Poll: Pope’s climate views not well known

Poll: Pope’s climate views not well known
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Most American Catholics are unaware of Pope FrancisPope FrancisHillicon Valley: Amazon to challenge Pentagon cloud contract in court | State antitrust investigation into Google expands | Intel agencies no longer collecting location data without warrant Pope Francis calls on tech companies to protect children from porn Bishop picked by pope to investigate sexual abuse faces accusations MORE’s call for action on climate change, according to a new Associated Press poll

Among those who do, less than a quarter heard about it at Mass. The poll also found Catholics generally hold similar views on global warming as the rest of Americans. 

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According to the poll, conducted in July and released Wednesday, only 40 percent of American Catholics and 31 percent of all adults said they knew of the Pope’s June climate change encyclical. Only 23 percent of Catholics who know about the document heard about it during Mass. 

The Vatican released Francis's encyclical with much fanfare in June. World leaders, including President Obama, praised the pope for making a moral and religious case for working on climate change.

In the document, Francis blamed climate change on human action and said Catholics and all citizens have a responsibility to work to clean up the Earth.

But even after the encyclical’s release, Catholic views on climate change are not much different than those from Americans in general, according to the AP poll. Only 43 percent of Catholics think climate change is a moral issue, compared to 39 percent of adults as a whole. 

The survey showed about three-quarters of Catholics believe global warming is happening, compared to 69 percent of all adults.

The AP reports that only a “very small percentage” viewed climate change as being connected to religion or poverty — one of the running themes throughout the Pope’s call to action.

The encyclical kicked off a major climate change push for Francis, who will visit the United States this fall. The issue is expected to come up in his September speech to Congress and in his meeting with Obama.

Francis has met with the United Nations officials ahead a December United Nations climate conference, and he hosted a climate change summit for world mayors last month. The Vatican also endorsed a statement from Muslim leaders this week pushing for action on climate change.