Pope Francis invited California Governor Jerry Brown to lend his expertise on global warming and climate change to a summit at the Vatican later in the month.
This week Brown explained that climate change combines the spiritual and the political. “Religion deals with the fundamentals,” he said. “When you deal with the fundamentals of what makes the atmosphere, and the weather, and whether that permanently or radically changes, that’s very similar to a fundamental principle of right and wrong.”
The summit hosted by Pope Francis includes a discussion on modern slavery and will draw an international gathering of government officials and United Nations representatives, reported the Los Angeles Times.
The Pontiff inviting Brown as a speaker comes as an unpleasant surprise to many Catholics. The governor, who earlier in life practiced to be a Jesuit priest before having a change of heart, is well known for his liberal stance on abortion, advocacy for gay marriage, and LGBTQ issues.
Nevertheless, the indefatigable septuagenarian is enthusiastic about participating at the summit. “This unprecedented gathering of global leaders is a wake-up call to face up to the common threats of climate change and human exploitation,” Brown stated Thursday. “This is about the future of humanity and how we as human beings live and treat one another and the natural world around us.”
In an interview this week when asked about climate change, Brown said Francis, was “bringing a moral and theological dimension that adds to the market and political calculation.” He added, “We face an existential threat to human existence as we know it. It’s not being taken seriously by the vast majority of powerful people. When the pope, as a powerful person, issues this encyclical, it’s a helpful addition to the mix.”