Sunday, June 21, 2015

Yes. I have read the latest encyclical

I put on a string of Bach cantatas to keep me in a serene mood while I read a very long document (over 100 pages) and below is what I found in it.  Below are selected phrases and sentences as written by Pope Frank himself.  You don't need to rely on journalists to interpret the document for you.  You can do it yourself from his own  politically relevant words that I have picked out.  I believe they summarize the whole, as far as secular issues are concerned.  I will have something to say about them following them:

"faced as we are with global environmental deterioration...

for human beings to degrade the integrity of the earth by causing changes in its climate...

 bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development...

the throwaway culture and the proposal of a new lifestyle....

There is also pollution that affects everyone, caused by transport, industrial fumes, substances which contribute to the acidification of soil and water, fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides, herbicides and agrotoxins in general.

 We have not yet managed to adopt a circular model of production capable of preserving resources for present and future generations, while limiting as much as possible the use of non-renewable resources, moderating their consumption, maximizing their efficient use, reusing and recycling them

A very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system. In recent decades this warming has been accompanied by a constant rise in the sea level and, it would appear, by an increase of extreme weather events, even if a scientifically determinable cause cannot be assigned to each particular phenomenon

 scientific studies indicate that most global warming in recent decades is due to the great concentration of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen oxides and others) released mainly as a result of human activity. Concentrated in the atmosphere, these gases do not allow the warmth of the sun’s rays reflected by the earth to be dispersed in space.

Carbon dioxide pollution increases the acidification of the oceans and compromises the marine food chain. If present trends continue, this century may well witness extraordinary climate change and an unprecedented destruction of ecosystems, with serious consequences for all of us

Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods. It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day.

There is an urgent need to develop policies so that, in the next few years, the emission of carbon dioxide and other highly polluting gases can be drastically reduced, for example, substituting for fossil fuels and developing sources of renewable energy

Inequity affects not only individuals but entire countries; it compels us to consider an ethics of international relations. A true “ecological debt” exists, particularly between the global north and south, connected to commercial imbalances with effects on the environment, and the disproportionate use of natural resources by certain countries over long periods of time.

The developed countries ought to help pay this debt by significantly limiting their consumption of non-renewable energy and by assisting poorer countries to support policies and programmes of sustainable development.

 Never have we so hurt and mistreated our common home as we have in the last two hundred years.

It is foreseeable that, once certain resources have been depleted, the scene will be set for new wars

aside from all doomsday predictions, the present world system is certainly unsustainable from a number of points of view

The principle of the subordination of private property to the universal destination of goods, and thus the right of everyone to their use, is a golden rule of social conduct

 It is based on the lie that there is an infinite supply of the earth’s goods, and this leads to the planet being squeezed dry beyond every limit.

The specialization which belongs to technology makes it difficult to see the larger picture. The fragmentation of knowledge proves helpful for concrete applications, and yet it often leads to a loss of appreciation for the whole, for the relationships between things, and for the broader horizon

There needs to be a distinctive way of looking at things, a way of thinking, policies, an educational programme, a lifestyle and a spirituality which together generate resistance to the assault of the technocratic paradigm.

All of this shows the urgent need for us to move forward in a bold cultural revolution

 there is a great variety of small-scale food production systems which feed the greater part of the world’s peoples, using a modest amount of land and producing less waste, be it in small agricultural parcels, in orchards and gardens, hunting and wild harvesting or local fishing. Economies of scale, especially in the agricultural sector, end up forcing smallholders to sell their land or to abandon their traditional crops.

 Although no conclusive proof exists that GM cereals may be harmful to human beings, and in some regions their use has brought about economic growth which has helped to resolve problems, there remain a number of significant difficulties which should not be underestimated.

Economic growth, for its part, tends to produce predictable reactions and a certain standardization with the aim of simplifying procedures and reducing costs. This suggests the need for an “economic ecology” capable of appealing to a broader vision of reality.

Many intensive forms of environmental exploitation and degradation not only exhaust the resources which provide local communities with their livelihood, but also undo the social structures which, for a long time, shaped cultural identity and their sense of the meaning of life and community.

Doomsday predictions can no longer be met with irony or disdain. We may well be leaving to coming generations debris, desolation and filth. The pace of consumption, waste and environmental change has so stretched the planet’s capacity that our contemporary lifestyle, unsustainable as it is, can only precipitate catastrophes

The 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro is worth mentioning. It proclaimed that “human beings are at the centre of concerns for sustainable development”.

