Important points in Laudate Deum are overshadowed by missed opportunities

In the end, Pope Francis’s letter reads like it could have been issued from a secular NGO, with not much distinctively Christian save a few nods to the faith, leaving one to wonder who the intended audience truly is.

Pollution in Shanghai, China. (Image: Photoholgic/Unsplash.com)

Editor’s note: This is the first of several essays on the recently released apostolic exhortation Laudate Deum that CWR will posting over the next week.

 

Days before its October 4 release, social media was already ablaze with vitriol over the impending release of Pope Francis’s apostolic exhortation Laudate Deum (LD).For many of us, this made it tempting to rush to a judgment concerning the document’s merit without first giving the pope the benefit of reading his actual words. For better or worse, this is the mass media culture we inhabit, and it makes an examination of conscience all the more necessary before we speak publicly on a matter related to the faith—especially so controversial a one as a papal statement on the issue of climate change.

As the Book of Proverbs rightly observes, “When words are many, transgression is not lacking” (10:19). Attempting to bear that caution in mind, what follows are some of this theologian’s initial thoughts on Pope Francis’s recent missive.

A beautiful expression of insights in harmony with Christian Tradition

In line with the spirituality of St. Francis’s Canticle of the Creatures, the Holy Father seeks to re-enchant creation in a society where it is too often reduced to a lifeless machine that can be manipulated at will. Forgetful of the wisdom of Scripture and the Church Fathers, many well-meaning Christians tend to consider the natural world as mere matter, separating grace from nature in such a way that the latter is not inherently significant from a spiritual perspective.

In the effort to raise our eyes beyond this limited horizon, Francis proclaims that creation is “a gift for which we should be thankful,” warning that a lack of gratitude for this reality risks turning creation into “a slave, prey to any whim of the human mind and its capacities” (LD, §22). In truth, any being that God has created is never mere “stuff,” a random assortment of atoms devoid of any inherent purpose or role to play in God’s plan. Citing his other major writing on the environment, the pontiff explains that the eyes of faith open to us an entirely new perspective on the cosmos in which “the creatures of this world no longer appear to us under merely natural guise, because the risen One is mysteriously holding them to himself and directing them towards fullness as their end” (LD, §65).

Echoing the wisdom of theological greats like St. Thomas Aquinas who described God as “innermost in all things,” Pope Francis writes that “the universe unfolds in God, who fills it completely.” For those who have the eyes to see and ears to hear, the powerful implication is that “there is a mystical meaning to be found in a leaf, in a mountain trail, in a dewdrop, in a poor person’s face.”

This reminds one of the childlike wonder of G.K. Chesterton, who found intoxication in the “startling wetness of water…the fieriness of fire, the steeliness of steel, and the unutterable muddiness of mud.” It also aligns well with Pope John Paul II’s contemplative posture towards the natural world in which he went so far as to speak of the “sacramentality of creation.” Francis is at his best in this text when his words take a lyrical turn, as when he follows the lead of his predecessor Benedict XVI who saw the entire cosmos as a divine symphony, a world that, as Francis says, is constituted by the “marvelous concert of all God’s creatures” that “sings of an infinite Love.” This recognition is at bottom the most profound motivation for the Christian to take care of creation seriously. In the words of Pope Francis, when we bear this truth of creation in mind, “how can we fail to care for it?” (LD, §§65, 67).

Although Francis does not explicitly cite it here, another strength of this document is its allusion to the “covenant between mankind and the environment” Benedict XVI frequently invoked as the basis for believers’ involvement in the conservation and renewal of the earth. Even as we bear in mind “the unique and central value of the human being” in the created order, Francis crucially stresses that, “as part of the universe… all of us are linked by unseen bonds and together form a kind of universal family, a sublime communion which fills us with a sacred, affectionate and humble respect” (LD, §67). Although this claim may strike one as overly poetic or unduly anthropomorphic, it is nevertheless a theme that runs throughout the pages of Sacred Scripture. For example, the Lord told Noah upon exiting the ark, “Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you.” (Gen 9:9–10).

The covenantal relationship between man and his non-human companions runs more deeply than many believers imagine. It is not only a divine revealed datum, for we are related historically to every living being on earth by virtue of our very DNA, and our present life would be impossible without the constant exchange of breath and life with other creatures. In keeping with this conviction of his predecessors, Francis underscores that thinking of the environment merely as an impersonal “setting” for our lives is to neglect that “we are part of nature, included in it and thus in constant interaction with it.” It is easy to think of human beings as occupying a detached position above the fray of nature, inserted into it from above and fated eventually to leave it behind.

