Climate Change and the coming Encyclical

Guest essay by Joe Ronan

pope-francisToday we see another set of meetings in Rome. One is that of the Pontifical Academy of Science, and the other the Heartland Institute. Both organisations are hoping to influence the widely heralded Encyclical from Pope Francis that will include references to climate change. Given that the text of the Encyclical has already been finalised, and is currently being translated, there may not be much that either party can do to affect it’s content. The headlines they are making will be building up expectations on both sides, and it’s worth having a closer look at the background to an encyclical.

What is an Encyclical?

Simply put, it is a circular letter written by the Pope to the Church which forms a part of the Ordinary Magisterium or teaching of the Church. It is not a formal statement of the type that is regarded as infallible doctrine, as it usually deals with moral guidance and the application of existing doctrine to current matters. In the past encyclicals have dealt with such subjects as war and social issues of all types.

What will this one cover?

Despite the emphasis being put on climate change in the press, it’s unlikely that the central part of the document will concern itself with just that subject. Rather it will treat that as one factor among many in what Pope Benedict XVI called ‘human ecology’, a term that Pope Francis has adopted enthusiastically. It will touch on many aspects of life for the poor and vulnerable, including the misuse of economic power and the many injustices that man visits upon man in our world.

Is the Pope endorsing a particular view of climate change?

In the coming encyclical, the indications are that it will certainly include some discussion on how to react to the planet’s continually changing climate. On this issue, (as a non-scientist with some technical training) he will be largely dependent on the advice of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences which has made a number of statements on this topic.

The PAS is in turn dependent on interpreting the IPCC 5th Assessment Report (AR5) which was completed in 2014 and is a wide ranging review of the known science and data on the subject.

So the starting point will be a largely accepted position that the climate has warmed and that at least half of this change is very likely due to man’s actions. *

Is the Church making pronouncements on Science?

The Church is accepting the judgements of it’s scientific advisers. There is of course precedent for the scientific consensus to be wrong, and the Pope seems to be well aware of this as he mentioned in a press conference on his flight back from the visit to Korea in August 2014;

“But now there is a rather difficult problem, because, up to a certain point, one can speak with some assurance about safeguarding creation and ecology, including human ecology. But there are also scientific hypotheses [to be taken into account], some of them quite solid, others not. In this kind of encyclical, which has to be magisterial, one can only build on solid data, on things that are reliable. If the Pope says that the earth is the centre of the universe, and not the sun, he errs, since he is affirming something that ought to be supported by science, and this will not do. That’s where we are at now. We have to study the document, number by number, and I believe it will become smaller. But to get to the heart of the matter and to what can be safely stated. You can say in a footnote: “On this or that question there are the following hypotheses…”, as a way of offering information, but you cannot do that in the body of encyclical, which is doctrinal and has to be sound.

So there is clear recognition here that anything that depends upon hypothesis is unlikely to make it into the main body of the document.

If so, do Catholics have to believe everything he says?

The encyclical will have the status of the ordinary teaching authority of the magisterium, so is not lightly put aside. This works both ways of course; one of the reasons that Pope Francis makes the comment quoted above is that he is conscious that what is written needs to be correct, and will have gone to some trouble to identify those issues which are subject to change and interpretation.

A great problem is that many people form an opinion on a document or an issue based on press reports, or other third party interpretations. These can be very selective in nature, and often ‘spin’ the substance of the document in very creative ways. There is no substitute for reading a document in it’s entirety and understanding the full case that it puts. A Catholic has a duty to fully inform his or her conscience about what the Church teaches, and then (and only then) act according to their conscience or ‘moral compass’. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (892) and Lumen Gentium (para 25) make it clear that the full documents have to be considered in their context and character and reference that to other speeches and writings in order to fully inform themselves. A good example is that of Humanae Vitae, the encyclical that dealt with contraception. There are many people who say they disagree with it; considerably fewer who have actually read it!

Is this science, religion or politics? Is the Pope calling for specific policies or changes in behaviour from Catholics?

