In a recent meeting Pope Francis held with priests in Rome’s Papal Basilica of St. John Lateran, the Holy Father said that churchmen who have disputes with their superiors should confront their superiors “like men.”
“There are quarrels and arguments in the Church?” he said. “Well, it makes good news! This is so since the beginning. A church without quarrels is a dead church. Do you know where there aren’t any quarrels? In cemeteries!” The Pope welcomed arguments as a tool to bring out the truth.
Since we are not dead, we can argue about global warming. Go there and read the rest.
Now, just so you don’t think I’m arguing for the sake of arguing, but because I know I am right, let me point out an area of agreement between myself and the Holy Father. This area was best expressed by Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith, “Has the Pope condemned the use of air conditioning?”
Fr Lucie-Smith, like Yours Truly, lived most of his life without air conditioning, and while living in the hottest and humidest places on the planet. Places like San Antonio, Texas, and Okinawa, Japan. It can be done. And, as Father says in his article, living without can be better.
But the Pope still has a point. Many of our modern buildings in Britain are frightful, in that they have too much glass and windows that cannot open, which makes them like greenhouses in summer — this seems to be particularly true of hospitals. We need to build more ecologically, and we certainly need to rein in our consumption. There is no getting away from that. But the next time I am sweltering in some American hotel room, will I really stay my hand as I reach for the temperature dial on the air conditioning control? I doubt it. We love telling others to rein in their consumption, but in our own cases we tend to make generous exceptions to the rules!
What in the Lord’s Great Name are architects thinking? Even windows that used to be opendable are now screwed shut. Hideousness surrounds us. Award-winning buildings are the ugliest.
Almost every reader will know of the experience of walking into any modern office building from a, perhaps over-warm, day to a meat locker. Women don sweaters and shiver. Try to open the window to find relief and discover it is impossible. It’s almost as if people think sweating is some mild form of disease.
Even the Statler, where I am staying at Cornell, had the thermostat set to 68 degrees. The thermostat was right next to the “Sustainability” card telling how the hotel won’t change your sheets. Thank God, the windows still open, at least a crack, no more than a sliver. Somebody has screwed in stops so that a body cannot slip through.
The Pope said too many people lived packed into cities. Amen to that, too. I live in city, one of the biggest. I’d like to escape. But I haven’t discovered how.