Countering this mistaken notion of man, the pontiff reminds us that we who bear the image of God behold the world not from without, but from within, and that this world is destined to be transfigured in a new heavens and new earth on the Last Day (LD, §25). At the end of his document, Francis expresses the vital relevance of having such an awareness, “[f]or when human beings claim to take God’s place, they become their own worst enemies” (LD, §73). While he does not reference the expression by name, this point is but another way of expressing the Church’s doctrine of “integral ecology” which was coined in the past century to highlight the interconnectedness of humans and the wider created world.

Seeking to reconcile the well-being of both in a society where they are regrettably often pitted against one another, this perspective stresses that care for the natural world is not a secondary issue but indeed essential for human flourishing.

An analysis and evaluation of Francis’s approach to climate change

As we have just seen, the pontiff’s reflections above are in concert with the broader Catholic tradition. Indeed, especially when read in light of his emphases in Laudato Si’, they make a welcome contribution to advancing the intelligibility and relevance of our faith in the modern world. To be sure, the previous two popes dedicated considerable time to the theme of creation, in particular respect for the human person as having a nature that must be respected (i.e., “human ecology”). While aware of this, Francis does well to stress even more clearly that a Catholic’s concern about creation is not merely on account of what it can do for us. As the Bible and Fathers so often stress, even those creatures that do not obviously serve a practical purpose in human life declare the glory of God in unique and irreplaceable ways.

Now, these points made by our Holy Father are of great value, and more Catholics really need to take them to heart. Regrettably, it is likely that many will not do so for a number of reasons.

One of these has to do with the placement of the section that touches on the “spiritual motivations” for addressing the principal concern of the exhortation. That discussion comes at the end of the document and could come across almost as an afterthought for many readers. This impression is deepened by the fact that Jesus is mentioned three times in the document, with zero references to his title of Christ. While the exhortation contains a few Bible references, it makes no attempt to ground the enterprise of environmental stewardship in the Church’s sweeping vision of a cosmos grounded in the Logos in whom and for whom all things were created (Jn 1:3; Col 1:15–16).

Moreover, in contrast with Francis’s earlier work on environmental stewardship, this new text does not exude the same contemplative vision of the world as “a joyful mystery to be contemplated with gladness and praise” rather than merely “a problem to be solved” (Laudato Si’, §12). Perhaps this observation may be explained on the basis of the pontiff seeking to remain concise and stay on point. However, even those beautiful statements referenced above will alienate many Catholics because they are for the most part couched in negative terms, which is to say how bad it is that we are not living up to the majestic vision bequeathed to us by the Catholic tradition.

In this, Francis’s approach differs markedly from the gentle pastoral heart and generous spirit that characterized Benedict XVI’s thought when he wrote (extensively) on the theme of ecology. On this score, many readers will outright dismiss the evidence for anthropogenic climate change that he presents because they find his style alienating. Most human beings are not very receptive before an interlocutor who repeatedly accuses them of malfeasance, especially when their concerns are written off as “scarcely reasonable” while implying that the truth of the claims in question should “appear obvious” (LD, §14).

While some among us have studied the data, the reality is that the vast majority of those who are predisposed to reject Francis’s message lack any kind of professional training in this field of inquiry. This is not to countenance every assertion in the document, yet a child of the Church would do well to consider beginning by giving the Holy Father the benefit of the doubt before rendering a verdict about the truth of his teachings. Indeed, if we were to transpose the knowledge of the average self-appointed internet expert on climate science into the realm of astronomy five centuries ago, he would likely be insisting vehemently—on both biblical and empirically observable grounds—that the Earth cannot possibly be revolving around the Sun.

In the spirit of filial piety, this particular reader found value in the Holy Father’s brief survey of the human factors that appear to be driving climate change. His attempt to defuse objections to the conclusions of climate scientists was also a reasonable endeavor in its own right. A recent study out of Cornell University concluded that more than 99.9% of academic studies purportedly concur with the same fundamental convictions presented in the pontiff’s exhortation. Whether that figure is accurate or not—and with full awareness that a deep and unacknowledged bias often accompanies the peer review process—the abbreviated list of evidence recalled here by the pope is significant and far from exhaustive.

And yet, the Holy Father will likely fail to persuade most who are not already in agreement because the objections he raises tend to be waved off rather than argued against, with ignoble motivations attached to those who would question the evidence presented. For example: to those who claim that the rise of global temperatures over the past two centuries can be explained by looking to intermittent periods of extreme cold and heat over the course of earth’s history, the pontiff suggests that this is pointed out “[i]n order to ridicule those who speak of global warming” (LD, §7).

