Over the past 25 years, the Church has been developing its position on “the ecological crisis.” In anticipation of Pope Francis’ upcoming encyclical on climate change/ecology, here are the major magisterial statements.

“Respect for nature also calls for recognizing that man himself is a fundamental part of it. Along with an environmental ecology, there is also need of that human ecology which consists in respect for the person” Pope Francis, Address to European Parliament, November 2014

Synod on the Family

2014 Synod on the Family

Pope Francis has called bishops from around the world to Rome for two meetings, in October 2014 and October 2015, to talk about pastoral challenges to Catholic families. Discussions included hot button issues such as contraception, same-sex marriage and divorce. The first meeting, called an Extraordinary Synod, was attended by 190 bishops and 38 lay experts. After ten days of spirited discussion, the agenda was set for the second meeting, an Ordinary Synod, which will involve about 250 bishops and will last for three weeks.

“May we all, then, pray together so that ... the Church will undertake a true journey of discernment and adopt the necessary pastoral means to help families face their present challenges with the light and strength that comes from the Gospel.” Pope Francis, Letter to Families, February 2014


Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

Transgenderism is defined as the state of one’s self-identification as a woman or a man not matching her or his physical/genetic sex. It is independent of sexual orientation, i.e., a transgendered person does not necessarily identify as homosexual.

“When the Church speaks of the nature of the human being as man and woman and asks that this order of creation be respected, it is not the result of an outdated metaphysic.” Benedict XVI, Christmas Address, December 2008

Indian Residential Schools

Indian Residential Schools

From the 1870’s until the 1990s, the Canadian government, in partnership with a number of Christian churches, operated a residential school system for more than 150,000 First Nations, Inuit, and Métis children. These government-funded schools were set up forcibly to assimilate aboriginal children into the Canadian mainstream.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was established in 2007 to “reveal to Canadians the complex truth about the history of...the residential guide and inspire a process of truth and healing leading to reconciliation..."