The Pope Condemns Environmental Pollution

Environmental pollution

Once a sigh of progress….now a symbol of doom

                  Pope’s Encyclical Upsets Jeb Bush                        

At the time of his investiture I marked Pope Francis for greatness and history is proving me right.  I  embraced him despite the fact that I had campaigned in writing for an African Pope, even naming a few highly qualified candidates; I argued that the Catholic Church should choose an African Pontiff as an act of penitence for the massive crimes committed against African people perpetrated by white Catholics under the direction of the Popes.*

When I first heard that the College of Cardinals had decided to choose a candidate from “the South,” meaning somewhere in the Third World, I was certain it was a priest that hailed form the indigenous Amerindian population.  When I discovered the new Pope was of Italian origin, a descendent of the European Catholics that robbed, raped and slaughtered the indigenes while infecting them with diseases, robbing them of their lands and resources, then reduced them to slavery, I was outraged.  I thought the Church had added a new insult to centuries old injuries in which it was an instigator.

However the more I learned about the new Pope my opinion of him began to change.**  After acknowledging my initial opposition to his selection I wrote “But as I learned more about this humble priest of the Jesuit Order, the scholars of the Church, my attitude softened.  His disdain for luxury and the trappings of personal power impressed me. And his denunciation of the Mal-distribution of wealth in the world brought an Amen from this corner.”

Now that Pope Francis has taken such a bold stand against the reckless greed driven activities of the rich and powerful who are responsible for the massive pollution of our environment, denouncing the excesses of the super-rich as the fundamental cause of the climate change that threatens the future of life on this planet and add to the misery of the poor and wretched of the earth, he has justified my faith in his promise of greatness.  He has justified his choice of St. Francis of Asissi, the patron saint of the poor, as his Papal Name.

The Pope speaks with frankness and clarity on the issue of human agency in the long term trend of climate changes that threatens to become catastrophic.  This is no picayune affair; encyclicals are instructional letters to Catholics that become the basis of the Church’s teaching on the question and is integrated into the sermons of the parish priests under the supervision of their Bishops.  Since the Pope is viewed as the infallible tribune of God on earth his Encyclicals become church dogma and thus cannot be questioned by priests or bishops.  Hence a billion Catholics must accept the teaching in this encyclical as the truth of the matter.

Speaking of the present Encyclical, Laudato Sii or “Be Praised,” Pope Francis writes: “In this encyclical I intend especially to engage in a dialogue with everyone about our common home.” He was, of course, referring to planet earth; our only home outside of the righteous that will be born again in heaven.  A priest of the Jesuit Order, the scholars of the church, the Pope’s encyclical is 192 pages, the length of a respectable book and is an intellectual treatise of a high order.

After having consulted with a wide variety of experts in various fields including climate scientists, to economists, theologians, et al the Pontiff concludes: “Numerous scientific studies indicate that most of the global warming of the past decades is due to the concentration of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen oxide and others), emitted especially because of human activities.”

Francis’ decision to weigh in on such a complex problem in the earthly realm is one of the reasons why the Roman Curia has never appointed a Jesuit as Pope until now – as intellectuals will inevitably raise uncomfortable questions that challenge the status quo.  And I would wager that some of the bishops are now having second thoughts because Pope Francis’ encyclical places the church at the center of a global debate in which powerful political and economic interests are at stake.

Already it has become an issue in the presidential politics of the USA, with two of the leading Republican candidates – Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush – professing the Catholic faith.  Thus far Marco has remained mum on the Pontiff, but Jeb Bush boldly declared the Pope should butt out of the environmental debate.   “I don’t take orders from my bishop…I think religion should be about making us better people.”  It is hard to imagine a dumber response since in order to be “better people” we must first survive!  It will be quite entertaining to see what kind of fancy rhetorical foot work the latest Bushman employs in trying to explain his opposition to the Pope when speaking before Hispanic audiences who are devout Catholics and are wild about the first Latin American Pope.

Trapped!

Jeb Bush

Which Master shall he Serve: Politics or Morality?
Marco Rubio is also feeling the Heat

Marco Rubio

The Pope’s encyclical puts this mealy mouth charlatan on the hot seat

Bush’s silly duplicitous response to the Pope’s call to save our planet could neutralize any advantages he might have enjoyed with Hispanics by virtue of his Mexican wife.  Clearly he is a man trapped between the Devil of Republican politics and divine revelations of the Pope…the infallible Holy Father of his professed faith.  If you get a kick out of watching contortionists get your popcorn and grab a front row seat because we are about to witness a shameless moral contortionist twist himself into knots!

Aside from offending believing Catholics by his dismissal of the Pope, Bush also risks losing credibility with many college educated voters by publicly denying science.  He is trapped, because millions of Republicans are both anti-Catholic and anti-science, and in order to win them he cannot appear to be under the sway of the Pope or the Scientists, and since these people make up a large segment of the “Republican Base” whose support is indispensable in winning the Republican nomination for President….it’s gonna e fun to watch.

**********************

*See: An African Pope as Act of Penitence, at  https://commentariesonthetimes.wordpress.com/2013/03/14/an-african-pope-as-act-of-penitence/ )

** Can Pope Francis Redeem the Church? at https://commentariesonthetimes.wordpress.com/2013/08/07/can-pope-francis-redeem-the-church/

 

Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
June 18, 2015

 

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