Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Thursday 28 October |
The Feast of Saints Simon and Jude Thaddeus
Aleteia logo
home iconLifestyle
line break icon

Four Key Points on Human Ecology and Climate We Hope to See Pope Francis Make

Neil-Palmer/CIAT

Steven W. Mosher - published on 01/01/15

Pope Francis has the opportunity to put the human person back in the center of climate concerns

The secular media, which is no friend of the Catholic Church, seems to specialize in misrepresenting the views of its prelates. Pope Francis has been particularly ill served in this regard and, at the same time, seems to shrug it off. So it is hard to know what to make of The Guardian’s story that the Holy Father is preparing to address global warming and lobby for decisive international action to combat climate change. Is it just the secular media attempting (once again) to sensationalize the papacy (and sell newspapers)? Or is it really on to something?

Here’s what we know:

We know that Pope Francis, like his predecessor, Pope Benedict wants us to be good stewards of the wonderful planet that God has given us. (But who doesn’t?)

We know that Bishop Marcelo Sorondo, chancellor of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences, has spoken of the pope’s wish to influence next year’s UN climate meeting in Paris.

We know—again from Bishop Sorondo—that the pope wants to convene an ecumenical meeting to discuss climate issues, human ecology, and what Sorondo called “the tragedy of social exclusion.”

And we know that there is an encyclical being drafted on these matters, although no one seems to know exactly what’s in it, since it is still in its early stages. The Vatican has so far not officially given any hint the encyclical will cover the theme of climate change, only that “human ecology” will be a major topic.

I, for one, am looking forward to the Holy Father’s contribution to the debate on man and the environment. Here are some points I hope he’ll present:

First, I hope that he will point out that, while we are to be good stewards of the environment, this does not mean that we are to worship it. Many of the radical environmentalists behave like the animists of old, regarding trees and rocks as living spirits. Others are, in effect, pantheists, viewing the entire earth, or even the cosmos as a whole, as a gigantic living organism.

Only man is made in the image of God, I imagine the Pope saying, and only God, the creator of both man, the earth, and the universe that surrounds them, is worthy of worship. This would put things in their proper perspective and help to save souls from modern-day green heresies.

Second, I hope that the Pope will emphasize the good news that the pace of global warming is far lower than the original UN climate models predicted. In fact, the models’ prediction of a 2.80C rise over the course of a century were off by half.

It turns out that the earth’s climate is far more complicated than was originally thought, and that we simply do not know how much impact human activity will have on the climate compared to the planet’s natural warming and cooling cycles.

This means that we have more time to gather data, to improve faulty climate models, and to reach international understandings than was once thought. There is no need to hastily conclude a treaty in Paris next year drastically reducing carbon dioxide emissions on the basis of extreme warming scenarios that have simply not come to pass.

The Pope should invoke the great Catholic scientists of the past, from Copernicus to Mendel, in arguing for the need for cautious, careful science. Propaganda is no substitute for hard science, he should argue, and is a misuse of the intelligence that God has gifted us with and trusted us to use.

Third, I am greatly looking forward to his discussion on “human ecology,” where I anticipate that he, like Pope Benedict, will put the welfare of human beings at the very center of Catholic concern for the environment.

The poor and powerless must not be made scapegoats for environmental problems. Above all, they must not be deprived of the resources that they need to improve their lives.

  • 1
  • 2
Tags:
ChinaEconomyPope FrancisPovertyPracticing Mercy
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
APPLE,APPLE TREE
J-P Mauro
How St. Jerome’s pun made an apple the “forbidden fruit”
2
VENERABLE SANDRA SABATTINI
Philip Kosloski
Meet Sandra Sabattini, a newly beatified 22-year-old
3
Fr. Patrick Briscoe, OP
4 Steps of prayer to learn from today’s Gospel
4
VON TRAPP FAMILY
John Burger
Member of the singing Von Trapp family dies in Vermont
5
GETAFE
Dolors Massot
Two sisters become nuns at the same time in Spain
6
devil
Philip Kosloski
Why Satan is known as the “accuser”
7
PADRE PIO
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio replied to John Paul II’s letter with a miracle
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.