Pope Francis recently released a new encyclical. Portions of it deal with environmentalism, global warming, and climate change. Naturally, this has prompted controversy.
It’s noteworthy that Francis didn’t merely opine on global warming during this or that sermon, but that he issued a papal encyclical on the matter. Encyclicals are much more formal and significant that passing comments made during mass. They are letters written by a pope and sent to bishops all around the world. In turn, the bishops are meant to disseminate the encyclical’s ideas to all the priests and churches in their jurisdiction, so that the pope’s teaching reaches every church-attending Catholic.