Expectations and Hopes for Pope Francis’ Ecological Encyclical

Have you ever seen an aspiring theologian fist pump like Tiger Woods? You have if you were anywhere near me last Friday when the Vatican confirmed that Pope Francis has begun writing an encyclical addressing environmental challenges and “the ecology of man.”

Rumors of a possible environmental encyclical have been swirling since November, when Pope Francis met with Argentinian environmentalists about water and the controversial natural gas recovery method known as hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”). For those with more experience working on environmental issues from a Catholic perspective, however, hope for an extensive papal treatise on ecology began when Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio became the first pope to take the name Francis after “the poor man of Assisi” whom the Church honors as Patron Saint of Those Who Promote Ecology.

Since my initial excitement over Friday’s announcement, I have begun reflecting more on both what will likely be contained in the document as well as what I hope Francis will include

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