Friday, May 26, 2017

The Pope's Gift To Trump

Pope Francis gave President Trump a gift - his encyclical on the climate, which was released in June 2015. The Washington Post highlighted what they identified as "ten key excerpts."  The whole encyclical is 165 pages, so this is obviously a very abbreviated version.  I suspect it would be more likely that Trump would have just read these ten points, than the whole encyclical the Pope gave him.

Most of these are sorely lacking from the public policy debates in the United States, and those that get into our discussions need a lot more thoughtfulness.

Enjoy and think about how we can get this issues considered more there.

1) Climate change has grave implications. “Each year sees the disappearance of thousands of plant and animal species which we will never know, which our children will never see, because they have been lost forever,” he writes.
2) Rich countries are destroying poor ones, and the earth is getting warmer. “The warming caused by huge consumption on the part of some rich countries has repercussions on the poorest areas of the world, especially Africa, where a rise in temperature, together with drought, has proved devastating for farming.”
3) Christians have misinterpreted Scripture and “must forcefully reject the notion that our being created in God’s image and given dominion over the earth justifies absolute domination over other creatures.”
4) The importance of access to safe drinkable water is “a basic and universal human right.”
5) Technocratic domination leads to the destruction of nature and the exploitation of people, and “by itself the market cannot guarantee integral human development and social inclusion.”
6) Population control does not address the problems of the poor. “In the face of the so-called culture of death, the family is the heart of the culture of life.” And, “Since everything is interrelated, concern for the protection of nature is also incompatible with the justification of abortion.”
7) Gender differences matter, and “valuing one’s own body in its femininity or masculinity is necessary if I am going to be able to recognize myself in an encounter with someone who is different.”
8) The international community has not acted enough: “recent World Summits on the environment have not lived up to expectations because, due to lack of political will, they were unable to reach truly meaningful and effective global agreements on the environment.” He writes, “the Church does not presume to settle scientific questions or to replace politics. But I am concerned to encourage an honest and open debate so that particular interests or ideologies will not prejudice the common good.”
9) Individuals must act. “An integral ecology is also made up of simple daily gestures which break with the logic of violence, exploitation and selfishness,” he writes. We should also consider taking public transit, car-pooling, planting trees, turning off the lights and recycling.
10) By the way, why are we here on Earth in the first place? “What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?” he writes.

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