No doubt this mentality is common, but is it necessarily the dominant motivation among those who wish to challenge the current state of climate science? The Holy Father states that “[i]t is no longer possible to doubt” the human causes behind global warming” (LD, §11). But are there plausible factors behind this reluctance that go acknowledged by Christ’s vicar?

What Francis overlooks about climate change skepticism

For starters, the pontiff overplays his hand with the assertion that the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has accelerated exponentially in recent decades is “a fact that cannot be concealed” (LD, §14). This knowledge might be clear as day to experts, but the fact is that most people are just taking their word for it. To say that this domain is complex is a serious understatement. Most of us can have (or think we have) a basic grasp of weather patterns, but Francis correctly notes that people easily confuse large-scale climate projections over time frames spanning decades to centuries with weather forecasts that look ahead just a few days.

The trouble is that the confusion on this matter (at least in the USA) is typically on the part of media outlets attributing the most recent heat wave, forest fire, or hurricane to climate change. Many citizens are aware of the trouble with this narrative, and it provides them with a non-trivial reason to reject the underlying claim regarding climate change. Relatedly, not long ago practically all of this nation’s elites in politics, media, and education informed us that “following the science” with masks, vaccines, and lockdowns was the remedy for COVID-19. They also insisted that the virus could not possibly have originated in a Chinese lab that studied coronaviruses, which just so happened to be in the same city where the virus first emerged. Readers themselves can be the judges of how they think that panned out.

In light of this, the editors of Francis’s exhortation probably should have foreseen the consequences of their mentioning the pandemic as a factor that “brought out the close relation of human life with that of other living beings and with the natural environment” (LD, §19).

However, these are not the only reasons that the Holy Father’s teachings will be met with great skepticism on the part of readers. Lamenting the “irresponsible derision” of climate change deniers, Francis complains that eco-activist groups are sometimes “negatively portrayed as ‘radicalized’” (LD, §58). Perhaps it depends on one’s definition of ‘radical,’ but many Catholics consider ruining classic works of art and starting forest fires in an effort to spread awareness of climate change to be radical. Hopefully, the essence of the pontiff’s assertion will come through, but there is great risk that statements like this will make that an uphill climb.

The same goes for when he laments the activity of “false prophets,” which he appears to identify with those who seek to accrue maximum economic gain while placing the cost of this on the poor and the natural world (LD, §31). The pontiff makes an important point here, but regrettably he misses the irony that overconfident and heretofore unrealized doomsday predictions coming from the environmental movement are a key driver in the public’s indifference to its efforts. Rightly or wrongly, many now view the push for ecological reform merely as a mask for the pursuit of ever greater control over ordinary people’s day-to-day lives on the part of a patronizing elite class bent on blaming all our woes upon Western civilization and Christianity in particular.

Perhaps more importantly still, in the hearts of many Catholics the messaging surrounding contemporary environmental discourse evokes anti-human methods of population control, solutions to problems that are so idealistic and expensive as to be impossible in practice, and “green” strategies that are not actually all that green but which are instead carried out with slave labor and the destruction of precious natural resources, amounting to the exchange of one kind of problem for another potentially more seriously one. To his credit, Pope Francis denounces “mutilating women in less developed countries,” presumably in references to forced methods of sterilization, but conspicuously absent is any mention of unforced sterilization, which is to say the practices of contraception and abortion so highly prized by leaders in ecological circles (LD, §9).

Remarkably, the pontiff who has arguably done the most to promote the Church’s teaching of integral ecology passed on a golden opportunity to reinforce his past teachings about care for the unborn, the importance of respecting our bodies’ God-given natures and rhythms, and the dangers of underpopulation. The net result is that Francis’s letter reads like it could have been issued from a secular NGO, with not much distinctively Christian save a few nods to the faith mainly at the beginning and end. This is by no means to negate its value entirely, but it does make one wonder who the intended audience truly is. If it is the wider secular world, frankly, they probably will not care. To Catholics who already see climate change as a pressing issue, it will impart renewed vigor and deepen convictions. But to those whom it likely most wishes to reach, it will most likely be a flop.

If you are an American, Laudate Deum may even have the opposite of its intended impact, not unlike our Holy Father’s actions in recent years with regard to the liturgy. In our culture’s race for ideological purity, it seems obligatory to reject the position of your political opponent at all costs. It will be no wonder if this happens when the pope concludes his document with a sudden one-sided critique of the United States while in the same breath offering implicit praise of China.

