Category: Public Policy

Speaking to the New York Times, Rev. Robert A. Sirico, Acton Institute president and co-founder, addresses the potential political fallout from the Pope’s encyclical statements on climate change:

From the moment he steps into that chamber and talks about climate change, it’s going to be taken as a political statement,” said the Rev. Robert Sirico, executive director of the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty, a policy group that endorses free-market economics. “For the conservatives, it’s going to be very uncomfortable. Republicans are going to have a hard time on the environment.

Read “Pope’s Views on Climate Change Add Pressure to Catholic Candidates” in the New York Times.

Michael Matheson Miller, Research Fellow and Director of Acton Media at the Acton Institute:

“Pope Francis has spoken consistently about the need to end exclusion for the world’s poor.  Since the environmental movement often neglects the challenges of the poor, it will be interesting to see how the encyclical addresses the call to environmental stewardship in the context of poverty and economic development. “

Kishore Jayabalan, Director of Istituto Acton in Rome:

“The fact that this draft has been leaked well in advance of the encyclical’s official release shows the great interest in what Pope Francis has to say about the environment. To be sure, he will frame the issues in Christian terms, as the pope must always do. My concern is that he will blame the market economy for basically all our environmental degradation and neglect the very important role private property and free enterprise have in protecting the environment and allowing people to live freely and responsibly.”

Speaking on The Steve Malzberg Show on Newsmax TV on Friday, Rev. Robert Sirico addressed questions regarding the new papal encyclical, Laudato Si’, which reportedly will be released this week.

Sirico commented on Pope Francis’ tendency to speak “off the cuff,” saying this may be exploited by the press or others who simply want to push their own agenda regarding the environment and climate change. Sirico also expressed trepidation regarding the pontiff’s plan to address a joint session of Congress during his U.S. visit in September.

Had I been asked, and I wasn’t, on whether the Pope should address the joint session of Congress, I would’ve said no,” Sirico said.

Why? Because it lends a whole political atmosphere to whatever he’s going to be saying to the Congress.

There’s no way the Pope is going to come out of that chamber without people putting a political spin on it whether to the right or the left,” Sirico said.

The Pope is visiting us not as the head of Vatican City State, not as a politician, not as a monarch, but as a pastor, as a bishop.”

Warehousing of children, summer 2014

Warehousing of children, summer 2014

The summer of 2014 saw an overwhelming amount of children making their way, illegally, across the southern U.S. border. Thousands of children and adolescents overwhelmed the Border Patrol and social service agencies. Are we gearing up to see the same type of event this summer? It’s beginning to look that way.

We are not nearly at the numbers we were last year, but it looks like we are in the opening stages. We had two groups equal a little over 70 in one hour today. These were women and children,” said Agent Cabrera. “We’ve also seen a lot of children traveling alone.” (more…)

The impending encyclical of Pope Francis has many Christians thinking how man should relate to our environment. But the discussions tend to focus on issues like man-made climate change, which can cause us to overlook equally important environmental stewardship concerns, such as the welfare of animals.

Why should Christians care about the ethical treatment of animals? Because animals are the second most important aspect of creation, says Randy Alcorn, and the first most important thing, outside of other humans and our relationship with God, that we must care for.

Dan Darling, vice president of communications at the Ethic and Religious Liberty Commission, interviews Alcorn about how the Bible informs our care for and value of animals.

school kids haitiPeople of good will wish to end poverty. No one who lives in abject poverty wishes to remain there. We all know that poverty is a problem, but we differ on how to “fix” it.

One clear distinction, discussed by Stephanie Summers, is whether we want to end poverty, or whether we want to promote human flourishing. This is a critical delineation.

Ending poverty focuses primarily on government policy and programs. It utilizes metrics, numbers, data to “prove” success. The goal is to move a person or family from one income bracket to the next, higher up. It is economics-focused, not person-focused.

How is the goal of human flourishing different? It is more robust, Summers says; it encompasses more than simply economic factors. “We are not simply baptizing a particular public policy agenda or means,” Summers states, but seeking a manner of living that allows each person to reach his/her fullest potential. (more…)

Jean Jean Flaubert says the Red Cross promised to transform his neighborhood. “Now I do not understand the change that they are talking about,” he said. (Marie Arago, special to ProPublica)

Jean Jean Flaubert says the Red Cross promised to transform his neighborhood. “Now I do not understand the change that they are talking about,” he said. (Marie Arago, special to ProPublica)

Disaster relief and aid to developing nations is big business. Really big. While the documentary “Poverty,Inc.” examines whether this business helps or hurts, it’s very clear from this NPR/ProPublica story that the Red Cross did not help Haiti. And the Red Cross didn’t help Haiti to the tune of $500 million.

The Red Cross claims all the money went to Haitians. Haitians say no. Former Haitian prime minister Jean-Max Bellerive:

I’m not a big mathematician, but I can make some additions. It doesn’t add up for me.”


Blog author: bwalker
Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Podcast: U.N. Secretary General Wants to “Join Forces” With Catholic Church?
Chris Manion, Population Research Institute

Ban Ki Moon, Secreatary General of the United Nations, wants to “join forces” with the Catholic Church to save the planet. Does Mr. Ban actually believe that Pope Francis will endorse the UN’s forced abortion and sterilization programs around the world?

Ban Ki-moon urges governments to invest in low carbon energy

Damian Carrington, The Guardian

Ban also said, with a papal encyclical on climate change due to be published in June, that he welcomed the addition of Pope Francis’s moral voice to the debate. Ban stressed that the reduction of poverty around the world was inextricably linked to tackling climate change.

Namibia: Swakopmund Matters Supports Pope’s Encyclical

According to SM “creation care” (considered a better phrase than ‘environmental protection’) is not a task only confined to Catholics, and that the Pope is not only expected to address his church’s followers but everyone.

Laudato Sii: Why This Conservative Looks Forward to the Letter on the Environment by Pope Francis
Deacon Keith Fournier, Catholic Online

It would be a shame for the reaffirmation of Catholic teaching on a relational approach to stewardship of the gift of creation to be misused in efforts to divide Christians in a new missionary age. Whether this happens depends, to a large degree, on each one of us.

acton-commentary-blogimage“’Sustainability’ has become big business, especially at universities,” says Kishore Jayabalan in this week’s Acton Commentary. “If there ever was an elitist/populist wedge issue, this is it, with Pope Francis and the Holy See on the wrong side of it.”

So what exactly is meant by “sustainability”? The term originates in 1987 with the World Commission on Environment and Development’s report entitled Our Common Future: “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Sounds reasonable enough, but the concept is so broad as to be meaningless. The 2002 UN Summit on Sustainable Development, which I attended as a delegate of the Holy See, came ten years after the Rio Earth Summit and sought to balance social, economic and environmental concerns. The concept today seems to be about fighting poverty while tackling climate change (as in a “new climate economy”). Once again, who can be against it? And what are we supposed to do about it?

The full text of the essay can be found here. Subscribe to the free, weekly Acton News & Commentary and other publications here.