The principle of the maximization of profits, frequently isolated from other considerations, reflects a misunderstanding of the very concept of the economy

 Education in environmental responsibility can encourage ways of acting which directly and significantly affect the world around us, such as avoiding the use of plastic and paper,


Before beginning a discussion of the above, it is obviously of interest to ask whether dangerous global warming now has the imprimatur of Papal infallibility. Is the encyclical an infallible pronouncement on the matter?  It is not.  The Vatican Council taught that the Bishop of Rome makes an infallible ex cathedra definition when he defines “exercising his function as pastor and teacher of all Christians as pro suprema sua Apostolica auctoritate.” The encyclical must not be considered, then, as a document containing ex cathedra definitions except where the Holy Father speaks and teaches in them using “his supreme apostolic authority.”  Simply put, he's got to say, "This teaching is infallible".

Note however that Catholics are bound not only by doctrines defined as infallible but by all the teachings of the church.  They are therefore now bound to sincerely accept the reality of dangerous global warming if they are to be true Catholics.  See here

So much for the theology. On to a consideratiion of the teachings for those who are not Catholics:

It's clear that Frank hasn't got a blind clue about how the modern world works.  I had expected a better brain from a Jesuit.  As it is, the above is a pretty good enchiridion of modern Green/Leftism.

Frank hates the world about him as passionately as any Leftist.  He sees disasters and wrongs everywhere he looks.  He fortunately does not call for any specific political policies other than "discussion" but he has lumbered the church with a belief in the false doctrine of imminent and catastrophic global warming.

With typical Leftist overgeneralization, he treats the world as a whole, with little recognition that different parts of the globe are very different. Any American living in the border states knows that you just have to cross a political border to enter a very different world.  And if it is crass to treat the USA and Mexico as just one undifferentiated whole, how much sense does it make to treat (for instance) the Central African Republic as no different from Norway?

Frank just has no time for detail.  And yet detail is all-important in the greatly differentiated world we inhabit.  It is true, for instance, that Indonesia is cutting down its native forests at an alarming rate but it is also true that the USA has more tree cover today than it did 100 years ago. So when Frank rails against the global loss of forests he is making a generalization that is both wrong and stupid.

And the irony escapes him that it is places like Indonesia where people  mostly live the simple village life that he extols. If he really did like trees he would be praising the  USA and condemning Indonesia.  No hope of that, of course.  Frank just hates the modern world so much that he has no inclination to learn of its real diversity and complexity.  You will see no recognition in his words that it is in precisely the capitalist world which he condemns where the environment is best cared for.  He knows nothing.  All he has are prejudices and hatreds -- JR.

A comment received from a reader of the above that I like:

Now we see revealed to the world why the nethermost Americas are so poorly governed when a leading intellectual can reel out the warmist pap as an article of faith.

As you say, we all expect better of a Jesuit. There wasn't the slightest hint of critical thought, or scientific investigation. There was no attempt at balance or dispassionate analysis. The language is the intemperate bile of the zealot. No hint of a document revised time and again by the finest minds in the Vatican to ensure intellectual respectability or philosophical thoroughness. It's a schoolboy's first draft, an outpouring of passionately held, but not critically examined ideas.

Encyclical began as "rough draft sketched out by Pontifical Council on Justice & Peace, Vatican’s social justice arm"

And it shows.  It is still full of Leftist whining and stupid non-solutions to the problems of the world -- offering in passing only boilerplate "science"

The encyclical itself has been in development since the start of the pope’s two-year-old tenure, beginning as a rough draft sketched out by the Pontifical Council on Justice and Peace, the Vatican’s social justice arm. Cardinal Peter Turkson said he delivered a first effort to Francis in July 2014, at which point the pontiff took over authorship.

The extensive amount of time that’s passed since then, Turkson said in April, might be a clue as to how many people Francis was consulting with, and how deeply he was considering their input. “This is the pope writing this from his own gut feeling,” he said.
The pope can’t single-handedly stop desert from overtaking northern Nigeria. He can’t cool India, irrigate California, drain Texas, or keep Arctic sea ice frozen.

The pope may have what St. Francis of Assisi called “Brother Wind” at his back this week. But picking a fight with the guardians of business-as-usual isn’t going to be easy. Many may change their view of the pope or the church rather than change their views on climate change or UN-led antipoverty measures.


The Pope’s encyclical provides the wrong answers

Bjorn Lomborg

The Pope derides those who have “blind faith” in technological advances as a solution to climate change. Instead, his encyclical declares that the world must stop consuming so much. That, he says, will help the poor people who stand to be affected most by global warming. That is troubling, because technical innovation is exactly what we need more of.

Humanity’s answer to huge levels of famine wasn’t to insist we should eat less. The Green Revolution, one of the great achievements of the past century, saw scientific and technological advances dramatically increase the productivity of food — not the least through fertilisers and pesticides. Unfortunately, this very technology, which saved hundreds of millions of lives, is stigmatised as harmful in the encyclical.

The Green Revolution is hardly the only example of human ingenuity resolving a major challenge. Consider the world’s most deadly environmental problem: indoor air pollution from cooking and keeping warm with smoke-inducing wood and dung. It is all but forgotten in the rich world. Likewise, air pollution from cars that caused dangerous smogs, in cities such as Los Angeles, was tackled not with fewer cars but with the catalytic converter.

Yet 4.3 million people die each year in poor countries because of indoor air pollution. The world’s most destitute, who do not have access to modern energy sources, rely on burning biomass and dirty fuel for cooking and heating. The Pope mentions the problem in the encyclical, but he does not embrace the obvious solution: the world’s poor need more access to modern cooking fuels, which will mostly be fossil fuel-based. Renewables like wind and solar energy have a small role to play but mostly remain too expensive and intermittent.

A recent study found that by increasing access to gas, we could lift four times as many people out of darkness and poverty compared with renewables. Clearly, we need to make renewable energy cheaper than fossil fuels. But that will come only from technological invention and innovation.

We need to significantly increase global investment in a green energy R&D fund to speed the day when renewable energy sources can outcompete fossil fuels on their own merits.

But we need to fund the basic research that will make green energy too cheap and easy to resist.

We also need to end fossil fuel subsidies — something the Pope is silent on, but they are concentrated in the developing world, with a disproportionate share going to richer people who can afford a car in poor countries. Phasing out subsidies for fossil fuels would not only cut pollution and CO2, it would reduce inequality and free government budgets to spend more on education and health.

And that is the other problem with the Pope’s encyclical: it is largely silent on the non-climate investments that would do a lot more for the world’s poor than any responses to global warming.

The Copenhagen Consensus Centre recently commissioned research from 60 teams of economists, plus representatives from the UN, NGOs and business, reviewing the UN’s global targets for the next 15 years. With several Nobel laureate economists, the analysis shows that most of the smartest targets have nothing to do with global warming.

That also fits a survey of 7.5 million people around the globe who were asked by the UN about their top priorities. Education, health, jobs, corruption and nutrition were mentioned most often, whereas climate was rated the lowest priority of 16 problems.

One of the most powerful things that could be done today is the removal of barriers to international trade. Reducing trade restrictions would increase the average income by $1000 per person per year in the developing world, lifting 160 million people out of poverty.

Another way of changing lives is one that is unlikely to be embraced by the Catholic Church: achieving universal access to contraception and family planning. At an annual cost of $3.6 billion, allowing women control over pregnancy would mean 150,000 fewer maternal deaths and 600,000 fewer children being orphaned that way.

The reduction in the number of children would mean relatively more people would be of working age, leading to slightly increased economic growth. Adding all of those different benefits, each dollar would achieve $120 of social good.

Pope Francis’s encyclical is rightly concerned with helping the world’s poorest. Climate change will have a bigger impact on poorer people. But that is true of almost every significant challenge on Earth. The question then is which policies and investments would make the most difference for the most vulnerable. To that question, the Pope’s encyclical provides the wrong answers.


The Pope's Encyclical Isn't That Revolutionary

We've heard it all before from the Left

Pope Francis released his much-discussed 184-page papal encyclical on climate change Thursday and the Leftmedia have already distilled the message down to a one sentence quote: “The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.”

Liberals embrace the Pope, or any aspect of religion in general for that matter, when it suits them. The rhetoric surrounding this encyclical is no different.

An encyclical, for those of us who are not Catholic, is an open letter written by a pope. They are not considered infallible. Think of it as an opinion piece written by the pope.

The document, entitled “Laudato Si” (Praise Be to You), states, “Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods. It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day.”