By no means are we perfect in the USA, and this non-specialist sees no particular need to doubt the UN data according to which “emissions per individual in the United States are about two times greater than those of individuals living in China” (LD, §72). However, Francis fails to mention that China produces more greenhouse gas emissions than all developed nations combined and that Beijing is currently increasing its emissions even as the EPA reports that emissions in the United States have decreased by over 2% since 1990. This is not to mention the atrocities against human ecology perpetrated by socialist dictatorships whose environmental measures do not have to pass through a democratic process and for whom the welfare of its most vulnerable citizens poses no obstacle to implementing drastic across-the-board measures when deemed necessary.

Parting thoughts

Much more doubtlessly could be said about Laudate Deum, and many more analyses of the document will be written in the coming days and weeks. As this essay has attempted to show, Pope Francis’s missive contains some important points and at times even speaks beautifully on the subject of creation.

Unfortunately, much of this will be overshadowed by the text’s shortcomings, especially in the eyes of those who are presumably its primary audience. As a professor of theology with a keen interest in creation and matters of faith and science, I cannot help but think of how a wise saying of St. Thomas Aquinas applies to the subject examined in our Holy Father’s most recent apostolic exhortation. Like St. Augustine before him, the Angelic Doctor warned interpreters of Scripture to be careful about how they go about their presentations of the biblical data, “lest Scripture be exposed to the ridicule of unbelievers and obstacles posed to their believing.”

It would seem that the same applies to how we go about our claims concerning the domain which the medieval tradition lovingly recognized as “God’s other book.”


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About Matthew J. Ramage, Ph.D. 8 Articles
Matthew J. Ramage, Ph.D., is Professor of Theology at Benedictine College where he is co-director of its Center for Integral Ecology. His research and writing concentrates especially on the theology of Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI, the wedding of ancient and modern methods of biblical interpretation, the dialogue between faith and science, and stewardship of creation. In addition to his other scholarly and outreach endeavors, Dr. Ramage is author, co-author, or translator of over fifteen books, including Dark Passages of the Bible (CUA Press, 2013), Jesus, Interpreted (CUA Press, 2017), The Experiment of Faith (CUA Press, 2020), and Christ’s Church and World Religions (Sophia Institute Press, 2020). His latest book, From the Dust of the Earth: Benedict XVI, the Bible, and the Theory of Evolution, was published by CUA Press in 2022. When he is not teaching or writing, Dr. Ramage enjoys exploring the great outdoors with his wife and seven children, tending his orchard, leading educational trips abroad, and aspiring to be a barbeque pitmaster. For more on Dr. Ramage’s work, visit his website www.matthewramage.com.

28 Comments

  1. For better clarity and far less verbosity see Matt Briggs essay on the hilariously misinformed papal exhortation.
    Does a person with the mental bent of PF ever wonder why the Almighty made vast pools of oil and endless seams of coal and huge reservoirs of natural gas?
    Is such a person also entirely oblivious to the greening of the earth and the record yields in crop production thanks on part to gentle warming and increased carbon dioxide?
    The Vatican calls to mind a petulant, know it all, radical teenager who, thinking they comprehend everything, vastly overestimate their mental acuity.

    • I am offended on the author’s behalf by that “verbosity.” Sometimes length is needed to discuss a topic well and with nuance.

    • Shawn,
      Not so sure, here, that the Almighty made “vast pools of oil and endless seams of coal and huge reservoirs of natural gas” sufficient to last for millennia into the future.
      That is, while the dimensionless God is infinite, maybe this finite planet with its web of ecological niches is not. But the point is different still, involving a moral context for morally ambivalent Technocracy. Notice that the Ottoman Empire (Islamic) was very skittish about things Western like technology, until it observed from the 1789 Revolution in France that things technological could be exploited without being contaminated by a rejected Christianity.

      This amputation is now with all of us today.

      Still, thinking globally and historically, we together might be equally amused to know that in the Muslim world there were still pockets of resistance to, say, the mining of coal, not too long ago…

      A Turkish pasha refused Europeans a concession to mine coal from his land: “If God Almighty had intended that coal to be used, He would put it near the surface where it could have been got at, not away below, where you have to dig for it. It is blasphemy to change His plans” (Edwin Bliss, “Turkey and the Armenian Atrocities,” 1896; the better-known Armenian genocide came a few decades later).

    • Actually, dear Shawn Marshall, I found this article by Professor Matthew J. Ramage very illuminating, concise, & charitable; yet yielding no ground to the embarrassingly half-baked, Christ-minimalizing, grandstanding of PF & whoever else authored LD.

