Pope's environment encyclical due on June 18

Pope's environment encyclical due on June 18
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Pope Francis's upcoming encyclical on climate change will come out on June 18, the Vatican said Thursday.

Officials announced the release date "to avoid confusion over the diffusion of unconfirmed information," according to a Vatican news release. 

Environmental groups are eagerly awaiting the encyclical, a papal declaration outlining the church's views on a subject. The document is expected to focus on Francis's view that climate change is a moral issue worthy of concern among the world's Catholics.

Francis and his advisers have struck an aggressive tone on climate change and the world's response to it. At a May Mass, Francis warned "the powerful of the Earth that God will call them to judgment one day" if they don't do enough to protect the environment and feed the hungry. 

Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga, the pope's closest adviser, has criticized "movements" in the United States that have come out against the encyclical even before the Vatican releases it. 

“The ideology surrounding environmental issues is too tied to a capitalism that doesn’t want to stop ruining the environment because they don’t want to give up their profits,” Rodríguez said in May. 

Some conservatives have been wary of Francis's ongoing focus on climate change. Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, a Catholic, told a Philadelphia radio station Monday that it's “really outside the scope of what the church’s main message is.”

The pope's encyclical comes ahead of an important United Nations meeting later this year on efforts to fight global climate change. Francis is scheduled to visit the United States in September, and he's expected to address environmental issues while he's here.