By Edgar Jiménez from Porto, Portugal (Papa rock star) [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Edgar Jiménez from Porto, Portugal (Papa rock star) [CC-BY-SA-2.0]

Pope Francis will call for an ethical and economic revolution to prevent catastrophic climate change and growing inequality in a letter to the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics on Thursday.

In an unprecedented encyclical on the subject of the environment, the pontiff is expected to argue that humanity’s exploitation of the planet’s resources has crossed the Earth’s natural boundaries, and that the world faces ruin without a revolution in hearts and minds. The much-anticipated message, which will be sent to the world’s 5,000 Catholic bishops, will be published online in five languages on Thursday and is expected to be the most radical statement yet from the outspoken pontiff. [theguardian.com 6/13/15]

In the draft of the encyclical, Francis says global warming is “mostly” due to human activity and the burning of fossil fuels. He calls for a radical change in behavior to save the planet for future generations and prevent the poor from suffering the worst effects of industry-induced environmental degradation. [usnews.com 6/16/15]

 

It makes complete logical sense that the Pope and hard core advocates of government nationalization of fossil fuels would stand unified.

Think about it.

The Pope maintains that all of Earth’s resources belong not to man, but to God. Environmentalists likewise maintain that “Mother Earth’s” resources are public property, not the property of those who actually own them and distribute them to willing parties for a negotiated price.

Each side ignores and evades the enormous, life-serving benefits that come from the utilization of fossil fuels for human benefit. Those benefits are so massive, so awesome, so taken for granted that they no longer occur to anyone benefiting from them, which includes the self-righteous pontiff along with his posing secular moralists in the anti-fossil fuels movement.

Most people currently living today would quite simply die if fossil fuel use ceased tomorrow morning. That does not matter to them, because human life and productivity are not what’s most important, not to the Pope and not to his environmentalist allies.

The Pope and environmentalists hate certain things more than they love human life and flourishing on earth (assuming they love these things, at all). What do they hate? Capitalism, private property, profit and wealth. To the Pope, these things get in the way of the central purpose of life, which is (1) to wait for the afterlife, and (2) to serve God. To the environmentalists, these things get in the way of the central purpose of life, which is to serve others, and allow the federal (or world) government to distribute property, energy and centrally dictate the course of all human lives.

Environmentalism is the perfect way to promote religious guilt and neurosis. “This planet isn’t yours. It’s God’s. Shame on you for being the greedy recipient of life’s values. Shame, shame, shame.”

Environmentalism is likewise the perfect way to promote communistic socialism: “Those greedy oil companies. They’re nothing but evil. They have more than you, and they’re raping Mother’s Earth’s natural resources, and raising the earth’s temperature to boot. Shame on them, and shame on you. Vote for us, and atone.”

Of course the Pope and the environmentalists are on the same page. They both want power and control — over your personal happiness.

The Pope is a communist of the spirit. His end game is the afterlife. The socialists and environmentalists are communists of the material world. In key respects, they’re very different. But they share a very common enemy: man’s productive enterprises on earth. Service comes first, both the communists of spirit and government maintain. Capitalism gets in the way of service, and for that reason it must be destroyed — or at least diluted.

To be fair, the hardcore advocates of both religion and environmentalism make their goals and priorities clear. If you take the time to read and listen to them, they will tell you: Man’s life on earth is not what matters most. What matters is service. What matters is leaving the planet alone, because it’s God’s (or Nature’s) gift to us, something we have no right to tarnish, “rape” or even rationally reorganize according to our own bests needs and interests.

When people fight about environmentalism or religion, they’re really fighting about what’s most important. Your own life and well-being on Earth — or something else. If you are secondary to the dirt in the ground, or a faith-based kingdom in the sky, then there’s no point having the discussion. We should probably just give in to the Pope and the environmentalists, because this planet, after all, does not belong to human beings. It’s either a Gift from God — or society. In practice, in both cases, this means: a gift of the government.

The Church does not have the clout it once had. The cover-up of priests molesting little boys just about did the Church in, for all time; and it may yet be its undoing. The Pope, quite naturally, is in search of a means of giving that failing institution the high moral ground once again. Capitalism is the perfect scapegoat, and fear of the catastrophe of global warming provides the perfect format for exploiting fear.