      *Good work*, dear Matthew; well up to the high standard we expect from CWR.

      Every fanatical & ill-judged attack on Pope Francis & his coterie simply muddies the waters & achieves the exact opposite result desired. Emotionally charged, ill-considered, over-the-top, criticisms obstruct calm understanding & can turn people off the very real evidence concerning the non-Catholic theology, moral failures, anti-Apostolicity, & faith-destroying comments & publications of the current pope & his mates. Surely, you’d agree; he is the Pope in Rome & merits thoughtful, balanced, & respectful feedback.

      Ever in the grace & mercy of King Jesus Christ; love & blessings from marty

  2. Thank you for this overview and analysis (and CWR for more to come). Yours truly has not yet read Laudato Deum, but here will connect with Dr. Ramage’s closing perspective: “the Angelic Doctor warned interpreters of Scripture to be careful about how they go about their presentations of the biblical data, “lest Scripture be exposed to the ridicule of unbelievers and obstacles posed to their believing.”

    Centuries PRIOR TO GALILEO, Aquinas also said this:

    “Reasoning is employed (in another way), not as furnishing sufficient proof of a principle but as showing how the remaining effects are in harmony with an already posited principle; as in astronomy the theory of eccentrics and epicycles is considered as established because thereby the sensible appearances of the heavenly movements can be explained; not however as if this proof were sufficient, since some other theory might explain them” (Summa Theologica, cited in L.M. Regis, Epistemology, 455, italics added).

    Aquinas, a sort of prophet! Given all of Pope Francis’ (read ghost-writer Fernandez’s) human defects in framing novel and urgent issues, this reader proposes that less of a SCRAPBOOK approach to synthesis would help. Likewise, with the “aggregated, compiled, ‘synthesized”–and morally mongrelized–Instrumentum Laboris for the synods…

    Is Laudato Deum prudentially convinced that our GLOBAL TRAJECTORY is aimed at cumulative disaster, with most of the consequences landing on less favorably positioned populations? Possible triage? Is it possible that on spaceship earth the centuries-long solution of shifting slavery from the backs of human beings now to the back of so-called Mother Nature is also self-limiting? Is Francis’ critique less trendy than it is aimed at the dark side of the so-called Enlightenment–the replacement of a sacral cosmos with a utilitarian universe?

    FRANCIS BACON (1561-1626) promoted the useful experimental method—and is rightly criticized for wanting to put nature “on the rack” to reveal her secrets for our control. Control? A myopically economic, political and technological culture of global rape? Can such a method for outrunning the appetites of human fallen-ness really promise the Western lifestyle across the globe, without overshooting local or even global carrying capacities? In one sentence, is this the urgent, central and deeply embedded cultural question of Laudato Deum? This, rather than seeming to critics to front for a “patronizing elite class bent on blaming all our woes upon Western civilization AND Christianity in particular”?

    How might the Church better distinguish between the flaws in what is Western (and Chinese, etc.!) and what is distinctly and truly revolutionary in Christianity? How to effectively communicate the CHRIST OF THE GOSPEL (more than gospel “values”) to a multiply and tectonically divided world?

    Two SUGGESTIONS: First, maybe the congregational Synod, so promiscuously grabby on even doctrinal matters, should be less of a self-discrediting card table format? And, second, maybe exhortations about spaceship earth should be less of an essay seemingly by a single cardinal ventriloquist?

    Too bad, too, that the distinct “human ecology” and interrelated “natural ecology” are conflated into Laudato Si’s and Laudato Deum’s wraparound and problematic “integral ecology.” That is, at the possible eclipse of Veritatis Splendor and moral absolutes protective of the transcendent dignity of each human person, without exception. And, now with the Synods scripted more to harmonize a roster of sociological, reductionist and mere “polarizations”?

    Without discounting the fabric People of God with their distinct role in the world (Gaudium et Spes, Familiaris Consortio), the perennial “hierarchical communion” and magisterium of the Catholic Church—and Mary the “Undoer of Knots”—also have a lot more serious thinking to do.

    • Now having read Laudato Deum, yours truly proposes three tweaks for consideration by ghost-writer Fernandez. Not to discredit his message, but simply to refine the murky intersection between the evolving natural sciences and the principles of Catholic Social Thought/Teaching (CST).

