God Bless Pope Francis!
At a time when religious liberty and traditional families are under assault in America, it was heartening to see such a tremendous turnout for the leader of the Catholic Church in Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia earlier this month.
Civilizations come and go, but the papacy remains in full force. This latest successor to St. Peter does not anticipate remaining in the papacy for more than a few years. Even so, he has already made his mark as there are a couple of notable firsts worth mentioning. Francis is the first Jesuit pope and the first pope from the Americas. Francis is also the first sitting pope to address members of Congress on Capitol Hill. He is also very likely to be first in a continuum of non-European popes.
Pope Francis delivers remarks to UN staff members at United Nations headquarters Friday, Sept. 25, 2015. The Pope will address the UN General Assembly. (AP Photo/Kevin Hagen, Pool)
While the media tends to fixate on comments the pontiff has made about the environment and immigration, it has ignored his rather pointed remarks in defense of religious liberty and the societal benefits attached to the marriage of a man and a woman. He was explicit without being overly specific in his approach. Read through the entirety of Francis’s remarks to Congress and it’s clear he is calling on Americans to resist modern arrangements that deviate from God’s natural law. Yes, that’s the part the media tends to overlook.
But it’s also clear from his remarks that the pope sees a connection between human activity and environmental degradation. Does this mean he’s set to give political cover to President Barack Obama and his transnational allies in the United Nations who are working to impose costly anti-emissions regulations?
Pope Francis emphasized his environmental concerns that same week in his speech before the United Nations. American conservatives who have good reason to be skeptical of what passes for science within the U.N.’s global warming reports, have a jaundiced view of the pope’s position on the environment. A critical turning point came this past April when the Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based free market think tank, attempted to balance out a papal summit on climate change. The reports back indicate that the summit was very weighted toward the alarmist side as was the pope’s encyclical on the environment Laudato Si.
Dr. William Briggs, a climate statistician, carefully documents the scientific errors concerning climate change that found its way into the encyclical. Even so, there’s a lot to like in the encyclical as it relates to vulnerable populations and the Biblical responsibilities the more fortunate members of the international community have toward their plight. Francis also drives home the point that every man and every woman is created out of an act of love and is “made in God’s image and likeness.” Sounds like the pope stops well short of the idea that humanity is itself some kind of pollutant, which is what the modern environmental movement has been preaching.
The vulnerable populations the pope very rightly champions are the ones that stand to suffer the most and lose the most under the environmental regulations the Obama administration has advanced here at home while the U.N. continues to pursue an international anti-emissions agreement. A good source here for the Vatican would be the scientifically astute group of Evangelical Christians at the Cornwall Alliance who have published a detailed report that highlights how dangerous the so-called Environmental Protection Agency and its anti-emissions regulations would be to the poorest populations.
What accounts the glaring contradiction between Pope Francis’ stated goal of uplifting and protecting the poorest among us as he seemingly embraces green policies that would devastate those same populations?
The answer comes from Marc Morano, a former staffer to Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, who now runs the Climate Depot site. Morano has published a “Climate Skeptics Guide to Pope Francis’ U.S. Visit" that focuses attention on the real villain here: the United Nations and the U.N. advisors who have misled the pope on the science underpinning alarmist claims. As it turns out, there is no consensus inside the Vatican on global warming science, according to Climate Depot. This presents an opportunity.
Between now and when the U.N. holds its next climate summit, which is set to begin on November 30 in Paris, it would be enormously helpful for the Vatican to allow for scientific skeptics to find greater expression. Updated scientific research shows that natural influences, not human activity, are largely responsible for warming and cooling trends. Contrary to alarmist projects, earth’s temperatures have remained flat for almost two decades now. Yet the U.N. is still pressing ahead with a burdensome regulatory agenda.
Standing between the U.N. and the poorest population centers most in need of affordable energy are the climate skeptics who have been vilified and sullied by political figures and their allies in the news media. Earlier this year, the New York Times published a hit piece against a well-credentialed astrophysicist after he identified mathematical errors in the U.N.’s climate models. The article closely coincided with letters congressional figures sent to fossil fuel companies and trade groups to see if they were supporting climate skeptics. The letters did not raise any questions about of money climate alarmists receive from the federal government made possible by U.S. taxpayers.
Instead of putting their faith into the U.N, and its sordid history, Pope Francis and other Vatican officials, may want to take a harder look at the plight of honest scientists who have called out the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for making unsubstantiated catastrophic claims. The U.N. is hardly in a position to claim moral superiority on important questions of public policy.
Steve Allen, a senior editor with the Capital Research Center, puts it very well:
“The U.N. is a body that is supported by plutocracies and dictatorships. There is Vladimir Putin’s Russia and the communist government of China, which has no problem killing its own people. Both Russia and China have a veto power in the U.N. This is also a body that puts countries like Iran, Libya and Cuba in charge of investigating human rights. Somehow the alarmist and the media don’t have a problem with this and they will accept as true a report coming out of one of the most corrupt institutions we can find anywhere in the world.”
In many respects, Pope Francis and American conservatives have been talking past each other. It’s probably a mistake to view the pontiff through the lenses of left, right American politics. He is best understood as a loyal servant of Jesus Christ.
From the encyclical:
“Jesus lived in full harmony with creation, and others were amazed: “What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?” (Mt 8:27). His appearance was not that of an ascetic set apart from the world, nor of an enemy to the pleasant things of life. Of himself he said: “The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard!’” (Mt 11:19). He was far removed from philosophies which despised the body, matter and the things of the world... Jesus worked with his hands, in daily contact with the matter created by God, to which he gave form by his craftsmanship…”
Clearly, Pope Francis is eager to celebrate human achievement and humanity’s God-given position in the natural world.
Of all the images from his trip to the U.S., the one that may have stood out the most was Francis’ appearance before Independence Hall in Philadelphia. Despite the inclinations of the current administration, American Independence stands out as a rebuke to the push for interdependence trans-nationalism that flow out of the U.N.’s global warming agenda.
There’s ample room here for Pope Francis, the Vatican, climate skeptics and the American people at large to find common cause. Standing united against the perfidy of the U.N. and the extreme, anti-life, anti-human, environmental movement is a good starting point.
God Bless Pope Francis.
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