 27, 2016, 9:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Pope Francis

Ivan Cholakov / Shutterstock

Sam Wood writes: "Pope Francis’s call last year for 'swift and unified global action' to reverse climate change fell largely on deaf ears and closed minds, according to a study published Monday, and may indicate that in the U.S. politics holds stronger sway on this topic than religious authority."

The study, published by researchers at the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, "speaks to the relative power of politics and religion in shaping climate change opinions," according to the conclusion presented in the paper. The researchers even went so far as to argue that the move "backfired" by "devaluing the Pope's credibility on climate change" among Catholics.

Pope Francis released the encyclical "Laudato si: On the Care of Our Common Home" to immediate praise among environmentalists and planners in June 2015. It's worth noting that among the outpouring of media attention granted to Pope Francis's encyclical, Ben Adler predicted that the message would likely fall on deaf ears in the United States and around the world. 

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