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'Climate Is a Common Good': Pope Francis Calls for Justice on Warming Planet

'Climate Is a Common Good': Pope Francis Calls for Justice on Warming Planet

Jon Queally, staff writer

A message to leaders and supporters of the Roman Catholic Church by Pope Francis cataloging the threat of climate change and the moral imperative to act aggressively to combat its root causes is being heralded around the world on Thursday as a powerful—even 'radical'—statement from one of the world's most recognizable religious leaders.


Pope Francis is the second “mistake” the College of Cardinals made in my life time. First, thinking Pope John XXIII was old and would be an elder place holder, they were shocked when he called for the Second Vatican Council to open the windows of the church and let in some fresh air. So too with Francis, they no doubt thought he too, being elderly, most likely would not rock the boat. Excelllent Encyclical, who but the ignorant would disagree with its message.


I am cautiously optimistic at the prospect of a religious organization addressing one of humankind’s greatest moral challenges.


At first I thought, Pope Francis left out the elephant in the room, overpopulation. But then I realized that he is addressing poverty and absence of education, the cause of having too many children.

He hit all the right notes but one; endorsing family planning and lifting the Church’s ban on birth control.


All of the problems with our governments world wide in a collapse of any sense of morality. When greed is no longer a vise, but it held up as a virtue, the whole earth is at risk. The immensely wealthy people have great power and an over whelming sense of greed. They always want more for THEMSELVES and will do anything to get more. Somehow we must stop the psychopaths. Our governments are filled with these evil creatures. We must rise up and stop them from killing the earth and all life on her.


It is reassuring to have the POPE on our side, on the side of science,on the side of truth.


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Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.
Stress on the IDEA part…since hubris is the play of the day.

We are not God,” the pope declares, and should not act as if we are
“usurping the place of God, even to the point of claiming an unlimited
right to trample his creation underfoot."

Think Fossil Fuel deforestation, tar sanding, hilltop removing, BP spewing, Arctic rape.
And that isn’t even recognizing the Human Toll.

This is redraven’s “Narcissism that knows no Shame”

When we state the obvious again and again, it will come to recognition.
The Mind does awaken, however slowly.
Wake UP>


First, I think a word or two of credit is due to John Queally, whose writing here on CD is constantly improving to the point where JQ on the staff of CD is becoming a journalistic force in his own right. Which leads to a second point: support for this site. A suggestion, maybe with merit maybe not; publish a list of forum participants who have contributed, beyond a threshold limit of say $15, to the current mid-year fundraiser. If it is true that this is one of the widest progressive sites, then the list of forum participants must be a small subset of all readers/visitors. I know that when these fundraisers come around the fact that this site gives me a safe place to mouth off definitely influences my decision to give. But that isn’t what originally drew me here, because at that time the forum did not even exist. Over the 14+ years this has been my homepage I know that I can trust the reportage here, because eventually, if it’s important enough, that same info eventually forces itself onto the msm (despite efforts to the contrary.) This is important to me, and I know to many others.

As to Francis. What other leader of international prominence speaks the truths that Francis has done since he was selected? Many do mouth the words of climate activism, but then work behind the scenes to maintain the status quo. And virtually no other world leader of his visibility, capitalist, or so-called socialist, is willing to finger the world’s wealthy elite for their complete moral turpitude, and lack of enlightened leadership or sense of logical responsibility. It is no wonder so many here, including myself, regard the selfish greedy 1% as sociopathic. Francis gets it. Will his flock follow him?

Thank you John Queally, Common Dreams, and Pope Francis, in no particular order.


Thoughts from the Text…

Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with coloured flowers and herbs.

We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will.

The violence present in our hearts…is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life.

Authentic human development has a moral character.

Something much more radical: a refusal to turn reality into an object simply to be used and controlled


Several siblings in my large family have followed the footsteps of my deceased parents in their devotion to that piously-followed and hard-right-wing brand of Catholicism that is so typical of Irish-descended USAns of the Northeast US. They are AGW deniers (“its a hoax perpetrated by atheistic socialist scientists”) to a person.

I eagerly await their reaction to this Papal Encyclical - will they remain devoted to the Dogma of Papal Infallibility, or what???


Thank you so much, Pope Francis! And you, too, Jon Queally.


Go Pope GO, take them on you’ve got my ear! I love what you say.


I am not religious, but am heartened to see this kind of leadership from the spiritual arena. We need these kinds of overlapping coalitions if we’re going to move forward. Like moral Mondays in North Carolina, spiritual leaders need to step up and fill the gap left by MLK and the “religious left” for lack of a better term. I never really thought about the Catholic church filling ANY of that gap, but this is welcome.


Catholics has always been the largest part of the religious left in the US. Have you never heard of the Berrigans and Liz McAllister and many other the Vietnam draft resistance, Ploughshares Actions, Pax Christi, Fr. Roy Bourgeois and the Close the SOA Movement, Fr. John Dear, Sr. Helen Prejean and death penalty abolition, the libertarian anarchist Catholic Worker Movement. Further south, Liberation Theology guides the Latin American left today - which today includes Pope Francis.

Only the Jewish left is comparable in their activism. Except for the Quakers and the the Anabaptist Bruderhof, Protestants are mostly missing from the left.


That needed to be said, very good.

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Here are my own takeaways from Pope Francis’s encyclical, “Laudato Si”.


Pope Francis critiques an unthinking reliance on market forces, in which every technological, scientific or industrial advancement is embraced before
considering how it will affect the environment and “without concern for its potential negative impact on human beings”

And so, we are to create climate change inventions because they will positively affect the environment and will have, as far as I can see, positive impact for human beings.

Francis goes out of his way to praise technological advances.

And so, we must lay down our prejudices against at least trying for technological advances.

“Laudato Si” also diagnoses a society of “extreme consumerism” in which people are unable to resist what the market places before them, the earth is despoiled and billions are left impoverished (No. 203). That is why it is the time, he says, to accept “decreased growth in some part of the world, in order to provide recourse for other places to experience healthy growth” (No. 193). In contrast with the consumerist mindset, Christian spirituality offers a growth marked by “moderation and the capacity to be happy with little” (No. 222). It is a matter nothing less than a redefinition of our notion of progress.

And so, we want to invent and develop climate answers for large portions of the world, thinking about the environment’s needs, thinking about everyone’s needs.

Pope Francis uses some of the traditional foundations of Catholic Social Teaching, particularly the idea of the “common good,” to frame his discussion.

And so, we need common decision-making systems that measure success by the improvement of the common good.

Pope Francis links a “magical conception of the market,” which privileges profit over the impact on the poor, with the abuse of the environment.

And so, we shun this magical conception of the market.

Scientific research on the environment is to be praised and used.

And done.

In the world of “Laudato Si” there is no room for selfishness or indifference. One cannot care for the rest of nature “if our hearts lack tenderness, compassion and concern for our fellow human beings.”

Perhaps we can’t go on living in the mode of self first, and in the mode of indifference.

The pope calls into dialogue and debate “all people” about our “common home”.

We need to talk to the other denominations, for starters.

At heart, this document, addressed to “every person on the planet” is a call for a new way of looking at things, a “bold cultural revolution”. To use religious language, what the pope is calling for is conversion.

“Repentence” is, literally, re-thinking. This is a call to re-think how we live our everyday lives around our own money, how we re-think science and technology, how we re-think the decisions that we make as a community of all people.


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We need action, not encyclicals.

If Francis truly wants to confront climate change, let him physically stand with those who put their bodies on the line to do so, defying the state to arrest him, as well.

I won’t hold my breath.

We want to make abortion safe - and very rare.

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