Pope Francis, the UN, and an encyclical on the environment

UNFCCBe sure to spend a little time with Thom Peters’ piece at Catholic Vote about Pope Francis, the new, projected encyclical on the environment and human ecology, and the UN.

There are pithy phrases which we might put on mugs and bumper stickers.  I like:

If the future of the human race comes down to the results of a UN meeting, we’re doomed.

And:

The UN is also, as I said, incompetent. Worse: it is actively counterproductive.

I only half jokingly, well … maybe quarter jokingly… predicted that Pope Francis would sign his new encyclical at the UN.  Francis does, however, want to influence the debate on the environment to take place at a UN sponsored gassy meeting in Paris next year.

Peters drills into how the media are treating the news about Francis’s encyclical.  Along the way he makes some pretty good points.  For example:

The original sin of climate change is that it pits human beings and nature against each other. The United Nations sees people, and particularly poor people, as the problem, as consumers, which is why they funnel so much money into birth control and population suppression policies. That’s why those who hold power at the UN are the very last people we should be going to if we truly want to help the poor!

While we will all, I am sure, admit that the Church has to have dealings with the UN, some representation in order to make the Church’s voice heard, I can’t fathom why we would want to get into bed with that organization.

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27 Responses to Pope Francis, the UN, and an encyclical on the environment

  1. Kerry says:

    “Mos Eisley Spaceport. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious.”

  2. Sonshine135 says:

    I do not like how the Catholic Church lets itself be used to peddle Soft Socialism. Buying into the whole Climate Change debacle means that we really do believe that we are Gods and have the power to thwart the weather on the planet. I have never bought into this. Who says what the right climate is for Earth anyway? If the climate were 10 degrees cooler, we would be complaining of crop failures, widespread famine, and massive snow storms that last into April and May. This is yet another example of the church conforming itself to the world versus conforming the world to Christ.

  3. Moral_Hazard says:

    Having worked with the UN directly in Africa, my first hand experience is that they are an utterly useless organization. While some of the people are well-meaning, they didn’t want to get their hands dirty and liked staying in their well-appointed compound. That led to such farcical episodes like a march to raise awareness of the evils of smoking in a country with no potable water. My opinion is that the UN and people who work there genuinely care about The People or The Poor in some macro, abstract sense, but don’t care very much about poor individual people.

    I love Papa Francis, but hope he doesn’t give the UN any trappings of relevance.

  4. DisturbedMary says:

    How did we get from “don’t be a litterbug” to an encyclical by the pope on climate politics?
    How did we go from Thatcher, Reagan and John Paul II to Obama, Castro and Francis?

  5. Matt Robare says:

    Historically speaking, there’s no one the Church won’t try to reach some sort of accomodation with. Ensuring access to the Sacraments for the faithful has meant dealing with people worse than the UN.

  6. anilwang says:

    Moral_Hazard says: people who work there genuinely care about The People or The Poor in some macro, abstract sense, but don’t care very much about poor individual people.

    It’s a common modern problem. To lobby tirelessly for the poor, the elderly, the terminally ill, the disabled, and abortion yet never lift a finger to help a single poor person, never visit the elderly or a cancer ward or personally work with a woman considering abortion to move beyond her panic so she can see that there are other options.

    Being passionate about concepts is simple. You don’t have to see faces or deal with the messy details of someone’s life. It’s easy to feel good about progress in the abstract since it’s always possible to pick and choose statistics to show you’re doing a good job and then believe it. People are messy and often one step forward is met with two steps back. You never quite know if you’re making “progress”, although you can at least provide the love that they need. As former UN General Secretary, Dag Hammarskjöld once said “It is more noble to give yourself completely to one individual than to labor diligently for the salvation of the masses. ”

    I wish I could claim to be innocent of this fault myself, but I’m not.

