To prevail in Iowa, these candidates apparently are going to have to dance to the music that Pope Francis inspired with the publication of his encyclical on the environment Laudato si.
The folks over at the National Catholic Reporter are ecstatic.
Why? The Most Reverend Richard Pates, Bishop of Des Moines, has written that Iowans are already feeling the effects "of worsening droughts alongside heavier downpours and flooding." As the former Chair for the U.S. bishops’ Committee for International Justice and Peace, Pates claims to have seen firsthand the suffering of others around the world having to leave their homes due to severe weather and food and water shortages.
Based upon his vast experience, Bishop Pates penned an op-ed for the Des Moines Register in which he stated that Pope Francis’ environmental encyclical "Laudato si" affirms the scientific consensus that climate change is really occurring and largely human-driven. (NOTE: This is accurate. The encyclical does state that.) What the Pope wants now is dialogue that addresses "one of the principal challenges facing humanity" (#25). (NOTE: That also is accurate. The Pope did write that.)
Insofar as Bishop Pates is concerned, this dialogue should include the 2016 Catholic presidential candidates:
Pope Francis is challenging us all to have an open and
honest conversation about the problem and available
solutions. As presidential candidates make their way across
our great state during the political caucus season, we want
them to be part of the conversation, too.
With Bishop Pates jumping feet first into Iowa’s political fray, it would be good that voters in Iowa keep two items in mind before drinking the Kool Aid that Bishop Pates is dishing out:
- Concerning that so-called "scientific consensus," consider the research of Joseph Bast and Roy Spencer who wrote in the Wall Street Journal:
…the assertion that 97% of scientists believe that climate change is a man-made, urgent problem is a fiction. The so-called consensus comes from a handful of surveys and abstract-counting exercises that have been contradicted by more reliable research.
- Concerning that "open and honest conversation," consider how Laudato si was formulated. According to the Washington Post:
For advice, [Pope Francis] turned to a number of scientific advisers who support the consensus that human activity is warming the Earth. They included Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, founding director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany.
A professed atheist, Schellnhuber nevertheless saw a chance for a massive coup in the climate debate if a sitting pope issued an ode to Earth and the ills of carbon emissions. But not everyone, he said, seemed to want the encyclical to take sides.
So, what happened?
The Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, vetoed the presence of a French climate change doubter, Philippe de Larminat, whose book concerning climate change argues that solar activity—not greenhouse gases—is causing global warming. Asked about this, Sánchez Sorondo responded in an e-mail: "…because he’s not an academic authority in this field, neither a religious authority nor a U.N. authority."
Once again, the issue being contested is not that of stewardship of what God has entrusted to humanity to rule and care for. That is solid theology, rooted in Scripture and Church teaching and it's certainly something The Motley Monk would expect from every priest and bishop who is a Chicago Cubs' fan!
The ideology and politics of those who worship at the altar of environmentalism and their goddess, Gaia, should inform but not drive Church teaching. Unfortunately, elements of Laudato si suggest that neither an authentic "scientific consensus" nor an "open and honest conversation" transpired, allowing politics to inform Church teaching once again.
When conservatives do this, those on the Church's political Left--like the folks over at the National Catholic Reporter--howl and on the nation's political Left cray out "What about the separation of Church and State?". But when liberals do this, the admixture of politics and religion suits them just fine.
Isn't that a double standard?
Let the discussion begin…
To read the National Catholic Reporter article, click on the following link:
To read the Wall Street Journal article, click on the following link:
To read the Washington Post article, click on the following link: