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  • Pope Francis warns of destruction of world’s ecosystem in leaked encyclical

    Vatican condemns early release of document in which pontiff calls on people to change their lifestyles and energy consumption or face grave consequences.

    The Guardian, By Stephanie Kirchgaessner & John Hooper, June 15

    Rome – Pope Francis will this week call for changes in lifestyles and energy consumption to avert the “unprecedented destruction of the ecosystem” before the end of this century, according to a leaked draft of a papal encyclical. In a document released by an Italian magazine on Monday, the pontiff will warn that failure to act would have “grave consequences for all of us”.

    Francis also called for a new global political authority tasked with “tackling … the reduction of pollution and the development of poor countries and regions”. His appeal echoed that of his predecessor, pope Benedict XVI, who in a 2009 encyclical proposed a kind of super-UN to deal with the world’s economic problems and injustices.

    According to the lengthy draft, which was obtained and published by L’Espresso magazine, the Argentinean pope will align himself with the environmental movement and its objectives. While accepting that there may be some natural causes of global warming, the pope will also state that climate change is mostly a man-made problem.

    Ugh. Before the end of the Century…

  • The Guardian: The Pope’s encyclical on climate change – live reaction and analysis

    The Guardian, Extract: Pope Francis: The Earth, our home, is beginning to look like an immense pile of filth

    The Guardian: Pope’s climate change encyclical tells rich nations: ‘Pay your debt to the poor’

    The Guardian: Eight things we learned from the Pope’s climate change encyclical

    NCR Analysis: Laudato Si’ arrives

    The Vatican: Laudato Si [PDF]

    Opening Paragraphs:

    1. “Laudato si’, mi’ Signore” – “Praise be to you, my Lord”. In the words of this beautiful canticle, Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us. “Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with coloured flowers and herbs”.1

    2. This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her. We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will. 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 (cf. Gen 2:7); our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters.

    Nothing in this world is indifferent to us

    3. More than fifty years ago, with the world teetering on the brink of nuclear crisis, Pope Saint John XXIII wrote an Encyclical which not only rejected war but offered a proposal for peace. He addressed his message Pacem in Terris to the entire “Catholic world” and indeed “to all men and women of good will”. Now, faced as we are with global environmental deterioration, I wish to address every person living on this planet. In my Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, I wrote to all the members of the Church with the aim of encouraging ongoing missionary renewal. In this Encyclical, I would like to enter into dialogue with all people about our common home.

  • Few Echo Pope’s Environment Plea in Sunday Sermons

    New York Times, By Laurie Goodstein, June 21

    On the first Sunday after Pope Francis issued a landmark document on the environment, Roman Catholics attending Mass in Kenya, France, Mexico, Peru and the United States said they were thankful that he was using his pulpit to address climate change, pollution and global inequality.

    But few priests or bishops — other than in parts of Latin America — used their own pulpits on Sunday to pass on the pope’s message, according to parish visits, interviews with Catholic leaders and reports from Catholics after Mass. Despite the urgent call to action in Francis’ document and the international attention it received, it will take some time to know whether Catholic clergy are familiar or comfortable enough with its themes to preach them to the faithful.

    It traditionally takes months for papal teaching documents, known as encyclicals, to be read, understood and disseminated. And this one, “Laudato Si’,” or “Praise Be to You: On Care for Our Common Home,” is long, nearly 200 pages, and intricately weaves spiritual and moral teachings with economic, scientific and political analysis. It includes a forceful denunciation of a global economic system that the pope says plunders the resources of the poor for the benefit of the rich, leaving the poor to disproportionately suffer the consequences, including the effects of climate change.

    Also, Ian Welsh: Burn In Hell?

  • A Radical Vatican?

    The New Yorker, By Naomi Klein, July 10

    When I was first asked to speak at a Vatican press conference on Pope Francis’s recently published climate-change encyclical, “Laudato Si’,” I was convinced that the invitation would soon be rescinded. Now the press conference and, after it, a two-day symposium to explore the encyclical is just two days away. This is actually happening.

    As usual ahead of stressful trips, I displace all of my anxiety onto wardrobe. The forecast for Rome in the first week of July is punishingly hot, up to ninety-five degrees Fahrenheit. Women visiting the Vatican are supposed to dress modestly, no exposed legs or upper arms. Long, loose cottons are the obvious choice, the only problem being that I have a deep-seated sartorial aversion to anything with the whiff of hippie.

    Surely the Vatican press room has air-conditioning. Then again, “Laudato Si’ ” makes a point of singling it out as one of many “harmful habits of consumption which, rather than decreasing, appear to be growing all the more.” Will the powers that be make a point of ditching the climate control just for this press conference? Or will they keep it on and embrace contradiction, as I am doing by supporting the Pope’s bold writings on how responding to the climate crisis requires deep changes to our growth-driven economic model—while disagreeing with him about a whole lot else?

    To remind myself why this is worth all the trouble, I reread a few passages from the encyclical. In addition to laying out the reality of climate change, it spends considerable time exploring how the culture of late capitalism makes it uniquely difficult to address, or even focus upon, this civilizational challenge. “Nature is filled with words of love,” Francis writes, “but how can we listen to them amid constant noise, interminable and nerve-wracking distractions, or the cult of appearances?”


    This point is made forcefully by the Irish Catholic priest and theologian Seán McDonagh, who was part of the drafting process for the encyclical. His voice booming from the audience, he urges us not to hide from the fact that the love of nature embedded in the encyclical represents a profound and radical shift from traditional Catholicism. “We are moving to a new theology,” he declares.

    To prove it, he translates a Latin prayer that was once commonly recited after communion during the season of advent. “Teach us to despise the things of the earth and to love the things of heaven.” Overcoming centuries of loathing the corporeal world is no small task, and, McDonagh argues, it serves little purpose to downplay the work ahead.

    It’s thrilling to witness such radical theological challenges being batted around inside the curved wooden walls of an auditorium named after St. Augustine, the theologian whose skepticism of things bodily and material so profoundly shaped the Church. But I would imagine that for the conspicuously silent men in black robes in the front row, who study and teach in this building, it is also a little terrifying.

  • Cardinal George Pell attacks Pope’s decision for the church to focus on global warming

    9News.com.au, July 19

    Cardinal George Pell has come out in criticism of the Pope’s decision to have the Catholic Church focus on Climate Change.

    A month ago Pope Francis released a historical encyclical which revealed he has decided to place climate change at the top of the Climate Church’s agenda.

    Speaking with The Financial Times, Cardinal Pell, a well-known climate change sceptic, said the church should separate itself from science.

    “The church has got no mandate from the Lord to pronounce on scientific matters,” he said.

    “We believe in the autonomy of science.”


    Despite his claims the church has “no particular expertise in science” Cardinal Pell did give a speech on climate change in 2011.

    In the speech, called One Christian Perspective on Climate Change, Cardinal Pell questioned the objectivity of the scientists.

    “Where does scientific striving become uneconomic, immoral or ineffectual and so lapse into hubris?” he asked.

    “Have scientists been co-opted onto a bigger, better advertised and more expensive bandwagon than the millennium bug fiasco?”

    Cardinal Pell was appointed the Vatican’s financial chief by Pope Francis in January.

    The Politcal Sword: Abbott and the Murdoch, Rinehart, Pell connection

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