The Pope has made it clear that one of his great concerns is the welfare of all humanity, and particularly the poor and vulnerable. The encyclical will no doubt deal with many aspects of human behaviour with respect to dealings with our neighbours and with the environment and so will impact on all areas of our thinking and behaviour, including in the areas of science, politics and religion. This teaching will likely give particular moral guidance, but will not deal with the specifics of policy or attempt to ‘take a side’ with respect to political systems. It will require a Catholic to consider the teaching, and to apply that in an informed way to their decisions and actions in their everyday life, including in the political sphere.

Is this going to cause controversy and division in the Church?

It is certain that in the days after publication there will be many words spoken and written across a wide range of commentators that will highlight particular lines, phrases, or even short sets of words, that will be set up to indicate that the Pope and the Church advocate this or that policy, or political system, or stance on other matters. This will in turn lead to counter pieces, refutations, re-analysis and re-interpretation ad infinitum particularly since many groups have specifically stated that they are looking for the Holy Father to produce a document that will strengthen their particular world view.

This is all good. The whole point of an encyclical to engage in teaching and to spark debate; to encourage thinking deeply into an issue and to question ourselves and our own actions. It is very easy to look at such a document in terms of how it supports a particular political viewpoint. But Popes generally, and Pope Francis in particular have a habit of ploughing their own furrow, and not being aligned with a particular way of doing things. Rather they look to inform each of us individually as to how to live our lives, and govern our own actions in the light of Church teaching. We, each of us individually, are asked to read and understand the teachings as they apply to us, not as we think they apply to others.

Personally, I expect that what is written will be fully in accord with, for instance, the concerns highlighted here recently on the way poverty stricken people are denied access to life saving energy sources.

One thing is certain, the coming encyclical will contain a lot of surprises to people at all points on the political spectrum. And it will challenge us all to look again at how, in a practical way, we love our neighbour.

*Summary for Policymakers (IPCC-AR4, vol 1, page 10): “Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.”

Joe Ronan  is a Catholic with a science background in analytical chemistry. He resides in the UK.

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April 28, 2015 8:04 am

Oh great, the church is getting involved in consensus science.

Reply to  Greg
April 28, 2015 8:35 am

Yes, and will burn Bruno at the stake again. (He was the first real modern astronomer who lived in Prague before Galileo came along much later…Galileo surrendered to the Pope and wasn’t burned, instead he lied about science).
Argh. And the modern liars visit the modern Pope hoping he will shut up the modern scientists.

Paul Westhaver
Reply to  emsnews
April 28, 2015 8:41 am

Argh. The modern Scientists who also lie, and the modern anti-human greens, will visit the Pope, hoping he will shut up the rational few. I doubt he will axiomatically do so. I expect temperance.

Reply to  emsnews
April 28, 2015 9:02 am

Don’t be too quick to take Bruno as a hero. He was a bit of a twat. But didn’t (quite) deserve his fate.

Paul Westhaver
Reply to  emsnews
April 28, 2015 11:07 am

FYI… Yes Bruno was an arse. and..Bruno was not condemned for his defence of the Copernican system of astronomy, nor for his doctrine of the plurality of inhabited worlds, but for his theological errors, among which were the following: that Christ was not God but merely an unusually skilful magician, that the Holy Ghost is the soul of the world, that the Devil will be saved, etc.
Just keeping the ignorant informed.

Reply to  emsnews
April 28, 2015 3:29 pm

Wasn’t this the church that invented the “Devil’s advocate”? If they use one now, there is hope…..

Reply to  emsnews
April 28, 2015 8:06 pm

You gotta love a Bruno. I mean any guy that writes a book titled “On the Expulsion of the Triumphant Beast” while he’s in exile and being sought by his persecutors who are applying huge political pressure to the country he resides in has CAJONES!

Reply to  Greg
April 28, 2015 4:24 pm

They accepted the consensus the last time, and there were some pretty good reasons for that consensus.
1. If the Earth moves, we will see regular variations in the distances between the stars. (This would result from parallax effects.) We don’t see any variations. Prediction falsified.
2. We have a functioning mathematical model based on the geocentric theory. We can use this model to make pretty accurate predictions.
3. Can Galileo give a good account of how this telescope thingy actually works? We know empirically it works on terrestrial objects, but how can we be sure that it works on heavenly objects as well? And if we can’t be sure that it works on heavenly objects, how can we trust his data?

