Pope Francis challenges humanity to fight global warming in historic encyclical

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In the first papal letter dedicated to the environment, Pope Francis uses a tone of prophetic urgency to describe climate change as “a global problem with grave implications” and one that requires a “bold cultural revolution” in mankind’s thinking. Photo courtesy of Carmel Communications

In the first papal letter dedicated to the environment, Pope Francis uses a tone of prophetic urgency to describe climate change as “a global problem with grave implications” and one that requires a “bold cultural revolution” in mankind’s thinking. Photo courtesy of Carmel Communications

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VATICAN CITY (RNS) By stating the problem so clearly, and in a church document of such gravity, Francis immediately pushes global warming and the environment to the top of the church's social agenda.

  • JR

    From what is reported here, the Pope’s encyclical speaks well to a world in environmental crisis, a crisis that left unaddressed will lead to chaos, greed, and bold profiteering. In essence, man will become more sinful rather than sacrificial. Imagine if the world leaders actually acted on the Pope’s proposals? History shows it most likely will not…..we have to destroy half the world first until we ask for God’s help.

  • Nate

    Of course one’s evaluation of abortion is somehow ties directly to one’s evaluation of the environment as a whole, no matter what ethical schema you bring (religious, secular, etc). One can easily imagine a counter factual scenario in which the dominant religion advocated abortion as a regular duty to get as many souls as possible into heaven without the stain of “original sin”, while secular humanists argued on the basis of care of creation and human dignity against the religious ideal of abortion as duty. In the current factual crisis, secular advocacy for “reproductive choice” is intimately tied to ecology: We aim for a sustainably sized population to ensure quality and diversity of life on this planet for the longest possible time.

    A comprehensive ethics should link these concerns. So it should not be THAT abortion is tied to ecological ethics that you object to (everyone implicitly does that). Perhaps it should be HOW some Christians tie abortion to ecology that you…

  • Francis is right about the seriousness of anthropogenic climate change and in lining up with science on the matter. But all this will fall short if he does not do the one thing that he and he alone can do: rescind the Vatican’s damaging ban on contraception that Paul VI locked in place in 1968 against the counsel of nearly all of his own advisers. World overpopulation has doubled since 1968 and since that time there have been 1.5 billion abortions worldwide, far too many of them illegal and dangerous to women and their families. The world needs universal access to contraception and legalization of abortion, as recommended by the US government’s 1975 National Security Study Memorandum 200 report, endorsed by President Ford and National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft. All this in addition to moving away from fossil fuels and all the other human activity that is destroying our one and only planet. — Edd Doerr (arlinc.org)

  • robot dresdner

    Let us pray that Americans and the EU replace carbon with renewables NOW, not in later decades.
    The Pope also finally said something about the inequities of global heating, but I doubt the rich will listen.
    Let us now humbly pray again that car companies offer zero carbon models and that fossil fuel power plants are replaced everywhere with zero carbon sources like renewables.

  • “Only if faith and reason work together, hand in hand, we can overcome this crisis,” he said….”

    WRONG!
    Faith is the enemy of solutions.
    Environmental disaster has been the primary mission of religion:
    “Go forth and multiply…subdue the earth” – Yahweh (Gen. 1:28)

    Jesus promotes one of the most dangerous lies of the Bible:
    “The earth shall pass away…but my words will never pass away” – JESUS (Matthew 24:35)

    Because of this terrible lie, Christians are DIRECTED to think their “Lord” is much more important than the preservation of the earth. That is a sick hubris!
    The contradictory, divisive nonsense of Jesus is superior to the fate of the earth? Garbage!

    “Every great scientific truth goes through three phases.
    First, people deny it.
    Second, they say it conflicts with the Bible.
    Third, they say they’ve known it all along.”
    —Neil Degrasse Tyson

    Faith needs to get out the way for a change.

  • Edd Doer,

    “rescind the Vatican’s damaging ban on contraception..”

    Exactly.
    The countless armies of religious missionaries and zealots promoting their pet population explosions (for the sole benefit of increasing the numbers of their sects of believers) is dangerous tribal nonsense is a selfish luxury which the earth can no longer survive.

    Christianity in its nightmarish, primitive zeal to destroy the power of women, has commanded families to become breeding centers.

    Contraception needs to be promoted! Not banned – as the churches do.

    Women’s repression, Poverty, inequality and filth are direct results of strong religion. Humanity has no chance to survive unless more people give up these ancient dogmas.

