Pope Francis’ Edict to the People
Pope Francis has written an encyclical, that is expected to unite the world to move to action. However, there is a rumor that the Pope has been editing his encyclical over the past few weeks, since listening to assembled protesters and the conference may have impacted his original ideas. The document will not be released until this summer. However, the delay could simply mean that the encyclical is being translated by the Vatican. The document has to be translated into several languages so that Catholics everywhere can read it.
The encyclical will definitely influence Catholics in the United States, according to a poll conducted by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication in March. According to the study, Catholics in the United States are more likely to believe that global warming is being caused by humans, than other Christians in the United States. 76 percent of Catholics in America have a positive view of Pope Francis, but were not aware of the upcoming encyclical. Ten percent of Catholics are very concerned about climate change and only 36 percent of Catholics in the U.S. believe that climate change will affect the poor. Many Catholics are primed to hear what Pope Francis has to say about climate change and jump into action. However, conservative Catholics most likely will not be impacted by what the Pope has to say.
Due to the Pope Francis’ moral authority, the encyclical will have an impact that reaches out beyond the Catholic population worldwide. Also not many encyclicals have received this much attention before it was published, such as this one.
Yale’s Teresa Berger, recently put together a panel to study the impact of the encyclical that includes religious, scientific and secular voices. The dean of forestry and environmental studies, Peter Crane is not Catholic but is of the belief from the perspective of, scientific and international policy, that what the Pope has to say will be very influential. The document has perfect timing as it falls halfway between the U.S.-China accord on climate and the climate conference that will be held in Paris in December. It is hoped that the encyclical will unite the world to prepare them to take action at the conference in December.
Pope Francis believes the climate change issue to not only be a social issue, but also a moral one. This removes the issue out of the realm of science and into a personal duty. Obama as been trying to get America to understand that is the obligation of the people now, to ensure there is a safe and thriving environment for future generations. However, the pope has a different type of authority that will allow him to make climate change as a moral issue more powerful. Pope Francis’ encyclical will be direct and may include reminding people that exploiting the Earth is a sin.
The Heartland Institute
The Heartland Institute, a think tank based in Chicago, has questioned human-caused climate change and the science behind it, and it announced that it would send a deputation to Pope Francis so that he will know the real truth about climate science, and that is, that “there is no global warming crisis!” according to the ClimateDepot website, run by Marc Morano.
The Heartland Institute also sent one of their scientists to the Vatican to change Pope Francis’ mind concerning climate change being a big issue. The Institute has even asked readers to tell the pope that “climate change is not a crisis.”
Many scientists who used to share the same view as the Institute concerning climate change, have changed their view point. The few that are still with the Heartland Institute, some are not scientists and the ones who are have had their research proven to be faulty. These ‘experts’ include, Steve Goreham, who is an electrical engineer, S. Akasofu’s article on climate change was proven faulty, Paul Chesser, works at the National Legal and Policy Center, Sterling Brunett, is an advisor for ALEC, Marc Morano, who worked for Rush Limbaugh and was an advisor and speech writer for Senator Inhofe and James Taylor, who carries degrees in law and government. The most well-known scientist on the Heartland’s team would be Willie Soon who has not been disclosing his funding on his work on climate change.
It is not known which one of these scientists visited the Vatican. It is known that the Pontifical Academy of Sciences is quite capable of advising Pope Francis. They also believe the threat of climate change is here and has the science to back it up.
A Deeper Perspective with Professor Dr. Bernard Brady from the University of St. Thomas
Pope Francis is looking for answers that go deeper than is the climate warming or cooling. The Pope wants the truth as well as an understanding of how it impacts the environment. He is not an alarmist, but he does intend to alarm others to action. His commitment has always been to the poor and his desire is to protect the planet for future generations. It is likely the Pope will warn that climate change will create more poverty and limit future generations.
Pope Francis will likely tie climate change to moral issues, and call for all to change their behaviors globally. He will ask people to work together such as, richer nations reaching out to help poorer nations, people of science, and people of faith coming together, and combining their strengths, and then businesses, and states will work together to lower emissions, and use greener energy resources through well written, solid policies. It is expected that the Pope will write policy initiatives for a greener, more energy efficient Vatican City.
The Conservative Progressive Response From Bill Shireman
Progressives and conservatives need to come to an understanding. Progressives fear big corporations. Conservatives fear big government. Progressives bane to free markets and conservatives say, “no.”
The polar politics over the issue of climate change are too busy arguing to realize there is a common ground. There are mutual objectives they can advance together. Climate fundamentalists are afraid the biosystem will inevitably collapse. Due to this sense of urgency, they want big government to make radical solutions policy now.
The market fundamentalists are fearful of having their freedoms infringed upon, and feel that free markets are being attacked. If they admit that climate change is a reality, then that will lead to too much government control.
Then there are those who do not want to lose their freedoms and help save the planet. It is possible to protect both. There is, however, still that sense of urgency.
When fundamentalists’ causes are challenged, no matter what side they are on, they both react the same way. They minimize their movements, and put together lists of defenses that only set them up for failure. They believe that their followers cannot handle more complex initiatives, which includes the truth.
Although Pope Francis’ encyclical is expected to unite nations into action, the two movements that need to align would, be the ones that believe in free-flowing ecosystems and those that believe in free-flowing economies. The environmental and libertarian groups both regard their systems that produces development beyond the capacity to predict, calculate or control. It is not necessary to sacrifice one to save the other.
By Jeanette Smith
Photos courtesy of:
N.A. Omolo – Creativecommons Flickr License
Prasanna Welangoda – Creativecommons Flickr License
rob tom – Creativecommons Flickr License