The Pope's Encyclical Isn't That Revolutionary
By Lewis Morris
Pope Francis released his much-discussed 184-page papal encyclical on climate change Thursday and the Leftmedia have already distilled the message down to a one sentence quote: “The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.”
Liberals embrace the Pope, or any aspect of religion in general for that matter, when it suits them. The rhetoric surrounding this encyclical is no different.
An encyclical, for those of us who are not Catholic, is an open letter written by a pope. They are not considered infallible. Think of it as an opinion piece written by the pope.
The document, entitled “Laudato Si” (Praise Be to You), states, “Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods. It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day.”
Francis blames the problem on consumerism, corporate greed, overreliance on technology and the poisonous political atmosphere in and among many nations. He called for a radial change in how people conduct their political and economic affairs and suggested that the time has come for each of us to alter our individual lifestyles in response to climate issues.
The encyclical was leaked earlier this week by the Italian magazine L'Espresso, which set off half-baked opinions andspeculation about what the document was going to say, with liberals pre-embracing Francis' message and conservatives expressing concern about the injection of the Vatican into a debate that is far from settled, despite what environmentalists would have us believe.
It is interesting how liberals, who have always rejected religion in favor of worship of the state, have embraced Francis since his ascension in Rome. Francis, who comes from Argentina, is the first pope from the developing world, and, coming from a poor nation as he does, his worldview is shaped accordingly. He has frequently spoken on issues of poverty and inequality, often excoriating capitalism and calling on Western democracies to do more for the world’s poor.
This message of taking from the rich and giving to the poor combined with his latest writings on climate change fall right into line with the liberal narrative, and they have fallen over themselves to praise the pope’s latest message.
Of course, the liberal media has been quite selective in its adoration for Francis, choosing to promote his words that match their ideology, but somehow failing to report on other parts of the pope’s message that don’t swing with the liberal dogma.
Here are a few excerpts from “Laudato Si” that are unlikely to make the front page of the major daily newspapers:
“A spirituality which forgets God as all-powerful and Creator is not acceptable.”
“When media and the digital world become omnipresent, their influence can stop people from learning how to live wisely, to think deeply and to love generously.”
“Concern for the protection of nature is also incompatible with the justification of abortion … It is troubling that, when some ecological movements defend the integrity of the environment, rightly demanding that certain limits be imposed on scientific research, they sometimes fail to apply those same principles to human life.”
“Helping the poor financially must always be a provisional solution in the face of pressing needs. The broader objective should always be to allow them a dignified life through work.”
While the document does reveal a more considered and practical view of the Catholic Church’s stand on environmental and cultural issues than the media would have us believe, there is still cause for concern as to the sources Francis has chosen for his own climate change education.
The pope has relied on some less than reputable sources for his encyclical. Jeffrey Sachs, an economist with a lifelong adoration of socialist policies, has been a vocal supporter of abortion and just the kind of redistributive activities that make him a darling of the Left. The Vatican invited him to speak at its conference on climate change.
Another “gem” the Vatican has listened to is Hans Joachim Schellnhuber. Schellnhuber, director of Germany’s Potsdam Institute and the WBGU, a German climate change advisory council, authored the two-degree-trigger, which stated that a two-degree-Centigrade average rise in global surface temperature was the point of no return in terms of climate change. He claimed that we would reach this point by 2020. Of course, the 18-year lull in rising temperaturesforced Schellnhuber to revise his doomsday date to 2030.
Whether or not Francis chooses to surround himself with real scientists or enviro-Nazis is his choice, but has the pope stirred a storm by injecting the Catholic Church into the environmental debate?
The Catholic Church has always been part of the political debate in Europe and around the world. Hundreds of years ago, Church decisions drove politics and individual nations followed its lead. Today it’s a different story, though. Christianity is facing a withering ideological attack in the U.S. and Western Europe by secularists who preach the primacy of the state or the individual above God. Except when it suits them, like with “Laudato Si.”
It could be that Pope Francis is not the liberal activist the Left wishes him to be. He still holds dear many tenets of the Church that rankle liberal ideologues, such as his beliefs onheterosexual parents and abortion. And even if Francis chooses to embrace the radical liberal environmental agenda, there will always be room for a loyal opposition within the Catholic Church.