  • Charles Freeman

    The Catholic Church is very rich. I was convinced of this over the last half century. I have also been convinced that the Church hangs onto its wealth. Is Francis being more than a little hypocritical in calling for national treasures to be spent in combatting global warming, and yet not spilling our its coffers for the good of humanity? Over the many centuries of the Church’s existence, it has committed many foul deeds and has caused the murder of millions of people. Yet, it has also protected major elements of civilization. It’s legacy is mainly one of conservative dragging of feet in regards to science progress.. Let’s not reject help for humanity, where ever it may be from. However, let’s look very carefully at the underlying motives and what the Church truly wants to achieve. We need to recognize that the Church is not really desirous of helping humanity, but primarily itself. It’s losing membership, so it’s time to indicate its willingness to assist the rest of…

  • Dan Pangburn

    The Pope’s lack of science skill led to his being hoodwinked by mob-think.

    Science proves that CO2 has no significant effect on climate. The proof and identification of the two factors that do cause reported climate change are at agwunveiled.blogspot.com (now with 5-year running-average smoothing of measured data, the near-perfect R^2 = 0.97+ since before 1900)

  • No god has ever lifted a digit to help anyone. The man-made climate change problem will need a large scale man-made fix.

    What is useful about religion, though, is that it’s good way to get hordes of (not-very-bright) people uncritically onto a path of action. So maybe the Pope’s call to action in this case will be of help to humanity, unlike most of what Christianity has resulted in.

  • Two thumbs up, Edd and Max.

  • Dan, perhaps you should look more carefully into the Pope’s educational background. And then retract your unfounded remarks once you have become less ignorant.

  • Dan Pangburn

    Apparently his Chemistry studies in his early years didn’t help much since he has been hoodwinked by mob-think.

    Sounds like you were deceived too. If you have any science skill at all you might be able to grasp the truth from the paper at http://agwunveiled.blogspot.com

  • Doc Anthony

    I have no idea who this particular “Doc Anthony” is, but here is the official notice to him and all RNS readers that **this** Doc Anthony (the one who regularly interacts with Larry and Atheist Max within these forums, and was granted exactly one “Featured Comment by Eliel Cruz), will be watching this other DA’s posts and responding to them as needed.

    One thing I **won’t** be doing is changing my moniker (sorry, but I was here first dude!), nor leaving the RNS discussion forum.

  • dmj76

    Dan

    Science works by consensus. Almost all climate scientists disagree with you. You may be right. It sometimes happens that a voice crying in the wilderness is correct. You might try to contact the editors of Scientific American, or Science News, or IEEE Spectrum, or any one of the national magazines.

    Do you have a spiritual reason for opposing climate science? ?

  • Be Brave

    Francis,

    Global Warming/Climate Change is 100% a product of science.

    So much for academics showing us the light. The scientists have invented the products that are ripping our planet to pieces. How many species have gone extinct over the last few decades?

    Oops

  • dmj76

    Dear Doc Anthony

    Is the other Doc Anthony a troll? I was puzzled by the post since it did not sound like you.

    best wishes

  • dmj76

    “Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them.”

    David Hume, author of the best arguments against miracles, and hence someone you might like.

  • Be Brave

    Science is the culprit.

    The knowledge of good and evil.

    And mankind continues on the path set for it by the “serpent.”

    So much for myths. Once we rid this planet of respect for the godless, we can move on to a better planet.

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  • dmj76,

    “Reason….slave of the passions..”

    I don’t think you are understanding David Hume.
    “A wise man proportions his beliefs to the evidence” – David Hume

    I don’t care to follow people. I follow evidence.

  • Greg1

    The Church as been saying for years that atheistic science will be the death of this planet. Our world is such an interactive dynamic, that one thing alone (global warming) is not the answer. It might be a good political ruse, but the whole ecosystem has been interrupted. Our water supplies, our forests, our habitats for wild animals. We are on a course for destruction. When we fundamentally change things, there is always a ripple effect that resonates out, and affects many aspects of the dynamic. Yes we have made many discoveries, and progressed in leaps and bounds in many ways, but we have become a godless society, one that will collapse in upon itself if we don’t change our ways. We must realize that there is a bridge too far with science. One area is toiling in the womb, with genetic science. We fertilize a dozen eggs in a Petri dish, then parents need to select which ones get to live on, and which ones do not. A crazy world, brings down the wrath of God.

  • dmj76

    my goodness I never claimed to understand David Hume, just quoted him as he is one of my heros. I am not an educated person.

