A primer on Pope Francis' politics

September 22, 2015 10:08 AM

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A primer on Pope Francis' politics

Earlier this year, Pope Francis issued a 184-page encyclical -- the most authoritative teaching document the pope can issue -- on climate change. While past popes have stressed the importance of environmental stewardship, Francis' focus on the subject is unprecedented -- which is perhaps to be expected from a pope who took his name from St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals and the environment.

The encyclical was decidedly political. It declared that global warming is "mostly" due to human activity and the burning of fossil fuels, and that it is a problem that disproportionately impacts the poor. Francis blamed the problem on a "structurally perverse" economic system where the rich exploit...

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