Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

8/1/2013 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

We need a Catholic Environmental vision which is pro-life, pro-family, pro-poor, pro-peace and fundamentally relational. We are to receive one another as gifts. We must never use human persons as objects. We should receive creation as a gift, our common home, to be shared with one another, and not as an object of use

The Catholic Church has been green for a lot longer than any modern environmental movement. We are called to what I call a relational environmentalism; one of stewardship with the earth which God has made and entrusted to us to care for and to share. For those eager to understand Catholic teaching on this vital topic, we should always begin with scripture and tradition. We have a well of teaching in the Church on our relationship to the gift of God's creation. The concern I have about some of the arguments concerning global warming is that they promote one more charged right vs. left political food fight. Sadly, they often use sometimes conflicting scientific data as fodder for the fight. We are not first political conservatives or liberals, we are first, last and all in between, Catholic.

The simple approach of Francis of Assisi, receiving creation as a gift and living in a relational way with creatio, still challenges me all these years later.

The simple approach of Francis of Assisi, receiving creation as a gift and living in a relational way with creatio, still challenges me all these years later.

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

8/1/2013 (2 years ago)

Published in Green

Keywords: Global warming, environmentalism, green, climate change, Pope Francis, Pope Benedict, Deacon Keith Fournier


CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - Among the many news or views articles published on Catholic Online which evoke impassioned responses, those which address environmental concerns seem to generate the most frustration - from otherwise regular readers.

Just this morning, I received a comment from someone with the handle scottr which was addressed to me, expressing his frustration with an article which I did not write. The article was entitled IT'S ALREADY TOO LATE: Sea level rise dooms American cities even if emissions stop

First, in the interest of full disclosure, I edited the comment from scottr, deleting my name as the subject being addressed because I did not write the article to which he objected. However, I think the readers comment and my response can be valuable in addressing the concern which he raised. It also presents me with another opportunity to weigh in on the issues related to this vital area of stewardship.

Below are the comment and my response. It is followed by a restatement of my own approach to this vital area of concern.

****
Comment from scottr:

How long are you going to repel your otherwise faithful readers with this drivel. You just published not long ago that sea levels are not rising and that temperatures are not either for the last 20 yrs. I just came from Alaska yesterday. Visited the glaciers. I loved the alarming talks on the glaciers receding because of global warming. However, the maps they used showed that the melting started long before the industrial revolution. It started at the end of the last mini ice age. The last mini ice age is well documented by the church and others. After an ice age, things warm up. Those how study history know that our warming trend is not much different than previous warming trends.

Today we just have humans that can place concrete on the ground and say this is my land. So if nature fluctuates and my house is in danger, it can't be that I am a moron for building in a flood prone area or the like. it has to be someone else's fault. Way back when, if the lake level rose or shrunk, you packed up and moved. Today, we have to be paid for that. It has to be someone else's fault. Remember when forest fires used to burn until they burned out? They emit much more pollution than you can imagine.

The level that God pollutes on (VOC, PM10, CO2, etc) is God like by comparison to our levels. Please stop the propaganda. Good stewardship, yes. Send man back to living in caves, can't happen unless you kill off most all the population first. Oh, that's right, that is what the liberals are trying to do. that's what abortion and contraception are for. As Catholics we have to evaluate the whole picture. As liberals, you only have to look at what is best for you. Please stop the propaganda. it is a sad laugh at your expense. Trust that God made the earth dynamic and made fuels for us to use to sustain ourselves. Remember, creation was good!

Response from Deacon Keith Fournier:

To: Scottr: I did not write the article you are commenting upon. In fact, I do not agree with its supposition. In fact, I disagree with what I believe is its alarmist approach. I have written several articles on what I believe is a Catholic Way of being properly "green". Scottr, this is one of those areas where Catholics and other Christians can and do disagree among themselves. It is a matter of prudential judgement. I would welcome an article from you if you desire to express your own position.

*****
Now, I will weigh in once again on the climate change controversy and restate my own position.

Our obligation to live a proper stewardship of the environment is grounded in our obligation to - and solidarity with - one another. It begins with the understanding that we have been given to one another as gifts. In addition, creation is a gift, entrusted to us together as a human community. That brings with it responsibilities which we must find a way to share.

