Pope Francis greets the faithful and tourists during his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, Vatican, June 17, 2015. (Maurizio Brambatti/EPA)

The Vatican Thursday released Pope Francis’ highly-anticipated document on the environment, but a draft leaked earlier in the week had people from every sphere already reacting to it. Analysis and debate continued after it was made public. In his sweeping encyclical, the pope blasts climate-change deniers, chastises people for overconsumption and environmental degradation and urges action, particularly to protect poor countries, which he says bear the brunt of damage wrought by the excess of wealthy nations.

-- “He has committed his papacy to being a champion of the poor, and the Global South, and he sees the earth as the poorest of the poor..He sees himself as speaking on behalf of the developing world, and lending his voice to their cause.” _ The Rev. Matt Malone, president and editor in chief of the Catholic news group America Media

_ “This sends chills down my spine,” R.R. Reno, editor of the religious conservative journal First Things, said of the encyclical’s suggestion of a global political body to manage the global economy. “He wants to empower the poor, but I think that won’t come to pass. I think globalized power is going to make the ruling elite even more powerful.”

— “I am very grateful to Pope Francis for positioning himself on this issue. The clear language of this encyclical and its depth of thought are offering impulses, which will have an effect far beyond the Catholic world. The encyclical is an incentive for all to take dedicated action for the protection of the environment and climate. I hope that its arguments will convince especially those conservative circles that are playing down the enormous shattering effect of climate change...It is the poor people, who are first and foremost footing the bill of environmental destruction and climate change...We must bit by bit get away from fossil fuels..I am very glad that Pope Francis is sharing this concern(...).”German environment minister Barbara Hendricks in an emailed statement on Thursday

_ “I don’t think it’s appropriate for him to do it..But he’s expressing his philosophy, which has, I think, very little to do with being a pope. He’s using that as a very effective forum, so there are no surprises.” U.S. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), to Environment & Energy Publishing newsletter.

_ “I think that the political context of the debate of the renewal of wind tax breaks or solar tax breaks or the president’s power plants rules changes after the pope speaks. I think people are going to be more aware that there’s a moral dimension and as a result then a requirement that a practical solution be found.” U.S. Sen. Ed. Markey (D-Mass.), to Environment & Energy.

_ “Faith can help us to clarify the choices that impact our lives, cast our options in the light of our values and illuminate the stakes in the paths that we choose. The Pope has put before us one of the most profound spiritual questions of our time: will we embrace our moral obligation to be responsible stewards of the world that’s been entrusted to our care, or preside over the ruin of the natural systems upon which all life depends?” _ Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council advocacy group.

_ “I respect the pope, I think he’s an incredible leader, but I think it’s better to solve this problem in the political realm..I’m going to read what he says, of course, I’m a Catholic and try to follow the teachings of the church.” _ Jeb Bush, one of five Catholic Republican presidential candidates. “I don’t go to Mass for economic policy or for things in politics. I’ve got enough people helping me along the way with that.”

_ “The encyclical also matters because it puts the Catholic church firmly behind the environmental movement. With the pope’s embrace, the environmental movement goes mainstream. They can no longer be denigrated as tree-huggers and Gia worshippers.” the Rev. Thomas Reese, senior analyst for National Catholic Reporter and longtime writer on the Vatican.

_ “It’s a very powerful argument that much that has gone wrong in our world is the consequence of forgetting that we are creatures rather than masters. The pope is almost saying: ‘You may not believe in God, but if you believe in ecology, you can’t ignore this.’ ” _ Papal biographer Austen Ivereigh

_ “Pope Francis is helping people understand that environmental commitment is part of being Catholic..Often times, we just seem to be arguing about whether this is a problem at all. I’m hopeful the strong language will push people toward: This is a problem, now what are the best solutions to the problem?” David Cloutier, theologian at Mount St. Mary’s University.

_ “Essentially what this papal encyclical is saying is that every Catholic should vote for the Democrat Party. How else do you interpret it when the pope comes out and sounds like Al Gore on global warming and climate change?” conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh.

_ “This is the first time an encyclical has been accompanied by a powerpoint presentation,” Prof. Hans Joachim (John) Schellnhuber, Founding Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, speaking at Vatican news conference Thursday. “This “brings together two strong powers in the world, faith and morals, and reason and ingenuity... If faith and reason work hand in hand, we can overcome this crisis.”

_ “It’s not poverty that destroys the environment, it’s wealth, consumption and waste. And this is reflected in the encyclical.” Schellnhuber, at press conference.

“We have had a battle between powerful interest groups on environmental issues for a long time. The missing voices have been the poor and the vulnerable. You turn the page and it always starts with, how does this effect the weakest and the most vulnerable? That’s not where the Senate finance committee or the U.N. start.” _ John Carr, longtime policy advisor to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

_ “Very few people view the environment as a moral issue. This encyclical hopefully has a chance to change that..Have you ever in your life seen such interest in an obscure document? It’s stunning. It’s remarkable. I don’t think people are going to pick it up and say, ‘Been there, done that.’” _ Anthony Annett, climate change advisor at Earth Institute at Columbia University.

“While Pope Francis followed in the steps of his predecessors by tying environmental concern to respect for life and family, his encyclical’s emphasis on framing disputed climate alarmism as fact is sure to play into the hands of global warming activists whose agendas include abortion as population control, and a one-world government. This is especially the case given that two of the pope’s top advisers for the encyclical are just those kinds of alarmists. John-Henry Westen, editor-in-chief of anti-abortion LifeSiteNews