      FIRST, why not acknowledge the complexity and sometimes countervailing findings of incomplete science, rather than choosing sides, when there is no need?
      The point being, then, that under the CST moral principle of prudential judgment a new culture is strongly advised because of the uncertainty? Other moral virtues underpinning CST are courage (political), temperance (the consumer culture), and justice (between people and ecologically among peoples). A well-grounded format, methinks.
      SECOND, the terms “global warming” and “climate change” are not interchangeable. In other words, there are two Laws of Thermodynamics in play, not one.
      In short, while the overall temperature of a closed system is crudely modeled to point to overall temperature change (under the First Law), the fact of a complex thermal system is that such energy containment can result in a combination of both rising temperature and partly offsetting entropy (under the Second Law)—or energy dissipation through ever more aberrant weather events like localized heat waves, increased hurricanes, and tornadoes.
      The THIRD point, then, might be that rather than reversing climate change (whatever the natural and anthropocentric sources), the moral focus of CST might be more clearly on prudential judgment and on mitigating local disasters. This means personal and national budget shifts (as in political courage and societal temperance, mentioned above). No need to hang our red hats so much on “modeled” overall system temperature rise, 1.5 or 2.0 C or whatever.

      Suggestions such as these are not to be misconstrued as “synodal”, but simply as a “town hall” contribution from one lay person in the back bleachers, neither a scientist nor a theologian.

  3. The title would evoke the Te Deum and the Benediction but I checked the document, sorry -but in the English rendition there is no mention of the word “Commandment” or “blood”.

  4. Dr. Ramage seems like a genuinely good man with a kind, understanding, generous heart.

    He certainly is able to exhibit far more charity toward Pope Bergoglio and his rantings than I have been able to manage for the past decade or so.

    But if I were to approach Bergoglio’s latest foray into the earth sciences (or are they political sciences?) with Dr. Ramage’s attitude, I would expect to end up feeling like Charlie Brown after Lucy takes away the football — suspended awkwardly between heaven and earth and expecting any moment to slam solidly and ignominiously into the ground.

    In my experience, Bergoglio’s pronunciamentos tend to do that to a person.

    Anyway, Dr. Ramage states:

    “…many readers will outright dismiss the evidence for anthropogenic climate change that he (Bergoglio) presents because they find his style alienating.”

    Um, actually, no. Speaking for myself, I dismiss Bergoglio’s climate nonsense because, when he spews it, he’s totally out of his realm. He’s shown that he knows no more about climate science than the rest of the celebrity pundits — Whoopi Goldberg, say, or Bill Nye the Sciency guy.

    To name just one objection to Bergoglio’s assumption-laden analysis, where does he get the idea that climate stability is even a realistic possibility?

    For the entirety of the hundreds of millions of years that we can survey, the earth’s surface temperatures have bounced around like a yo-yo. And that includes the idyllic period before villainous mankind had even drawn a breath.

    Yet somehow Bergoglio concludes that without humanity’s selfishness and greed, the earth’s climate would be somehow serene and tranquil.

    And where is the evidence for earth’s supposed incipient incineration? The 1,600 climate scientists and experts who signed the Clintel Climate Declaration — including two Nobel laureates, Dr. John Clauser and Dr. Ivar Giaever — certainly didn’t see it.

    Indeed, Dr. Clauser was recently quoted as saying:

    “The popular narrative about climate change reflects a dangerous corruption of science that threatens the world’s economy and the well-being of billions of people.”

    One wonders why Bergoglio, that lion-hearted champion of the poor,
    is lobbying for the impoverishment of billions.

    Dr. Clauser has also stated:

    “I can confidently say there is no real climate crisis and that climate change does not cause extreme weather events.”

    On the basis of Bergoglio’s public statements concerning the climate, the Latin Mass, homosexuality and pretty much everything else he spouts off about, I would suggest that apostolic exhortations are not the most suitable medium for his views.

    I’d think that he would fit in better on ‘The View’ with Joy and Sunny and Whoopi. With his ever-present smile and distinctively flowing wardrobe — not to mention his pronounced politically leftward bent — I’m sure he would feel right at home.