April 28, 2015 8:07 am

“All I said was that this meal was good enough for Jehovah
“He did it again! You’re only making it worse for yourself”

Reply to  wickedwenchfan
April 28, 2015 10:00 am

You’re floundering a bit … the ‘meal’ was ‘halibut’.
But given that was your sole error, it was probably just a fluke.

Mark Hladik
Reply to  Max Photon
April 28, 2015 10:39 am


Reply to  Max Photon
April 28, 2015 10:50 am

[trimmed .mod]

Reply to  Max Photon
April 28, 2015 6:35 pm

A flake? Flukes invoke thoughts of those cuddly whales.

Reply to  Max Photon
April 28, 2015 7:31 pm

All flukes are flounders, but not all flounders are flukes.
Flukes and flounders are types of flat-fish. That means that, while they started life swimming upright, during the larval stage they lay on either their left or right side, and the eye facing towards the bottom migrated to be top-facing.
So, some flat-fish are right-side-up (their left eye migrated to the right side), and some are left-side-up (meaning that their right eye migrated to the left side).
Generally speaking, left-side-up flounder are called flukes, and right-side-up flounders are called flounders.

April 28, 2015 8:17 am

“So the starting point will be a largely accepted position that the climate has warmed and that at least half of this change is very likely due to man’s actions. *
*Summary for Policymakers (IPCC-AR4, vol 1, page 10): “Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.”
So there you have it…the science is settled and history repeating itself? Lets hope not.

Paul Westhaver
Reply to  Newsel
April 28, 2015 8:37 am

Newsel, What do you mean? How is history repeating itself? In 1585 Copernicus published his book on Heliocentic Solar System. Pope Paul III accepted it as a theory. The Church listened to one of its scientists. Then in 1633 Galieo wrote his theory, which neither he, nor anyone else could prove. His theory was that the planets orbited in a circular path around a FIXED sun. A theory that was already known and accepted as possible 60 years earlier. Galileo was asked if he could prove that the sun was fixed. He admitted that he could not prove that. Nor could Kepler or anyone else. But Galileo did something else. He said that the sun was the center of the “COSMOS” as a philosophical assertion, thereby violating his relationship with the church as the teaching authority on religious matters. See Galileo stepped out of science and entered the realm of philosophy. That is what angered the Pope who used to be his pal.
So how is the fact that the present pope, by listening to most scientists, with whom I disagree btw, is repeating what happened in 1633? I don’t see your point.

Reply to  Paul Westhaver
April 28, 2015 9:00 am

Paul, It was a stretch but I was just trying to make a point that “Science acknowledges reason, empiricism, and evidence, while religions include revelation, faith and sacredness. These methodologies are totally different.”
For example: in 2014 the EPA funded a “study on “The Role of Faith-Based Organizations”. Hate to think where this could be heading….the EPA preaching from the pulpit with the backing of the Pontiff? I would prefer that the any and all religious bodies stay out of this debate and not expose those bodies to abuse as propaganda outlets for either side of the debate.
EPA Study Objective: “Climate change—which affects traditional faith-based efforts to improve human health, mitigate poverty and redress social inequity….More Americans belong to religious groups than any other type of voluntary association and faith communities play an important role in facilitating the kind of social transitions that are necessary as the nation responds to climate change.“

Reply to  Paul Westhaver
April 28, 2015 9:01 am

Well said, Paul Westhaver.

Paul Westhaver
Reply to  Paul Westhaver
April 28, 2015 10:40 am

I understand you now, but I don’t accept the premise. Western Universities grew out of the Churches (Charlemagne’s Church Schools) out of desire to educate the public and learn and discover how God’s world operates. Faith and reason are intertwined in the RC Church and always have been. The false separation, as per wiki, does not exist and I dismiss it on its face.
Visit the Vatican’s observatory or the Pontifical Academy of Science web Site or visit the Center for Faith and Reason.
Have you never read The Summa? The 14 Volumes will only take you 2 years non stop. It is the foundational work for all of western reasoning, which you are using right now. BTW. Thank a fat “dumb ox” called Thomas d’Aquino.
Who invented the Big Bang?

