William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

Remnant: Archbishop Cupich Gives Up The Ghost

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Today’s post is at The Remnant: Archbishop Cupich Gives Up The Ghost:

What do you think the Catholic Church, that great representation of Christ’s body on earth, in Chicagoland is up to these days?

If you guessed implementing and then bragging about implementing the EPA’s Energy Star program, you were right. Congratulations.

Chicago Archbishop Blase J. Cupich is juiced about all things global warming that are happening in and around the Catholic Church these days. Now I don’t mean to single out this man, because he is one of many with similar views, yet his Excellency has been public about his exhortations. In an op-ed to the Chicago Sun-Times he tells us how joyfully he looks forward “to benchmarking and tracking” the “energy, water, and emissions performance” of the facilities under his care.

Go there to read the rest.

My main point is this:

So, fine; whatever. Reduce emissions at all the churches, piously and repeatedly lecture us on sustainability, and redistribute the wealth in what is left of the energy industry and of the Koch brothers to the poor. Then what? Will that get more people into heaven? Or fewer?

The argument of how these things are tied together is never made, so far as I can see, by most prelates. Pope Francis has something of one in Laudato Si’, but the connections he makes are tenuous. How can switching from incandescent to mercury bulbs pull more people off the path to hell?

Now if you are a secularist, even a Catholic one, even one in holy orders, heaven and hell are right here on earth, so you can easily make the case that energy efficiency, or whatever, makes the world more divine. Even pushing for fewer people makes sense, which is why people who live in, for instance, Boulder, Colorado, try to keep outsiders out. Environmentalists want to do the same on a planetary scale.

But you happen to believe in Christ-as-God, as you should if you’re a bishop, it’s the spiritual that should come first, the salvation of your flock. Anyway, Christ should at least be somewhere in the list. I’m not saying it’s impossible that a worldwide carbon dioxide tax can’t produce more heaven-bound souls, but I’ve never heard how.

In 1968, the editors of (the now defunct) Triumph magazine wrote an article entitled, “The Autumn of the Church.” They said:

When Christians lost faith in their capacity to make history, they naturally became interested in the success formulas of those who were making history, or seemed to be. They became interested in liberalism…

For it is the peculiar evil of liberalism, among all the errors man is capable of, that it can hold out a credible promise of welcoming its enemies even while it is eating them. It can do this because its seductive willingness to put up with everyone’s beliefs conceals the implicit bargain that no one will follow his beliefs—will take them seriously.

Und zo? “[T]he American bishops now feel able to take a stand on a public issue only when they concur with the consensus of the national secular establishment.” The Church is “committed to its secular values and goals” and is an “arm” of the “political order.”

As I say in the article, “the Catholic Church in the West has voluntarily morphed into yet another hectoring humorless NGO, albeit one that vaguely, kinda-sorta, mumbles about ‘spirituality’ from time to time.”

Incidentally, I got the days confused: this should have run Thursday at my blog and the alien invasion “disproving” God’s existence Friday. But my mistake paid off, as I now can quote from a commenter at The Remnant:

Jeff Wynne
I almost never agree with Abp Cupich, but he does have a point about those coal miners tracking their carbon footprints all through the house. Yeah, for cleaner energy sources says coal miner housewives everywhere!

12 Comments

  1. It definitely does get people to heaven to worry about consumption. The Church fathers railed against wealth and implicitly consumption. While the teleology is not quite the same, as I would agree Cupich seems more interested in some sort of eco-movement credibility of which there should be little to none, it doesn’t mean that consuming less “stuff” doesn’t help you get to heaven. It most certainly does, and the amount of comforts and pleasures that we regularly indulge in and take for granted are most likely a hindrance to salvation and for the Church to focus on simplicity and shedding materialist things is good. We can believe the Holy Spirit uses ambitious and shallow men to get across a valuable message and we shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

  2. The USCCB asked bishops all over the country to do energy stuff (press conferences, etc.) to mark the publication of Laudato Si. Not saying it’s right or wrong, just letting you know that this is a concerted effort from the bishops conference and not the particular idea of different individual bishops, each of whom may be more or less enthused about it.
    The main idea seems to simply be stewardship of the earth, which no one would (I hope) argue is a bad thing. Is it the province of bishops? That’s a different issue entirely…

  3. The argument of how these things tie together is never made because there is no tie. Atheists claim to want to save the planet, so God is not required. Apparently, He’s not required in churches anymore either. Perhaps the crosses will be replace with those big white spinning altars to the God Gaia. At least then there would be honesty in who is being worshipped.

    Wonder what Jeff Wynned would say about uranium miners.

    Nick: The Archbishop is not railing against crass commercialism, he’s advocating the same “feel good” garbage that the left uses to mess people up. He is not caring, he’s damaging and he apparently does not care. This is not shedding materialism, it’s damning everyone to poverty in the name of worshipping Gaia. God has no place whatsoever in this.

    Gail: Same answer as to Nick. This is NOT good stewardship of the earth. It’s buying into a completely secular belief that humans do not count, should not count, are evil and harm the planet, etc. etc. If it were stewardship of the earth, it would involve actual rational actions taken, rather than the feel-good drivel of the left. CFLs will NOT save the planet. It’s a lie and the church is pushing that lie.

  4. If you’re an organization person, which one generally has to be if you want to move up the ladder (even in the Catholic Church), then you go with the flow. Which is to say, is it likely that a priest or bishop is would contradict the teaching of the head of the Church (even were they well-trained in scientific reasoning and the logic of statistics)?

  5. Do members of the Catholic church still tithe? For a senior official to rail against crass commercialism is to say that success is not to be sought. Which results in less funding via tithes to the Church itself.

    Do they really believe that chiming against consumerism and spouting eco-crap will increase donations to churches that are suffering from a lack of participation?

  6. Bob Kurland: “If you’re an organization person, which one generally has to be if you want to move up the ladder (even in the Catholic Church), then you go with the flow. ”

    Sad but true. That’s why I find Cardinal Pell’s position particularly notable.

  7. Maybe the Church can start selling induglences (carbon offset credits).

  8. Joe, that is fine!!
    And would we have a new Protestant movement to prohibit such indulgences?

  9. Doing good is an end unto itself, first of all. Second, it helps you get to Heaven. And third, by your fruits others will know you and the witness may attract others on the Way to eternal life.

  10. Yawrate: I think they are hoping that being PC will attract donations and that “giving to the poor” will in the end mean giving money to the church to forward to the poor. I seriously doubt anyone spouting income redistribution actually thinks through what happens if you really do even things out. In reality, it never results in equality. It results in a ruling class of million and billionaires and the rest of country dependent and poor. I would note that said reality is usually ignored by those espousing the redistribution.

  11. @Bob Kurland,

    Can I be Martin Luther in this play? I’ll nail 999,000(inflation 🙂 ) theses on Michael Mann’s door.

  12. I smell another Reformation in the air.

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