Pope Francis had a not-so-subtle gift for President Trump when the two leaders met at the Vatican on Wednesday: a copy of his 2015 plea for sweeping global action to fight climate change.
The 184-page papal encyclical, titled “Laudato Si,’” or “Praise Be to You,” declares that the world is indeed growing warmer and places the blame on a culture of instant gratification, the reckless pursuit of profits, an alarming preoccupation with technology and political shortsightedness.
Trump, however, has called climate change a hoax and is considering pulling the United States out of an agreement reached in Paris in which world leaders pledged to fight global warming by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The encyclical was one of three documents presented to Trump along with some of the pope’s writings about the family and the joy of the gospel.
“Well, I’ll be reading them,” Trump said.
Here are some of the pope’s key messages on what he described Wednesday as “the care of our common home, the environment.”
You can read the full papal encyclical here.
‘Doomsday predictions can no longer be met with irony or disdain’
Consumption, waste and environmental change have so outpaced the planet’s capacity that they can only lead to catastrophe, the pope said. “We may well be leaving to coming generations debris, desolation and filth.”
Christians have misinterpreted the Scriptures
“We are not God. The earth was here before us and it has been given to us,” he wrote. “ We must forcefully reject the notion that our being created in God’s image and given dominion over the earth justifies absolute domination over other creatures.”
The human roots of the crisis
At the root of the problem, the pope wrote, are a “disordered desire to consume more than what is really necessary” and a “use and throw away culture.” Although he praised efforts by scientists to find solutions to environmental problems, he said, “A sober look at our world shows that the degree of human intervention, often in the service of business interests and consumerism, is actually making our earth less rich and beautiful, ever more limited and grey.”
A call to action
The pope argued that industrialized nations were mostly responsible for the crisis and bear a greater responsibility for providing a solution. Individuals, too, must act, he said. Among the steps he suggested were to reduce water consumption, cook only what can reasonably be consumed, use public transport or car-pool, plant trees, turn off unnecessary lights and show care for other living beings.
Concern for the protection of nature is incompatible with abortion
“How can we genuinely teach the importance of concern for other vulnerable beings, however troublesome or inconvenient they may be, if we fail to protect a human embryo?” he asked.
‘All is not lost’
“Human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves,” the pope wrote, “choosing again what is good, and making a new start, despite their mental and social conditioning.”
6:15 p.m.: This article was updated with additional details from the papal encyclical.
This article was originally published at 1:40 p.m.