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Will It Be Armageddon Or Laudao Si'? The Next Paradigm Waits On Thee

Politics / Religion Jun 19, 2015 - 12:50 PM GMT

By: Michael_T_Bucci

Politics

As the world moves closer to a biblical Armageddon with US-EU-NATO forces inching toward the last war on planet earth staged amongst enemies from the Old World Order, I hear "the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor". I hear the channeled spirit of Francis of Assisi: Laudato Si'!!!

 

It is no surprise that some in Congress and many reactionary conservatives in America are unnerved by Pope Francis' eco-encyclical issued June18, especially those who promote and promulgate the very policies that Francis has blamed in his landmark encyclical. Without reference to persons, and while not singling out the capitalist system, he has indicted unbridled market forces that have overtaken common sense, ethics, morality and the common good of all humankind. [1]


 

Scolded by critics for entering political territory and siding with scientists who have been marginalized already by reactionary conservatives, the neoliberal press and climate-change deniers, I ask: If they can speak out and gain headlines why shouldn't he when the world is "three minutes to Midnight" on the Doomsday Clock [2] and threatened if not by ecological disasters triggered by catastrophic climate changes than by aggressive military forces waged against any and all nations that do not submit to the very destructive forces he implicates? Francis has appealed to both reason and morality. The message is clear: we have a choice before us now to live in peace and respect for each other and the planet or to die together.

 

"Laudato Si'," the title chosen for his encyclical on the environment, comes from a hymn of praise, "Canticle of the Creatures", by St. Francis of Assisi that "emphasizes being in harmony with God, with other creatures and with other human beings," said the head of the Franciscan order, U.S. Father Michael Perry, minister general of the Order of Friars Minor. [3]

 

Speaking before the scheduled release of the encyclical, Father Perry said the title signals Pope Francis' belief that the entire church and all its members must be in solidarity with the poor, "must be about peace" and must respect the planet.

 

"Pope Francis’s encyclical on climate change is the most astonishing and perhaps the most ambitious papal document of the past 100 years, since it is addressed not just to Catholics, or Christians, but to everyone on earth," wrote the Guardian. "The pope links the destruction of the environment with the exploitation of the poor. The world should pay attention." [4]

 

"Laudato Si' (The Care for Our Common Home) is more than an ecological encyclical," wrote Father Raymond J. De Souza for the National Catholic Register. "Pope Francis has given the Church and the world a document that addresses the full range of Catholic social teaching on economics, politics, culture, employment, technology, migration, poverty, peace, architecture, urban planning, education, human rights and the environment." [5]

 

A papal encyclical is one of the highest forms of communication by a pope. It is a letter to bishops intended to clarify, amplify, condemn, or promote an aspect of Catholic doctrine. UK's Telegraph [6] summarized the encyclical's most important points:

 

  • Climate change is “mainly” caused by human action
  • Destroying the natural world for our own benefit is a “sin” against God and future generations
  • The Pope calls for not only Catholics but everyone on Earth to go through “ecological conversion”
  • Rich and powerful vested interests have sought to "conceal the symptoms" of climate change
  • Rich countries owe an “ecological debt” debt to the poor and have a responsibility to shoulder the burden
  • Life-and-death struggle for water and the extinction of species are also key threats to the future of humanity
  • Politicians must now agree an “urgent” plan for “drastic” reductions in carbon emissions
  • People must also be prepared to make simple changes to their lifestyles such as turning off lights and taking the bus to only cooking enough food to eat
  • The Pope calls for fossil fuels to be "progressively replaced without delay"

A leading climate researcher and member of the UN panel on climate change gave the pontiff an “A” for command of the subject. “The science of Laudato Si' is watertight,” said Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, founding director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. [7]

 

"Pope Francis unmasks himself not only as a very green pontiff, but also as a total policy wonk," wrote the Washington Post. "The debate over the proper role of a pope — one that was already popping up on the presidential campaign trail in the United States — immediately intensified. Environmental activists, meanwhile, widely cheered the rise of an unlikely ally in the fight against climate change, one whose voice could resonate not only in major global conferences but also in prayer groups and church pews." What effect the document will have isn't clear, but the Post admits Francis "is one of the most trusted, popular and retweeted people on the planet." [8]

 

Meanwhile, Bjorn Lomberg, Director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center and Visiting Professor at Copenhagen Business School, writing in market-oriented USA Today, suggests "A reasonable starting point is to listen to the world's citizens. A United Nations survey of 7.5 million people found that many other issues are deemed more urgent. The top priorities were education, health, jobs, corruption and nutrition. Of 16 problems, the climate was rated the lowest priority. One reason may be that today's climate policies themselves have a cost, which predominantly hits the poor," he states. "The biggest problem with today's climate change policies is that they will cost a fortune for very little good." Mr. Lomberg recommends three approaches that would help the poor and be cost-effective: ensure freer trade; provide greater access to family planning; and nutritional interventions. These "cost a fraction of expensive, inefficient climate policies," he concludes. [9]

