World

Pope says upcoming environment encyclical meant to be read by everyone, not just Catholics

Pope Francis is cheered by the crowd as he arrives for an audience with Italian AGESCI boy scouts association's members in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Saturday, June 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Pope Francis is cheered by the crowd as he arrives for an audience with Italian AGESCI boy scouts association's members in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Saturday, June 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)  (The Associated Press)

Pope Francis is looking for a global audience for his upcoming encyclical on the environment, saying it's addressed to everyone, not just Catholics.

Francis engaged in some self-promotion during his weekly blessing Sunday, alerting the thousands of people in St. Peter's Square that his first encyclical is coming out on Thursday and inviting them to pay attention to environmental degradation all around them.

He said: "This encyclical is aimed at everyone: Let us pray that everyone can receive its message and grow in responsibility toward the common home that God has given us."

The eagerly awaited document will be launched at a Vatican news conference that underscores Francis' insistence that it's not just for Catholics: The three speakers are a Vatican cardinal, a Greek Orthodox theologian and an atheist scientist.