Reply to  Paul Westhaver
April 28, 2015 11:41 am

“See Galileo stepped out of science and entered the realm of philosophy. That is what angered the Pope who used to be his pal.” Question: Was Galileo’s belief in heliocentrism and his support of Copernicanism “philosophical” or based on observation, geometry and mathematics?

Paul Westhaver
Reply to  Paul Westhaver
April 28, 2015 12:46 pm

You must be aware that the Pope during the Galileo trials was Galileo’s greatest supporter, Pope Urban VIII, formerly Cardinal Barberini. He got Galileo a pension in Rome since Galileo was not a natural citizen of Rome.
Here is the quote of Cardinal Barberini’s position wrt heliocentrism (which was previously adopted by the Church after Copernicus) in a letter to Foscarini. (First Trial)
“I say that if a real proof be found that the sun is fixed and does not revolve round the earth, but the earth round the sun, then it will be necessary, very carefully, to proceed to the explanation of the passages of Scripture which appear to be contrary, and we should rather say that we have misunderstood these than pronounce that to be false which is demonstrated.”
He was referring to Joshua. ie the biblical description of the movement of the sun across the sky.
Now Galileo could not prove a fixed sun and a moving earth and admitted so, and he agreed to not publish in the vernacular and not to publicize it until he could prove it, necessitating a review a Joshua.
Well Galileo, despite his contract said that Joshua was wrong. That provoked a violation of his contract in his first trial… initiating a second trial. He just pissed of the people who were helping him.
The Church never condemned Copernicanism. Rather it shelved it until i could be proven.
Galileo was a Copernican. In a letter to Kepler 1597 he admitted that concealed that view to avoid the ridicule from the scientific community and the protestant reformation biblical literalists, not the church authorities. His contemporary scientists colleagues rejected Copericanism except for Kepler and a few others.
Galileo observed the phases of Venus and dispelled the concept of “transparent planets” indicating an orbit of Venus around the sun, but he never generated a proof. The important contribution of Galileo was his reliance on empirics to prove hypothesis. That was his greatest contribution the science. Bear in mind that he suggested a whole boatload of things that turned out to be nonsense so it was hard to separate the wheat from the chaff.
If Galileo could offer objective proof to his theory (Copernicaism) then he would have been off scot free. He was unable to generate proof but he just kept yakking when he agreed not to.
The Church NEVER condemned Copernicanism. Some people in the Church did as well as nearly every scientist of Galileo’s day. It was a new idea and new ideas are…new.

Reply to  Paul Westhaver
April 28, 2015 1:10 pm

If I read you correctly Galileo spent the last years of his life locked up because he had an hypothesis which he floated and which “pissed” off the Pope? Now, more recently, where have I heard that before? From what I can ascertain the RC considered him to be a heretic. “He was tried by the Holy Office, then found “vehemently suspect of heresy”, was forced to recant, and spent the last nine years of his life under house arrest.”
Does not sound like a philosophical difference of opinion to me nor do I buy your assertion that the matter was shelved until it could be proven at a later date. The man observed, calculated and suggested an hypothesis contrary to that being espoused by the omnipotent RC Pontiff and his buddies. No doubt he was his “best friend” while he was just trying to deflect the message. Machiavellian?
Now, given today’s debate, do you see my point?

