CBCP hopes for 'green' papal agenda

MANILA, Philippines - The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines said it hopes the environment would be at the top of the new Pope's agenda.

In a statement on Thursday, March 14, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, CBCP president, said the environment is a "very serious concern" that the Church, under the leadership of Pope Francis, must tackle. 

"We really should give focus on this because we take for granted the many blessings of the Lord only to realize much later that we had been remiss," Palma said. 

The newly appointed pontiff Jorge Mario Bergoglio took the name of St. Francis of Assisi, a Catholic friar portrayed as a nature lover, earning the role as a patron saint of the environment as well. 

"So for me, one of the wonderful expectations is future pastoral letters or encyclicals on the environment. For me this is a good expectation," Palma added. 

Aside from being a devout Jesuit, Pope Francis is a known conservative.

As a cardinal, he clashed with the Argentine government over his position on abortion, same-sex marriage, gay adoption, and free distribution of contraceptives. 

"What the Pope teaches is not something personal. He just expounds on the teachings of the Church. This is what we do in the context of the present circumstances," Palma said. 

"On the other hand, he is known to be active in social concerns which are also the challenge of the Church," he said. - Rappler.com