Environmental Studies Program


Date of this Version



Environmental Studies Undergraduate Student Thesis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2020.


Copyright 2020 Mikayla Dorff


This study considers the impacts of religion, specifically Catholicism, on environmental views. In 2015, Pope Francis published an encyclical entitled Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home. In this encyclical, Pope Francis calls all humans to an “ecological conversion” and identifies environmental stewardship as a Catholic responsibility. Progressive Catholics embraced Laudato Si’ and its messages, while traditional Catholics condemned the encyclical. In this study, a comparative literary analysis is conducted to determine why traditional Catholics reject the encyclical while progressive Catholics applaud it. Initiatives stemming as a direct result from Laudato Si’ are also examined. The study found a number of common themes for progressive and traditional Catholics, with traditional Catholics claiming the encyclical to be heretical and progressive Catholics lauding it as a sign of reform. Political and ideological factors were also found to play a role in the divide.