Paul Westhaver
Reply to  Paul Westhaver
April 28, 2015 1:40 pm

You are ignoring the central point and I wrote it out so diligently with my 4 fingers!
1) it wasn’t the Pope.. the Pope was his friend. The Pope got him a pension and a luxurious apartment down the hall from the Pope. They were friends. He wasn’t imprisoned. He was living in the Papal palace.
2) He pissed off a lot of people especially the Holy Office who were very busy with a flaring protestant reformation.
3) His science wasn’t judged as wrong initially. It was his claims about the book of Joshua that got him in trouble.
4) He was house arrested because of a breach of contract regarding vernacular disposition of his UNPROVEN heliocentricity, which all other scientists declared as crap.
5) After his second trial, he was imprisoned.
6) He was not imprisoned after the Copernican Hypothesis was prohibited because of lack of proof.
You said” The man observed, calculated and suggested an hypothesis contrary to that being espoused by the omnipotent RC Pontiff and his buddies. ”
Not True. At the time the church had ALREADY adopted Copernicanism. So they agreed. It wasn’t until he wrote out the implications in the common language ( Italian I think) and declared Joshua wrong that he got into trouble.
That isn’t me saying that. That is the historical record.
You may not like that version, but I can’t help that.

Reply to  Paul Westhaver
April 28, 2015 4:21 pm

Taking one bullet at a time:
*It wasn’t the Pope.. the Pope was his friend. The Pope got him a pension and a luxurious apartment down the hall from the Pope. They were friends. He wasn’t imprisoned. He was living in the Papal palace.
Alleged friend and he had zero access to the outside world for the last few years of his life – sounds like prison to me.
*He pissed off a lot of people especially the Holy Office who were very busy with a flaring protestant reformation.
I’m on the side of Henry the VIII on this one.
* His science wasn’t judged as wrong initially. It was his claims about the book of Joshua that got him in trouble.
Book of Joshua: “The needs of the centralised monarchy favoured a single story of origins combining old traditions of an exodus from Egypt, belief in a national god as “divine warrior,” and explanations for ruined cities, social stratification and ethnic groups, and contemporary tribes.”
And he had a problem with that line of thinking? I’m with Galileo on that one.
* He was house arrested because of a breach of contract regarding vernacular disposition of his UNPROVEN heliocentricity, which all other scientists declared as crap.
Help me out here: just what is a “hypothesis”?
* After his second trial, he was imprisoned.
For what? Being a squeaky wheel?
* He was not imprisoned after the Copernican Hypothesis was prohibited because of lack of proof.
Again: Read hypothesis.
Paul, your theological education has messed up with you line of reasoning.

Paul Westhaver
Reply to  Paul Westhaver
April 28, 2015 6:04 pm

Here is the way it works. People chat back and forth and eventually the truth is revealed.
I laid out a pretty accurate accounting of the case for Galileo and for the Church. I laid out the science and the scripture and the politics with good historical references. References that you and everyone has likely never seen before. They are objectively reasonable. Others have told me so.
So what to make of you and what you just wrote?
I don’t see any new facts, I see just an empty opinion from a person who is hostile the the RC Church and quite possibly invincibly ignorant.
What you wrote betrays your state of mind and undermines you earlier pretense of civility. So I will allow your ad homena define and polemic rhetoric define you. Thanks for facilitating a broader education of the Galileo canard. We have all enjoyed it.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Paul Westhaver
April 28, 2015 6:57 pm

Paul W
Well presented and factually correct. What is remarkable is how completely the story of Galileo is misrepresented as a way to mocking not just the RC Church but all religious systems. The strangest claim, to me, is the idea that religious matters are not susceptible to scientific enquiry.
I see it repeated here at WUWT again and again that ‘there is science’ and ‘there is religion’ as if there is nothing factual in religion, and everything ‘scientific’ is factual.
There is no shortage of fact-free science and charlatanry, just as there are religious quacks making money on TV. Neither disqualifies the truths in science or religion. They should work more together on the calculus of the Golden Rule.

Reply to  Paul Westhaver
April 28, 2015 7:08 pm

Paul, civility is a two way street…”Here is where you discover who the ignoramuses are and are not. Hint… they are the first to drag out Galileo.” Although it may have been a stretch, I just happen to disagree with your interpretation of history and how Pontification may impact today. Thanks for the chat.

