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 who wrote in October that “the purpose of Islam, with the often violent means it can and does use to accomplish it, is to extend its rule, in the name of Allah, to all the world,” now critiques the Holy Father’s letter on the environment.
Writing in the Catholic World Report Monday, Schall 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.
These range from the oceans, to the rivers, to the land, to the forests, to the insect and animal species. Even though many species of plants, insects, birds, and animals disappeared before man was on the planet, all present species seem to have a “right” to exist and continue in their current form. How this right relates to human purpose is the point of controversy.
Schall also questions why John Schellnhuber, a climate scientist who advocates reducing the world’s population to less than one billion, would be invited to present opinions at the Vatican.
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“The question is: What does Pope Francis make of this spirit that pushes these ecological and political movements that seek to control the world?” writes Schall. “Such anti-Christian forces work to establish a world-state in complete control of nature, population, and economy. The Pope clearly is opposed to abortion, single-sex marriage, and such deviations. But many who seem closest to him certainly advocate these Lord of the World concepts. However we evaluate it, it seems worrisome.”
The 87-year-old priest also challenges Francis’ argument of sustainability. “Briefly, the goal of ecological vision is posed in terms of creating a world that takes into consideration future generations,” he writes. “The consumption of goods must include future usage.”
We might note that no generation previous to ours ever seemed to worry about this issue. Usually, population control theses are posed in the light of estimates about available resources in relation to projected population sizes. What seems to happen is that when previous future generations come about, they will figured [sic] out some way to survive and even prosper. That is, human intelligence and skill are active elements in nature.
The question here is how do we know how many ages are left for us to plan for? And is there not reason to believe that a larger, rather than smaller, population will be the incentive to learn how to deal with human needs? We simply do not know how many generations there will be, what technology will be available to them, or even whether there will be a future generation. We know not the day or the hour. What we do know is that the earth, plus human intelligence on it, is adequate to provide for the human race as it is.
Finally, Schall asserts “the final end of man is transcendent. The purpose of the earth is not the keeping of the species going on and on down the ages. Each person of the species exists for a transcendent purpose.”
The moment of the completion of God’s purpose is not revealed, but it is definitely settled that it will happen. This awareness is really what Lord of the World is about. Heaven and earth will pass away. Concern for the natural environment of man is not wrong unless it is seen as a substitute for the transcendent purpose of man, the way many ecological theories do see it. At the end of time, one suspect, the planet will have plenty of resources left.
h/t: National Review
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