  7. Eugene says:

    please someone tell me that what I read somewhere else is not true, that the Pope has asked for input on this encyclical from the dissident ex priest Boff, the promoter of the liberation theology

  8. Supertradmum says:

    Dealing with the UN is like pretending that a vicious dog will be nicey-nice if you pet it…false optimism about human nature and the forces which want world domination as against the power of the Catholic Church.

    The Church is the last free institution in the world to stand up to a possible world government….

  9. Bosco says:

    My my. It seems like only yesterday the Vatican was being publicly castigated by the U.N. for not (among other things) ordering Catholic dioceses and religious orders around the world to implement all the policies of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child.

    Oh wait. It was 5 months ago in September 2014. It’s all going too creepy too fast for me.

  10. Imrahil says:

    Mr Peters’ note about the ethanol prompts me to indulge in a little hobby of mine andquote a rather recent song from around here, which busted the charts in an instand and by now belongs to the standard popular repertoire…

    Where is the place
    where the Devil’s offspring is begot
    where is the place
    where towards all run;
    where is the fire
    hey! where’s the place the lightning goes down,
    where is the barn
    where the fire is on?

    Are we in mess, or in luck,
    falling down, getting up,
    are we slim, or full of grease,
    have we a rhyme, have we bliss,
    do we give, do we bestow,
    worry our head off or are in glow?
    If we had care*, we’d be aware
    [*the original even has “if we were Christian”, but that doesn’t rhyme]
    where the Devil hoards his share…

    Evryone knows, that money growns on meadows not, and nor can it be eaten, but burn it would well,
    but for heat, we’re burning wheat, and turnips too and our corn crop,
    and if for long we’re going on it’ll burn like hell!

    Where is the money
    which is lacking evrywhere
    yea is there noone with a little shame?
    why then are always those in gain
    who lie, who turn the truth into crook
    And if they don’t get their will,
    they’ll steal,
    oh these racketeers, who’ll from them us heal…

    There is the place
    where the Devil’s offspring is begot
    there is the place
    where towards all run;
    and that is too where
    all the time the lightning goes down,
    there is the barn
    which right now’s burning down

    Evryone knows, that money growns on meadows not, and nor can it be eaten, but burn it would well,
    but for heat, we’re burning wheat, and turnips too and our corn crop,
    and if for long we’re going on it’ll burn like hell!

    (Hubert von Goisern)

  11. Imrahil says:

    I forgot… the music is rather fine (in my view), so as I could obviously quote the lyrics…

    here’s a link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-XYBJOKNMg

    Don’t worry if you don’t understand it: nor do Germans. (I do, I’m Bavarian.)

  12. majuscule says:

    At my parish we are doing a paragraph by paragraph study of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. I am in awe of the work that went into it, the minds (from over the centuries!) involved.

    So this has me asking myself, does the pope “write” an encyclical by himself? Does he take the research of others and distill it? Does he hand pick researchers? Does he have others write it and then he edits it? Does the Holy Spirit provide the research and inspiration?

    I have dealt with activist environmental fanatics and I know their have their own equivalent of the taqiyya of Islam.

    I am going to pray and reserve judgement until I read the document myself.

  13. Traductora says:

    The involvement of the UN is horrible, but I believe Pope Francis does have some friendly connections with the URI (United Religions Initiative, an Episcopalian-founded UN-connected organization that met in San Francisco, like the UN…) and this wouldn’t be surprising. Supposedly there are plans to found some kind of “world religions” organization directly at the UN, and he has been talked about as its head.

    I’m holding out hope that he’ll write a good encyclical defending human beings, rejecting population control idiocy, and actually mentioning that development is good and results in countries that have the luxury to take better care of their natural environment (unlike, for example, primitive slash and burn cultures or even the pit mines of Brazil). It could certainly be done, but I’m not very optimistic. I keep trying though.

    That said, his encyclical should be about the Church, not about things of which he is completely ignorant. It reminds me of when the USCCB started vaporing about nuclear weapons…while completely ignoring their collapsing Church.

