NY Times summary on Pope Francis’ Encyclical on Environment


1.      Summary: Pope called for radical transformation in politics, economics, individual lifestyles to confront env degradation and CC

2.      Basic religious idea: In order to love god, you have to love your fellow human and love and care for the rest of creation

         a.      Genesis talk of dominion does not justify mountaintop mining or fishing with gill nets; an incorrect interpretation of bible

         b.      Bible teaches us to till and keep the garden of the world and this means caring, protecting, overseeing and preserving.

         c.      Proposing a coalition between faith and science

3.      Climate change: one of principal challenges facing humanity today

         a.      Most of blame on fossil fuels

4.      Critique of consumerism

         a.      “Must be prepared to encourage more sober lifestyles, while reducing energy consumption and improving efficiency”

5.      Irresponsible development and economic policies

         a.      Reckless pursuit of profits

         b.       Economic development to be morally good must account for freedom, education and meaningful work

         c.      Current economics not solve env problems; nor will global hunger and poverty be resolved simply by market growth.

6.      World’s poor most vulnerable victims of env degradation

         a.      Merging of environmental and social problems (inequality/poverty)

7.      Developed industrialized countries mainly responsible and they are obligated to help poorer nations confront the crisis

8.      Technology

         a.      Excessive faith in technology; Technology won’t solve env problems

         b.      Good achievements in medicine, science and engineering

         c.      But tech development has not been accompanied by development of human responsibility, values, and conscience

         d.      Population control is not the answer to poverty

9.      Political shortsightedness

         a.      Need for swift and global action

         b.      Apathy big problem

10.    Opponents

         a.      Conservative Roman Catholics see it as an attack on capitalism and political meddling

11.    Pope hopeful: Humans are capable of the worst but also can rise above and chose what is good

Study Question

1.      Describe the key points of the Pope’s statement on the problem of the environment and then evaluate if from your own perspective.