Pope Francis knows his encyclical on climate change won't change minds, but is taking the long view as popes have done in the past, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington said Sunday.
"I think he's looking long-term," Wuerl said on "Fox News Sunday."
"While he's saying there's an urgency to this issue, the urgency is that we begin to talk about it, address it, put our minds together to resolve it. He's not saying that we have to resolve this tomorrow by doing specific things."
Wuerl pointed to Pope Leo XIII, who in 1891 issued an encyclical on labor.
"There were those who rejected it outright, saying if we start treating workers the way the church is asking us, our profits will be cut. Our ability to compete will be cut," Wuerl said . "We learned over years and over decades when people thrive, the whole planet thrives."
Liberals have embraced Francis' words on the environment
, while conservatives have gravitated toward his inclusion of opposition to abortion in the encyclical. Wuerl said it is common for people to accept which of the church's teachings they agree with and reject those they don't, but it is important for popes, and cardinals in general, to "keep delivering the whole package."
"We take the Lord's message even when there are parts of it we're uncomfortable with," Wuerle said.
As to comments by conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh that Francis is essentially telling everyone to vote for Democrats, Wuerle said, "This is one of the great blessings of America, isn't it? We're all allowed to speak our mind even if we don't have all of the facts. Even if we don't have a clear view of what the other person is saying."
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