As climate change fears rise, Pope Francis says he is updating his ‘green’ encyclical

“Young generations have a right,” Catholic pontiff says, “to receive a beautiful and inhabitable world from us.”

(Alessandra Tarantino | AP) Pope Francis leaves at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican in April 2023. The Catholic pontiff plans to update his 2015 “green” encyclical on the environment as worries about climate change grow.

Vatican City • Pope Francis announced Monday that he is working on the second part to his 2015 “green” encyclical on the environment, Laudato Sì, as heat waves and natural disasters around the world increase concerns over the climate crisis.

“We must not forget that young generations have a right to receive a beautiful and inhabitable world from us,” he said in a speech at the Vatican, “and this invests us with grave responsibilities toward creation, which we received from God’s generous hands.”

The pope added that he is working on “a second part of the Laudato Sì to update on current issues.”

Two years after becoming pontiff, Francis published his encyclical Laudato Sì, titled after the Canticle of Creation by his namesake St. Francis of Assisi and meaning “Praise Be to You” in English, signaling environmental concerns as a high priority in Francis’ agenda.

Earlier this month, at a meeting with Catholic young people gathered at the World Youth Day celebrations in Lisbon, Portugal, the pope warned of the “dramatic urgency” of rising temperatures and climate change that require looking beyond polarizations and striving toward unity.

“We need an integral ecology; we need to listen to the suffering of the planet alongside that of the poor,” Francis said in a speech Aug. 3. “We need to put the drama of desertification alongside that of refugees, the issue of migration alongside that of the falling birthrate.”

His comments were made during a private audience with lawyers from member states of the European Council, who signed a document in Vienna in July 2022 affirming the importance of the rule of law and the independence of the country’s judicial systems.

Francis acknowledged the document was created in the difficult context of “the senseless war in Ukraine” and praised efforts to ensure human rights are respected even amid conflicts and violence.