"I am naive " said Pope Francis in one of his early garrulous interviews with his favoured Argentinian daily newspaper La Nacion. Well, for someone who is naive, His Holiness has innocently pulled the wool over the eyes of the global media who are lapping up his Encyclical "Laudato Si' ". Under cover of presenting an Encyclical on the Environment, the Holy Father has rolled into the midst of the Media public square a comprehensive presentation of Catholic theology, philosophy, morality and pastoral concerns. This has not been achieved without cost, but we will deal with that later.
"Laudato Si' " is long and wordy, at 183 Pages it is not going to be read by most people, and, even among those wanting to read it, many will not persevere with the effort because of things they encounter in it. So it will live largely in the identity the Mainstream Media give it.And that will come from skimmed reading and selection of sensational bits. But within this "apparent" Encyclical , there lies an authentically Catholic presentation of Christ's teaching integrated into a way of life.
What are the key elements of that Catholic presentation - the secrets the Media will not care to get to, let alone present?
A hat tip to The Acton Institute's " The Stream " for their research on this and to Damian Rhodes of http://nonangelussedanglus.blogspot.hk/for drawing this to my attention.
1. There is firmly asserted that there is a Creator of all things and beings. And that He loves all of His Creation including each one of us. These great realities make us responsible to the Creator God for each other and the Creation put at our disposal
2.The Holy Father teaches that in this Creation we see a human ecology which obliges us to respect the bodies the Creator God has given us and the particular sex that He has accorded each of our bodies. And this obliges us to care for our bodies and respect them as they are, and to do likewise to others with whom we have contact, be they male or female.
3. The Holy Father points out that Jesus Christ, God Made Man, worked with His hands just as we do , and this fact works to sanctify all human work. In this way, our daily toil tends to allow us to work with Christ and collaborate with Him for the redemption of humanity.
4. The Holy father urges modern man to engage in real person to person contact with our fellow beings, escaping from the electronic distancing we experience through the inordinate use of mobile phones and digital networks.
5.The Holy Father urges us to protect human life especially the innocent and defenceless life of the unborn. Loss of sensitivity to the sacredness of the lives of babes in the womb will lead the sensitivity to all stages of human life to wither away in time. 6.His Holiness notes the essential place of work in establishing human dignity and urges that aid to those in need should always be a prelude to assisting them toward gainful employment. Equally technological development should not solely be aimed at displacing human labour.
7.Pope Francis directly criticises those aid agencies which make their programmes integrate population control.He puts the blame for problems not on "excessive population" but rather on the extreme and selective consumerism of some.
8. He teaches that the immense dignity of each person - every one of us created " in the image and likeness" of God must be recognised.There can be no renewal of our relationship with nature until this is recognised and acted upon. Human beings cannot be expected to feel responsibility for the world, unless at the same time, their unique capacities of knowledge, will, freedom and responsibility are recognized and valued.
9.Politics and the force of law the Pope teaches , are unable to curb bad conduct toward the environment . What is necessary is for the majority of the population to be morally disposed to accept them and to respond accordingly.
10. His Holiness makes it clear that the Church does not pretend to settle scientific questions , but encourages open and honest debate.He recognises the radically different views of the existing situation that are held and the consequent differences in regard to necessary solutions.
11.The Holy Father attacks superficiality which is evident in immorality and the mockery of ethics, goodness, faith and honesty. These have resulted in battles over conflicting interests, new forms of violence and brutality and obstacles to a genuine culture of care for the environment.
These are the contents of Pope Francis' Trojan Horse Encyclical which he has trundled into the public square to vast mainstream media attention and favour NOT because of these matters , but because it is about the Environment.
The price for getting this traditional Catholic teaching into the public square has been this :
In order to begin to get traction in the "Environment " arena , the Holy Father has assumed that "The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life. This is why the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor; she “groans in travail” (Rom 8:22). We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the earth "
From this His Holiness proceeds to assume that anthropocentric Climate Change is a fact and that anthropocentric Global Warming is a fact :
25. 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. Its worst impact will probably be felt by developing countries in coming decades.