For another thing, it’s no longer the Middle Ages. Since the Middle Ages when the Church was at its peak, human beings have experienced the combined feats of Christopher Columbus, Galileo, the Renaissance, Thomas Edison, Thomas Jefferson, the inventive eras and industrial/technological revolutions of the 19th and 20th centuries, and the technological revolution of the early 21st century. We have witnessed the triumph of the separation of church and state. These transformations throw religious primitivists — such as contemporary Muslims — into a psychotic and violent rage. The Church authorities have a calmer reaction than Islam, but are no kinder to these developments, at the core, than any other organization or institution based not on the realization of man’s secular potentiality on Earth, but rather Something Else.

I know this is not what conservative Catholics want to hear. But conservative Catholics who oppose the Pope for his apparent support of environmentalist fascism, yet still want to retain their allegiance to the Church, have to take a hard look at reality. I’m merely the messenger here. If you don’t like my answers, you still must find a way to answer the question: How can the Pope be morally right (if not infallible), while openly an anti-capitalist environmentalist? If human life is the standard of value, then on what basis does the Pope morally and economically condemn reason and capitalism, the only influences that have helped the poor or the rich, by lifting human conditions out of poverty and squalor into always expanding improvements? Remember that today’s poor, living under capitalism, are the envy of even the richest people who lived in the Church-dominated Middle Ages, or the more recent era of Marxist Communism.

As for the so-called rational intelligence behind “climate science,” let’s get real. Environmentalism is nothing more than religion masking as science. Under its highly questionable scientific guidance, we fixate on the real and alleged disadvantages of fossil fuel use, we treat theories as if they’re already proven facts, and we demean or otherwise punish people who dissent. We label people who even raise questions about the very scientific premise of “climate science,” i.e., that we can predict with scientific accuracy temperatures decades and centuries into the future, as “deniers” — the intellectual equivalent of infidels.

Doesn’t this sound a whole lot like unfettered religion itself? If climate scientists are so sure of their theories and conclusions, then why are those in the scientific fields who raise legitimate questions and concerns about these theories given the same kind of treatment imposed on Galileo by the Roman Catholic Inquisition in centuries past? Try getting a government grant if you’re not on the same page as Pope Francis and Barack Obama on climate change.

The usnews.com story got to the heart of the matter when it wrote:

Anxiety has so gripped American conservatives over Pope Francis’ upcoming encyclical on the environment that you might think a pope had never before blamed fossil fuels for global warming. Or accused energy companies of hoarding the Earth’s resources at the expense of the poor. Or urged the rich to consume less and share more.

As I said, conservative Catholics and others do not want to hear this. Some are openly critical of the Pope, even though the Pope — per Catholic belief — is infallible on matters of morality or Church authority.

Aren’t the future of the planet and man’s moral obligations in life matters of papal infallibility?

Don’t ask me, because I don’t buy into the idea that anyone is infallible. Infallible means “incapable of error.” That’s the attitude adopted not just by the Pope, but by secular, agnostic and even atheistic advocates of government-enforced environmentalism. It’s just one more way they belong on the same team.

Environmentalists, progressives and leftists who don’t agree with the Church on many things will welcome the Pope’s diatribe against Western rationality and civilization with open arms, and exploit it to their own benefit. Ironically, if these environmentalists really had science on their side, they would not need, nor even welcome, the proclamations of a faith-based holdover from another era of human history. If more respect for reproductive rights, women and gays were really so important to progressives, they would not push all those aside to join forces with a Pope at war with human nature, human achievement and the social system of capitalism.

The real “conservatives” of our day are those who embrace faith-based authoritarianism over the liberating and reality-embracing models of capitalism, private property, church-state separation and — at their root — scientific technology and reason.

The real progressives are those who want human life to actually progress, not to recede from a state of humility and unearned guilt for accomplishing the great things that fossil fuel development, along with so many other human innovations, have achieved.

What does it tell you about environmentalism that it needs the Pope to prop up its campaign against capitalism and human achievement on earth? If “Hell” is metaphorical for regression in the quality of life on Earth as we know it, then we surely are witnessing a marriage made in Hell.

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Dr Michael Hurd

Dr. Michael Hurd is a psychotherapist, columnist and author of "Bad Therapy, Good Therapy (And How to Tell the Difference)" and "Grow Up America!" Visit his website at: www.DrHurd.com.

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