Crank of the Week – June 19, 2015 – Pope Francis

Pope Francis, born Jorge Mario Bergoglio and current leader of the worldwide Catholic Church, announced this week an encyclical about climate change. While its content was known through numerous leaks and statements from Vatican spokesmen, the actual document is stunning for its sketchy science and anti-capitalist moralizing. Climate change alarmists have hailed the Pope's “coming out” against climate change as a great victory for eco-activists everywhere. This ignores the fact that Francis has no scientific qualifications to make such a statement and that the Pope's stand on other issues—abortion, women priests, gay marriage, etc—are anathema to the majority of green leftists. If anything, the Catholic Church's meddling in science brings back memories of Galileo and persecution of other early scientific thinkers. The scientific revolution began when church and state were separated; this is a grand step backward for human progress.

Pope Francis has been a fairly popular Pope as such things go. He is the first South American Pope and is billed as a man of the people, giving lip service to various socialist ideas and strongly criticizing rich capitalists. Now the Red Pope has waded into the turgid pool of confusion that is the climate change debate and the debate has been transformed into the openly religious schism it has always secretly been. Few papal proclamations have received the level of interest and partisan debate as this one. On prominent global warming skeptic called it Rome’s greatest scientific blunder since Galileo was tried in 1633 “for holding as true the false doctrine taught by some that the sun is the center of the world.”

On the eve of the encyclical's release, a new Pew Research Center survey found that US Catholics’ views on global warming are similar to that of other Americans. A solid majority believe that Earth is warming, but there is much more division over the cause and seriousness of climate change. The poll results are summarized below.

Pope Francis has been noted for his humility, his concern for the poor and his commitment to interfaith dialogue, but not for his grasp of scientific subjects. Officially title “Encyclical Letter Laudato Si' Of The Holly Father Francis On Care For Our Common Home,” the text runs to over a hundred printed pages. Filled with selective detail, it is perhaps the most scientific document to come out of the Vatican since John Paul II put forth his views on evolution in 1996. Many in the environmental community have praised the encyclical, which affirms that human activity causes climate change and repeats many of the typical impacts repeated ad nauseum by climate activists. As lukewarmist Roger Pielke Jr. put it: “Self-proclaimed anti-growth, anti-democracy neo-Malthusian joins with religious leader to issue an empty exhortation. Enviro journos giddy.”

But all is not sweetness and light. Even such green lefty sources as Scientific American find that the encyclical isn't all it's being touted as. In an article on the SA editorial blog, titled “Ideology Subsumes Empiricism in Pope's Climate Encyclical,” Lawrence M. Krauss had this to day about the Pope's message:

An encyclical wouldn’t be an encyclical without theology however, and that is where problems arise. In a chapter entitled “Gospel of Creation” Francis ruminates poetically on the nature of man, the mystery of the cosmos (my own area of study) and the special duty Christians have to respect nature, humanity and the environment. It’s beautifully presented and sounds good in principle. However, his biblical analysis leads to the false conclusion that contraception and population control are not appropriate strategies to help a planet with limited resources.

There are problems lurking beneath the surface for most liberals—the Pope does not back away from long held Catholic dogma on many subjects. Make no mistake, this Pope blames the threat to nature and the suffering of the poor on the excesses of capitalism and the rich nations of the world. Socialists love that, but they hate the other positions on social issues. But the Pontiff links fighting global warming to opposing abortion in his encyclical. How many leftist eco-fanatics will buy into that? Even so, climate alarmists are welcoming the Pope's support, with caveats.

“I think it is difficult to underestimate the moral authority that the Pope brings to acting on climate with this encyclical,” Michael Mann, a Penn State climate scientist and notorious climate alarmist, said in an email. “I suspect we will look back at this moment as a turning point, and we will view Pope Francis as one of the great heroes in modern history.” As Steve Milloy put it: “Pope converts from Catholicism to Climatism.”

The Pope warns of “grave consequences” if we fail to act, primarily for the poor. But at the same time he rejects the most effective steps that could be taken to help the poor, first among them being providing abundant, inexpensive energy. Warmist environmental policy expert, Bjorn Lomborg, wrote in USA TodayWhat Pope Francis should do to really help the poor.” Most of Lomborg's well reasoned proposals are in direct contradiction of the Pope's heart felt but nonsensical ideas. How can you oppose birth control while denying the burgeoning poor access to fossil fuels? That sounds like a recipe for genocide, not compassion.

Sorry Francis, you should stick to saving souls and leave science to scientists. Remember the other times the Catholic Church intervened in scientific progress? The Church knew Galileo was right, but persecuted him for political reasons. Books by Galileo and Copernicus were banned by the Church. Michael Servetus, a Spanish physician in the 16th century who discovered pulmonary circulation, fled the Spanish Inquisition only to be arrested and burned alive by the Protestant Inquisition in Switzerland (can't let the Catholics have all the fun). So it is with climate change and the socialist agenda opposing it. Out of a misplaced sense of compassion the Pope is wading into a socialist cesspool of half truths and lies. A theologian snookered by bad science that he is ill-equipped to understand.

Desperation certainly makes for strange bedfellows. As the climate alarmist cause slips in importance, overwhelmed by spreading international terrorism, nuclear proliferation, expansionist tendencies in both Russia and China, deadly disease outbreaks, and all around crappy economic conditions, the people of the world don't much give a fig about climate change. It consistently finishes last on polls of public concerns.