Years ago, as a very young man, my return home to the faith was greatly influenced by Francis of Assisi. The simple approach of Francis of Assisi, receiving creation as a gift and living in a relational way with creatio, still challenges me all these years later.  It is about more than romance or piety, it speaks to reality.

In a letter on the environment released on January 1, 2010, Pope Emeritus Benedict explained, "There exists a certain reciprocity: as we care for creation, we realize that God, through creation, cares for us. On the other hand, a correct understanding of the relationship between man and the environment will not end by absolutizing nature or by considering it more important than the human person."

"If the Church's magisterium expresses grave misgivings about notions of the environment inspired by ecocentrism and biocentrism, it is because such notions eliminate the difference of identity and worth between the human person and other living things."

"In the name of a supposedly egalitarian vision of the "dignity" of all living creatures, such notions end up abolishing the distinctiveness and superior role of human beings. They also open the way to a new pantheism tinged with neo-paganism, which would see the source of man's salvation in nature alone, understood in purely naturalistic terms."

With characteristic clarity, His Holiness Benedict XVI encouraged a proper approach to a relationship with creation and exposed the dangers within certain streams of contemporary environmentalism.

Catholic Online has published many articles which offer a point/counterpoint on the controversial topic of climate change or global warming. I did not write any of them. I do not share some of the alarm sounded over climate change.  In fact, I disagree with some of what I believe is an overreaction expressed in some of those articles.

However, I do believe we have an obligation to care for the creation. It is a gift and has been given to us with a stewardship attached. We have also abused creation.Our stewardship over this gift of creation is a part of our Baptismal obligation and our call to discipleship.  Because what is called global warming or climate change is one of those areas where the exercise of prudential judgment can find good Catholics and other Christians differing with one another. When we do, we should do so with charity.

The Catholic Church has been green for a lot longer than any modern environmental movement. We are called to what I call a relational environmentalism; one of stewardship with the earth which God has made and entrusted to us to care for and to share. For those eager to understand Catholic teaching on this vital topic, we should always begin with scripture and tradition.

We have a well of teaching in the Church on our relationship to the gift of God's creation. The concern I have about some of the arguments concerning global warming is that they promote one more charged right vs. left political food fight.

Sadly, they often use sometimes conflicting scientific data as fodder for the fight. We are not first political conservatives or liberals, we are first, last and all in between, Catholic.

In addition to affirming our obligations as stewards of the gift of creation, the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church warns about a misguided approach. For example in paragraph # 463 we read, 'A correct understanding of the environment prevents the utilitarian reduction of nature to a mere object to be manipulated and exploited.'

'At the same time, it must not absolutize nature and place it above the dignity of the human person himself. In this latter case, one can go so far as to divinize nature or the earth, as can readily be seen in certain ecological movements that seek to gain an internationally guaranteed institutional status for their beliefs.'

'The Magisterium finds the motivation for its opposition to a concept of the environment based on ecocentrism and on biocentrism in the fact that "it is being proposed that the ontological and axiological difference between men and other living beings be eliminated, since the biosphere is considered a biotic unity of undifferentiated value. Thus man's superior responsibility can be eliminated in favor of an egalitarian consideration of the 'dignity' of all living beings'.

Some in what is called the green movement have lost their way. The most obvious example is the inherent contradiction of worrying about polluting the atmosphere with toxic chemicals while at the same time supporting making toxic chemicals available to be ingested by mothers, including girls, in order to kill the children in their womb. We need a new way of being green, a Catholic way.

We need a Catholic Environmental vision which is pro-life, pro-family, pro-poor, pro-peace and fundamentally relational. We are to receive one another as gifts. We must never use human persons as objects. We should receive creation as a gift, our common home, to be shared with one another, and not as an object of use.

The recent popes have articulated a vision of what they call a human ecology. This is a great term which should be thoroughly explored by those who are rightly concerned with this vital area. I suggest that Catholics, who truly want to inform their own thinking on this sometimes controversial topic of climate change, spend time prayerfully reading and reflecting on their insights.Also, that they read the sections in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. We should begin with the teaching of the Church as we exercise prudential judgment in evaluating this entire area of legitimate concern.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copyright 2015 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for April 2016
Universal:
Small Farmers: That small farmers may receive a just reward for their precious labor.
Evangelization: African Christians: That Christians in Africa may give witness to love and faith in Jesus Christ amid political-religious conflicts.



