1 in 3 Catholics would go green if Pope said so – survey

Pope Francis (Reuters/Tony Gentile)
Vast numbers of Catholics would fight against climate change, drive less frequently, recycle more and generally live greener lifestyles if Pope Francis made a statement to that effect, according to a new survey.

The poll of Catholics in England and Wales discovered that 72 percent of the 1,049 respondents said they were concerned about the ravages of climate change affecting the world’s poorest people. Some 76 percent said that they felt a deep personal need to help.

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Meanwhile, 80 percent said they felt very worried about the health of planet Earth.

Some 33 percent said they would be willing to do more if Pope Francis was to issue a statement calling for more action on climate change.

Since his election, Pope Francis has consistently made public calls for radical social justice.

Last month he issued a highly emotional appeal for equal pay for women during one of his weekly general audiences in St Peter’s Square, Rome.

Why is it taken for granted that women must earn less than men? No! They have the same rights. The discrepancy is a pure scandal,” he said.

According to statistics from Eurostat, women in the EU were paid 16.4 percent less than men in 2013, while in the US a woman earns 77 cents for every dollar a man is paid.

The pontiff called on Christians not to accept disparity between men and women.

As Christians, we must become more demanding in this regard: for example, [by] supporting the right to equal retribution for equal work,” he said.

While such rousing rhetoric has been well received, the Vatican is yet to fully shed the legacy of centuries of reactionary religious conservatism.

Last month, the Catholic Church was also accused of blocking the appointment of a new French ambassador to the Vatican. Sources, including from inside the Holy See, say the diplomat may have been rejected because he is gay.

Usually it takes no longer than a month and a half to accept a new ambassador’s credentials.

Laurent Stefanini, who has been described as a “practicing Catholic,” was nominated as France’s ambassador to the Holy See by President Francois Hollande’s government on January 5.