Posts tagged with: environment

pope plantToday’s Washington Examiner has a piece that says “conservatives” are slamming Laudato Si’, the new papal encyclical released yesterday. “Slam” may be too strong a word; though there is plenty of vigorous discussion regarding the encyclical.

Acton’s director of research Samuel Gregg is quoted in the Washington Examiner piece, and while he is clearly concerned about portions of the encyclical, he does not “slam” this work either.

It tends to characterize free markets as unregulated, which is simply untrue. It also seems to blame markets for so many social ills which may perhaps in the case of developing countries reflect that they don’t have free markets,” Samuel Gregg … told the Washington Examiner.

Gregg said some of the rebukes of the free market system stem from the pope’s Argentine upbringing. He noted the government and religion are more intertwined in Latin America, where states often operate robust social spending programs with an eye toward alleviating poverty. Detractors of such policies have noted the systems prevent foreign investment and trade while awarding handouts to cement political patronage.

The entire piece is available here.

Blog author: bwalker
Friday, June 19, 2015

Pope Francis’s encyclical on climate change unveiled at Vatican – video

‘Laudato Si’,’ an Overview
Zenit News Agency

At the heart of the Pope’s reflections is the question: “What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?” The answers he suggests call for profound changes to political, economic, cultural and social systems, as well as to our individual lifestyles.

Pope Francis Using Twitter to Bring About Global Dialogue He’s Called for on Climate
Zenit News Agency

Being able to promote the encyclical through Twitter is undoubtedly one of the occasions in which it is “right to rejoice in these [technological] 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 a God-given human creativity'”

President of US Bishops’ Statement on ‘Laudato Si’
Zenit News Agency

Genuine efforts to true dialogue will require sacrifice and the confronting of good faith disagreements, but let us be encouraged that at “the heart of this world, the Lord of life, who loves us so much, is always present. He does not abandon us…he has united himself definitively to our earth, and his love constantly impels us to find new ways forward” (245). May we help answer Pope Francis’ call in this encyclical, receiving his message and growing in responsibility towards the common home that God has entrusted to us all.

Carbon week: The church of climatism
Nigel Lawson, Financial Post

How is it that much of the Western world, and Europe in particular, has succumbed to the self-harming collective madness that is the climate change orthodoxy? It is difficult to escape the conclusion that climate change orthodoxy has in effect become a substitute religion, attended by all the intolerant zealotry that has so often marred religion in the past, and in some places still does so today.


glass ballWho could have predicted, six months ago, what the encyclical Laudato Si’, would hold in store? Seems like Jennifer Roback Morse could.

In a January 2015 piece for The Daily Caller, Morse made some predictions that turned out to be spot on.

 I do not know what he is going to say. Neither, dear reader, does anyone else you are likely to read. However, I can tell you two things that he will certainly not say. And those two unsaid things have the potential to speak volumes, if only we will listen.

  1. He will certainly not say that overpopulation is the cause of any environmental problem. This old trope will be completely absent from the Holy Father’s document.

  2. He will certainly not say that contraception, abortion or sterilization, voluntary or involuntary, are necessary components of any comprehensive solutions to environmental problems.


laudato_siSamuel Gregg, Acton’s director of research, writes in The American Spectator today about Laudato Si’, Pope Francis’ encyclical which addresses environmental issues. Gregg says that part of the encyclical’s intent is to add to the global discussion regarding the environment and to the climate change debate. However, Gregg believes that the encyclical, rather than enlightening, is muddying the waters.

To be sure, there is much about today’s global economy that merits criticism. The encyclical rightly underscores the problem of bailing out banks at everyone else’s expense (189). Does anyone doubt that, if the world faces another series of major bank failures, governments will behave in exactly the same way, thereby reinforcing the moral hazard problem that’s at the root of so much of the financial sector’s on-going dysfunctionality? The encyclical also suggests, correctly, that despite the events of 2008, there has been a major failure to reform the world’s financial systems (189). Likewise the pope’s tough words for those who regard population growth as somehow damaging the environment and impeding economic development are spot-on (50).

Nonetheless, many conceptual problems and questionable empirical claims characterize the encyclical’s vision of contemporary economic life. In terms of environmental degradation, Laudato Si’ appears oblivious to the fact that the twentieth century’s worst economically driven pollution occurred as a result of centrally-planned state-industrialization schemes in former Communist nations. Anyone who’s visited Eastern Europe or the former USSR and witnessed the often-devastated landscape will quickly attest to the validity of that insight.


Blog author: bwalker
Thursday, June 18, 2015

Laudato Si (Praised Be You) Released Today
After much anticipation and some trepidation, Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si, was published today. Today’s EcoLinks focuses on key quotes, summaries and public reactions.

Key excerpts from a draft of Pope Francis’ new encyclical on the environment
David Gibson and Rosie Scammell, The Washington Post

“I am aware that some people strongly refute the idea of a Creator on political or intellectual grounds, or consider it irrelevant. … However, science and religion, which offer different approaches to reality, can enter into an intense and productive dialogue with each other.” (ThinkProgress)

Pope delivers strong message on climate change
Business Spectator

Samuel Gregg, a Catholic who serves as director of research for the Acton Institute, a conservative ecumenical think tank that advocates for a free market, took exception to the pope’s economic premises, saying that Pope Francis has “significant blind spots” with regard to market economies. “When you read through the text, you find the free market, and finance in particular, is identified more or less as responsible for many environmental problems,” Dr Gregg said. “It’s almost a subterranean theme of the encyclical …In many respects it’s a caricature of market economies.”

