Acton Institute Powerblog

The Slippery Slope of Catholic Ecology

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What I have found odd is that so many Catholics, especially female religious, should gravitate toward what appears to be essentially pantheism or what some eco-spirituality thinkers prefer to call “panentheism” (the universe as the “body of God”) when the Church has addressed the entire ecology question in a way that would, practically speaking, lead to the same results in terms of respect for the created order and sustainability.


Given the present direction of Catholic movement on climate change, and given that many global warmists are also anti-populationists, it’s not hard to envision a collision with the Church’s pro-life values. The way to reconcile this, of course, is by proclaiming the Personhood of the Trinity and the value of human beings created in His image while upholding ecology as stewardship, not dogma.

"Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself," is the Commandment. "Love the planet" has never been in Jesus’ vernacular.

Confusion between the two is growing.

[Don’s other habitat is]

Don Bosch


  • Becky

    I find the title of this post a little misleading. It’s not the Catholic Church’s teaching that puts us on a slipperly slope to ecology spiritualism and population control – it’s the crazy, left-wing semi-religious sisters who have no interest in the Church’s teaching on anything who send themselves on a slippery slope. What these religious sisters and other pantheists are teaching can hardly be classified as “Catholic.”

    I don’t see that the Catholic Church’s teachings on the sanctity of life and stewardship of the environment are going to contradict each other at any point in history.

    But maybe I misunderstood the author’s intent in this post?

  • Don

    Fair point, Becky – perhaps an overgeneralization. I do see a risk for the Catholic Church (pro-life Protestants as well) simultaneously pressing a climate change agenda which is indirectly yet inexorably linked to population control. Something will eventually have to give, won’t it?

    (in the meantime you can always [url=]slap the wayward sisters with a trout…)[/url]

  • Becky

    Ok – that’s fair too, but I just don’t see where the Catholic Church is pushing a “climate change agenda.” Promoting a general, Biblical stewardship of the environment, yes, but that’s not an agenda. The Church hasn’t (and it won’t) outline a specific response that Catholics should have to any sort of global warming that may occur. There isn’t an agenda.

  • I earnestly await the Pope’s proclamation on universal trout-slapping privileges for the laity.

  • Don

    No? Maybe I’m reading too much into the [url=]Pope’s address to the UN last month.[/url]

  • Becky

    With all due respect, I think you are.

    I watched the address live and read it over a few times in the last couple of weeks, and I see no agenda for climate change. Saying in general terms that we need to take care of the environment is not an “agenda.” I’m sure you would agree that we need to be stewards – the Pope has gone no further than stating that.

    Now if he started talking about how we all needed to drive hybrids and wear organic clothing, THAT would be an agenda. All he said is that it’s up to us to figure out how we are to most effectively, in light of the dignity of the human person, steward the environment.

  • Steve

    It seems to me the corruption of clear thought and sound ethics is as dangerous as the agendas in the domination of climate change in politics and philosophy today. For example, see The Silent Scream of the Asparagus at

  • Kishore

    Becky is right. It seems Don is believing too much of the mainstream media’s interpretation of the Pope and the environment.

    Before the UN speech, Michael Miller and I wrote an Acton News and Commentary about this:

    Anyone who reads the whole texts of the Pope’s homilies and speeches can see that there is no “slippery slope” here.