One of Pope Francis’ main cardinals – who oversees Vatican offices addressing issues such as environmental pollution, climate change, health care, charity, immigrants and refugees on behalf of the Catholic Church worldwide – spoke in Fresno on Monday night about the importance of caring for the environment, “our common home,” as a way to help humanity and better understand God.

Cardinal Peter Turkson said “care for creation” means that “we respect how we use our resources of creation but also how we pay attention to the needy, the fragile, the poor ones, in our midst” during an invitation-only presentation at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in northeast Fresno.

Turkson was invited to speak in Fresno by Bishop Armando Ochoa following the four-day Vatican-sponsored U.S. Regional World Meeting of Popular Movements in Modesto.

Turkson outlined key points in the pope’s “Laudato Si: On Care of Our Common Home” encyclical, of which Turkson helped write the first draft. It got a lot of attention after its publication in summer 2015 for its mention of climate change as a threat, but Turkson sees it mostly as a social document.

Turkson spent his hour-long talk summarizing the encyclical, including:

▪ Pope Francis continued the teachings of other popes and consulted numerous bishops in his writing.

▪ Working together and dialogue – including between science and faith – can help create a better world, as does sympathy and a “sense of tenderness for creation.”

▪ Changing attitudes requires motivation, which can come in the form of education and learning the importance of “ecological citizenship.” Answering a question following his talk, Turkson encouraged people to do what they can to reduce carbon emission in the atmosphere.

Full story at The Fresno Bee.