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Scientists call upon Pope Francis to take the lead on climate change

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Historically, the Catholic Church has been accused of being anti-science. This is a lie. The Catholic Church is pro-truth and in cases where science was not yet established, the Church has demurred or cautioned. Yet in cases where the science is established, the Church can become a powerful ally. It is for this reason that scientists are looking back toward the Church as they work on improving the future.


By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (
9/19/2014 (9 years ago)

Published in Green

Keywords: global climate change, global warming, pope francis, ecology, encyclical

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Scientists have a vision of reality that does not always include faith, however they are starting to realize that their view is a distinctly minority one and that their approaches to persuade people-and their politicians, with charts and graphs are not working. In a bid to mobilize people to change for the better, scientists are now looking to the Church. Specifically, the Roman Catholic Church with its 1.2 billion members and strong moral leadership.

Climate scientists are concerned that time is running out as the impacts of climate change are beginning to become increasingly apparent in the world. Melting glaciers, rising sea levels, erratic weather, and a slow, but steady increase in CO2, along with overall temperature increases, have scientists worried that we are changing the environment too fast for plants and animals to adapt. Rates of extinction are extraordinarily high and most scientists agree we are now in the midst of the sixth greatest mass extinction in planetary history, and the only mass extinction to occur during human tenure on the planet, according to their research.

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This is a problem because we rely on stability in the natural environment for the stability of our civilization. Stocks of fish that feed billions of people are being overfished and have reached dangerously low levels. Other natural resources are also dwindling. Land is being turned over to uses which are profitable, but not always beneficial to the people who live on or next to them.

As the saying goes, we are using people and loving things.

Until recently, scientists have taken the clinical approach and viewed this as a political problem, largely ignoring the moral imperatives that exist. Now frustrated with political processes that are all too often tainted by financial interests-corrupted by the lovers of things, they are turning to the Church, the natural lover of people.

If science wants to save the planet, it needs to persuade people that they have a moral imperative to change. Yet science does not carry moral authority, for science is simply a process-a method for calculating information with varying degrees of certainty. If we wish to talk about actual Truth and moral certainty, you need the Church.

A group of scientists have now called upon the Catholic Church to take the lead in the fight against climate change. An essay just published in the journal Science, asks that religious leaders hold the true keys to world change as opposes to politicians. They seek to enlist the help of those leaders, like Pope Francis, to advance the plans that have been stalled by financial interests and economics.

The plans they discuss are specifically related to combating climate change which brings the danger of extreme civil and social upheaval, including future conflict, as resources shift or collapse because of human mismanagement and climate change.

Explaining that the free market has failed to respond to dangers of environmental mismanagement authors, Veerabhadran Ramanathan, a climate scientist at the University of California, San Diego, and Prof Sir Partha Dasgupta, an economist based at St John's College, Cambridge, wrote, "Natural and social scientists have done their part in documenting the irreversible environmental damages (albeit with large uncertainties) that we have inflicted and in spelling out specific mitigation actions.

"The transformational step may very well be a massive mobilisation of public opinion by the Vatican and other religions for collective action to safeguard the well-being of both humanity and the environment."

The professors specifically condemned the "rise of market fundamentalism and the drive for growth in profits" as the force behind "behavior that is at odds with the pursuit of the common good."

Indeed, how people conduct business, manage resources, and treat their fellow brothers and sisters is a quintessentially Christian issue. There's nothing political about it, it's a moral issue that sits squarely in the realm of the Church.

Pope Francis is believed to be putting the final touches on an encyclical about the environment. That encyclical, according to insiders, will deal heavily with climate change and how some people are reaping the benefits of the Earth without regard for the well-being of others.

This move by Pope Francis is also critical. The dialogue about global climate change is presently dominated by leftists who also hope to impose draconian measures upon people that could include rationing, forced birth control including sterilizations and abortions, and other measures which are inconsistent with Natural Law and the moral teaching of the Church. In other words, the radicals on the left are just as anti-human and pro-agenda as the people on the right who put profits over people.

Whether it's agenda or profits, neither path leads to a better future for humanity. Only the Church can provide the clarity along with the moral authority to guide people to a future that is actually better. More importantly, the Church has a responsibility to do so.

As science continues to inform the Church, the Church can also inform science.


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