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Pope Francis urges bishops to appeal to world leaders during climate change talks

Pope Francis returns after a pause of a meeting marking the 50th anniversary of the creation of the Synod of Bishops, in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Pope Francis returns after a pause of a meeting marking the 50th anniversary of the creation of the Synod of Bishops, in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

The Vatican is seeking to reinforce Pope Francis' environmental message by encouraging bishops from around the world to sign an appeal to world leaders meeting in Paris next month for crucial climate change talks.

Cardinals, patriarchs and bishops, including representatives of regional bishops' conferences from Asia, Africa, Latin America and Oceania, are expected to sign the appeal Monday.

Francis outlined his eco-message in a major teaching document in June, denouncing what he called the "structurally perverse" fossil fuel-based world economy that he says exploits the poor and destroys the Earth.

The encyclical was cheered by environmentalists and ignored or criticized by big business interests. In the U.S., it was met with particular unease and so far no U.S. bishop is scheduled to participate in the conference to launch the appeal.

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