By Mark Abrams

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Vatican’s release today of Pope Francis’ teaching on the impact of climate change on the Earth’s population has deep political overtones.

William Madges, a theology professor at St. Joseph’s University, says it’s no accident that the pope cited the political dimensions of the debate.

“He talks about the responsibility of politicians to really move forward on this issue and not allow simply financial concerns to control the debate about what needs to be done,” Madges tells KYW Newsradio.

Meanwhile, speaking for the US bishops, Washington DC cardinal Donald Wuerl says the pope is not giving a directive to politicians or businesses.  Rather, he paraphrases the pope as saying, “Here is the frame of reference, the moral frame of reference.  I would like everyone to work together on this so that we, individually, would come to the conclusion this is what we should do.”

Philadelphia archbishop Charles Chaput says the pope’s encyclical is a deep and complex appeal to conscience.  He called it “a challenge to all of us to reexamine our stewardship of the environment and our love for the global poor.”