RELEASE: Catholics United Calls on President Obama to Discuss Conservation, Climate Change at Thursday Meeting with Pope Francis

Posted March 24, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The nonprofit Catholics United today called on President Obama to address the moral responsibility to act on climate change and conserve our natural and cultural heritage at his March 27 meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican.

“This state visit with the Pope provides President Obama a unique opportunity to highlight his significant environmental accomplishments amongst a highly receptive audience at the Vatican, and launch an international conversation about our shared moral responsibility to protect God’s Creation,” said James Salt, executive director of Catholics United.

Salt points to the Administration’s success in reducing carbon emissions and protecting natural landmarks, most recently Point Arena-Stornetta in Northern California, as relevant topics for discussion. The environment is a personal issue of concern for Pope Francis. He took the name Francis, the patron saint of nature, in part because of this deep commitment. This past January, the Vatican confirmed that Francis is currently writing his first encyclical on ecology.

A petition on the White House website, which has 1,200 signatures, asks “that President Obama give the Pope a photograph of one of our majestic parks or new national monuments as an example of America's proud tradition of conservation leadership, and discuss the sacred obligation of people across faiths to protect God's creation… President Obama should share a progress report on his climate action plan and efforts to protect America’s Great Outdoors, and invite Pope Francis to visit one of America’s national parks and monuments.”

Media sources have confirmed Vatican reports that Pope Francis intends to visit the United States in September 2015.

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Catholics United is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to promoting the message of justice and the common good found at the heart of the Catholic Social Tradition.