All Catholic priests are now expected to learn about climate change, church chiefs have announced.
It is part of a worldwide drive by the faith to increase environmental awareness.
New guidelines issued to priests state that members of the clergy should be ‘promoters’ of ‘appropriate care for everything connected to the protection of creation’.
The Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences has ruled that climate change is real and caused by human activity.
Members of the church have been urged to spread the message in a non-political manner.
A report on catholic.org states: ‘The aim is not political. The Church does not advocate for any policies that will erode basic freedoms or human rights.
‘Instead, the Church advocates awareness, conservation, and management of our planet’s resources for the good of all, and not just for the benefit of a mere few.’
But it said that environmental awareness should not be at the expense of development.
The report continues: ‘It does no good to preserve a forest if the people who live in it must starve.
‘But environmental stewardship is not a zero sum game, nor is economics. There are ways forward that are moral, and mutually beneficial for both the people and the environment.’
The church argues that encouraging priests to talk to their clergy will encourage a ‘moral’ solution to environmental issues.
So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” Revelation 17:3-5 (KJV)