Cardinal-designate McElroy has long commitment to Laudato Si’, environment

By Brian Roewe, 26 August 2022
Bishop Robert McElroy, Bishop of San Diego. Image: Catholic Diocese of San Diego.


When Pope Francis presents Bishop Robert McElroy with his red hat on Saturday, Aug. 27, officially making him a cardinal in the Catholic Church, he will elevate one of the top supporters of the themes of his pontificate in the U.S., including on environmental issues and the message of the pope’s landmark encyclical “Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home.”

Appointed bishop of San Diego two months before Francis issued in June 2015 the first papal teaching document dedicated to ecological concerns, McElroy has been among the most outspoken in addressing climate change and environmental justice, but also transforming the encyclical’s words into actions.

More than half of parishes in San Diego have installed solar panels, and the diocese recently joined the Vatican’s Laudato Si’ Action Platform initiative. It was also among the few dioceses to sign onto a letter to Congress in early August urging passage of legislation to substantially address climate change, which lawmakers ultimately did with the $300-plus billion in climate investments signed into law as part of the Inflation Reduction Act.

For his part, McElroy has advocated a stronger embrace of Laudato Si’ within the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and has described the environment as a “core life issue” alongside abortion in Catholic teaching.

“It’d be very important for the church at all levels in the United States to begin making clear where the truth of science points us [on climate change],” he told NCR in an interview in April 2021.

To continue reading this article about Cardinal-designate McElroy and the environmental projects of the Diocese of San Diego, click here.

Brian Roewe is NCR environment correspondent. His email address is Follow him on Twitter at @brianroewe.

With thanks to the National Catholic Reporter (NCR) and Brian Roewe, where this article originally appeared.


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