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About the Encyclical

"The crisis of climate change... may well be the most important challenge of the 21st century, and it calls for global dialogue and leadership. It is a moral issue of the highest order. No country can tackle this alone, nor can the poorer ones without much help. ... What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?"

These words from Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and a key adviser to the encyclical of Pope Francis, posed an urgent challenge to the packed audience at Santa Clara University's Mission Church. He urged each person to make a personal choice to help solve the crisis facing our planet. He reminded the audience that the encyclical is solidly within the Church's social teaching -- indeed within the teachings of many faiths -- and that truthfulness, action, prayer and dialogue are needed now, by every person of good will.

Read the transcript of Cardinal Turkson's remarks



"Your Eminence, Cardinal Turkson: for your tireless work on the environment, for your joy-filled way of proceeding, and for giving voice to the poor who suffer most from environmental degradation, on behalf of Santa Clara University, I bestow on you the St. Clare Award"


For his work on behalf of justice and peace for the earth, the poor, and all communities, Cardinal Peter Turkson on Nov. 3 received Santa Clara University's highest honor, the St. Clare Award.



"Cardinal Turkson advised us all to be aware of the problem, and I don't think that my involvement has to end here. Cardinal Turkson gave a once-in-a-lifetime speech, but I will choose to further the discussion on the issue by reading/following coverage of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris."


Read reactions to Cardinal Turkson's remarks by Bellarmine high school students



“This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her.”

With these words, from Pope Francis’ historic June 18 encyclical document on the environmental crisis facing our planet, Santa Clara University is challenged along with the world to reflect ever more deeply and urgently on our call to create a more just, humane, and sustainable world. Pope Francis’ historic document poses urgent challenges to each one of us to reflect, act, and work to change the harms that have cumulatively turned our planet to “rubbish” encouraged a throw-away culture, and with it a corrosion of nature, air and water that is first and foremost harming the world’s poorest.

As SCU President Michael Engh, S.J., said in his April 2009 inaugural address, "“In our ethical reflection we consider the needs of our world. We see with increasing clarity the fragility of our planet: the depletion of the soil, the destruction of its forests, and the pollution of air and water. Probing more deeply into these issues, we learn that the poorest of the poor suffer the most. They lack the resources and access to basic necessities when the natural world is so corrupted. And we might ask ourselves: Who hears the voice of the needy and listens to their concerns about exploited lands and economies? Who is the voice for the defense of the assaulted world? Who trains the leaders we need to understand the intricacies of biodiversity and who are also equipped to discern the ethical dimensions of their decisions? Who, indeed?”