The approaching release of Laudato Si, Pope Francis’ encyclical on creation and the environment, to be made public this Thursday, has caused a little bit of stir, even a storm; nay, violent climate change! Yet, as my friend and creator Billy Shakespeare once wrote, “Many can brook the weather that love not the wind.” While I have no idea what that means, I do know that weather does appear to be in the air a lot these days.
Regardless, pundits, bloggers, and other important people who have not yet read the encyclical have already denounced it and praised it in equal measure. Anticipation is so intense that a few commentators have even suggested they might actually read it!—if (and only if) it is eventually made into a movie that is free of all theological and philosophical language and features plenty of chase scenes involving Priuses. (I suggest it be called “The Italian Job 2” and be directed by John Woo.)
I, on the other hand, have not only read the leaked Italian copy of the draft (we Shakespearean characters are known for our linguistic abilities), I have even read an unleaked copy of the final draft. Of course, since I am a fictional character, I am actually unable to “read an unleaked copy of the final draft”. What I have actually done is to trans-port myself into an alternative world in which I read a draft that was never actually written. I call this “trans-papal-portation”, and I strongly feel that those who have never experienced it are not capable of criticizing. If you do, you’re a hater.
The draft I read is approximately 2,175 pages long, but most of it has to do with weather patterns, icebergs, and esoteric scientific debates. I have selected a few quotes that I think deserve to be read by discerning CWR readers. Thus, I trans-mit these pithy quotes to you, with all of the trans-parency worthy of my esteemed position as jack-of-all-trades:
On global warming: “While some people question the reality of global warming—the Bishops’ Conference of Antarctica among them—many others see it as a certainty confirmed by the scientific consensus.” — Laudato Si, paragraph no 251, Pope Francis I.
On solar panels and recycling: “As of December 1, 2015, every Catholic parish in the world will install solar panels. No Catholic parish bulletin shall be published on anything other than recycled paper. Every pastor shall appoint a recycling director, to oversee the recycling activities of the parish.” — Laudato Si, Paragraph no. 257, Pope Francis I.
On leaks: “The Extraordinarily Special General Universal Synod of Bishops has declared that those newspapers that leak drafts of papal documents are not worth the paper on which they are published, especially when it is not recycled paper. This is a view I concur with.”— Laudato Si, paragraph no 339, Pope Francis I.
On littering: “As successor in the Petrine Ministry, with the responsibility to confirm my brethren in the faith, I confirm and declare that it is always and everywhere contrary to human dignity to litter and this teaching is to be definitively held by all the faithful.” — Laudato Si, Paragraph 432, Pope Francis I.
On plastic bags: “The issue of plastic bags has been much discussed in our time. On the one hand, such bags are convenient. While such convenience is routine for the rich and even demanded by them, it also provides relief for the poor. Not without reason do we speak of the poor ‘bag lady’. Nevertheless, and on the other hand, such bags are created using fossil fuels, which are not a renewable resource, despite the fantasies of such Hollywood films as Jurassic World. For this reason, careful and prudent consideration should be given to the question of the use of plastic bags. Where possible, the faithful should consider replacing plastic bags with reusable cloth bags.” — Laudato Si, paragraph no 544, Pope Francis I.
On signs of the times: “Today, the human race is involved in a new stage of history. Profound and rapid changes to the climate and environment are spreading by degrees—literally!—around the whole world. Man is called, therefore, to gauge the temperature of both the Earth and of the Church, and to offer a forecast rooted in scientific sobriety and pastoral mercy, and to then provide a prophetic assessment of the signs of the times. Preferably without involving fossil fuels.” — Laudato Si, paragraph no 601, Pope Francis I.
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