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Pope Francis on World Climate Change
by Dr. Emanuel Paparella
2015-06-23 09:20:27
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The latest papal encyclical, leaked a few days ahead of its publication (on Thursday the 18th of June 2015), is titled “Laudato Sii” (Praised be ye Lord). That is the first line of a famous poem of St. Francis of Assisi (the very first poem of Italian Literature) titled “Il Cantico delle creature” (“The Canticle of Creatures”) wherein St. Francis gives praise to God through all the creatures of the earth and of the universe, be they animate or inanimate. Even the sun and the moon are called brother sun and sister moon; in fact the subtitle of the poem is “Brother Sun, Sister Moon.” See http://www.appleseeds.org/canticle.htm


St. Francis of Assisi praising God through nature

The geniality of this poem is that the praise of God comes about via the recognition and the gratefulness for the existence of all things created. If that is so, then to exterminate a species or to pollute and destroy nature in any way is the equivalent of refusing to acknowledge the sanctity of their existence; in effect to refuse to praise God for their existence as well as refusing to be a steward and a protector of nature. This is the plight of modern man which Kierkegaard calls “the sickness unto death” consisting of being sick and not even being aware of it.

It is worth considering that this present Pope, who was a Jesuit at one time, did not choose as his name that of a Jesuit Saint but of St. Francis of Assisi. He also knows a thing or two about science since he was a chemist by training. Nevertheless, this has not prevented so called “good Catholics” such as Rick Santorum (an ex US Senator now running for president for the second time), and Marco Rubio, senator from Florida also running for the US presidency, who consider themselves more Catholic than the Pope, and have suggested that the Pope stay away from science and stick to religion and morality. The same applied to Rick Scott, the governor of Florida who has even forbidden the use of the expression “climate change” in Florida’s state institutions.

All those politicians attempt to convince voters that there is no such thing as human responsibility for climate change; they usually acknowledge not being scientists, but then they insist that the opinion of 97% of scientists on the subject does not much matter. In effect they are denying science for the sake of politics or economics. Climate change goes against governmental deregulation and the ability of entrepreneurs to pollute the environment in order to make more money, therefore, so the argument goes, it constitutes an inconvenient truth to be denied and even forbidden for debate or discussion. So much for democracy, free speech, and the ability to pursue the truth, no matter where it leads.


Former Senator Rick Santorum

The above scenario is quite puzzling: which way do we really want it? On one hand we’d like to denounce the Catholic Church for not having a good record on the acceptance of science. The Galileo case is usually brought forward, never mind that the Church never denied Galileo’s scientific theory of the revolution of the earth around the sun, only that it was not proven yet and as such it remained a theory not a law, a law needs to be empirically verified; also, never mind the monks’ copying of manuscripts in medieval monasteries which saved the remnants of antiquity and made the Renaissance possible.


Senator Marco Rubio from Florida

On the other hand we’d like to deny science and propose our pet political and economic theories in its place. It’s quite illogical, but then since when has logic deterred those Machiavellian politicians for whom power is the supreme value and who believe that the end justify the means?


Present Governor of Florida Rick Scott

It will be intriguing to see how all those “good Catholic Republican politicians” will squirm and twist the truth when confronted with the Pope’s latest encyclical on climate change and man’s responsibility for the earth’s stewardship. As mentioned, they’ll have to declare themselves more Catholic than the Pope, more knowledgeable than scientists, and perhaps as an ultimate solution to the conundrum, set up a new schismatic more accommodating Church in possession of more convenient and useful scientific truths. It has happened before even if truth ultimately ended up being prostituted for political and economic interests. Indeed, when truth is so shamelessly prostituted, can the Kiekegaardian “sickness unto death” be far behind?


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Leah Sellers2015-06-26 15:58:17
Pope Francis is truly a Worthy and Memorable Spiritual Leader on so many levels. And he is correct, We are the Stewards of this beautiful Planet - this Nest we have Chosen to poop within and upon. But I am the Eternal Optimist.
Christ, too, was an Eternal Optimist. For even as his Body died upon the Cross he let the Sinners beside and around him know that It Is Never Too Late to Choose to Turn Things Around. Even our Technologies Need to stop Serving only Humankind. We should be Choosing to Invent and ReInvent to Serve the Whole of Creation - not just the voracious Consumers of Creation.

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