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The pope and climate change

Written By: - Date published: 9:51 am, April 30th, 2015 - 32 comments
Categories: climate change, global warming, International, religion, science - Tags: , ,

I have always found the scientific thread running through Catholicicism interesting. This, perhaps, is one of its most important expressions:

Vatican official calls for moral awakening on global warming

At climate change summit Cardinal Peter Turkson warns on burning of fossil fuels, in a likely precursor to highly anticipated encyclical on the environment

Increasing use of fossil fuels is disrupting Earth on an “almost unfathomable scale”, a top Vatican official has said, warning that a “full conversion” of hearts and minds is needed if global warming is to be conquered.

The statement by Cardinal Peter Turkson, Pope Francis’s point man for peace and justice issues, was made at a Vatican summit on Tuesday, which focused on climate change and poverty. His call for a moral awakening of politicians and people of faith is a likely precursor to the highly anticipated encyclical on the environment, which was drafted by Turkson and which Pope Francis is expected to release in June.

“In our recklessness, we are traversing some of the planet’s most fundamental natural boundaries,” warned Turkson. “And the lesson from the Garden of Eden still rings true today: pride, hubris, self-centredness are always perilous, indeed destructive. The very technology that has brought great reward is now poised to bring great ruin.”

“Science and religion are not at odds on climate change. Indeed, they are fully aligned. Together, we must clearly communicate that the science of climate change is deep, sound and not in doubt,” Ban said.


Pope attacked by climate change sceptics

Climate change sceptics claim Pope Francis is being fed false information by the UN as he prepares to release an encyclical on the dangers of global warming

…But a group of British and American sceptics said the Pope was being fed “mistaken” advice from the UN and that he should stick to speaking out on matters of morality and theology rather than getting involved in the climate change debate.

Climate change is very deeply a matter of morality, as well as of science. The Vatican’s call to action is very welcome.

32 comments on “The pope and climate change ”

  1. Julz 1

    It is good to see the Pope speaking out about climate change and other matters….hard to take him
    seriously until he addresses the mediaeval attitude the church holds towards women. That would be a really significant move.

  2. Ennui 2

    Julz, we cant live on a climate changed planet. I can take the Pope, an Ayottolah, a Dalai Lama, Vlad Putin…in fact anybody who can make a difference very seriously.
    Yes all of the above are medieval towards all sorts of things, particularly women, add John Key to the list. It may be a case of Churchills famous retort when challenged about alliance with the Soviets “If Hitler invaded Hell I would at least pass favourable comment about the Devil to the House”.

  3. dukeofurl 3

    All those arch conservative GOP candidates for President, who are devout catholics, will be having kittens. This includes Jeb Bush.

    • Clemgeopin 3.1

      “Jeb Bush”

      Is the Bush family catholic or only Jeb Bush?

      And who are the ‘arch conservative GOP candidates for President’ that are devout catholics?

      • dukeofurl 3.1.1

        Before 1995 he was Episcopalian – his family’s religion ( its basically US Anglican).

        I seems to be because his wife, who is mexican.

        • adam

          Rick Santorum is the only Catholic GOP candidate who is a hard core conspircy theories about it. They others just seem to be not talking about it much, corporate funded scepticism? That said Marco Rubio looks flip-floppy.


        • Clemgeopin

          Ok, thanks.

          I was particularly struck by your statement, ‘arch conservative GOP candidates for President, who are devout catholics’.

          To me personally, I feel that any ‘true’ catholic and indeed any ‘true’ Christan with real conviction of Christ’s teachings could ever be part of any right wing political parties with their pro wealthy, pro-corporate, pro-capitalist, economic and social policies. If yes, I think that is a massive contradiction to their professed faith, if indeed it is genuine faith.

  4. Draco T Bastard 4

    and that he should stick to speaking out on matters of morality and theology rather than getting involved in the climate change debate.

    Notice how the RWNJs and denialist are turning more and more to this diversion?

    The Greens to stick to the environment only (although they ignore that) and now the Pope to stick only to moral and religious matters. It’s as of they’re afraid of the research and people speaking out about it.

    • Olwyn 4.1

      And both Eleanor Catton and John Campbell should stick to entertainment and leave politics to experts like John Key. 🙂

  5. AmaKiwi 5

    Pity the poor climate change deniers struggling to explain that extreme weather changes worldwide impacting everyone’s community are not even remotely linked to overpopulation, over consumption, and pollution.

    Who can possibly believe the deniers anymore?