Francis blames the problem on consumerism, corporate greed, overreliance on technology and the poisonous political atmosphere in and among many nations. He called for a radial change in how people conduct their political and economic affairs and suggested that the time has come for each of us to alter our individual lifestyles in response to climate issues.

The encyclical was leaked earlier this week by the Italian magazine L'Espresso, which set off half-baked opinions and speculation about what the document was going to say, with liberals pre-embracing Francis' message and conservatives expressing concern about the injection of the Vatican into a debate that is far from settled, despite what environmentalists would have us believe.

It is interesting how liberals, who have always rejected religion in favor of worship of the state, have embraced Francis since his ascension in Rome. Francis, who comes from Argentina, is the first pope from the developing world, and, coming from a poor nation as he does, his worldview is shaped accordingly. He has frequently spoken on issues of poverty and inequality, often excoriating capitalism and calling on Western democracies to do more for the world’s poor.

This message of taking from the rich and giving to the poor combined with his latest writings on climate change fall right into line with the liberal narrative, and they have fallen over themselves to praise the pope’s latest message.

Of course, the liberal media has been quite selective in its adoration for Francis, choosing to promote his words that match their ideology, but somehow failing to report on other parts of the pope’s message that don’t swing with the liberal dogma.

Here are a few excerpts from “Laudato Si” that are unlikely to make the front page of the major daily newspapers:

“A spirituality which forgets God as all-powerful and Creator is not acceptable.”

“When media and the digital world become omnipresent, their influence can stop people from learning how to live wisely, to think deeply and to love generously.”
“Concern for the protection of nature is also incompatible with the justification of abortion … It is troubling that, when some ecological movements defend the integrity of the environment, rightly demanding that certain limits be imposed on scientific research, they sometimes fail to apply those same principles to human life.”

“Helping the poor financially must always be a provisional solution in the face of pressing needs. The broader objective should always be to allow them a dignified life through work.”
While the document does reveal a more considered and practical view of the Catholic Church’s stand on environmental and cultural issues than the media would have us believe, there is still cause for concern as to the sources Francis has chosen for his own climate change education.

The pope has relied on some less than reputable sources for his encyclical. Jeffrey Sachs, an economist with a lifelong adoration of socialist policies, has been a vocal supporter of abortion and just the kind of redistributive activities that make him a darling of the Left. The Vatican invited him to speak at its conference on climate change.

Another “gem” the Vatican has listened to is Hans Joachim Schellnhuber. Schellnhuber, director of Germany’s Potsdam Institute and the WBGU, a German climate change advisory council, authored the two-degree-trigger, which stated that a two-degree-Centigrade average rise in global surface temperature was the point of no return in terms of climate change. He claimed that we would reach this point by 2020. Of course, the 18-year lull in rising temperatures forced Schellnhuber to revise his doomsday date to 2030.

Whether or not Francis chooses to surround himself with real scientists or enviro-Nazis is his choice, but has the pope stirred a storm by injecting the Catholic Church into the environmental debate?

The Catholic Church has always been part of the political debate in Europe and around the world. Hundreds of years ago, Church decisions drove politics and individual nations followed its lead. Today it’s a different story, though. Christianity is facing a withering ideological attack in the U.S. and Western Europe by secularists who preach the primacy of the state or the individual above God. Except when it suits them, like with “Laudato Si.”

It could be that Pope Francis is not the liberal activist the Left wishes him to be. He still holds dear many tenets of the Church that rankle liberal ideologues, such as his beliefs onheterosexual parents and abortion. And even if Francis chooses to embrace the radical liberal environmental agenda, there will always be room for a loyal opposition within the Catholic Church.


Pope improves Armageddon with Climate Change prophecy

Today the Vatican released a highly anticipated Papal encyclical containing a carefully worded prediction of the imminent destruction of Earth's environment at the hands of wealthy countries and individuals. Titled "Laudato Si," ("Be Praised"), the new encyclical leaves little doubt that its author, Pope Francis, is attempting to bridge the widening gap between the boring and preachy Epistle of Jude and the still popular and hardcore Book of Revelation, while also courting a younger, progressive generation of Mother Earth worshippers by adding a cool new "Horseman of Global Warming" to the existing Doomsday scenario, bringing the total number of Horsemen of the Apocalypse to five.

Prior to the release, a senior Vatican official explained the purpose of the encyclical as a good faith effort by the Pope to demonize unbridled capitalism as the sole threat to our common planet, thus endearing himself and the Church he shepherds to the largely untapped progressive community. "If this encyclical receives the popular support it deserves, it may well find its way into the Canon of Scripture, and possibly into movie theaters worldwide," the source told the press on condition of anonymity, explaining that "stealing the Holy Father's thunder" is an excommunicable offense.