  5. “The universe unfolds in God, who fills it completely” (Laudate Deum). Difference in presence distinguishes the pantheist from the man of faith. Faith invokes the presence of the living God, radically distinct from his creation. Reasons found in the heart of Man as Pascal says. There are, as such, reasons to believe that Pope Francis conveys a personal doctrine, presumed a unique papal charism by prefect DDF Card Victor Fernandez, of a different presence than that revealed in the Gospels. While Francis I adjures respect of a person’s freedom to choose, what is “conspicuously absent is any mention of unforced sterilization, which is to say the practices of contraception and abortion so highly prized by leaders in ecological circles” (Ramage commenting on Laudate Deum, §9).
    Prof Ramage apparently makes similar allusion to Pope Francis’ affinity to a difference of presence during an unprecedented crisis in the Church. That crisis indicated in the new dubia letter of five distinguished prelates, and the alarm expressed by others. Adverse reaction among the faithful is rectified. Alarmed at calling down the spirit for a new revelation. Paul, the apostle of apostles, well studied in the faith, familiar with ancient idolatries warned of the Spirit of the Air, in apparent similarity to the Mesopotamian deity of sickness and death now understood as the omnipresence of the Evil One. For those with faith our confidence and strength is in Christ, who the Apostle proclaims is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

    • Sadder still is the ongoing animosity from the Vatican toward any who disagree with the pseudo-scientific apocalyptic “sky is falling” narrative that the Pope and his minions have swallowed completely based on propaganda and an extremely limited dataset.

      Note throughout Laudato Deum the repeated use of unjust and mean-spirited characterizations and caricatures by the Pope (perhaps channeling his inner Greta Thunberg) in his extremely sad effort to gaslight (no pun intended) people into accepting the bogus narrative. A few examples with brief comments follow:

      LD: “In recent years, some have chosen to deride these facts. They bring up allegedly solid scientific data, like the fact that the planet has always had, and will have, periods of cooling and warming. They forget to mention another relevant datum: that what we are presently experiencing is an unusual acceleration of warming,….”

      –Comment: The fact of the world’s climate always changing is a fact, and so the only deriding is done by the Pope who seeks to dismiss this reality by presenting a claim about alleged warming acceleration that is not supported by any objective and sufficiently complete evidence.

      LD: “In an attempt to simplify reality, there are those would place responsibility on the poor….As usual, it would seem that everything is the fault of the poor.”

      –Comment: This is pure hogwash based on intentionally caricaturing many people (read people in the West) as people who always blame the poor for something, but nobody beyond perhaps a few yahoos would even think of blaming the poor for something they don’t even believe is a problem. This is Marxist ideology pure and simple as well as being malicious.

      LD: “…the climate crisis is not exactly a matter that interests the great economic powers, whose concern is with the greatest profit possible at minimal cost and in the shortest period of time.”

      –Comment: Wow! A perfectly inept and exceedingly unjust drawing of the Monopoly Game Man as representative of capitalists in the wealthier parts of the world, all reading from the Book of Scrooge with nary a care for others, including those who donated billions of dollars over the years to fund hospitals, clinics, and so on, and help save many lives.
      ______________________________

      There are many more such examples and other claims of sheer nonsense that permeate this Marxist diatribe against the West, and, as to be expected, a recommended “solution” to the fantasy crisis is to establish a World-wide referee with penal powers that its “enlightened” leaders can impose on any country who might not follow the Global mandates brought to the rest of the world by the likes of Karl Schwab and fellow One-World Marxists.

  6. 9″Behold I will establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you:
    1O And with every living soul that is with you, as well in all birds as in cattle and beasts of the earth, that are come forth out of the ark, and in all the beasts of the earth.” – Genesis, Chapter 9.

    The Eternal Covenant is at the basis for the cup of wine of the New Covenant in Christ’s blood, that is poured out for us. (Lk. 22.2O)

  7. Aquinas writes of the anagogic (spiritual/mystical) interpretation of Scripture, that is linked to Acts 2.22,43, and the signs, wonders, and miracles through which Christ and the Apostles were “approved” (proven) by God. This is said to be above the literal and allegorical interpretations of Scripture.

  8. The author of this article should consider his own reference to the Book of Proverbs: “When words are many, transgression is not lacking” (10:19).
    And I’m tempted to add: “… and it’s usually a Snow-Job!”

  9. The author states that “this non-specialist sees no particular need to doubt the UN data…” I think you will find the data and arguments set forth in Steven E. Koonin’s book “Unsettled” helpful.

  10. The power went out, and on went our natural-gas-powered generator. I suspect it will come on more frequently as my state (not known for sunny winters) goes solar, and winter temps plunge well below 32F.

