Pope Francis Leading the ChargeBy: Joseph M. W. Marciano
Pope Francis's Political Curveball: Laudato Si'.
Laudato Si', the Catholic Church's Encyclical, took the political world by surprise. Whenever the Catholic Church weighs in on a 'hot button' political issue, consequences will follow. Pope Francis openly argues, "through the burning of fossil fuels, human action is causing the Earth to warm dangerously." (cite). Although the Vatican promulgates strong opinions on other political disputes like Abortion, Gay Marriage, Divorce, etc..., this clear and decisive position on Climate Change has global governments puzzled. Do they adhere to their Catholic religion and stand united with the Pope? Or do they stick to their initial conscience decision by ignoring science for economic gain?
What is required for change?
Pope Francis is not joking around when it comes to promoting a global effort tackling climate change. Laudato Si is flooded with theoretical solutions to this pressing issue. With a focus on human behavior, Pope Francis urges for improvements to be made immediately. For the Church's Encyclical calls upon ALL Catholics to join the cause.
Why the Catholic Church is criticizing politicians around the globe?
GREED. Pope Francis frequently alludes to the economic mindset upon global governments. Instead of applying their Catholic Morals upon making legislative decisions that could be detrimental the environment, politicians are focusing on their wallets. They are using a utilitarian approach based on Economics, a philosophy the Catholic Church reprimands. Producing the greatest profit immediately, rather than considering the future implications, seems unethical for Catholic parishioners. Could one blame the capitalism influence from philosopher John Locke to be the downfall our planet? or is this related to the concept of 'original sin', coming back to haunt man kind? Pope Francis comments on this problem in paragraph 56 in the encyclical, which is featured below.
"Economic powers continue to justify the current global system where priority tends to be given to the pursuit of financial gain, which fail to take the context into account, let alone the effects on human dignity and the natural environment. Here we see how environmental deterioration and human and ethical degradation are closely linked."
What philosophy does the Catholic Church recommend to solve this issue?
Pope Francis has been inspired by an Uruguayan Philosopher, Methol Ferré, that preaches a mix of liberalism and a "theology of the people" (cite). Pope Francis applies this theory to the Catholic Philosophy, and floods Laudato Si' with them both. Pope Francis urges global governments to take into consideration the collective will of the population around the globe, not selective individual wills focused on one's home nation. This Philosophy reminds me of Jean Jacque Rousseau's political theory, and would be beneficial if applied. Too many governments are focusing solely on domestic benefits, ignoring the problems happening around the world. The Church's encyclical promotes the collective will of ethical people across all nations, and Pope Francis implies this in paragraph 13 listed below.
"The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change."
How can America help fix this problem?
Pope Francis and President Trump's meeting went well, but Trump still pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord, neglecting Pope Francis's advice. Although the Republican party agrees with the majority of Catholic ideology, the bulk of them deny Climate Change. When the majority party sitting in Washington D.C. disagrees with a certain issue, funding gets cut, legislation gets reversed, and progress gets halted. American's dependency on producing fossil fuels, while ignoring sustainable resources, opposes the message put across in Laudato Si' entirely. But the power of American government lies within the people, and it is the people that must desire change for change to happen. Politicians must educate Americans on this pressing issue, and fight for stricter regulations on 'dirty industries'. They must apply Laudato Si' and refrain from sucking the Earth dry of these filthy fossil fuels, and come up clean energy resources. Lastly, with being the most powerful nation in the world comes great responsibility. For the United States must lead by example, stop worrying about their pockets, and save the Earth from the brutal beating it has taken over the last two hundred years.
What must be done on a global stage?
The global effort regarding Climate Change has been an obvious disappointment. The Paris Climate Accord that happened during this decade was initially a success, but has become null recently. With America dropping out, and leading industrial countries like China not sticking to their end of the deal, the global effort continues to disappoint. With constant competition of who can drain the Earth's oil and gas reserves dry first, there remains no urgency for Change. With Catholicism being the leading religion in the world, governments must apply their Catholic morals, and stop contributing to Climate Change. Powerful countries must set the tone, refusing to trade with 'dirty industrial' countries until they 'clean up their act'. Frequent meetings between global leaders must become a necessity. Furthermore, a global mindset must be applied. For the underprivileged countries are taking the brunt of the blow handed to the Earth from the ruthless opponent, Climate Change. Natural Disasters are increasing, causing nations like Haiti to crumble. Glaciers are melting, eventually succumbing Indonesia to the rising sea. Lastly, the Earth is heating, and poverty stricken, self sustaining communities are unable to produce the crops they once were. The Pope consistently refers to this concern in Laudato Si'. The quotation below is from paragraph 25, and confirms the material above.
"Many of the poor live in areas particularly affected by phenomena related to warming, and their means of subsistence are largely dependent on natural reserves and ecosystemic services such as agriculture, fishing, and forestry. They have no other financial activities or resources which can enable them to adapt to climate change or to face natural disasters, and their access to social services and protection is very limited."
Save Our Common Home
The necessity to stop Climate Change in its tracks matters now more than ever. People are fleeing their homelands, species of animals are disappearing, and Mother Nature's beauty can only last so long in this ring before getting knocked out forever. The task of igniting a sincere global effort seems daunting, but if the Philosophy in Laudato Si' is applied, improvements will happen. With continued papal pressure on global politicians, and an uprise from educated, ethical people, a movement may be in the making. For now we must sit back and watch this tangled mess slowly, SLOWLY unwind. If change does not happen soon, then the future looks dark and polluted.
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