The Pope’s message is working

He laid it on the line, no ifs, ands, or buts, and his message is having a HUGE effect. Catholics are now having conventions about how to be better stewards of the earth. Republican politicians, who have worn their denial proudly until now, are being shamed by the leader of Christianity talking about a fundamental moral issue. You bet it’s having a profound effect.

At this point, perhaps Pope Francis is our most effective advocate. He makes even Republicans tremble.

14 responses to “The Pope’s message is working

  1. Wouldn’t it be great if he took the next step and also came out in favour of contraception?

    [Response: Wouldn’t it be great if we could celebrate a giant step forward, without having to find fault with some other issue?]

  2. I should imagine that the Catholic Christopher Monckton’s head has exploded with the dissonance.

  3. “You bet it’s having a profound effect.”

    Never underestimate the human ability to collide head-on with a contrary fact or idea and rebound unscathed. It’s an elastic collision.

    Not to sound cynical, but I’m counting on time to thin their ranks the same way Max Planck claimed science advances.

  4. Edward Greisch

    3 cheers!

  5. The dedicated deniers are already saying he’s not a “real” Catholic/Christian/American/whatever…

  6. For well over a decade I’ve argued that, as atheists/agnostics, we shouldn’t alienate religious people, but instead find common ground as they can be powerful allies. Christian groups were talking as if they were at war, and they had plenty of quotes from people like Dawkins to back up their points. I thought it was all counter-productive and we were just hurting ourselves.

    At the time I was thinking along the lines of reducing opposition to teaching evolution in schools, but the issue of climate change provides a great example of working together.

    As an aside, I imagine Chris Mooney must be feeling vindicated as he took quite a bit of flak from fundamental atheists for his columns on bridge-building with religious organizations and people.

  7. Indeed, @johnrussell40, the confounding of issues like that makes me wonder, among some of my progressive environmentalist friends, how seriously they take anthropogenic climate disruption. It is time for triage, long overdue, and it’s time to get allies from anywhere we can. If someone really believes, as I do, that there is NO issue which has such serious implications for our immediate and distant future, a lot of these other things diminish in importance.

  8. I’m not seeing much change here in Australia – there was coverage of the pope speaking on climate change and on cuba relations in the state owned broadcasters, but I am not aware of any coverage in any of the privately owned media channels.

    • The question will be whether the churches will sponsor even a vocal minority of their congregations to begin to take political action. Because Christianity is so much bigger than minority groups, like Jews or atheists, *that* can have a real clout. In principle, though I have not seen direct evidence of it, along with the rollout of _Laudato_ _Si_, the Vatican had a whole educational program available to bishops and churches which they could use to teach climate from the pulpit, if they so desired, or run separate programs. Maybe something will come of that.

      It won’t be soon enough for COP21 in Paris, but all those things, coupled with what’s happening in the marketplace with solar and wind, could develop into something.

      Whether this is fast enough to forestall _great_ _damage_ is anyone’s guess. It looks like whatever the state of the climate at the moment we get to zero CO2e emissions is what we’re stuck with for centuries, even if we were to attempt “geoengineering”.

  9. As a Christian of the Evangelical Protestant variety, I have been very impressed with what Pope Francis has been saying on climate change, and saddened at the unbiblical stance that so many of my fellow evangelicals have taken. My bible says that the earth is the Lord’s, not humans’. On my bookshelf are titles such as “Caring for Creation: Responsible Stewardship of God’s Handiwork” by Calvin DeWitt, and “Redeeming Creation: The Biblical Basis for Environmental Stewardship” by Fred Van Dyke et al. Unfortunately these writers along with Wendell Berry and other Protestant voices have been drowned out in the public debate by the libertarian so-called “Christian Right” whose environmental ethic is more anthropocentric than theocentric. I hope that this pope’s message will be listened to by Christians of not only the Roman Catholic branch, but the church universal (small-c catholic).

    [Response Perhaps some day, Catholics will join Evangelical Protestants, Baptists, Lutherans, Methodists, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and others including atheists and agnostics, to stand up for all of creation. Let not the beauty, wonder, and goodness of Earth be the victim of mankind’s destruction or the subject of his greed.]

  10. Let not the beauty, wonder, and goodness of Earth be the victim of mankind’s destruction or the subject of his greed.

    Indeed–or should I say, “Amen”, which really just means “May it be so!”

    We are all too prone to see this world of wonder as a great place to put yet another Walmart. But sometimes we do manage to resist the urge–especially when inspired by what UUs have termed ‘prophetic voices’:

    Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love.

  11. Indeed, @johnrussell40, the confounding of issues like that makes me wonder, among some of my progressive environmentalist friends, how seriously they take anthropogenic climate disruption.

    Well that would make sense if population control really was a separate issue, but both consumption _and_ population control emissions (and resources, and land-use, thus extinction rates) in the long term. So whilst I agree that consumption is an order of magnitude more important right now, the idea that population is a different problem is wrong, and it makes no sense at all to say that climate change is an ethical issue, so please control your consumption/emissions whilst _at the same time_ saying, oh and please have as many children as you can fit in, that’s not unethical at all. It’s totally contradictory, except in the nonsense world of catholic superstition where somehow it makes sense.