Comments


More Green

'We see it:' The realities of global warming are finally accepted around the world Watch

Image of The Paris climate agreement saw Sen. Jeff Merkley state global warming is one of the greatest challenges of our generation (AFP).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

With more and more nations agreeing that climate change is not only real, but also dangerous, more world leaders are making a move to save the planet. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Senator Jeff Merkley took the Senate floor last week to say global warming is one ... continue reading


Volcanoes erupting everywhere! Is this a sign? Watch

Image of Popocatepetl erupts in Mexico. Prominent volcanoes in Russia and North Korea are also erupting.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Thirty-eight volcanoes are erupting right now. Earthquakes are making the news. Is something supernatural about to occur? LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "Take care that no one deceives you," Jesus admonished his disciples in the book of Matthew. The Disciples were ... continue reading


Major quakes predicted - As massive quakes strike the Ring of Fire, North America remains eerily quiet... Watch

Image of North America is overdue for a major quake, but when and where it will strike is impossible to predict.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Both a psychic and a scientist have predicted the current spate of quakes which have shook Asia, the South Pacific, and South America, and their predictions are on record. The eerie occurrence has many asking if North America is next. LOS ANGELES, CA (California ... continue reading


Scientists alarmed as massive ice sheet begins rapid melting Watch

Image of Greenland's ice sheet has begun melting early, alarming scientists.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Scientists are in shock as a massive Greenland ice sheet has started melting far sooner than expected and in great volume. The data is so surprising, the researchers initially believed it to be an error. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - On April 11, sensors that ... continue reading


Maybe this is why you're sick? Watch

Image of Global warming isn't just heating the planet, it's making people sick.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Anthropocentric global warming is going to make you sick, according to a new federal report. The 332-page report was released Monday and it predicts a host of consequences from global warming that will begin, or have already begin to affect the country. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Arctic ice continues to decline as global warming accelerates Watch

Image of Sea ice will begin melting and will reach its annual low point sometime in September. If the present is any indicator, we will see less ice in the Arctic this September than at any time in modern history.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The Arctic is melting and it's happening faster than anticipated. So far, Arctic sea ice has reached its lowest level ever on modern record. It is also thinner. While the Arctic sea ice does not contribute to sea level rise, it does serve as an indicator for how our ... continue reading


You'll never believe what blessing God bestowed upon California! Watch

Image of Lake Shasta reservoir is in danger of overflowing (California Department of Water Resources).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Imagine you have a farm and the years have been kind. You look out at your bountiful harvest that God has blessed for generations and you smile with pride and joy.Then the unthinkable happens; a horrible drought hits and suddenly the future of your farm, which has ... continue reading


Four scary new things about global warming we've just learned Watch

Image of As acids and CO2 build up in the ocean, coral reefs die globally. A quarter of all sea life and over half-a million people depend on healthy coral reefs for survival.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Report after report, study after study confirms, the planet is in serious trouble. Within 50 to 150 years, and within the lifetime of children born today, the world will experience catastrophic weather changes. Carbon dioxide, and methane emissions have spiked and ... continue reading


Searing February heat shatters global record, called 'whopping' by skeptic Watch

Image of A polar bear lies dead on an Arctic beach that ought to be covered in ice. The record warm temperatures have resulted in havoc on Arctic ecosystems.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Does everybody still believe global warming is a hoax? Yet more data confirms what scientists have feared for a long time, the planet is warming, and it may have passed a tipping point. The latest data now reveals that February 2016 was the hottest February on record, ... continue reading


BIG quake prediction for California caused by... Watch

Image of A road worker examines damage done by a quake in California.

By Marshall Connolly, California Network (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A massive earthquake predicted for California in early March did not occur, although scientists now know what set off the alarm among so many scientists. The answer is, a glitch in satellite data. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - In late February, California was ... continue reading


All Green News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 16:1-10
1 From there he went to Derbe, and then on to Lystra, where there was a ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 100:1-2, 3, 5
1 [Psalm For thanksgiving] Acclaim Yahweh, all the earth,2 ... Read More

Gospel, John 15:18-21
18 If the world hates you, you must realise that it hated me before it ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 30th, 2016 Image

St. Pius V, Pope
April 30: Pope from 1566-1572 and one of the foremost ... Read More