    Maybe they can blame it on aliens and give the military contractors a few trillion more to protect us from them.

  6. adam 6

    I had thought this was coming for some time – as the debates inside the Jesuit scientific community, has for sometime now, turned towards dealing with this issue. The Pope issuing this statement will give a lot of weight to many in the church, who are involved with action around climate change.

    I do wonder if they realise it will put them offside with many on the very, right wing? I think this Pope does see who the real enemy to mankind is, and that is the corporations and their greed. I think the dig about the garden of eden, was directed directly at them, and their utter lack of morals.

  7. So, will Bill English heed the words of his pope?

    • adam 7.1

      Don’t hold your breath Naturesong. Bill seems to be a nominal Catholic, immune to any Christian values – like protecting the poor, relieving poverty or acting in a morally upright manor, with fellowship.

      In other words, Bill already missed this other important message from the Pope – http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/pope-francis-calls-us-be-truly-christian

      • Naturesong 7.1.1

        It’s a bit of a rhetorical question.

        Christianity is at its very core, socialism. And social justice features prominently in the Catholic Church.
        That any Christian would cast their vote for any neoliberal plank has always amazed me.

        This disconnect was apparent to me when I first read the New Testament. The realisation prompted me to leave the church (I come from an Anglican family) and start looking at all religions and their function within society more closely.

        I would be interested in seeing Bill English square his catholic faith with the way his government acts, and the resultant social destruction.

        • adam

          He acts much like a Pharisees, committed to correct form and process. He is acting out a role of what is a Christian – in this case Catholic, without ever having to look at the values and morality which underpin the faith.

          I do wonder if he has ever read the Gospels. I think not, especially when he talked about social housing – his words were at odds with Christianity.

          Do you think Bill can say anything that could convince people he is acting like a Christian?

          • Naturesong

            I think that’s where I often see the disparity.

            Acting like a Christian (in a tribal, social norm kind of way – which may selectively adhere to some of Christs ideals but not others)
            following the path of Christ (to practice in everyday life the ideals taught by Christ – which may conflict with your tribal affiliations).

            This is a challenge that faces all faithful people irrespective of their religion.

        • joe90

          Mussolini, Pavelić, Franco, Salazar, Stroessner, Pinochet, Videla, Viola, Galtieri, Bignone, the church never met a fa***st it didn’t like.

          • adam

            Come now Joe90 any chance you can think outside the box – or will Gosman have to Godwin you.

            Or how about – Francesco Saverio Nitti, Corazon Aquino & Benigno Aquino, Jr., Cesar Chavez, Sargent Shriver, Harris Wofford, the Kennedy family, Jerzy Popiełuszko, Dorothy Day, John M. Corridan, and E. F. Schumacher.

            The church never met a Socialist it didn’t like – either.

            • joe90

              I suppose Frankie the pope has moved …, nah, meet the new pope, same as the old pope.

              The first time was in 2012, when the nuns got accused of undermining the church’s hierarchy by “promoting radical feminist ideology”. Yes, the Vatican officially censured the LCWR – with no apparent irony – for spending too much time on poverty and social justice concerns, and not enough time condemning abortion and gay marriage.


              Ultimately anyone who participates in the class struggle is a member of the “people” the “Church of the people” becomes the antagonist of the hierarchical Church.

              Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

            • Clemgeopin

              Include even Mahatma Gandhi in that list : Though not a christian, Gandhi said that Christ’s sermon on the mount had an immense influence in his thinking . “The Sermon on the Mount as he said “went straight to my heart”

              [After reading the life of Christ as presented in the Bible and in the writings of some renowned Christian authors, Gandhi admired the Sermon on the Mount (which shaped his whole philosophy of life) and hoped to see Christians live up to its standards. While living with Christians in England, South Africa and India, Gandhi expected to experience qualities like unconditional love, forgiveness, willingness to sacrifice, meekness, etc (Qualities of Christ). To his utmost dismay, Christians in his era never lived up to the standards preached by Christ in the Sermon on the Mount and on the Cross.

              Seeing Gandhi live, the Christian missionary E. Stanley Jones asked him: “Mr Gandhi, though you quote the words of Christ often, why is it that you appear to so adamantly reject becoming his follower (Christian)”? The latter’s reply was clear: “Oh, I don’t reject your Christ. I love your Christ. It is just that so many of you Christians are so unlike your Christ”.]

              Read more here:

  8. Sable 8

    Yes shut your gob and talk about God. Leave the climate change analysis to business people with commerce, not science degrees and right wing journalists with no qualifications at all.

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