    I do understand his argument against miracles, which seems to be bullet proof.

    You are probably a much more logical person than I am, with respect to life critical decisions. To a large degree my motivations seem to come from deep inside my head, way below anything I can catch in a logic box. Intuition is often wrong, but it still sometimes my only guide in the chaos of life. Yes, logic can be fun, and often helps us write better code, but I confess it rarely guides my deepest values. Maybe if I had studied more philsophy and less history I would be better off.

    best wishes

  • dmj76

    Hi

    I just went to the web site you referred to. It is some intelligent person writing a blog, it is not reviewed or even edited. The author is a mechanical engineer – good generalist background but not climate science. Check out something like Scientific American magazine or Science News. Science works by consensus, and apparently the consensus on climate change is pretty good.

  • Karen

    Greg1, good on you for at least finally acknowledging how wrathful and wicked your fantasy god of your bible stories is. You’ve been dodging that point in comment after comment.

    Now, many people on the planet are quite innocent of environmentally-damaging crimes, particularly young children. Ask yourself why your supposed and supposedly “loving” god would punish them (and kill them, actually), according to your own tall tales of your evil bible.

  • Dan Pangburn

    Consensus if for politics. If it’s consensus, it is not science.

    The analysis at http://agwunveiled.blogspot.com is correct. Do you even know what R^2 means? R^2=0.97+ means that the equation explains 97% of measured average global temperatures. No one else has done anywhere near that well. If you can grasp the work, you might see that CO2 had no effect.

    Included in the paper at that link is completely independent proof that CO2 has no effect on climate in spite of it absorbing a tiny part (one ‘band’ at 15 micron) of terrestrial radiation (mostly spread over the range 6-100 micron)

  • Fallacy Spotting 101

    Post by ‘Dan Pangburn’ contains multiple instances of the Ad Hominem Fallacy.

    http://fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

  • Dan Pangburn

    For those who lack the science skill and motivation to check the paper at http://agwunveiled.blogspot.com :

    The two factors that do cause reported average global temperature change are also identified in a peer reviewed paper published in Energy and Environment, vol. 25, No. 8, 1455-1471

    Mother Nature will eventually force the references you mentioned to recognize what has actually driven climate change since before 1900.

  • Dan Pangburn

    Perhaps you could find someone to explain the paper to you.

  • Dan Pangburn Debunked
  • Dan Pangburn Debunked
  • Dan Pangburn Debunked
  • Get Smarter

    Speaking of myths, I’ll see your wimpy “serpent” and not quite omnipotent “god” and raise you one Giant Serpent-Killing God-Devouring Jesus-Sporking Coneheaded Millipede. Or a whole boost of them.

    Millipedes are the future. Hitch your micro-wagons up now and get in early on the gold rush. More feet means more feats.

  • Greg1

    Karen, it is not about picking and choosing our pet peaves but looking at the whole dynamic regarding the natural world; it is all important. As for God Almighty occasionally inflicting pain and suffering upon the earth, well what would you do to your own children if they spit in your face on a daily basis, and told you that you were pure garbage? I myself would love my children, but politely tell them to go find another place to live until they learn to appreciate all that has been done for them. And that is what Our Lord does. He loves us until the end, and waits patiently for his children to come home. But if they persist in their pathetic ways, then eternal hell awaits, and that of course is eternal separation from the God who is responsible for our very lives. And lastly, are you Pro-Life? Or Anti-Life?

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  • Karen

    Greg1, stop lecturing me, stop dodging the issues and try instead to grow some courage and face up to what I have challenged you with.

    I’m not picking and choosing. I’m challenging you directly on general content that is throughout your sick bible.

    Enough of your dodging. Again, many people on the planet are quite innocent of environmentally-damaging crimes, particularly young children. Ask yourself why your supposed and supposedly “loving” god would punish them (and kill them, actually), according to your own tall tales of your evil bible. That mass killing is a clear attribute of your horrid old man in the sky of your Christian fictions. Get over your antiquated, harmful superstitions already. I’ve had enough of your dodging. Face the facts.

  • dmj76,

    I may be the one misunderstanding David Hume.
    Putting “Passion”, “slave” and “reason” into one sentence is a lot of baggage to deal with.

  • Dan Pangburn

    Some ‘warmer’ sites are stubborn, can’t argue the facts, so they attack the person. That doesn’t change the facts. It will be interesting to see how they rationalize the on-going down trend. NOAA has changed the numbers to hide the down trend but the temperatures determined using satellites are showing the down trend. These are all ‘reported’ numbers which contain an uncertainty (standard deviation approximately 0.09 K). True energy content of the planet is down. A steep decline in ‘reported’ temperatures is imminent.