"It may seem odd to suggest that St. John, author of the Book of Revelation, shared a common failing with the early prophets of Climate Change, but it's true. In his eagerness to steer readers to God, John wrote as though it was essential that people immediately embrace holy living so as to avoid the fast-approaching horrors of Armageddon. Likewise, until recently, the harbingers of carbon-based annihilation demanded drastic lifestyle changes among the world's consumers to prevent climate cataclysm," said the insider of an increasingly enlightened and once again relevant Catholic institution.

"Their mutual mistake was the specificity of predictions and deadlines for action, which have all passed without any noticeable impact. New York remains above water and natural disasters have not increased, while the seven seals remain unbroken and the stars are still attached to the firmament," the Vatican source said.

And yet we shouldn't lose hope: "The infallible Vicar of Christ won't repeat those mistakes. His encyclical skillfully combines compelling, Revelationesque doomsday scenarios with a generous use of tempering vagaries such as 'may' and 'potential.'"

Even though none of the earlier predictions have materialized, there is still reason for optimism, as Revelation and Climate Change Science both continue to be wildly popular among the respective groups of believers.

"The encyclical capitalizes on that popularity while serving as a long overdue segue between the present time, where nothing of note is happening, and the apocalyptic events which may still be decades away," said the Vatican official, ending the anonymous statement with a prediction that the eventual Hollywood screenplay may potentially feature a snappier, dire-sounding title.


The end of the world is nigh!

The prophecy hasn't changed -- just the religion.  But all such prophecies have failed in the past so there is no reason to take this one seriously. Fenner knew a lot about viruses but had no known skill as a prophet.  He was however a lifelong Greenie and probably senile when he made his prophecy

Humans will be extinct in 100 years due to overcrowding, declining resources and climate change, according to a prominent scientist.

The comments were first made by Australian microbiologist Dr Frank Fenner in 2010, but engineer and science writer David Auerbach has reiterated the doom-laden warning in his latest article.

He criticises the recent G7 summit for failing to deal with the problems facing the survival of humanity, such as global warming and exhausting Earth's resources.

Mr Auerbach goes on to say that experts have predicted that 21st century civilisation faces a similar fate to the inhabitants of Easter Island, who went extinct when they overexploited their natural habitat. [Rubbish. Piracy and disease were their problem]

‘Homo sapiens will become extinct, perhaps within 100 years,’ Dr Fenner told The Australian in 2010. He later passed away in November 2010 at the age of 95.

‘A lot of other animals will, too. It's an irreversible situation.   'I think it's too late. I try not to express that because people are trying to do something, but they keep putting it off.’

At the G7 talks in Bonn in Germany earlier this month, governments failed to come up with a clear plan to cut emissions in the coming years.

It emerged that countries' current pledges for greenhouse gas cuts will fail to achieve a peak in energy-related emissions by 2030.

This will likely result in a temperature rise of 2.6°C by the end of the century, the International Energy Agency said.

‘When the G7 called on Monday for all countries to reduce carbon emissions to zero in the next 85 years, the scientific reaction was unanimous: That’s far too late,’ Mr Auerbach wrote.

‘At this point, lowering emissions is just half the story - the easy half. The harder half will be an aggressive effort to find the technologies needed to reverse the climate apocalypse that has already begun.’

He noted that ‘dangerous’ climate change was already here, but the question now was whether ‘catastrophic’ climate change could be avoided.

The widely agreed goal is that global temperatures must be kept below a rice of 2°C by the end of the century.

A 5°C increase, as predicted to occur by 2100 at the moment, would cause widespread flooding, famine, drought and mass extinction.

‘Even the 2°C figure predicts more than a metre’s rise in sea levels by 2100, enough to displace millions,’ Mr Auerbach noted in his Reuters article.

But he said that current targets are simply not enough to keep under this 2°C target.

The US has suggested cutting emissions by up to 28 per cent by 2025 from 2005 levels, the EU 40 per cent from 1990 to 2030, and China an unspecified amount.

‘Ultimately, we need a Cold War-level of investment in research into new technologies to mitigate the coming effects of global warming,’ he concluded.  ‘Without it, the UN’s work is a nice gesture, but hardly a meaningful one.’



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