Reply to  Paul Westhaver
April 28, 2015 7:24 pm

Paul Westhaver on April 28, 2015 at 6:04 pm
– – – – – – – –
Paul Weshaver,
I think you are naïve in thinking that the Roman Catholic Church’s (RCC) account of the treatment of Galileo can be accepted without at least two other non-RCC sourced corroborations of what happened; one being Galileo’s account and one being a third party’s account. Galileo’s account was intimidated under duress and restricted less he be further subject to the Inquisition. There is a limited third party’s account.
Here is a passage regarding assessment of Galileo’s treatment by the RCC from one of the best and more objective histories of Christianity (Paul Johnson’s ‘A History of Christianity’ (1976). Be patient in reading the assessment because the story of Galileo’s treatment by the RCC is, according to the research of Paul Johnson, related to and influenced by the RCC’s judgement and treatment of the Hermetic philosopher Girodano Bruno.

{bold emphasis mine – JW}
Here is a passage from Paul Johnson’s ‘A History of Christianity’ (1976),
“Great mystery still surrounds the Bruno case. Some of the documents turned up as recently as 1942, when they were discovered in the effects of the librarian-pope, Pius XI; but the official processo, giving the precise reasons for his condemnation, has disappeared. What we do know is that Bruno was in Inquisition hands for eight years, recanted heresies twice, but finally denied he had ever been a heretic and was burned alive in the Campo de’Fiori in Rome, 1600. Like all who crossed and recrossed the religious borders, he was a particular object of Roman suspicion.* [the asterisk refers to the following footnote] [. . .]
* The harsh treatment of Galileo by the Roman Inquisition in 1633 was determined, at least in part, by Pope Urban VIII’s belief that Galileo was somehow linked to Bruno’s heresies, and that his [Galileo’s] ‘Dialogue of the Two Great World Systems’, setting out Copernican theory, was full of hidden Hermetic symbolism. Less foolhardy than Bruno, Galileo made a full submission; ‘‘. . . with sincere heart and unfeigned faith I abjure, curse and detest the aforesaid errors and heresies’’; nor is it true that he then added ‘’Eppur si muove’’, which might have led to his death. What he [Galileo] did do was to note in the margin of his own copy of the ‘Dialogue’: ‘’In the matter of introducing novelties. And who can doubt that it will lead to the worst disorders when minds created free by God are compelled to submit slavishly to an outside will? When we are told to deny our senses and subject them to the whim of others? When people of whatsoever competence are made judges over experts and are granted authority to treat them as they please? These are the novelties which are apt to bring about the ruin of commonwealth and the subversion of the state.’’ See G. de Santillana,’The Crime of Galileo’ (Chicago, 1955); and C.A. Ronan, ‘Galileo’ (London, 1974)”

Galileo was brutally treated for his scientific ideas and scientific work, it should not be pretended that he wasn’t out of desire to protect the image of the RCC.

April 28, 2015 8:17 am

Reminds me of this;

Don E
April 28, 2015 8:17 am

The primary question is does the earth revolve around the sun or around CO2, which is the center of the universe.

Reply to  Don E
April 29, 2015 2:18 am

“If the Pope says that the earth is the centre of the universe, and not the sun, he errs, since he is affirming something that ought to be supported by science, and this will not do. ”
If, according to big bang theory and mainstream cosmology, the universal space is expanding equally much in every location you could say that there is no center or that every location is as much at the center as any other. And, if so, the Pope would be right in saying the earth is the center of the universe. He would just be failing to mention that so is the Sun and Mars and Andromeda…

Paul Westhaver
April 28, 2015 8:20 am

Joe Ronan,
I just read this presentation. Thanks. It was right on the money and very helpful. It is worth mentioning that the PAS is made up of some non believers.
I believe that the Pope is wrenching this topic out of the hands of the UN-IPCC. I hope he succeeds. It will be less definitively an advocate of CAGW for sure.
Good job.
Would you do another article? One that addresses the anti-catholic and anti-human forces within the green movement and how they are in fact the enemy of the RC Church? I think you are equipped for such a task!
Tim Ball’s article touches on it.

Reply to  Paul Westhaver
April 28, 2015 9:27 am

I would very much support that idea, Paul.
One thing that has been sorely lacking in this whole long-lasting, miserable saga has been a proper in-depth analysis of the extent to which the modern environmental movement has turned against humanity itself in a way that none of the established religions — in which I include Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism — could, if they are serious about the tenets of their faith, condone.
If Joe has the time and the skill I would hope he would be prepared to do the necessary research and produce a definitive paper on the subject.

