I’ll have more later, including a piece at The Stream. Still teaching.
An atheist and lover of “population control” and holder of the preposterously unscientific belief that only one billion people are “sustainable“, or whatever, helped announce the encyclical because, hey, why not?
I found Para 124 fascinating:
…According to the biblical account of creation, God placed man and woman in the garden he had created (cf. Gen 2:15) not only to preserve it (“keep”) but also to make it fruitful (“till”). Labourers and craftsmen thus “maintain the fabric of the world” (Sir 38:34). Developing the created world in a prudent way is the best way of caring for it, as this means that we ourselves become the instrument used by God to bring out the potential which he himself inscribed in things: “The Lord created medicines out of the earth, and a sensible man will not despise them” (Sir 38:4).
The NIV has Gen 9:7 as “As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it.” Other translations are similar. Douay-Rheims is telling: “But increase you and multiply, and go upon the earth, and fill it.”
As I’ve written elsewhere, God evidently likes people, likes having them about. But environmentalists don’t like people, and always prefer fewer of them. How many of those who call mankind a “cancer on the Earth” are atheists, I wonder. I’ll have much more to say about this later.
How to live is a more than welcome subject Laudato tackles. Ye Olde Statistician pointed me to David Warren’s thoughts on the encyclical, with which I am in agreement.
We lack an appreciation for beauty, in God’s handiwork, and for our own. To my mind (which conducts the government of this website), this is the key “environmental problem.” We live like pigs. Catholic efforts should be directed to curing us of swinish behaviour. The Good and the True are likewise of crucial importance, but without this discernment of the Beautiful, they twist and float out of our reach.
Nor will any categorical imperative help us here, encased, for instance, in the instruction to “think globally, act locally.” We have not the ability to think things through on the planetary scale: only God can do that (or whatever angels are in His confidence). We must therefore “think locally,” too, and sound thinking comes from obedience to the conscience implanted in our hearts, by God directly. Conversely, to “act globally” is wickedly absurd.
“Consumerism” is an ugly thing. Think about it. The Consumer! sounds like a 50s sci-fi movie about a giant beast with gaping maw that relentlessly eats all in its path and is only destroyed by a small town coming together under the leadership of the sheriff. There’d even be scenes of people praying in a church. Here’s Laudato para 172:
For poor countries, the priorities must be to eliminate extreme poverty and to promote the social development of their people. At the same time, they need to acknowledge the scandalous level of consumption in some privileged sectors of their population and to combat corruption more effectively.
They are likewise bound to develop less polluting forms of energy production, but to do so they require the help of countries which have experienced great growth at the cost of the ongoing pollution of the planet. Taking advantage of abundant solar energy will require the establishment of mechanisms and subsidies which allow developing countries access to technology transfer, technical assistance and financial resources, but in a way which respects their concrete situations, since “the compatibility of [infrastructures] with the context for which they have been designed is not always adequately assessed”. The costs of this would be low, compared to the risks of climate change. In any event, these are primarily ethical decisions, rooted in solidarity between all peoples.
Those first two sentences are spot on. But the last reads like an internal EPA memo written by a dedicated staffer. Was that a call for technological innovation? How else can we have workable or efficient or reliable solar power? Is this science as holiness? Or scientism? Warren, and I, think the latter.
The opposite of consumerist materialism is not socialism.