DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron is praising Pope Francis’ environmental manifesto, calling its release on Thursday a “moment of grace” for the Roman Catholic church and the world.

Francis’ 184-page teaching document is a wide-ranging look at what he calls an “ecological crisis” destroying our “common home.” The document, or encyclical, titled “Laudato Si,” (Praise Be), is at once a theological treatise, a public policy analysis and a heart-felt plea for personal change.

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He framed climate change as an urgent moral issue in his encyclical.

Francis called Thursday for a bold cultural revolution to correct what he described as a “structurally perverse” economic system where the rich exploit the poor, turning Earth into an “immense pile of filth.”

Vigneron — who leads the Archdiocese of Detroit, which includes roughly 1.3 million southeast Michigan Catholics — said in a statement that the pope’s manifesto “bringing to bear the wisdom of God’s word on one of the pressing moral issues of our age.” He added that “this wisdom will serve as the norm for how we should live together and care for those on the peripheries.”

Talking to WWJ’s Chrystal Knight, Monsignor Dan Trapp, of St. Augusta and St. Monica parish in metro Detroit, talked more about how caring for our world connects with the church’s message.

“The general background would be Jesus’ teaching about, really, the centrally of our relationship with those who are less powerless and those who are voiceless,” Trapp said. “Jesus’ teaching is really unique in that is that God is looking very intently at how we treat those who are most vulnerable among us; those who are voiceless and powerless.”

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“We, as a human community, need politically to make sure that we are passing laws to guide all people so that we are treating the earth as our home,” Trapp added. “The fact that the earth is our home is the essential point of this document.”

Meantime, H. Sterling Burnett, a research fellow at the Heartland Institute, said that while the pope’s intentions may be good, he was led astray on the science.

“Even if the climate models were right, if you’re worried about the poor, you’re not gonna save them with renewable energy. They’re gonna have to develop like the west developed — which is through the use of fossil fuels,” Burnett said.

Burnett said fossil fuels remain the best energy source for now, because the technology simply isn’t there to reliably harness power from renewable sources.

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