Paul Westhaver
Reply to  newminster
April 28, 2015 10:44 am

I invite you to join me, and several others on this page, hopefully Tim Ball (just read the similar comments) to tabulate all of the anti human efforts by the green movement since the 1900s. I think it would make a best seller!

Reply to  Paul Westhaver
April 28, 2015 2:07 pm

Two of the world’s leading pro-abortion advocates were addressing a Vatican workshop on the environment today.
At the same time, a press conference at the Palazzo Cesi, in Rome, organised by the Heartland Institute, was addressed by two leading SPUC officials on behalf of Voice of the Family, warning that the population control lobby was advancing its agenda by means of the workshop held today by the Pontifical Academy for Sciences.

Joe Ronan
Reply to  Paul Westhaver
April 28, 2015 3:33 pm

Thank you Paul.
I will probably do something on the released encyclical, and have a few other subjects in mind. Trying to cover the whole green movement would be quite a task, not sure if I’ve time for that, but I’ll keep it in mind, it may fit with some other ideas I have.

Paul Westhaver
Reply to  Joe Ronan
April 28, 2015 5:13 pm

I’d like to help if you do go after the whole ball of wax. I have the time and inclination. Contact me through Anthony if you want to get started. Also, we should engage Tim Ball.

Reply to  Joe Ronan
April 28, 2015 9:16 pm

Joe Ronan on April 28, 2015 at 3:33 pm
– – – – – – –
Joe Ronan,
Are you related to C.A. Ronan who wrote the book ‘Galileo’ (London, 1974)?

April 28, 2015 8:30 am

If the religion of man-made climate change can assimilate the mainstream religions of the planet, and the benevolent God of the new testament becomes the angry God of the old testament, salvation through works will replace salvation in the sacrifice of Jesus, and faith in the government will replace faith in God for many of the mesmerized masses. Of those who refuse “the mark of the beast” many will believe the anti-christ has arrived as prophesied in the revelation of St. John.
I cannot find in the bible where God commands us to prioritize saving the this temporary habitat which He owns (and He only can control), above saving and caring for the souls and bodies of our fellow children of His!

Reply to  Dawtgtomis
April 28, 2015 8:36 am

Please allow me to reiterate my poem to Papal perspective:
Those who would be global planners,
Speak in agitated manners.
Moaning of impending doom,
Like Debby Downer in the room
Incessantly they go on preaching:
“Children, guilt we should be teaching!
For we’ve sinned, by overreaching
Mother Gaia’s limit!”
Men of true theology
I’ve never known, who cannot see
This earth does not belong to ye,
Who only live here in it.
The planet then, is God’s alone
And all its elements He owns!
Perplexing mortal-man’s control,
And vexing now, the Papal Soul.

Reply to  Dawtgtomis
April 28, 2015 11:21 am

If God has commanded us to use the earth wisely, should our wise usage benefit the world he has provided and maintains, or should it benefit mankind? That is what I see as the theological question, from my talks with my dad who was a Lutheran minister and chaplain for 63 years.

April 28, 2015 8:31 am

Reblogged this on Head Space and commented:
Make way for the new inquisitions

Reply to  tlarremore
April 28, 2015 11:04 am

Wait. Wait. You’re saying you DO expect the Spanish Inquisition?

Reply to  jorgekafkazar
April 28, 2015 12:16 pm

Will there be Comfy Chairs?

Reply to  jorgekafkazar
April 28, 2015 7:27 pm

Only if other skeptics like Giordano Bruno are made martyrs for science

April 28, 2015 8:32 am

The Pope is going to stand on the balcony of one of the biggest palaces on earth and tell us we have to live in Tiny Houses (aka: huts) and not use the Popemobile or Popejet to move around the planet and so the Pope and his gang of buddies living in huge palaces and flying private jets can live like kings and queens while we peasants freeze and starve to death!
Just like in the good old Medieval Times…except is was WARMER back then! Now, it is much, much colder.