  11. It’s funny the Pope writes so robustly about Global Warming, a subject where he has no real knowledge. Like a child, he simply repeats whatever activists who have his ear proclaim. He does not “discern” whether the garbage is factually correct or not. Like a child, he simply repeats what others have told him. Apparently he believes it. But he is in no position to judge.
    What on earth does this have to do with Jesus Christ? Absolutely nothing. Sure, we need to take some care to make sure we do not destroy the earth, but of course everyone will take measures to stop whenever that TRULY becomes an issue.
    He simply follows the crowd, the leftist- Marxist crowd. He therefore displays profound ignorance of the subject. His insistence on writing on this non religious nonsense subject are confounding.
    What sort of man does this?
    What sort of thinker abandons himself to the exaggerations of hysterical political shriekers, rather than carefully considers all sides of a problem?
    A shallow man. A man not used to thinking carefully about things. A man who wants to gain favor with certain types of people. Not a pope. Surely, not a pope.

  12. 4 articles packed into 1 link. They tell a different story. Stunning. The final installment will come in later. I think creation will prove to be more resilient and accommodating than how it is being portrayed and that is the praise that is due to be given God. I believe this and not merely from the point of view of the article alone. Care for creation is a right theme as something made for the transfigured Lord.

    https://www.lifesitenews.com/opinion/heres-how-to-combat-the-lies-told-by-pro-abortion-climate-change-activists-about-extreme-weather/

  13. Christ called the Church to go out and proclaim repentance for the Kingdom of God. Christ did this as he is coming to renew heaven and earth. This world is fallen. Everything must be renewed. Francis is working for the globlist agenda of their new earth without Christ. It is an antigospel, that man can save the planet that Christ is coming to renew after all sin is renewed. https://www.frontpagemag.com/surrendering-the-church-without-a-fight/?fbclid=IwAR2_JguS9pIDpyjr63tqw684Sh15IwPPHKCTZLHqn8tgNa7V3g5ExS-ZCTo

    • Dear ‘JP’: “Christ is coming to renew after all sin is renewed.”

      Surely: “after all sin is REMOVED.” Praise God!

    • Great link with great sub-links, thank you very much.

      Thesis, anti-thesis, synthesis, often ascribed to Marx, became well developed as a group practise among the Soviets in the mid-20th Century – no longer merely as an intellectual/academic/ideological endeavour/gambit.

      When I was at school a certain clergyman reversed the order and put it as, thesis, synthesis, anti-thesis. That was my introduction to it and it would have misled me had I followed it and missed out on better counsels coming from elsewhere.

      The better counsels came at a later time. What protected me was a delay in acting on the information at all.

      I suggest it is one of those things our Lady warned about through Sr. Lucia, “Russia spreading error”. The thing I see is that the error is being spread now and it is not by Russia. Others have taken up the “Russian error” to proclaim it one way and another though not necessarily by identifying it; and they are even trying to foist it back onto Russia that already did away with it.

      Pope Francis would seem to be revitalizing people whose time has passed. Maybe he means to bring Christ to them and at least propose to them “they are not left out by him”. Nonetheless, they are helping promote his own vision many parts of which are irreconcilable with the faith.

      It might be thought that perhaps he means to provide a ground where Christian witness will indeed occur through an insistence on inclusivity even though the wrong results ensue and in spite of it. Questions.

      First of all, Christian witness is presented without all that anyway and is not dependent on it.

      Second, why are you banking on the wrong results.

      Third, why are you banking on wrong processes.

      Fourth, why are you insisting on the particular vision obliging inclusivity in Christ’s Name.

      Last, why are transitory things alleged to be imperative held as in an identity with faith.

  14. How much more time and effort need be expended on attempts to provide make sense and provide credence to the distractions of the current Vatican administration?
    Who would attend to their directions on how to exist a paper bag?
    The gig is up.

  15. Yet another author attempts to popesplain for an obvious attack on Christian culture and western democracies. The pro-Chinese / anti-American comments in Laudate Deum were not omissions, misrepresentations, oversights, minor errors or even egregious mistakes. It was the Machiavellian recourse to Christian thought was the smokescreen. The economic and cultural Marxism was the message.

  16. I have never really looked deeply into the so-called scientific notion of human-initiated climate change. This is because I know how science works. In order to have a credible theory of human-initiated climate change, scientists would have to test it, eliminating all other sources of possible climate change. But it is extremely unlikely that scientists even KNOW EVERY variable that affects the climate, much less can they account for exactly how the effects work and how various variables interact. Therefore, there is no way they could do a controlled scientific study on the matter.

    They can’t even tell me what the temperature or weather conditions will be in a certain location an hour from now, but I’m supposed to believe that they can comprehensively and rigorously prove that climate change is caused by humans.

2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Important points in Laudate Deum are overshadowed by missed opportunities – Via Nova
  2. An Analysis of Pope Francis’s Letter on Climate Change – Matthew Ramage

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