  14. danidunn says:

    Most people have so much trouble understanding what Pope Francis actually said that they throw a spittle-flecked nutty over what they think he said. Now, they are throwing a spittle-flecked nutty over what they think he is going to say. It is necessary to announce the good news, not bend to the fantasies of men. (Google translate, no English version of this speech on the Vatican web site).

    If you will indulge me a little more Fr. Z:

    I encourage you to express clearly together on the problems of society at a time when many people even within the Church are tempted to dispense with the realism of the social dimension of the Gospel (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 88 ). The Gospel has its own original force for proposals. It is for us to present it in all its breadth, make it accessible without obscuring their beauty or diminish their fascination, so that it reaches the people who must face the difficulties of daily life, seeking the meaning of life or have left the Church. Disillusioned and left to themselves, are tempted by ways of thinking consciously deny the transcendent dimension of man, of life and of human relations, especially in suffering and death. The witness of Christians and parish communities can really illuminate your way and support their pursuit of happiness. And so the Church in Switzerland can be more clearly herself, Body of Christ and God’s people, and not just a beautiful organization, another NGOs.

    This pope understands the needs of the poor better than most of us. I don’t think we need to worry about what he will say or what he will do. And, if we find ourselves throwing spittle-flecked nutty over what he did say, then I think it is time we either re-read the Catechism of the Catholic Church or the Bible. Or, maybe just read what he actually did say without relying on the MSM to distill the speech or to pick out a line of the speech to twist what he said into something he didn’t say.

    People who criticize the Pope, Cardinals, Bishops and even priests for sitting down with Democrats, Cubans, the UN and other unsavory people are no different than the pharisees who criticized Jesus for eating with publicans and sinners.

  15. Rich Leonardi says:

    How did we go from Thatcher, Reagan and John Paul II to Obama, Castro and Francis?

    That, my friends, is the quote of the day.

  16. jbpolhamus says:

    Why in the world would I spend an extra care on the SUN’S effect on this planet? Because that is what it comes down to. It is the SUN that runs the temperature of this environment, nothing else. Not Carbon Emissions, not Fukushima Radiation, not Chemical Pollutants, and not the UN. Nothing, NOTHING man can do has the slightest impact on either global warming or global cooling. It is cyclic, and it’s been a bit warmer than it is right now, and a WHOLE LOT COLDER. Francis is a politician, not a pope, and he wants to be – to coin a phrase from the Musical “Wicked,” which may turn out to be an apt title for his Pontificate – “Pop-u-lar.” He is little more than a political panderer, and hardly anything of a spiritual guide.

  17. RAve says:

    “It is beyond the Magisterium’s competence to teach even that water freezes at 0 degrees Celsius.”

    True or False?

    Why? Why not?

  18. iamlucky13 says:

    I’m going to hold out hope that the Pope at least reminds the UN of the evil of trampling the property rights and individual autonomy of the common people in their zeal to combat climate change. Policies that do so can worsen poverty, rather than combat it.

  19. donato2 says:

    The encyclical could be good if it does not sink to the level of the Gospel according to Al Gore. It has been said that the things that the encyclical will address include “human ecology.” The concept of “human ecology” is one that Pope Benedict developed quite brilliantly, associating the need to protect physical nature from the ravages of immoral pollution with the need to protect human nature from the ravages of immoral anthropologies. I could envision this theme being developed quite beautifully with reference to St. Francis, for example. However, the author will be Francis, and not Benedict, and so I have a fair amount of trepidation about what in fact the encyclical is going to say. I fear that it will largely regurgitate leftist shibboleths. I hope my fears are misplaced.

  20. The Masked Chicken says:

    “‘It is beyond the Magisterium’s competence to teach even that water freezes at 0 degrees Celsius.’
    True or False?
    Why? Why not?”

    To teach that water freezes at 0 degree C is certainly within the Magesterium’s competence, as it is to teach that A is the first letter of the English alphabet. Anyone is competent to teach a matter of fact. To proclaim that it freezes at 0 degrees C is within no one’s competence, except God’s and anyone to whom He delegates that responsibility (which, not being a matter of Faith, the Church has not been). There is a subtle difference.

