Pope Francis posed for photographs this week with an Argentinean environmental group holding up shirts that read “No To Fracking” and “Water Is More Precious Than Gold.”
Francis told activists that he is in the process of planning an address on the subject, and that “he is preparing an encyclical — a letter addressing a part of Catholic doctrine — about nature, humans, and environmental pollution.”
He met with the Environmental Justice Organizations, Liabilities, and Trade (EJOLT) and filmmaker Fernando ‘Pino’ Solanas, the director of mega-mining documentary “Dirty Gold,” on Nov. 11. Solanas has been a vocal opponent of the Argentine government working with Chevron to drill shale oil and gas, calling it “the largest environmental disaster in the Amazon.”
Anti-fracking protests in Argentina “have grown so fierce that the police have cracked down on thousands of demonstrators with tear gas and rubber bullets,” the New York Times reported.
The environmentalist group reported that “the concern from His Holiness was clear” when he heard about the Chevron deal in Argentina and other environmental disputes in the region.
The Pope made headlines earlier this month when he initiated a global survey on gay marriage, contraception, divorce, and single-parent families, leading many to believe the Church is preparing to embrace non-traditional modern families.
Pope Francis has already embraced other progressive causes promoting equality. He criticized the global economy for worshipping a “god called money” in September. He decried unemployment and admonished Catholics for not helping their fellow man.
He later announced that immigrants should not be treated like “pawns on the chessboard of humanity” in a speech on World Day of Migrants and Refugees. He suggested countries cooperate on “the broad adoption of policies and rules aimed at protecting and promoting the human person.”
In October he made headlines when he declared “ideological Christians” are a “serious illness” within the Church. He called it “rigid, moralistic, ethical, but without kindness.”