And there is much more along those lines which is straight out of the Al Gore brigade's copy book. But the truth is simple : yes, there is climate change , there always has been climate change and there always will be climate change and man is incapable of having any significant effect on it . We cannot even regularly make rain when we try seeding clouds, let alone affect the climate. Forces far beyond our control or even complete understanding are at work there : e.g. the influence of the Sun and Sun "spots" , the influence of the oceans and their currents, the influence of volcanic eruptions both on the surface of the planet and underwater.
For example, changes in climate, to which animals and plants cannot adapt, lead them to migrate; this in turn affects the livelihood of the poor, who are then forced to leave their homes, with great uncertainty for their future and that of their children. There has been a tragic rise in the number of migrants seeking to flee from the growing poverty caused by environmental degradation.
No gesture is made toward justifying this assertion. Whereas we can plainly see that the majority of refugees are in fact economic migrants seeking to escape from corrupt states or genuine refugees from wars, political persecution and religious persecution.
24. Warming has effects on the carbon cycle. It creates a vicious circle which aggravates the situation even more, affecting the availability of essential resources like drinking water, energy and agricultural production in warmer regions, and leading to the extinction of part of the planet’s biodiversity. The melting in the polar ice caps and in high altitude plains can lead to the dangerous release of methane gas, while the decomposition of frozen organic material can further increase the emission of carbon dioxide. Things are made worse by the loss of tropical forests which would otherwise help to mitigate climate change. Carbon dioxide pollution increases the acidification of the oceans and compromises the marine food chain. If present trends continue, this century may well witness extraordinary climate change and an unprecedented destruction of ecosystems, with serious consequences for all of us. A rise in the sea level, for example, can create extremely serious situations, if we consider that a quarter of the world’s population lives on the coast or nearby, and that the majority of our megacities are situated in coastal areas.
This is the most outrageous bit of misinformation. Firstly, there has been no "Global Warming" for 18 years as NASA and the IPCC have shown. Secondly the planet has been very significantly warmer centuries ago on two occasions at least , and when there was no industrialisation of modern proportions at all. Changing sea levels have been a constant for millenia as the evidence of history shows.Even in Roman times cities that were once ports are now miles from the sea. A visit to Classe outside Ravenna will provide a reality check.
The failure to look critically at these " environmentalist" claims which are so easily disproved is extremely disappointing in this document.
III. LOSS OF BIODIVERSITY
32. The earth’s resources are also being plundered because of short-sighted approaches to the economy, commerce and production. The loss of forests and woodlands entails the loss of species which may constitute extremely important resources in the future, not only for food but also for curing disease and other uses. Different species contain genes which could be key resources in years ahead for meeting human needs and regulating environmental problems.
33. It is not enough, however, to think of different species merely as potential “resources” to be exploited, while overlooking the fact that they have value in themselves. Each year sees the disappearance of thousands of plant and animal species which we will never know, which our children will never see, because they have been lost for ever. The great majority become extinct for reasons related to human activity. Because of us, thousands of species will no longer give glory to God by their very existence, nor convey their message to us. We have no such right.
34. It may well disturb us to learn of the extinction of mammals or birds, since they are more visible. But the good functioning of ecosystems also requires fungi, algae, worms, insects, reptiles and an innumerable variety of microorganisms. Some less numerous species, although generally unseen, nonetheless play a critical role in maintaining the equilibrium of a particular place. Human beings must intervene when a geosystem reaches a critical state. But nowadays, such intervention in nature has become more and more frequent. As a consequence, serious problems arise, leading to further interventions; human activity becomes ubiquitous, with all the risks which this entails. Often a vicious circle results, as human intervention to resolve a problem further aggravates the situation. For example, many birds and insects which disappear due to synthetic agrotoxins are helpful for agriculture: their disappearance will have to be compensated for by yet other techniques which may well prove harmful. We must be grateful for the praiseworthy efforts being made by scientists and engineers dedicated to finding solutions to man-made problems. But a sober look at our world shows that the degree of human intervention, often in the service of business interests and consumerism, is actually making our earth less rich and beautiful, ever more limited and grey, even as technological advances and consumer goods continue to abound limitlessly. We seem to think that we can substitute an irreplaceable and irretrievable beauty with something which we have created ourselves.
