Pope Francis is about to issue a papal encyclical on climate change. I am usually overjoyed when spiritual leaders weigh in on popular issues highlighting an analysis based upon morality and ethics from a spiritual perspective. Otherwise what we are left with is political, economic and social analysis bereft of heart, soul and spirit. Having said that, great disappointment and controversy are anticipated by the Pope’s edict on climate change because the impetus of the effort is primarily political and economic rather than spiritual further exacerbated by the pontiff’s limited expertise in science.
The fact that the Pope is no fan of capitalism means this encyclical comes as no surprise. The Pontiff has already joined a chorus of eco-socialists who hijacked the climate change bandwagon for an opportunity to condemn capitalism. The Pontiff previously stated: “An economic system centered on the god of money needs to plunder nature to sustain the frenetic rhythm of consumption that is inherent to it. The monopolizing of lands, deforestation, the appropriation of water, inadequate agro-toxics are some of the evils that tear man from the land of his birth. Climate change, the loss of biodiversity and deforestation are already showing their devastating effects in the great cataclysms we witness”.
I believe this perspective of the Pontiff debases his genuine authority by delving into popular notions based on a foundation of politicized junk science. Certainly, it is appropriate and necessary for the Pontiff to condemn greed, materialism, consumerism and the love of money in this day and age as well as poor ecological stewardship. But, not as if these base human tendencies are only the bane of capitalism! Are we to believe that socialists, communists, environmentalists, dictators, despots, kings and even religious authorities, are immune from these social, ecological and pecuniary ills? After all, the countries on earth with the worst environmental records, poverty rates, and human rights violations also do not tolerate the benefit of free markets!
Throughout the ages it was religious fanatics who were always warning that the “end is near”. Today, despite the fact that the earth quit warming nearly twenty years ago, it is the environmental fanatics telling us life on the planet is going to end with the ocean engulfing our coasts while the earth boils over because of carbon in the atmosphere. So why give the environmental movement a pass when it is nothing more than a false religion which abandoned the bounds of science a long time ago?
It would be more valuable to hear the Pope discuss these issues from a biblical perspective. After all, Saint Peter, considered by Catholics the First Pope, actually agreed a form of “global warming” would be the end of us in a prediction recorded 2,000 years ago! “The heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness”? This begs the question, does Pope Francis believe that saving the planet from man rather than saving the soul of mankind is the impetus of this passage?
The Pontiff, according to the Gospel of Luke, could also remind the world that the end of time for life on planet earth surely will be accompanied by “dismay among the nations in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, with men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the earth” but for reasons altogether different than what St. Albert Gore would have us believe!
First published in the Santa Barbara News Press
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