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Cardinal Turkson on ecology encyclical: It's a call to dialogue on all levels

Experts in theology, science, and business gathered at the Vatican's Paul VI Hall to discuss the "Laudato Siâ? encyclical. They addressed the controversy that has come with its release, and also discussed some of the letter's main themes from different perspectives. 

One of the world's leading climate scientists gave a detailed explanation of the history and effects of climate change. But he said it was more than a scientific issue.

HANS JOACHIM SCHELLNHUBER

Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

"We are faced with, as my predecessors have said, a dual crisis on this planet. It's an environmental crisis, certainly, but it's also a social crisis. And these two things together pose a tremendous challenge and only if faith and reason work together, hand in hand, can we overcome this crisis.�

Some conservative politicians in the United States have criticized the encyclical's focus on climate change. Speakers at the press conference rebutted those comments by arguing that it is a moral issue.

JOHN ZIZIOULAS

Eastern Orthodox metropolitan of Pergamon

"Ecological sin is due to human greed, which blinds men and women to the point of ignoring and disregarding the basic truth, that the happiness of the individual depends on its relationship with the rest of the human beings.�

CARD. PETER TURKSON

"So it's a call to dialogue on all levels for the solution of problems which are common to all of us.�

A major focus of the encyclical is on how pollution and ecological destruction disproportionately hurt the poor. 

One speaker was a business expert who suggested that developed countries and their businesses must take a leadership role in climate change, and that poorer countries could later follow them.

DR. CAROLYN WOO

CEO, Catholic Relief Services

"I think if the large countries, China and the U.S.A., really take serious measures, then we would have the credibility and leverage to seek some of those activities and actions from developing countries.�

"Laudato Si� quickly became one of the most talked-about encyclicals of all time, even before it was released. Reporters from throughout the world attended the press conference, and the experts noticed.

JOHN ZIZIOULAS

Eastern Orthodox metropolitan of Pergamon

"I've been involved with ecumenical gatherings for many, many years, but it's the first time that I'm confronted with so many mass media. So may God help me, help protect me.�

The encyclical was released today and is currently available in Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, and Spanish.

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Up: KLH