A letter by Pope Francis on the “climate crisis” failed to generate the anticipated concern from U.S. Catholic bishops who evidently found the “emergency” low on their list of ecclesiastical priorities.
In the papal letter titled “Laudate Deum” released last month, the 86-year-old head of the Catholic Church called out “unchecked human intervention on nature in the past two centuries” that has led to a global catastrophe that he believes is causing the world to be “nearing the breaking point.”
But the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops did not respond the way some papal fans feel is appropriate, seeming to put some distance between themselves and the embarrassing letter from the bishop of Rome.
“USCCB President Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio has been on retreat with the Synod delegates and is participating in the opening sessions. Archbishop Broglio and his brother bishops in the United States look forward to spending time with the exhortation in prayer and identifying ways to continue their shared witness on behalf of God’s creation,” James Rogers, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ chief communications officer, responded in a statement.
This left the National Catholic Reporter apoplectic, and its editors saw fit to criticize this “underwhelming and odd” acknowledgment of the Pope’s letter, noting that the response “did not even warrant the attention of an actual bishop.”
“Furthermore, its brevity and vagueness read more like an ‘out of office’ kickback email than the ‘welcome’ its title claimed it to be for the pope’s new exhortation on the environment,” the editorial team of the far-left outlet wrote.
“The world is collapsing and may be nearing breaking point.” – Pope Francis didn’t mince his words in a recent letter entitled ‘Laudate Deum’ . He warns of “grave consequences” if the world continues to ignore the threat of climate change. @EWTNews pic.twitter.com/3ObFjxVN0T
— Colm Flynn (@colmflynnire) October 5, 2023
Pope Francis generated much criticism, however, from those who feel he has no scientific authority to make comments on the environment. American Catholics were no less impressed by his dig at the “irresponsible lifestyle” of those in the U.S.
“The tone of impending crisis in Laudate Deum is driven by an anticipation of tipping points, that is, approaching boundaries of irreversible loss. It declares without any qualification that if global temperatures ‘should rise above 2 degrees, the icecaps of Greenland and a large part of Antarctica will melt completely, with immensely grave consequences for everyone,'” wrote philosopher Michael Pakaluk in a review of the Pope’s letter.
“Laudate Deum consistently turns qualified statements about the world into certainties appropriate only for articles of faith. Unlike a truly scientific discussion, it does not review counter-objections or conflicting evidence. Apparently, in the face of an emergency, one difficulty would indeed make one doubt. Doubts must be avoided, like vaccine hesitancy,” he added in his stinging rebuke, saying the letter “speaks derisively of anyone who would disagree with its assertions.”
“Such people are attempting ‘to deny, conceal, gloss over or relativize the issue.’ Scientists, too, who disagree only ‘seek to deny the evidence,’” Pakaluk wrote.
In a first for the papal office, Pope Francis announced he will be traveling to Dubai for the United Nations COP28 climate change conference in a few weeks.
“Our future is at stake, the future of our children and grandchildren. It requires some responsibility,” he said, according to The Wall Street Journal.