In “Laudate Deum,” Francis praised a 2019 USCCB statement on climate change but singled out the U.S. for the number of carbon emissions per person, which far exceeds that of other countries, including China.
Wester, Weisenburger and Tyson have been outspoken on climate issues, as has Zinn. Wester and Weisenburger both said they would urge other bishops to speak out about the need to care for the environment and encouraged Catholics to do what they can at the local level.
Weisenburger volunteered that he is awaiting the arrival of a new electric car and that some of the parish schools under his purview have recently installed solar panels. He is trying “to make sure that we leave behind an Earth for future generations that’s healthy, productive and blessed,” he said.
Weisenburger also encouraged bishops and others to listen to young people, a demographic that disproportionately supports taking action to protect the environment.
Biden, who speaks often of his Catholic faith, met with Francis at the Vatican in October 2021, where he praised the pontiff for his work on climate change.
Participants in the meeting on Friday said there were no concrete plans for a follow-up conversation, but hoped the dialogue would continue.
“We need to look at the common good — that’s one of the basic principles of Catholic social teaching,” Wester said.
This article originally appeared here.