UK Independent - Pope to Make Climate Action a Moral Obligation

Lifesite: "Care for Creation Yes, But Why is the Vatican Backing Climate Change Theory?" 

Environmental Theology?

«God blessed them, saying: Increase and multiply,
and fill the earth, and subdue it,
and rule over the fishes of the sea, 
and the fowls of the air, 
and all living creatures that move upon the earth.» 
(Genesis i: 26-29)

    Strictly speaking, there is no such thing as a Catholic doctrine or theology of the environment.  The Sacred Scriptures describe God giving Adam dominion over His lesser creatures and directing him to subdue the Earth.  This authority was renewed with Noe after the fall and the flood (Genesis ix: 7-9).  The Scriptures remind us that God's creation is good, that it reflects God's glory, and that the bread and the wine and the oil are to gladden and fortify the hearts of men (Psalm ciii).  The Mosaic Law required Israel to return a small portion of its flocks and harvests to God.  Little else is said about man's responsibilities in connection with his environment.

    Nonetheless, the usual principles of moral theology do imply some obligations on our part.  We must recognize the right to private property and to the enjoyment of its use.  There may be times when serious necessity requires property owners to yield their rights, either in justice or in charity.  We must recognize the right of all human beings to life, and bear responsibility for any of our actions which might cause illness or death.  We must exercise truthfulness in our dealings with others.  We have an obligation toward parents, pastors, and legitimately constituted government—the principles of subsidiarity should apply, with all actions being taken at the lowest possible level of society.  Some portion of the bounty which we reap from nature must be employed in God's service.

    To this we might add the traditional theological aphorism, "in medio stat virtus—virtue stands in the middle."  Environmentalism may well be the modern topic with the greatest extremes of opinion as to what man ought to do and how it is to be accomplished.  Opinions range (literally) everywhere between "Who cares? Let's do whatever we well please" to demanding extinction of the human race or the idolatrous worship of the planet as a goddess.  Clearly, some via media must be sought.  In practice, however, environmental activism has generally taken the opportunity to coerce society to extremes by political means rather than rational scientific solutions.

    "If Socialism, like all errors, contains some truth (which, moreover, the Supreme Pontiffs have never denied), it is based nevertheless on a theory of human society peculiar to itself and irreconcilable with true Christianity. Religious socialism, Christian socialism, are contradictory terms; no one can be at the same time a good Catholic and a true socialist."
— Pope Pius XI, Quadragesimo Anno, #120.

    In modern times the politicians and the media have fostered the notion that environmental concerns must all be supervised by government—at the highest, rather than the lowest possible level of society.  This in spite of governments' incredibly dismal record of environmental responsibility.  In these United States, the federal government notoriously exempts itself routinely from environmental regulations which all others must obey under draconian penalties.  For example, the federal Tennessee Valley Authority refuses to comply with the clean air regulations of the States in which it operates, and its violation has been supported by the federal Supreme Court.  The Department of Defense produces hundreds of thousands of tons of toxic waste each year, with disposal often left to the ingenuity of local commanders.  Napalm, Depleted Uranium [nasty video here], and Agent Orange benefit neither the flora nor the fauna where they are used.  More benign government interference often comes from emotional demands to limit things like chemicals and fertilizers—DDT, or the Alar Scare, for example—or something as simple as forcing consumers to recycle soda cans at a net loss of materials, money, energy, and effort.

    "Why is it that we warm up to all these lobbyists? It isn't for a meal. ... We know when it comes time to finance our campaigns, we're going to be knocking on those same doors."
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), during the Senate governmental affairs committee's hearing on lobbying reform (The Washington Post, 1/29/2006)

    Defenders of government regulation often refer to the "cut throat methods of robber baron capitalists."  In reality the "cut throats" and the "robber barons" generally seek regulation by government rather than hide from it.  Complex regulation always favors the large corporation with an army of lawyers to make sense of the laws and to negotiate with the various agencies which exercise authority simultaneously.  The "mom and pop" competitors tremble at the cost of having to hire even a single lawyer, perhaps not doing so until it is too late.  The corporation with "deep pockets" is even in a position to control the regulation through lobbying efforts and campaign contributions.  The Enron Corporation, often proposed as the quintessential example of corporate greed was firmly involved in the process of gaining favorable regulation.  Enron lobbying and campaign contributions.  Enron founder, Kenneth Lay's funeral was attended by a former American President, First Lady, and Secretary of State.

    The record in countries more socialist than these United States is far more dismal.  The Aral Sea disaster is something of a legendary ecological horror story, as is the meltdown at Chernobyl [photographs here]   Authorities there admit to 400,000 deaths a year from air pollution in China.  Independent estimates nearly double that figure to 750,000 annual deaths from pollution alone.  "From Vilnius to Vladivostok, a beleaguered environment bears witness to a legacy of irresponsibility: the rivers of the former U.S.S.R. are open sewers of human and chemical waste; the Aral sea is drying up; in many Soviet cities the air is so polluted that it puts millions at risk of respiratory diseases. Tons of nuclear waste is spread out all over the country and toxic chemicals have poisoned the soil" [photographs here]Other former Soviet countries shared the same "Poisoned Legacy"  The Soviet experience demonstrates clearly that when property is owned collectively by everyone it is owned by no one, and abused by all—bad, if not fatal, for the environment.

    The brutal Communism of Stalin and Mao may have passed—or not—but a far more subtle Cultural Marxism is alive and well. If not intentionally Satanic, it is in practice, for all Marxism demands a materialism which excludes God and the Church.  Indeed, under Marxism, Atheism becomes the established religion, to the detriment of all religious faiths.



in XTO,
Fr. Brusca
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[1] Thomas DiLorenzo, "Why Socialism Causes Pollution," The Freeman, Ideas on Liberty, March 1992,