Acton Institute: Is Benedict XVI the 'Green Pope'


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (July 17, 2008) - A number of media reports covering today's speech by Pope Benedict XVI at the World Youth Day event in Sydney, Australia, characterize him as being alarmed about "global warming" and "climate change." In fact, the Pope's nearly 2,700 word speech used neither term.

What Pope Benedict actually said was: "Perhaps reluctantly we come to acknowledge that there are scars which mark the surface of our earth, erosion, deforestation, the squandering of the world's mineral and ocean resources in order to fuel an insatiable consumption." In this, he simply affirmed the Roman Catholic Church's teaching on environmental stewardship, which not only decries the pollution of Creation but also consumerism.

What was left out of most of today's media coverage of Pope Benedict's speech was his discussion of the loss of the "moral structure with which God has endowed humanity" and his sharp criticism of secularism.

Key questions: Was the Pope warning us of a climate crisis or a moral crisis? Has the Pope gone "green"?

TV and radio producers: Acton Institute experts on Catholic social teaching and public policy are available in Sydney, Rome, and Grand Rapids, to discuss Pope Benedict's comments on environmental and moral issues. World Youth Day wraps up July 20.

About the Acton Institute
With its commitment to pursue a society that is free and virtuous, the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty is a leading voice in the national environmental and social policy debate. The Acton Institute is uniquely positioned to comment on the sound economic and moral foundations necessary to sustain humane environmental and social policies.

The Acton Institute is a nonprofit, ecumenical think tank located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Institute works internationally to "promote a free and virtuous society characterized by individual liberty and sustained by religious principles." For more on the Acton Institute, please visit www.acton.org.

Interviews with Institute staff may be arranged by contacting John Couretas at (616) 454-3080 or at jcouretas@acton.org.