More than one million Catholics in England and Wales are prepared to overhaul their lifestyles if Pope Francis speaks out on environmental issues, according to a poll commissioned by Cafod.
The Cafod/YouGov poll found that a third of Catholics (33%) say that if Pope Francis makes an official statement on climate change, they’re likely to alter their lifestyle choices as a result, such as seeking to drive less or to recycle more.
Cafod is the official aid agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales and part of Caritas International
Furthermore, seven out of 10 Catholics (72%) say they are concerned that the world’s poorest people are being impacted by climate change, and more than three quarters (76%) say they feel a moral obligation as Catholics to protect these people.
With Pope Francis preparing to release a much-anticipated encyclical that is likely to focus on care for the environment and the relationship between climate change and poverty, the research suggests that the Pope’s teachings are not just making Catholics more aware of global issues, but are also driving active behaviour change.
Neil Thorns, director of advocacy at Cafod, said: “While the data shows us that almost two thirds of Catholics have engaged with the climate debate already, what’s most telling about these results is how many Catholics link the impact climate change is having on vulnerable people with their faith, which calls us to protect the poorest in society.
“The world will be watching what the Pope says next on climate change in anticipation of the impact he will have, not just within the Catholic community, but on the wider political process leading to Paris this year.”
Cafod’s Lent appeal is raising money for people around the world whose lives are being affected by storms, droughts and floods. The UK government is matching pound for pound every donation made until May 17, to a value of £5 million. For more information, visit the Cafod website.
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