60. Finally, we need to acknowledge that different approaches and lines of thought have emerged regarding this situation and its possible solutions. At one extreme, we find those who doggedly uphold the myth of progress and tell us that ecological problems will solve themselves simply with the application of new technology and without any need for ethical considerations or deep change. At the other extreme are those who view men and women and all their interventions as no more than a threat, jeopardizing the global ecosystem, and consequently the presence of human beings on the planet should be reduced and all forms of intervention prohibited. Viable future scenarios will have to be generated between these extremes, since there is no one path to a solution. This makes a variety of proposals possible, all capable of entering into dialogue with a view to developing comprehensive solutions.
61. On many concrete questions, the Church has no reason to offer a definitive opinion; she knows that honest debate must be encouraged among experts, while respecting divergent views. But we need only take a frank look at the facts to see that our common home is falling into serious disrepair. Hope would have us recognize that there is always a way out, that we can always redirect our steps, that we can always do something to solve our problems. Still, we can see signs that things are now reaching a breaking point, due to the rapid pace of change and degradation; these are evident in large-scale natural disasters as well as social and even financial crises, for the world’s problems cannot be analyzed or explained in isolation. There are regions now at high risk and, aside from all doomsday predictions, the present world system is certainly unsustainable from a number of points of view, for we have stopped thinking about the goals of human activity. “If we scan the regions of our planet, we immediately see that humanity has disappointed God’s expectations”.
I have quoted the above at length, to give the full flavour of much of the Encyclical which so many will never read. " But we need only take a frank look at the facts to see that our common home is falling into serious disrepair" A frank look at the facts tells us no such thing as I have shown.
"Each year sees the disappearance of thousands of plant and animal species which we will never know," This statement in itself shows its own absurdity - even if these "thousands" disappeared, if we can "never know"them how can it be said that they "disappear"?
To be very frank, the nature of the faults in this Encyclical is such that its good points listed above are buried as it were in a pile of alien propaganda which has nothing to do with the Catholic Faith or the responsibilities of the Pope and I have no interest in continuing to examine it.
If one were truly interested in the welfare of the poor of this world why would one not write an Encyclical condemning corruption in all its forms which impoverishes most of Africa and Asia and the Middle East? Rulers and their lackeys who do not blush at stealing BILLIONS of dollars - yes BILLIONS even individuals have done it , not just the aggregate of them all. And countries like Switzerland have grown fat banking all these ill gotten goods. Here is a subject where man is truly responsible and truly capable of effecting change. And the poor of these countries live in continuing abject poverty . I have seen for myself people living on and from vast rubbish tips in Djakarta Indonesia, while the fat wives of politicians swan around in jewel bedecked vulgarity, and bribery is the norm in Government operations. And in Nigeria again the poor lack clean running water, lack regular electricity, lack adequate sewerage,lack medicines and lack jobs and yet dozens of political leaders have been shown to have most blatantly stolen BILLIONS of dollars in recent times and over the decades. All of this is stolen from the people. It is not stolen by " capitalism" it is crudely stolen by their fellow countrymen in office. And Nigeria is an immensely wealthy country , presently reduced to heavy indebtedness by the depredations of these monsters. These are only two countries, but the story is repeated in many countries around the world including the Holy Father's native South America.
But we hear nothing about this.
Let us praise the Encyclical " Laudato Si'" for what is good in it as listed above. Let us with the same integrity ignore those things in it that are false and , or, irrelevant to the Papal office.
Let us cry out for Encyclicals that directly address the immorality of corruption that impoverishes the poor of the global community - the crudest theft in the history of the world.