Secular Right | Reality & Reason

Jun/15

21

The Encyclical – Old Nonsense in New (Green) Clothing

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prometheusWriting in Reason, Brendan O’Neill takes a more secular look at the Pope’s eco-encyclical:

Here’s an extract:

[W]hat will be the end result of our wicked urge to own things? Mayhem, of course. All the pollution produced in the making of our things will increase “the threat of extreme weather events,” [Pope Francis] says, echoing in green-friendly language the Old Testament God’s promise of floods as punishment for mankind’s sinful antics. We should also gird ourselves for the “catastrophic consequences of social unrest,” since “our obsession with a consumerist lifestyle, above all when few people are capable of maintaining it, can only lead to violence and mutual destruction.”

…The Vatican is now a fully-fledged green institution. Which isn’t surprising. The demonisation of human hubris and promotion of eco-meekness that is at the heart of the green ideology chimes perfectly with the asceticism of Catholicism.

The similarities between the pieties of environmentalism and the diktats of Catholicism are striking. Environmentalism rehabilitates in secular drag the stinging rebukes of humanity once delivered by pointy-hatted men of God.

Christianity’s end-of-worldism is getting a new airing in the apocalypse obsession of greens, who warn of an eco-unfriendly End of Days. Its promise of Godly judgement for our wicked ways has been replaced by greens’ promise that we’ll one day be judged for our planetary destructiveness. A leading British green has fantasised about “international criminal tribunals” for climate-change deniers, who will be “partially but directly responsible for millions of deaths.”

The Word of God has become the authority of The Science (greens always say “The” before “Science,” to signal its definitiveness.) “Science has spoken,” said Ban Ki-Moon last year, in a speech on why we should all obsess over climate change, just as Catholics insist the “Lord has spoken” so STFU. Greens breathe life back into Catholic guilt, too, urging us to feel bad about everything from flying abroad to eating strawberries out of season. Carbon-calculating, where people measure their every single production of carbon, is like Catholic guilt on steroids.

Of course, you can offset your carbon by planting a tree or something—what Catholics call penance. In the past, rich believers paid priests loads of money for an Indulgence, which absolved them of their non-mortal sins—today the eco-concerned wealthy spend their cash on offsetting their carbon farts, the modern equivalent of an Indulgence.

This is why Francis is so drawn to environmentalism: he sees it as a more acceptable, 21st-century way of pushing the guilt and meekness and anti-Promethean outlook that the Vatican has long been hawking.

O’Neill is right, and that’s every reason to be worried. Apocalyptic fantasy, the pursuit of ascetism and “anti-Prometheanism” (From Eve’s “sin” to the persecution of Galileo to Frankenstein to today’s GMO scares) have sold well for thousands of years. There’s no reason to think that they will not continue to do so.

Pope Francis’s document is poorly argued, destructive in intent and adrift from commonsense; it will doubtless be adopted with enthusiam.

Link
http://reason.com/archives/2015/06/20/pope-francis-embraces-green-theology-to

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3 comments

  • EvergreenMark · June 30, 2015 at 6:11 am

    Relax. While Leftists and the ecclesiastical bureaucracy of the RCC will give great attention to the Pope’s missive on the environment, nobody else will. For most Catholic institutions, they were already keep in the green movement to begin with (to go your average Catholic college and take a look around, for example). For the average Catholic, it won’t mean a thing. They aren’t going to read it. The priests & deacons for the most part aren’t going to preach about it. Even on traditional high-priority topics like traditional marriage & abortion, the priests & deacons for the most part don’t preach about that stuff at all. Nobody is going to turn off their A/C this summer because of what the Pope says. That ship sailed with Humanae Vitae, when the bishops decided not to enforce discipline on dissenters. So, the genie is out of the bottle there.

  • JimB · June 30, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    Another reason that I am no longer active in the Church. Fifty years ago I was teaching catechism and was stunned at the materials provided for the class. I quit shortly thereafter.

    But…religion is a GOOD BUSINESS.

  • JimB · June 30, 2015 at 3:09 pm

    As opposed to being in the business of goodness.

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