So does this papal treatise really matter? Here is how Nigel Lawson explained it in the Financial Post:

It matters, and matters a great deal, on two quite separate grounds. The first is that it has gone a long way towards ushering in a new age of unreason. It is a cruel irony that, while it was science which, more than anything else, was able by its great achievements to establish the age of reason, it is all too many climate scientists and their hangers-on who have become the high priests of a new age of unreason.

The truth is that the Age of Reason and the Scientific Revolution didn't take off until the advanced nations got religion out of government and divorced the church from civil policy making. The Pope thinks the advanced nations suck. We can see how terrible life is in rich nations by the flow of illegal immigrants into the US and the EU. So the Pope's words don't make sense to the poor, they don't make sense to the rich; they are only welcomed by socialist green fanatics who despise most of the Catholic Church’s core beliefs. So, for playing the dupe for people you should be denouncing, this Crank of the Week is all yours: Pope Francis.

Climate Encyclical Damages Pope's Image

A new Gallup poll released on Wednesday shows that the pope's popularity has taken a steep downward spiral, with only 59 percent of Americans saying they viewed the pope favorably, down from 76 percent in February 2014. Fueling this lower rating are declining opinions of the pope among Roman Catholics and conservatives. Worse still, 16 percent of Americans disapprove of the job the pope is doing, up from 9 percent in the same period.

The Gallup poll was done three weeks after the pope released his much-ballyhooed climate Encyclical, which denounced capitalism (free markets) and criticized humankind for turning the planet into a sewer. Critics say that much of his Encyclical was largely ghost-written by environmental activists and United Nations' ideologues. Prior to the Encyclical's release, the Vatican held a controversial climate summit, and invited people like pro-abortionist Jeffrey Sachs and population-control proponent Ban Ki-moon to speak.

More at

Is AGW an Accidental Saint?

Is anthropogenic global warming now an accidental saint? That may not have been the Pope's intention, but the AGW climate alarmist cabal are treating it like they have been given a blessing straight from God. Not that most of them believe in God, but they find the Pope's blessing useful.

Will the Pope turn off Vatican air-conditioning?

Will the Pope follow his own advice and turn off Vatican air-conditioning or is he a holy hypocrite? While the pontiff sanctimoniously attacks "those who are obsessed with maximizing profits," Carrier Corporation — a $13 billion for-profit company with 43,000 employees worldwide (now a unit of U.S.-based United Technologies Corp.) — ensures that the air in the Vatican's Sistine Chapel stays clean and cool.

Catholic Theologan Dissents from Pope's Climate Plan

One of the Roman Catholic Church’s most brilliant minds refuted many of the arguments presented in Pope Francis’ latest Encyclical, Laudato Si (Praise Be To You), contending “the purpose of the earth is not the keeping of the species going on and on down the ages.”

Rev. James V. Schall, S.J., a retired professor of political philosophy, acknowledges Francis writes some “very lovely passages on the beauty of the planet,” but takes issue with the pope’s listing of things that are being polluted and dying in the world today.

Pope as Author

The Pope didn't write the encyclical. It was written by an archbishop who is a long-standing crony of his.

The Vatican institutions usually vet such encyclicals to iron out the inconsistencies and irrelevant rants. But the Pope did not avail himself of their long experience in protecting the Papacy from its incumbent.

Pope Francis himself is an outsider who has allowed his office to be used as a tool to promote an anti-humanist ideology.

This encyclical reminds me of all the reasons I left the Catholic Church while in my final year for B.A. degree at a Catholic college. My minor was philosophy and I took for my term paper a moral problem in contraception.

Bang. Twelve years of Catholic indoctrination went out the window in a matter of weeks.

The Climate Wars’ Damage to Science

This is the shit storm that the pope has just waded into. I hope he enjoys it.

"The great thing about science is that it’s self-correcting. The good drives out the bad, because experiments get replicated and hypotheses tested -- or so I used to think. Now, thanks largely to climate science, I see bad ideas can persist for decades, and surrounded by myrmidons of furious defenders they become intolerant dogmas" -- Matt Ridley

Pope Francis so right and so wrong

From an article by Bjorn Lomborg: The Pope derides those who have “blind faith” in technological advances as a solution to climate change. Instead, his encyclical declares that the world must stop consuming so much. That, he says, will help the poor people who stand to be affected most by global warming. That is troubling, because technical innovation is exactly what we need more of.

Humanity’s answer to huge levels of famine wasn’t to insist we should eat less. The Green Revolution, one of the great achievements of the past century, saw scientific and technological advances dramatically increase the productivity of food — not the least through fertilisers and pesticides. Unfortunately, this very technology, which saved hundreds of millions of lives, is stigmatised as harmful in the encyclical.

Pope of Delusion

A brilliant article!

If we are living in a pile of filth, a good point is made in the article as to why so many refugees want to risk their lives trying to get to the wealthy nations such as in Europe and the US.

( They cannot and never will get to the wealthy nation of Australia, though. The Australian government's tough policy to use its Navy and money has worked miracles.)

It is astounding that the Pope could be so naive as to allow himself and the Church to be used in relation to this controversial issue of climate ... used by Obama, used by the UN and used by the environmental movement.

And today, as a Catholic, I find it very disappointing that the Pope has brought his position and the Church into disrepute. The Pope has turned himself into a clown!