Sister Earth. The “Green” Encyclical of Pope Francis
Sandro Magister, Chiesa Expresso Online

Pages selected from the letter “Laudato si’” addressed by the pope to “every person living on this planet.” In parentheses, the numbers of the paragraphs from which the passages were taken.

Guidance Map for Pope Francis’ Encyclical ‘Laudato Si’
Edward Pentin, National Catholic Register

This text is a useful guide for an initial reading of the Encyclical. It will help you to grasp the overall development and identify the basic themes. The first two pages are an overview of Laudato si’ (literally “Be praised” or better, “Praise be to you”). Then for each of the six chapters, there is a one-page summary which gives the argument or main points and some key passages.


Samuel Gregg, director of research at the Acton Institute, spoke with Business Spectator about the economic message of the new encyclical:

When you read through the text, you find the free market, and finance in particular, is identified more or less as responsible for many environmental problems, Dr Gregg said.  It’s almost a subterranean theme of the encyclical …In many respects it’s a caricature of market economies.

Read more at “Pope Delivers Strong Message on Climate Change.” from Business Spectator.

Blog author: bwalker
Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Leak of Pope’s Encyclical on Climate Change Hints at Tensions in Vatican
Jim Yardley and Elisabetta Povoledo, The New York Times

Who leaked it and why? Was this the work of frustrated conservatives in the Vatican, as some experts have speculated? Does it portend big fights at a pivotal October meeting in which church officials are expected to grapple with homosexuality and divorce? Or is it just a tempest in a teapot?

Jeb Bush calls out Pope Francis on climate change
Anthony Terrell, MSNBC

“I hope I’m not going to get castigated for saying this by my priest back home, but I don’t get economic policy from my bishops or my cardinals or my pope,” Bush said. “And I’d like to see what he says as it relates to climate change and how that connects to these broader, deeper issue before I pass judgment. But I think religion ought to be about making us better as people and less about things that end up getting in the political realm.”

Bush is latest Republican to criticize Pope Francis’ climate encyclical
Joel Connelly, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

The Republican presidential candidate is the latest to criticize Pope Francis. Another Catholic GOP hopeful, ex-Sen. Rick Santorum, has said the church should stay focused on “what we’re really good at, theology and morality.”

Pope Francis’ climate change document aimed at hearts, says Genesis’ Sister Elizabeth Oleksak
Anne-Gerard Flynn,

Sister of Providence Elizabeth Oleksak, former director of Genesis Spiritual Life and Conference Center, believes Pope Francis’ much
anticipated teaching document on climate change will be more pastoral than political.


Alejandro Chafuen, member of the Board of Directors of the Acton Institute, discusses the theology, science, and political impact of Pope Francis’ environmental statements:

Although the Pope writes and speaks as he is not an expert on bio-technology—allowing for differences of opinion—when he speaks about political economic topics he does it with conviction and certainty. Like other Church documents, this one again cautions that “on many concrete issues the Church has no reason to propose a final word” and that it promotes and respects honest debate among scientists respecting the diversity of opinion. But on economic topics, “Laudato Si” seems one sided. A major guiding document of the Catholic Church, “Gaudium et Spes” (36:7), deplores “certain habits of mind, which are sometimes found among Christians, which do not sufficiently attend to the rightful independence of science and which, from the arguments and controversies they spark, lead many minds to conclude that faith and science are mutually opposed.”

If the Social Doctrine of the Church is seen as teaching one sided views on solar panels, carbon credits, or climate change, it might put into question the credibility of its other teachings as well.

Read “Pope Francis and the Environment:  Sound Theology, Politicized Science?” at

Blog author: bwalker
Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Themes of the Pope’s Encyclical on Climate, Equity and the Environment Emerge in Italian Leak
Andrew Revkin, The New York Times

The Guardian translated several noteworthy passages, including one that essentially endorses the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the conclusions that emerged a year ago at a four-day meeting on sustainable development and climate change hosted by the Pontifical Academy of Science meeting last year (which I reported on at length).

The Pope’s thoughts on climate change are leaked
Kai Ryssdal, Marketplace

Setting aside for the moment the issue of who inside the Vatican might leak a papal encyclical, it does appear that that’s what has happened. The Italian magazine ‘L’Espresso’ leaked a draft of the document today… 192 pages about climate change and its effects on the poor. In the document, Pope Francis calls for “urgent action” against climate change and endorses biofuels. The official release date is Thursday, and Vatican authorities are saying the official text is still under embargo.

Pope Francis Calls Global Warming a Threat And Urges Action
Francis X. Rocca, The Wall Street Journal

The Vatican said the posted text wasn’t the final document, which would remain under embargo until Thursday, but it didn’t say whether there were material differences between the draft and the final document.


A draft of Laudato Sii is circulating and causing an uproar. This document seems to align with climate scientists, arguing that “the bulk of global warming is caused by human activity.” However, this draft may not be the final encyclical, Rev. Federico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman, said that it is merely a “intermediate version” and not the final encyclical.

Whether or not this is the final language and content that will be in the upcoming encyclical on the environment, much of the dialogue starting on Thursday (when the encyclical is officially released) will be on if anything in the draft has been changed and if it has, why. The Washington Post asked Acton’s Director of Research, Samuel Gregg to comment:

“If this is indeed not the final text, as the Holy See’s press office is stating, then much of the attention will be on differences between the draft text and the actual encyclical. That will fuel ultimately unprovable speculation on why the things that were changed were altered, thereby potentially distracting from the messages of the final text,” he said.