  • Greg1

    Karen: When you ask me why God has on occasion hurt innocent people, effectively accusing him of careless murder, and then call him a “fantasy god,” then I have the right to ask you where you stand on the Life issue. If you are Pro-Life, then I can understand your being offended. If you are Anti-Life, then I am left scratching my head wondering how you pick and choose which “innocent” people deserve to live, and which ones do not. So please answer my question. As for God, well each of us has a time to live on this earth. Some live for many years, others only a few. When the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared at Fatima in 1917, she told the three young visionaries that one of them would live to spread her message, and the two others would leave this world very soon. And indeed, within two years at ages 8 and 6, Francisco and Jacinta died of pneumonia, as our Lady predicted. Whereas (Sister) Lucia lived until 97. Here we see Our Lord taking home two young children.

  • Greg1

    Was God being mean when he took the two children from their parents? Well that is for you to decide for yourself, but ever since those children got a taste of heaven during the apparitions, they no longer felt they belonged on this earth. I would say this much, whatever God Almighty does to us in our lives, whether being given love beyond love, or correction after correction, everything is oriented towards our final end, and whatever serves that purpose, is what we receive in this life. When we are judged after our lives are over, we will see everything very clearly. We will see why this or that happened, and why. And it will all make perfect sense. The only problem, is that once we die, we are frozen in that state, and there is no way to change it. So the good news is we will have a clear vision, but the bad news is that we might end up eternally separated from God in hell. So we need to see God as Father, and that he knows what we need more than we ourselves do. So Trust.

  • Dr. Cajetan Coelho

    Science Without Humanity – can only lead to gloom and doom.

  • Karen

    Greg1, stop changing the subject. Caught you up to your dodging, as usual. so I’ll yank you back to just a few of the questions you keep dodging re your horrid sky fairy of your Christian fictions.

    Stop lecturing me, stop dodging the issues and try instead to grow some courage and face up to what I have challenged you with.

    Again, many people on the planet are quite innocent of environmentally-damaging crimes, particularly young children. Ask yourself why your supposed and supposedly “loving” god would punish them (and kill them, actually), according to your own tall tales of your evil bible. That mass killing is a clear attribute of your horrid old man in the sky of your Christian fictions. Get over your antiquated, harmful superstitions already. I’ve had enough of your dodging. Face the facts.

    Your fictional jerk in the sky doesn’t deserve worship. It would deserve incarceration, if it existed.

  • Dan Pangburn Debunked
  • Greg1

    Karen, I have not dodged your question; I have answered it. My “fictional jerk in the sky” as you like to refer to the God who created this universe, actually cares for us. And to him, the greater concern is not life on the earth, but rather “eternal life.” Whenever he inflicts a punishment, or a corrective measure, it is ultimately to save souls for eternity. How many people suddenly wake up, and call out to God when they are facing imminent danger. The man, woman, or child, who refuses to know God, and lives his her life in total ignorance of God, will be in sad shape once their lives are over. God does what he does for our good, not for his enjoyment. You might want to read the account written by an extreme atheist who was being dragged down to hell once his heart stopped (he is now a Christian).
    http://www.near-death.com/storm.html

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  • Karen

    No, Greg1, you dodged the question again and tried to insert your usual anti-abortion babble. You are a weak old dodger pushing a failed agenda after the world has moved past it and away from it.

    The best you can do is dredge up one highly questionable link about someone under extreme stress and in a state of questionable cognitive function. I reject that completely as evidence for your sky creature “god”. It’s wrong for anyone to take that as evidence.

    So again, stop lecturing me and stop changing the subject. Answer the questions, the first of which was: Why does your nasty (and fictional) dictator in the sky keep punishing (and often violently killling) innocent people such as young children, as your bible so plainly presents it as doing?

    And then, explain why your fairy in the sky threatens us with awful eternal torture, for actions of our short mortal lives.

    Your god should be incarcerated for human rights abuses – if your god existed, which it plainly does not.

  • Steve

    I’ve gotta say something more about what this crazy Greg1 dude is saying:

    if your god is gonna punish people who are ignorant of him or for whatever reason were brought up believing in other gods through no fault of theirs (I think that’s 60% plus of the world’s pop), then he’s punishing one whole huge lot of totally innocent people.