 

Citing Bjorn Lomberg's recommendation to lower trade restrictions and help the poor, arch-conservative National Review expressed doubt: "Well, let’s just say Francis, sticking to his Peronist roots, is no fan of the mechanisms that have improved the lives of so many in the past few decades." [10]

 

National Review is obviously oblivious to the social destructions brought to Latin American countries over the decades through "mechanisms" of Wall Street, IMF and vulture hedge funds, not to mention coups and assassinations conducted by U.S. intel operatives to dismantle all vestiges of socially oriented economies and install market-oriented neoliberal ones. In referring to Juan Peron, who was three-times president of Argentina - 1946, 1951 and 1973 - and husband of Evita, Peron's policies were mostly populist and tended to favor the working classes, who embraced him and made him without question the most influential Argentine politician of the 20th Century. [11] But Western neoliberals demonize Peron like they do Fidel Castro and Hugo Chaves; thusly, the Argentinean pope (and by association, St. Francis of Assisi) is also a bane of the neoliberal press. One wonders what the National Review's late right-wing Catholic founder William F. Buckley would further inveigh?

 

Media watchdog "Media Matters" researched Conservative reaction to the pope's public pronouncements. "Pope Francis' encyclical on climate change reveals his belief that there is a moral obligation to act swiftly on climate change, which disproportionately harms the world's poor. But conservative media are relentlessly attacking the pope over the encyclical, calling it "insipid" and "blasphemous," and fearmongering that the Catholic leader is a "Marxist" pushing for "a new world order," among other things." [12]

 

Wired magazine had this to say: THE POPE'S MEMO ON CLIMATE CHANGE IS A MIND-BLOWER. "The encyclical, 'On Care for Our Common Home,' makes explicit the connection between climate change and oppression of the poorest and most vulnerable. It’s well-argued, clear, at times quite moving…and 42,000 words long," writes the magazine. [13] The magazine summarized the "good parts" and is simplest to comprehend, hereby redacted:

 

The thesis statement

It is no longer enough to speak only of the integrity of ecosystems. We have to dare to speak of the integrity of human life, of the need to promote and unify all the great values...

 

Nature isn’t a possession.

(I)f we feel intimately united with all that exists, then sobriety and care will well up spontaneously. The poverty and austerity of Saint Francis were no mere veneer of asceticism, but something much more radical: a refusal to turn reality into an object simply to be used and controlled...

 

The climate is messed up and people have to fix it.

The climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all... Humanity is called to recognize the need for changes of lifestyle, production and consumption, in order to combat this warming or at least the human causes which produce or aggravate it.

 

The consequences of climate change are a social justice issue.

Even as the quality of available water is constantly diminishing, in some places there is a growing tendency, despite its scarcity, to privatize this resource... Each year sees the disappearance of thousands of plant and animal species... Because of us, thousands of species will no longer give glory to God by their very existence, nor convey their message to us. We have no such right.

 

Scientists are right, and this is about more than science.

But a sober look at our world shows that the degree of human intervention, often in the service of business interests and consumerism, is actually making our earth less rich and beautiful, ever more limited and grey, even as technological advances and consumer goods continue to abound limitlessly.

 

Blame the media.

Real relationships with others...now tend to be replaced by a type of internet communication... This lack of physical contact and encounter...can lead to a numbing of conscience and to tendentious analyses which neglect parts of reality….We have to realize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.

 

But let’s not forget that technology is a wonderful thing.

Humanity has entered a new era in which our technical prowess has brought us to a crossroads. We are the beneficiaries of two centuries of enormous waves of change... It is right to rejoice in these advances and to be excited by the immense possibilities which they continue to open up before us, for “science and technology are wonderful products of God-given human creativity.”

 

…until it takes over people’s lives.

Our freedom fades when it is handed over to the blind forces of the unconscious, of immediate needs, of self-interest, and of violence... we cannot claim to have a sound ethics, a culture and spirituality genuinely capable of setting limits and teaching clear-minded self-restraint.

 

Seriously, stop looking at your phone.

To be serenely present to each reality, however small it may be, opens us to much greater horizons of understanding and personal fulfillment.

 

The richer are getting richer by screwing the world’s poor and the environment.

In different ways, developing countries, where the most important reserves of the biosphere are found, continue to fuel the development of richer countries at the cost of their own present and future.

 

God did not say people could do whatever they wanted to Earth.

We are not God. The earth was here before us and it has been given to us... When nature is viewed solely as a source of profit and gain, this has serious consequences for society. This vision of “might is right” has engendered immense inequality, injustice and acts of violence against the majority of humanity, since resources end up in the hands of the first comer or the most powerful: the winner takes all. The natural environment is a collective good, the patrimony of all humanity and the responsibility of everyone.

 

Mistreatment of the environment is as bad as a lot of really bad stuff, like child abuse and stem cells.

