Thursday, October 20, 2011

(The Republican) (Part II)

A quick overview of my last post: claims to be a non-partisan organization applying Catholic doctrine to political issues. That's half true. My contention is that this right wing site waters-down or misrepresents numerous Church teachings on issues that, at a minimum, seem to complement a politically liberal viewpoint (and are therefore in conflict with conservative political orthodoxy).
     In the first part of this series, I focused on health care. Now, I'll turn my attention to "Environmental Stewardship," another of the icons on their "Issues" page.
     When one clicks on the aforementioned icon, she is directed to an essay by Father Roger Landry, which is largely made up of quotes from Benedict XVI's encyclical, Caritas in Veritate. This is certainly a fine source--and one that I have relied upon--and I have no objections to the use of any of the quotes included. But when what is included from this document is set against what is not included, we see an example of's typical evasions on teachings that are in conflict with prevailing Republican thought.
    Unsurprisingly, the Holy Father's condemnation of an atheistic approach to the environment is included. Along with the author's added commentary, it neatly fits the conservative caricature of a godless Left, whose environmental concerns, we can surmise, stem from all the wrong motives:

Benedict notes that the modern atheism that has tried to turn the theory of evolution into an argument against God’s existence has actually led to the environmental abuses. “When nature, including the human being, is viewed as the result of mere chance or evolutionary determinism,” he argues, “our sense of responsibility wanes.” If nature is just matter, then it does not matter in the final analysis what you do with it. Only if nature has a built-in purpose is it possible to speak about violating that purpose.

     Fr. Landry also includes the correlation Benedict XVI draws between abortion and the environment:

The Pope says: “If there is a lack of respect for the right to life and to a natural death, if human conception, gestation and birth are made artificial, if human embryos are sacrificed to research, the conscience of society ends up losing the concept of human ecology and, along with it, that of environmental ecology.

    Somehow, though, the pope's call for meaningful international action on the environment is excluded. The following quote from Caritas might have helped to round things out (emphasis is mine):

Let us hope that the international community and individual governments will succeed in countering harmful ways of treating the environment. It is likewise incumbent upon the competent authorities to make every effort to ensure that the economic and social costs of using up shared environmental resources are recognized with transparency and fully borne by those who incur them, not by other peoples or future generations: the protection of the environment, of resources and of the climate obliges all international leaders to act jointly and to show a readiness to work in good faith, respecting the law and promoting solidarity with the weakest regions of the planet. One of the greatest challenges facing the economy is to achieve the most efficient use — not abuse — of natural resources, based on a realization that the notion of “efficiency” is not value-free.
When this call to action is added to Benedict's commentary about the equitable distribution of resources and the duty of countries like ours to limit consumption (from the same document)--

The technologically advanced societies can and must lower their domestic energy consumption, either through an evolution in manufacturing methods or through greater ecological sensitivity among their citizens. It should be added that at present it is possible to achieve improved energy efficiency while at the same time encouraging research into alternative forms of energy.
--it becomes difficult to avoid the conclusion that the author's carefully selected quotations are designed to keep readers from thinking about the aggressive environmental policies championed by Democrats, which correspond so nicely with the environmental admonitions of both of our recent pontiffs. And if Father Landry sought to escape the ire of Catholics enamored of the Republican party, whose chief energy policy is to drill for more oil, he likely succeeded .
     Finally, there is that small matter of climate change and the devastating impact scientists tell us it will likely wreak upon humanity. You've probably already guessed that this issue is not mentioned in Fr. Landry's essay. But make no mistake, the days of Galileo are long gone. Pope Benedict XVI (perhaps brainwashed by the liberal media!) has consistently endorsed the overwhelming consensus of climate scientists world wide. I'll close with an excerpt from an address to the United Nations by Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Vatican's permanent observer to that body:

The scientific evidence for global warming and for humanity's role in the increase of greenhouse gasses becomes ever more unimpeachable, as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change findings are going to suggest; and such activity has a profound relevance, not just for the environment, but in ethical, economic, social and political terms as well. The consequences of climate change are being felt not only in the environment, but in the entire socioeconomic system and, as seen in the findings of numerous reports already available, they will impact first and foremost the poorest and weakest who, even if they are among the least responsible for global warming, are the most vulnerable because they have limited resources or live in areas at greater risk.

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