Police are searching for a white male gunman who opened fire inside a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina, killing nine people and wounding several others. The victims were attending Bible study at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church when the attack occurred, shortly after 9 p.m. Wednesday. The known victims include the church’s pastor, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, a state senator, and his sister. Police described the shooting as a "hate crime." Known as "Mother Emanuel," the Emanuel AME Church is home to the oldest black congregation south of Baltimore. It was burned in the 1820s during a slave rebellion and has stood at its present location since 1872. The church has its roots in the early 19th century and was founded in part by a freed slave named Denmark Vesey, who was later executed for organizing a slave revolt. We are joined by Dr. Lonnie Randolph Jr., state president of the South Carolina NAACP.
In his long-awaited encyclical on the environment and climate change, Pope Francis has called for swift action to save the planet from environmental ruin, urging world leaders to hear "the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor." He called for a change of lifestyle in rich countries steeped in a "throwaway" consumer culture, and an end to "obstructionist attitudes" that sometimes put profit before the common good. Pope Francis said protecting the planet is a moral and ethical "imperative" for believers and nonbelievers alike that should supersede political and economic interests. A major theme of the encyclical is the disparity between rich and poor. "We fail to see that some are mired in desperate and degrading poverty, with no way out, while others have not the faintest idea of what to do with their possessions, vainly showing off their supposed superiority and leaving behind them so much waste which, if it were the case everywhere, would destroy the planet," he said. We speak to Naomi Klein, author of "This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate." She has been invited to speak at the Vatican, where she will speak at the "People and Planet First: The Imperative to Change Course" conference. And here in New York is Nathan Schneider, columnist at America magazine, a national Catholic weekly magazine published by the Jesuits.
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