On Francis’ looming Ecological Manifesto
By Jonathan Ekene Ifeanyi
On June 16, Francis 1 is expected to release an encyclical letter on the environment, the Catholic Church’s strongest statement to date on the moral issues associated with climate change. It’s a move that has very excited — and one GOP presidential nominee less than thrilled, said Climate Progress.
During an interview with a Philadelphia radio station on Monday, June 1, Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, a said that while he loves “Pope” Francis, he thinks the “Pope” should leave discussions about climate change to scientists.
“The church has gotten it wrong a few times on science,” Santorum told radio host Dom Giordano. “We probably are better off leaving science to the scientists, and focusing on what we’re really good at, which is theology and morality.”
Interestingly, while we notice here that Rick Santorum is merely manifesting his profound ignorance of the vital role Catholicism stands to play in the domain of science—and indeed in all areas of life on this planet—Bergoglio’s defenders have debunked Santorum by arguing that after all Bergoglio studied chemistry as a young man, therefore he is a competent scientist to speak on the issue!
Vatican officials that the much-anticipated "encyclical" is already finished and ready for translation. An “encyclical” is the most developed form of papal teaching, and this will be the very first such document ever devoted entirely to the environment.
To set the table, the Vatican co-hosted a summit on climate change in Rome last month along with the United Nations, with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as the headliner. The Heartland Institute, a leading American forum for climate change and global warming sceptics, organised a rump event in Rome, but those voices were pointedly not invited inside the Vatican and UN conference.
The near-universal expectation is that Francis’s encyclical will lend the moral authority of the Catholic Church to calls for stronger environmental protection, including limits on greenhouse gas emissions as part of the anti-climate change push.
Francis has already tipped his hand about the document’s contents in multiple ways. He’s said he wanted the document out by mid-2015 so it would influence a UN climate change summit set for Paris in December. He said he hopes the nations gathered at the event will make “courageous” choices—clearly implying that he doesn’t believe efforts to date have been especially courageous!
In January, he went on record saying he believes climate change is largely man-made, going so far as to fault humanity for “slapping around” the natural world. Bergoglio is also fond of saying, whenever talk turns to the environment, that “God always forgives, man sometimes forgives, but nature never forgives.”
The “encyclical” is already generating significant criticism. Some are coming from secular sceptics on global warming and climate change, but presumably more worrying for Bergoglio is blowback from within the Church.
One such voice was heard last month in a piece by Riccardo Cascioli for La nuova Bussola Quotidiana, a widely read Italian Catholic web site. Cascioli’s concluding line is, “The road the church is heading down is precisely this: To quietly approve population control while talking about something else.”
The heart of Cascioli’s case is not just that the United Nations is, in some ways, an odd partner for the Catholic Church, since some UN agencies over the years have engaged in titanic battles with the Church over issues such as whether condoms should be part of anti-AIDS efforts in the developing world.
It’s also that environmentalism and population control are intrinsically linked—at least in their present forms. Cascioli believes you simply can’t have one without the other.
For those not familiar with Cascioli’s work, he’s a former Vatican Radio employee who co-authored a two-volume work entitled Lies of the Environmentalists in 2004 and 2006. Among other things, the book argued that radical eco-activists deny the unique spiritual status of human beings in a way incompatible with Christian orthodoxy.
To date, Cascioli’s main concern has been with secular environmentalism. Now, however, he believes those forces are infiltrating the Church at its highest level.
“Up to this point, the Holy See has always represented the final and inviolable obstacle in defence of human dignity against a globalist ideology,” he wrote last month. With Bergoglio’s new encyclical, he said, the moment may be at hand when “the Catholic Church is swept into the ecological chorus … sustaining its official doctrine on the climate.”
The logical consequence, Cascioli believes, will be for the Catholic Church to lower its guard against abortion, contraception, and other population control measures, because the “ecological chorus” is convinced the main threat to sustainable development and environmental harmony is human over-population.
“It’s the usual story,” he writes. “To eliminate poverty, all you have to do is to physically eliminate the poor.”
In opposition to that, Cascioli cites traditional Catholic doctrine that “every human life is sacred and cannot be sacrificed for any motive,” adding his own coda: “Not even to save the planet.” You don’t have to control population growth in order to clean up the environment!
Cascioli’s core point is that you can’t buy only part of the secular environmental agenda. If Catholicism officially embraces the crusade against climate change, he warns, the momentum will carry the Church to places it will regret going.
Whatever one makes of Cascioli’s point, it would be a mistake to conclude he’s the only one who feels this way. He speaks for a powerful constituency in the Church, including Catholics most committed to pro-life causes. As one of such Catholics, Michael remarked, “it is rather Bergoglio's emissions that are causing global climate change.
“Talk about harmful man-made emissions affecting the global climate...”, he writes, “how about the emissions constantly spewing out of Bergoglio's big mouth...? Those are having a severe detrimental effect on the global morality climate. The more he talks the lower the global morality index plunges... The world-wide climate for Catholic families is deteriorating due to warming up of the global radical homosexual campaigns to redefine the most basic unit of society which is the family... There are rising levels of acceptance of abortion and contraception... deviant sexual brainwashing programs are flooding our schools and drowning our children....
“Previously unrecorded storms of heresy and blasphemy are erupting in parishes world-wide and causing widespread spiritual illness in all of the Catholic religious orders—affecting priests, nuns and laity... Bergoglio is definitely changing the global climate in the worst way possible... (the real "Francis effect"). One thing this shows us is the power of the Catholic Church and the papacy to change the world... for good... or for evil...”