Friday, July 27, 2007

Vatican takes a role in keeping God's earth green

The Holy See announced this month that it would become the world's first "carbon neutral" sovereign state by planting trees in a Hungarian national park to offset the carbon-dioxide emissions and energy use of Vatican City.

It was only the latest of several statements and actions by the Roman Catholic Church's leaders that reflect an increasingly prominent concern for ecology.

Over the last few months, the Vatican has sponsored a two-day conference on climate change, and Pope Benedict XVI and other leaders have called for more attention to environmental problems.

In June, Vatican officials announced that the papal audience hall adjacent to St. Peter's Basilica would be covered with photovoltaic panels that will make it possible to heat, cool and light the building exclusively with solar power.

And in a sign that environmental problems are not merely a theoretical concern, Italian newspapers published photos this month of statues in St. Peter's Square covered with black spots just eight years after their last cleaning. The damage was the result of exhaust from bus and automobile traffic, a Vatican official said.

Environmentalists welcome the growing involvement of the world's largest church in the movement to protect nature from the effects of human industry. But some say the Vatican's approach to the subject is hampered by a lack of scientific expertise and by a theological bias that privileges humanity over the rest of nature.

For their part, Catholic leaders are leery of any environmental policies that might hold back economic development, and they categorically reject proposals that conflict with church doctrines forbidding artificial birth control and abortion.

The church's approach to environmental problems is characterized by the concept of stewardship, the belief that humanity has been divinely appointed to manage and care for the rest of the natural world.

A 1991 encyclical by Pope John Paul II introduced the concept of "human ecology," placing new emphasis on humanity's responsibility for care of the planet.

The Vatican is agnostic on the science behind some of the most discussed environmental questions, including the causes of climate change and the safety of genetically modified organisms in agriculture.

"We realize that climate change is a fact," says Monsignor James Reinert of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. "But we're not going to speak about global warming, or how or why. We're convinced that we still don't know."

Reinert's office, which sponsored the April conference on climate change, drew criticism for inviting several dissenters from the prevailing view that human activity is the primary cause for a rise in the Earth's temperature.

The decision to invite the skeptics was part of the Holy See's effort to "balance the debate," says Antonio Gaspari, a professor of environmental science at Rome's Regina Apostolorum University, who attended the conference.

Gaspari says the event's roster was heavy with "catastrophists" who peremptorily blamed global warming on industry and overpopulation and supported a carbon tax as a way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Such a tax would unfairly burden emerging economies, Gaspari says, and the "Holy See will accept no solutions that limit the development of poor countries."

Paolo Conversi, who teaches human ecology at Rome's Pontifical Gregorian University, says the mainstream environmental movement has shown itself increasingly sympathetic to the Catholic idea of "integral human development," which places priorities on the quality of human life and ecological balance.

Agreement is less possible on the question of population size, Conversi says, given the church's opposition to abortion and artificial contraception.

In Catholic thought, "it's not the number of people but the quality and style of life that determine the impact on the environment."

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Sotto Voce

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Gods reps left playing catch up again. Makes one wonder exactly how valuable having a direct line to the "all knowing" one is.

March 2, 2007 CE.
Pope is Warned of a Green Anti-apprentice jewish carpenter.

An arch-conservative cardinal chosen by the Pope to deliver this year’s Lenten meditations to the Vatican hierarchy has caused consternation by giving warning of an Antichrist who is “a pacifist, ecologist and ecumenist”.

May 2007 CE
Pope hosts a vatican congress addressed by dr. Antonio Zichichi who contends that there is no such thing as global warming. Commentators speculate his opinion may be based on the fact he does not have a TV and has not looked out the window of his house for the last few decades.

July 2007CE

Oh shit we're starting' to look foolish again. Let’s try catch up by issuing one of those forked tongued pieces of self contradictory double talk that we’re so good at. Don't forget to mention the poor and the uneducated, they are our biggest customers after all.

And what could be the CCL's problem with all this save the Earth stuff?


In destroying paganism by the sword to spread Catholicism someone may figure out we're the root of the problem.
Not only that the whole theme of this entire Earth stuff fly's in the face of our doctrine. Why is saving the Earth so important when we got heaven?

When people start to think we have to save the Earth because it's our only home on the back of this will rise a new form of the pagan belief systems we've worked so hard to stamp out.

How is that road through the Tara valley going? Hurry it up it's an ancient pagan site. Run that M3 right through it.

Finn McCool

and hey get the hell off my island