    The Chicken

    P. S. Water only freezes at 0 degrees C some of the time.

  21. The Masked Chicken says:

    “It is the SUN that runs the temperature of this environment, nothing else. Not Carbon Emissions, not Fukushima Radiation, not Chemical Pollutants, and not the UN. Nothing, NOTHING man can do has the slightest impact on either global warming or global cooling.”

    Not to be snarky, but I recommend a course in thermodynamics. It is an over-generalization to say that the sun is solely responsible for the temperature distribution of this planet. Consider the following data:

    Mercury: Distance from Sun = 5.97 x 10^7 Km, Mean Temperature (day) = 623 K
    Venus: Distance from Sun = 1.082 x 10^8 Km, Mean Temperature (day) = 750 K
    Earth: Distance from Sun = 1.496 x 10^8 Km, Mean Temperature (day) = 293 K

    Now, assuming temperature is a function of radiationally absorbed energy of sunlight, which varies according to the square of the distance (inverse-square law) and assuming the Stefan-Boltzmann fourth-power law for radiated power of a heated body (the sun), it can be shown that the temperature of Venus, if it had no atmosphere would be: Tvenus = [(3.135 x 10^-4) x (5800)^4/4pi]^-(1/4) = 341.5 K.

    The details can be found in this paper:

    http://www.asterism.org/tutorials/tut40RadiationTutorial.pdf

    Venus has a temperature of 750K. How to explain this? There is a correction that needs to be applied due to reflection of radiation from the surface of a planet, called the albedo, A, which for a Earth is .3 and for Venus is .75 and the effect of UV entrapment called the Greenhouse factor, G. For Earth, G is .4 and for Venus is. 98. If Tcal is the calculated temperature for the planet solely due to its distance from the Sun and Tsurf is the real surface temperature, then the paper, above gives:

    Tsurf = [(1-A)/(1-G)]^-1/4 x Tcal

    Plugging in the numbers give Venus a temperature of about 750 degrees C. Granted, this calculation is very crude and there is a lot of handwaving, but Venus has a 96.5% CO2 concentration, vs. 04% on Earth. Obviously, CO2 alone does not account for the temperature differences between Venus and Earth and the paper I borrowed these formulae from is way too simple. Still, my point is that the Sun cannot be the sole determiner of climate on any planet.

    I have my doubts about anthropogenic climate change, but don’t make such sweeping statements as to say only the sun has any effect on climate changes. It misleads the public and is bad science. Atmospheres do matter, but the atmosphere of Earth is far more complex than that of Venus, so modeling it is much harder than modeling Venus and we can, barely, do that. I shouldn’t have to spend two hours in research to prove these obvious points.

    The Chicken

  22. CrimsonCatholic says:

    “How did we go from Thatcher, Reagan and John Paul II to Obama, Castro and Francis?”

    I’m not quite sure of your meaning. For starters Castro became a leader in Cuba in 76, before Reagan became President of the US in 81, before Thatcher became Prime Minister of the UK in 79, and before St. Pope John Paul II became the Pope in 78. So we couldn’t have gone from them to Castro. Also the comparison is not similar, since you are comparing the leader of the British Parliament government to the leader of the Communist totalitarian government.

    I also don’t understand why people praise Thatcher, remember that when she was a member of the parliament, she voted for the Abortion Act 1967 that legalized abortion in the UK.

  23. Johnno says:

    danidunn –
    “People who criticize the Pope, Cardinals, Bishops and even priests for sitting down with Democrats, Cubans, the UN and other unsavory people are no different than the pharisees who criticized Jesus for eating with publicans and sinners.”

    This is NOT the problem. Pope Francis is naievely buying into the Global Cooling/Warming/Change/Disruption/WhateverWordWeThinkofNext fiasco, and is using the Papacy to push a falsehood of the secular world. This is NOT the job of the Church. It is NOT the job of the Pope. By lending credence to this U.N. agenda, which is actually a depopulation agenda in disguise, he will only unwittingly promote contraception, abortion and anti-Life policies.

