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Bishops of the United States have expressed very well this Social Meaning of our Concern about Climate Change

By: Brother Coyote

Pope Francis is arguably a more ethical scientist than most in universities and an ethicist more engaged with the sciences than most in religious institutions. Let’s read  a few excerpts from sections 4, 13 and 14 of Laudato Deum

“…To express it bluntly, [the reality of aggravated climate change] is no longer a secondary or ideological question, but a drama that harms us al. The African bishops stated that climate change makes manifest “a tragic and striking example of structural sin”. This is a global social issue and one intimately related to the dignity of human life. The Bishops of the United States have expressed very well this social meaning of our concern about climate change, which goes beyond a merely ecological approach, because “our care for one another and our care for the earth are intimately bound together. Climate change is one of the principal challenges facing society and the global community. The effects of climate change are borne by the most vulnerable people, whether at home or around the world”. In a few words, the Bishops assembled for the Synod for Amazonia said the same thing: “Attacks on nature have consequences for people’s lives”.   I feel obliged to make these clarifications, which may appear obvious, because of certain dismissive and scarcely reasonable opinions that I encounter, even within the Catholic Church. Yet we can no longer doubt that the reason for the unusual rapidity of these dangerous changes is a fact that cannot be concealed: the enormous novelties that have to do with unchecked human intervention on nature in the past two centuries.”

My response is simple:

Why did we ever quit training scientists and engineers,

To understand the history, philosophy and ethics of science,

And why did we train many ministers, nuns and priests to be

Dismissive, ignorant of, or combative with the fields of science

Which generate wonder about the integrity, complexity and beauty

Of the whole Kit-and-Kaboodle of the Natural World?

Those scientists who can’t fathom the elegance of spiritual proverbs,

About the preciousness of the natural world just don’t get

The awesome power of metaphor, and those in the clergy

Who can’t engaged with the imagery from the sciences

Have actually turned their backs on the Deep Wisdom of Creation.

No one deserves to live “half lives” where science and spiritual awe

Are divorced from one another.  That’s where reductionism festers.

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