    Greg1’s god has gotta be quite the azzhole. Not something I’m compelled to worship, to be frank.

  • Jack

    Sure doesn’t seem like the punishment fits the crime here. Punishing the innocents is a whole other f-up however,

  • Greg1

    I guess you are right, God should probably just eliminate the polluters, eradicate the serious sinners, wipe out the atheists, but keep the children, and it would be a better world. But of course that would eliminate the potential for changing from our sinful ways. But have it as you will.

  • Greg1

    And Steve, just so you know, ignorance is bliss in the eyes of God. If you have never had the opportunity to know him, then you would not be held to the same standards as the rest of us, just the natural law. But these days, with the internet, and cell phones, etc., it is becoming harder and harder to claim that you never had that opportunity (i.e., we need to use our time properly, as we will be held accountable for those opportunities).

  • Karen

    Greg1, grow some guts and respond to what you’ve been challenged with for a change. Stop dodging and stop changing the subject. Your latest snide commentary was just another of your pathetic dodges.

    Answer the questions, the first of which was: Why does your nasty (and fictional) dictator in the sky keep punishing (and often violently killling) innocent people such as young children, as your bible so plainly presents it as doing?

    And then, explain why your fairy in the sky threatens us with awful eternal torture, for actions of our short mortal lives.

    Your god should be incarcerated for human rights abuses if it existed. Your god plainly does not exist.

  • Jambalaya Trailmix

    “Your god should be incarcerated for human rights abuses – if your god existed, which it plainly does not.”

    True dat. True indeed.

  • It’s a honey of a pot that you’ve got here! Flies in its own face. Sweet!

  • Greg1

    Karen, you seem to have a mental block for anything said here. God is God. If I created you, and every ounce of matter there is in this universe, then I’d be in a position to tell you why MY ways are THE ways. But since God is the Author of all matter, and all life, then He has the right to make the rules, the laws of nature, and the laws that we live by. He IS Love (self giving Love), but he also IS Justice, and IS Mercy, and doles it out as He chooses. All He wants is for us to Love Him. But many simply will not. If you were to simply ask him if He exists, and ask sincerely, you would have your answer very quickly. But you first have to stop ridiculing Him. Would you speak the same way to a judge who has the power to set you free, or put you in prison for life??

  • Jack

    The “mental block” here is clearly the one on top of Greg1’s neck. Looking up through the comments here, Karen asks clear questions and Greg1 dodges them every time.

    I’m with Karen on this one. Her earlier question bears repeating, and it’s a good one:

    “Now, many people on the planet are quite innocent of environmentally-damaging crimes, particularly young children. Ask yourself why your supposed and supposedly “loving” god would punish them (and kill them, actually), according to your own tall tales of your evil bible.”

    and then there was another goodie: “And then, explain why your fairy in the sky threatens us with awful eternal torture, for actions of our short mortal lives.”

    Greg1, time to put aside the hectoring and dodgeball games, and face up to what you’ve been dodging. Christian god is presented in the Christian bible to be a really mean killer, even a habitual and especially cruel one, and with no regard for the innocence of his victims.

  • Greg1

    Jack: Read Genesis 18:16-33 if you want to understand the mind of God.

  • Jack

    Greg1, stop changing the subject. Looking through the comments here, Karen asks clear questions and you keep dodging them. We’ve read your kooky holy book. So, back at ya:

    I’m with Karen on this one. Her earlier question bears repeating, and it’s a good one:

    “Now, many people on the planet are quite innocent of environmentally-damaging crimes, particularly young children. Ask yourself why your supposed and supposedly “loving” god would punish them (and kill them, actually), according to your own tall tales of your evil bible.”

    and then there was another goodie: “And then, explain why your fairy in the sky threatens us with awful eternal torture, for actions of our short mortal lives.”

    Greg1, time to put aside the hectoring and dodgeball games, and face up to what you’ve been dodging. Christian god is presented in the Christian bible to be a really mean killer, even a habitual and especially cruel one, and with no regard for the innocence of his victims.

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  • Darrell Mordente

    Karen,

    Where is all your hate coming from?

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  • C T Moore

    Until recent years, we have been wiling to trust God to control the weather, but now man has decided he can do a better job than God. The weather will continue to change as God sees fit, without regard to what we do with fossil fuels.
    It would be good if the current Pope could be content to trust God with the weather.

  • C T Moore

    I give up. How many species have gone extinct?

  • Jack

    I’m thinking this isn’t the website for you, and God wants to protect his creatures, not to constantly just focus on him