Religious leaders address climate change as moral imperative

June 28, 2015

Delaware Interfaith Power and Light, whose mission is to provide a religious response to climate change, celebrates the release of Pope Francis’ Encyclical, "Laudato Si" which translates as "be praised” or "praise be to you.”

The encyclical explores the relationships among creation care, sustainability of the environment and concern for the poor - all foundational themes for the great religions of the world. It is the first encyclical in history to specifically address humanity’s relationship with the environment and, unlike any previous encyclical, was addressed to every person on the planet.

“Amid the daily news of human tragedy and natural disaster, a very bright and clear light shone last Thursday as Pope Francis’ Encyclical was released, heralding his message of our moral responsibility for caring for all creation, protecting the poor and vulnerable, rethinking our relationship with each other and the natural world,” said Lisa Locke, executive director of Delaware Interfaith Power and Light. “With the extensive national and international attention this has garnered, it has created a powerful opportunity for the impassioned voices of the larger faith community to be united and heard. “

Some prominent climate change deniers are challenging the pope’s motivations and dismissing his authority on the issue, defining climate change as a political issue. But religious leaders throughout Delaware are asserting that the economic, social and environmental impacts of climate change make this a defining moral issue of our times, one that people are morally compelled to address. And they are speaking out and taking action.

“Pope Francis’ Encyclical message speaks to the hearts and minds of all of us. It reflects our own teachings on protecting and caring for those most vulnerable; sustaining the web of life that supports us; declaring the glory of God’s creation; compelling us to personal action,” said the Rev. Jeffrey Austin Ross, rector, Saint Peter's Episcopal Church, Lewes.

“This is about our legacy, about the kind of world that we are leaving for our children.  Because of our actions that are dramatically changing our global climate, our children will grow up in a very different world. The pope has challenged us to act together to change the course of history.  We can do this; we must do this, for our children’s’ sake,” said Delaware Interfaith Power and Light founder and President John Sykes.

Delaware Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to climate change. For more information, go to


Subscribe to the Daily Newsletter