    And I’m tired of hearing people continue to throw around the false comparison to ‘Jesus eating with sinners’ tale to justify princes of the Holy Church cavorting with public unrepentant sinners and never calling them to convert/repent. Please spend some time taking your own advice and listening to the actual concerns faithful Catholics raise with regards to things Pope Francis does.

    Global Warming is a SCAM with bad science whose predictions have failed time and again and have been exposed as being a money-grab scheme through taxes and a propaganda tool to murder unborn children and castrate third world developing nations. If Francis in any way hops on board with this he will undermine the people’s trust in the Papacy and the Catholic Church. If you care about Pope Francis, then you should be equally concerned. Please also take the time to read the literature and debates about Climate Science, or rather the lack of actual science that is behind it.

    And with regards to the Masked Chicken’s recent post, while technically correct, the Sun is indeed the largest contributor that affects climate on the Planet so jbpolhamus isn’t wrong either, and there is data to demonstrate that. Not to mention another chief reason the Climate-scammers got the science so wrong is that their initial assumptions about Global Climate lie in long-age evolutionary dogmas. Another prime example of Darwinist heresy making life difficult for humanity.

  24. The Masked Chicken says:

    Dear Johnno,

    You wrote,

    “And with regards to the Masked Chicken’s recent post, while technically correct, the Sun is indeed the largest contributor that affects climate on the Planet so jbpolhamus isn’t wrong either, and there is data to demonstrate that.”

    Except, that is not what he said. He said:

    “It is the SUN that runs the temperature of this environment, nothing else. Not Carbon Emissions, not Fukushima Radiation, not Chemical Pollutants, and not the UN. Nothing, NOTHING man can do has the slightest impact on either global warming or global cooling.”

    That, of course, is demonstratively wrong, so I demonstrated it. He did not say that the sun was the largest contributor to climate change. If he had, I could have had those two hours of typing back, but one has to be careful to state science carefully and his statement was too black-and-white and a gross generalization. I have nothing against believing that the sun is the chief contributor to global climate change (I tend in that direction, myself), but there are other effects and they can be seen, to some extent, on other planets.

    I misprinted Venus’s calculated temperature. It should be 750 K, not 750 C in my calculations.

    The Chicken

  25. RAve says:

    Is the Magisterium competent to teach science or math?
    Is the Magisterium’s competence limited to teaching faith and morals?
    Is the temperature at which water freezes a matter of faith or morals?

  26. marcelus says:

    Catholic Way of Being Green: Pope Benedict XVI Calls for a Human Ecology

    Well…Here is Benedict proposing envirnoment should be debated at….. The UN

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2m-SGupTW4#t=25

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/the-pope/8589031/Benedict-XVI-The-green-Pope.html

    The German-born pontiff has condemned rampant consumerism and bemoaned the abuse of the planet’s resources in speeches, encyclicals and during overseas trips.

    He has warned that humanity risks destroying the planet’s ecosystems unless it listens to “the voice of the earth”.

    During his six-year-long papacy, the Vatican has installed photovoltaic cells on its main auditorium to convert sunlight into electricity He has criticised the “economic and political resistance” to fighting environmental degradation and denounced world leaders’ failure to come up with a new climate change treaty at a UN conference in Copenhagen in Dec 2009.

    He said the planet was being threatened by the same “self-centred and materialistic” way of thinking that sparked the global financial crisis.

    Benedict has raised the alarm for African countries, where competition for water and mineral resources has led to wars, and for low-lying island states in the Pacific and Indian Ocean.

  27. Imrahil says:

    As for water freezing at 0 °C, if I remember correctly that is no scientific result. It is true by definition, and hence belongs to logic, not experimental science.

    (Though I could be wrong, and this is merely the old definition which has been replaced by an approximately identical-in-effect definition – in which case it would be a result of science.)