Do Catholics care about climate change?
Not for nothing was the late Pope Benedict XVI called “the green pope.” He approved the installation of solar panels on Vatican rooftops and the planting of a forest to push Vatican City to net zero on greenhouse gas emission. His successor, of course, took things even further. In 2015 Pope Francis devoted an entire encyclical, “Laudato Si’,” to care of creation and the existential threat posed by climate change.
Have U.S. Catholics gotten the message?
A recent Pew survey found that while overall Catholics show a higher degree of worry about the impact of climate change than other Christian denominations, the issue appears to divide U.S. Catholics along the same political and racial lines as within the wider public. Fifty-seven percent of Catholics overall say climate change is a serious concern, a percentage that matches all U.S. adults.
But only 49 percent of white Catholics deemed it so. Raising the overall percentage among Catholics were Hispanic Catholics, 71 percent of whom believe climate change is a serious concern. Only 25 percent of Catholics who are Republican or who lean Republican believe climate change is a serious concern, but 82 percent who are Democrats or who lean Democratic do. Sixty-one percent of Catholics between 18 and 49 call it a serious concern. That figure drops to just 53 percent for Catholics older than 50.
Hearing about it at Mass?
Only about one in 10 Catholics—8 percent—said there is a great deal or quite a bit of discussion on climate change during homilies; 50 percent said there is either some or a little discussion of it, and 41 percent report never hearing about climate change at Mass.
Source: Pew Research Center, “The pope is concerned about climate change. How do U.S. Catholics feel about it?,” Feb. 9, 2023