Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Emperor finds your lack of faith disturbing . . .

This just in:
Pope Benedict XVI denounced the failure of world leaders to agree to a new climate change treaty in Copenhagen last month, saying that world peace depends on safeguarding God's creation.
Amazingly, the Catholic Church is now more "progressive" on two issues (evolution and climate change) than the majority of Americans. If that isn't a sign of the apocalypse, I don't know what is. Now maybe he can do something about the church's stance on birth control.

The pontiff said the same "self-centred and materialistic" way of thinking that sparked the worldwide financial meltdown was also endangering creation. To combat it will require a new way of thinking and a new lifestyle - and an acknowledgment that the question is a moral one, he said.
The pope denounces self-centred, materialistic thinking speaking in a gilded church while holding a golden sceptre and speaking from a position of infallibility. Almost as ironic as last year's speech where he called for an end to child abuse while the church continued to knowingly harbour pedophiles.

Slight brownie points for this, however:
Under Benedict's watch, the Vatican has installed photovoltaic cells on its main auditorium to convert sunlight into electricity and has joined a reforestation project aimed at offsetting its CO2 emissions.

However, let's not forget what Mother Theresa said about the world's poor:
"I think it is very beautiful for the poor to accept their lot, to share it with the passion of Christ. I think the world is being much helped by the suffering of the poor people."

PS - Yes, I know it wasn't Palpatine who said that - but Benny looks more like Palpatine than Darth Vader.


  1. Dear Stephen,

    I would like to make some brief observations for you to consider.

    In light the very large number of catholics in the English speaking world it might be politic not to attack all of the churches many grossly evident faults, and the sins of its members and clergy at each and every opportunity.

    Doubtless you find it very amusing to mock Pope Benedict's apearance. This is easy enough to do. He is 82 years old, and like many who reach that age, if they are not yet dead, his appearance is not as pleasing as it once was.

    It is all to easy, and it is indeed appropriate, to censure the actions of the bishops that served to enable those priests who's despicable actions are a nauseating in the extreme. The excuses of the Church's hierarchy on the matter of the abuse of children are worse than inadequate.

    I am aware that Mr. Hitchen has written a critique of Mother Theresa, and he scored some points with his quotation of her which you made use. Mr. Hitchens is a witty and entertaining man. While I have read his biography of Orwell, I have not yet read his book on Mother Theresa. Though I have not read that particular book, it seems relevant to me to mention that the very fact of its title and subject does make him seem ridiculous, partisan, and more than a wee bit hateful. An instance of this from a book review was Hitchen's critique that it was grotesque for an "elderly virgin" to oppose contraception and abortion. It is not enough that he oppose her views, he found it necessary to mock her status of being an old woman and a virgin. It is more than a little mean spirited.

    To me the fallout of the scandals is more than unfortunate. The mistrust and distraction created by the Catholic Bishop's wickedness and criminal stupidity in America and through out the world has the effect of silencing what good the Church has done. Two examples come to mind. The United States Conference of Bishops issued a statement criticizing the United States' buildup for war in Iraq, invoking just war theory. The Church has also criticized the use of the death penalty in America, but because of the scandals and what seems to me an animus which has other causes, these statements are either ignored or undermined by the sort of comments which you have made in your article.

    All of that is of course your choice.

    There are some 5,126,900 Catholics in Australia, and in excess of one billion in the world. If, as I expect, you wish to have an impact amongst the english speaking Catholics who are not convinced that Climate Change is a real problem, it seems be a poor strategy to mock the Pope while doing so.

    In addition it might be worth your while to give some thought as to why in America opinion on climate change breaks down so cleanly on political lines and what those on the left have done that serves to perpetuate this state of afairs, and how very undesirable this is to all of us.


  2. I strongly disagree, Patrick! People who are 82 and still alive are more pleasing to the eye than those who are 82 and dead.

  3. Academics who are studying what motivates people to respond to climate change know that multiple communication strategies are the only way forward. It has been mentioned that disrespect for religious leaders is a poor path to outreach. Of course, some may imagine that we will solve the intergenerational crisis simply with 'education' and making people more like ourselves, perhaps via sarcasm and cute remarks.

    There is alot of activity going on to raise awareness in every church, in every religion and on all continents.

    Sir John Houghton, director of IPCC during TAR & SAR reports

    Psalm 24:1 The earth is the Lord's and all that is in it.

    God's Mandate: Care for Creation'sMandate.asp

    Ezekial 34:18 Isn’t it enough for you to keep the best of the pastures for yourselves? Must you also trample down the rest?
    Isn’t it enough for you to drink clear water for yourselves? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet?

    The Stewardship of Creation

    Psalm 149 praise the Lord, . . . all Nature, Earth and beasts

    Christians can be motivated, and preserving society and civilization is going to require an All Hands on Deck effort.

    New Perspectives on Ecology Cognitive Science and Religion Robert Ulanowicz

  4. Make no mistake, it is a good thing that the Catholic Church is taking a stand on the correct side (for once). However, this doesn't absolve them of a lifetime of sins (so to speak).

    They're not going to get a free pass from me just because they've adopted a non-idiotic policy position for once.