The culture of relativism is the same disorder which drives one person to take advantage of another... It is also the mindset of those who say: Let us allow the invisible forces of the market to regulate the economy, and consider their impact on society and nature as collateral damage.

 

Seriously, lay off the embryonic stem cell research.

We forget that the inalienable worth of a human being transcends his or her degree of development.

 

And how about a little more open-mindedness for transgender people?

Learning to accept our body, to care for it and to respect its fullest meaning, is an essential element of any genuine human ecology... It is not a healthy attitude which would seek “to cancel out sexual difference because it no longer knows how to confront it”.

 

The Pope wants to talk this out.

There are certain environmental issues where it is not easy to achieve a broad consensus... I am concerned to encourage an honest and open debate so that particular interests or ideologies will not prejudice the common good.

 

* * * *

 

Pope Francis, a world citizen in our time of moral decay where humankind is sinking deeper into a spiritual abyss, is a leader of leaders - if only world leaders would heed the "cry of the earth", the "cry of the poor,.the cry of...

 

Sir Brother Sun

Who is the day and through whom You give us light.

And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendor;

 

Sister Moon and the stars,
in heaven You formed them clear and precious and beautiful.

 

Brother Wind,

and through the air, cloudy and serene, and every kind of weather,

through whom You give sustenance to Your creatures.

 

Sister Water,

who is very useful and humble and precious and chaste.

 

Brother Fire,

through whom You light the night,

and he is beautiful and playful and robust and strong.

 

Sister Mother Earth,

who sustains and governs us,

and who produces various fruit with colored flowers and herbs.

 

 

...and heed the cries for justice, for peace, for love and for beauty. But most of all heed the "cry of the earth" and the "cry of the poor".

 

The Next Paradigm waits on these things.

 

 

Notes:

[1] Full text of Laudato Si' is found at Vatican web site (in English: http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html)

 

[2] "2015: IT IS 3 MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT" Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. (http://thebulletin.org/clock/2015)

 

[3] "Franciscan: Encyclical title affirms we all have one creator" Cindy Wooden. Catholic News Service, June 18, 2015. (http://www.americancatholic.org/news/report.aspx?id=19616)

 

[4] "Editorial: The Guardian view on Laudato Si’: Pope Francis calls for a cultural revolution" June 18, 2015. (http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jun/18/guardian-view-on-laudato-si-pope-francis-cultural-revolution)

 

[5] "Laudato Si: The Cheers and the Challenges" Raymond J. De Souza. National Catholic Register, June 18, 2015. (http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/laudato-si-the-cheers-and-the-challenges)

 

[6] "Pope calls for end to fossil fuels - as it happened" The Telegraph, June 18, 2015. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/the-pope/11682872/Pope-Francis-publishes-climate-change-encyclical-live.html)

 

[7] "Expert calls the science behind the papal encyclical ‘watertight’". Inés San Martin, Crux, June 18, 2015. (http://www.cruxnow.com/church/2015/06/18/expert-calls-the-science-behind-the-papal-encyclical-watertight)

 

[8] "Release of encyclical reveals pope’s deep dive into climate science." Washington Post. June 18, 2015. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/how-pope-franciss-not-yet-official-document-on-climate-change-is-already-stirring-controversy/2015/06/17/ef4d46be-14fe-11e5-9518-f9e0a8959f32_story.html)

 

[9] "What Pope Francis should do to really help the poor":Bjorn Lomborg. USA Today, June 18, 2015. (http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2015/06/16/pope-francis-climate-change-poverty-column/71241024)

 

[10] "Laudato Si?" Adnrew Stuttaford. National Review, June 17, 2015. (http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/419934/laudato-si-andrew-stuttaford)

 

[11] Biography of Juan Peron. Christopher Minster,. About Education. (http://latinamericanhistory.about.com/od/thehistoryofargentina/p/09juanperon.htm)

 

[12] "Conservative Media vs. The Pope: The Worst Reactions To Pope Francis' Climate Change Encyclical" Media Matters, June 18, 2015. (http://mediamatters.org/research/2015/06/18/conservative-media-vs-the-pope-the-worst-reacti/204037)

 

[13] "The Pope's Memo on Climate Change is a Mind-Blower" Wired Magazine Staff. Wired Magazine, June 18, 2015. (http://www.wired.com/2015/06/popes-memo-climate-change-mind-blower)

 

[14] Poetry lines at end of essay are extracted from "The Canticle of the Creatures". St. Francis of Assisi. Canticle of the Creatures, in Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, New York-London-Manila, 1999, 113-114.

 (http://www.custodia.org/default.asp?id=1454)

By Michael T Bucci

Contact: mbucci@michaelbucci.com

(c) 2015 Michael T Bucci. All Rights reserved.

(Note: responses to emails might be delayed or not met.)

Michael T Bucci is a retired public relations executive from New Jersey presently residing in New England. His essays have appeared at The Market Oracle (UK). He is the author of nine books on practical spirituality including White Book: Cerithous.

© 2015 Copyright Michael T Bucci - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.


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