Harsh words from Pope Francis: Earth looks “like an immense pile of filth.”

Admonishment heard round the world.
Admonishment heard round the world.
Image: Reuters/Max Rossi
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No need to read all 180 pages of Pope Francis’s encyclical (PDF), which was leaked earlier this week and formally released today. The main ideas about climate change, echoing concerns expressed in previous papal encyclicals, are also available in neat, 140-character excerpts via @Pontifex on Twitter.

Deteriorating environmental conditions have a disproportionate affect on the “most vulnerable” people in the world, he says.

“There is a true ‘ecological debt’,” the pope says. “Developed countries ought to help pay this debt by limiting their consumption of nonrenewable energy.”

This is Pope Francis’s first encyclical—one of the most formal and significant statements a pope can make. And though the theme of environmental destruction has appeared in encyclicals by previous popes, it has never provided the primary subject matter.