Laramie Catholics Explore Pope's Environmental Encyclical

Jul 28, 2015

Copies of 'Laudato Si,' Pope Francis' environmental encyclical.
Credit Aaron Schrank/WPR

Thanks to the Pope’s environmental encyclical, some Wyoming Catholics are studying big issues like global climate change for the first time. Laramie’s St. Paul’s Newman Center is hosting a 4-week course this summer to dig in to the document.

In June, Pope Francis released a letter to the world, calling on Catholics and those of all faiths to respect the planet. It spurred immediate reactions, including some from those who take issue with the Pope’s acknowledgement of human-driven climate change and condemnation of corporate power. The Pope’s message has actually damaged his approval rating with some groups.

Father Rob Spaulding at St. Paul’s Newman Center says, with all the controversy and conversation surrounding the environmental encyclical, he wanted to make sure people had actually read it.

“One of the things that happens far too frequently is we make statements or comments in the public forum without ever having examined the primary sources themselves,” says Spaulding. “I wanted to give at least this community—and really anyone in Laramie who wants to come—the opportunity to look at the document and not just hear editorialized comments, but examine the text itself.”

About 50 people are taking the class in Laramie. The group meets Wednesday mornings and Thursday nights through mid-August.