April 28, 2015 8:35 am

The “Church” is dead. Cannabis is a healing medicine. The Pope is against healing with it. What kind of Christianity denies healing and comforting the afflicted? Catholicism has give itself over to the pursuit of power. Well what else is new? It has been that way since Nicea.
You know who endorses healing with that medicine? The Jews. And the occasional Christian sect. But don’t even mention the subject to Southern Baptists. Making God into the Devil does take some talent. So there is that.

Reply to  M Simon
April 28, 2015 8:53 am

Pot is a healing medicine? The west coasters I know point to a doubling of Schizophrenia rates for those kids who smoke pot. Is that a fact or not? It makes me cautious.

Reply to  ECB
April 28, 2015 9:20 am

Cannabis, correctly used, has therapeutic properties and I am not aware that the Catholic Church has made any pronouncement on the subject though I imagine its use as a recerational drug where that is contrary to the law would be considered sinful.

Reply to  ECB
April 28, 2015 10:37 am

In the Bible, there are a number of scriptures against getting drunk, but there are none against drink itself.

Paul Westhaver
Reply to  ECB
April 28, 2015 10:47 am

Jesus Christ’s first miracle was at the request of his mother Mary to turn water into wine… at the wedding at Cana? Ya know what happens when a bride and groom have wine?!!!

Reply to  ECB
April 28, 2015 11:09 am

Having visited San Francisco during the 60’s, I can guess that many of those who smoke pot were already crazy as loons before they took their first toke.

Reply to  M Simon
April 28, 2015 9:37 am

pot..omg possibly the most overrated thing since the american lawn. well they both are grass

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  M Simon
April 28, 2015 7:11 pm

M Simon:
Nicea was just a dust-up. It only got serious in Chalcedon in 451. When Leo I passed away in 460, therafter things were really different. Leo accomplished what Innocent failed to do in 405 AD, and without the help of Pulcheria, a woman, he would not have pulled it off.
Remarkably, Plus XII was still trying to nail down the final corner of the carpet on central authority in the 20th Century. That indicates the RC Church has been more democratic than many of it’s critics admit, for 1400 years. Not too bad, all things considered. Many have accomplished a lot less.
I look forward to a sensible statement on Climate from the Pope that places our fellow man at the centre of our concerns, not carbon dioxide. That’d be good, all things considered.

April 28, 2015 8:36 am

Let’s all have a pot smoke-in! 🙂

John F. Hultquist
April 28, 2015 8:41 am

Something similar to this can be found in Catholic writings:
“For you always have the poor with you; but you do not always have Me.”
If this is true, then the only way to achieve equality is for everyone to be poor.
I’m in favor of going the other way.
Abundant and inexpensive energy will be needed.
Tell the Pope.

Paul Westhaver
Reply to  John F. Hultquist
April 28, 2015 8:44 am

Who said that equality was an objective?

Mark Hladik
Reply to  Paul Westhaver
April 28, 2015 10:44 am

“Capitalism is the unequal distribution of wealth. Socialism is the equal distribution of misery.”

Just an engineer
Reply to  John F. Hultquist
April 28, 2015 2:32 pm

I think that’s “Trickle up Poverty”.

Mike Maguire
April 28, 2015 8:43 am

Comprehensive, right on target thoughts presented objectively from a source that’s very knowledgeable.
Thanks Joe!

April 28, 2015 8:49 am

It is unfortunate that our Pope has so very little understanding of economics. His worldview boarders upon the socialism that was tried and found wanting in the 20th century. His economics is a horror for the poor that he is trying to help. Oh well. As an outcome of his socialistic economic views he will call for policies that will hurt the poor even more with his coming statement on cAGW. Oh well again.

Reply to  markstoval
April 28, 2015 8:59 am

Amen, Mark.

Reply to  markstoval
April 28, 2015 9:03 am

Correct on both counts. They are probably related lines of thinking in these seemingly different policy areas. The 5 percent of the population and personality types that create and drive companies onward and upward are already hard pressed to deal with the money grabs now. Carbon taxes and equivalent cost increases will not go un-noticed in the math of these companies. Jobs and expansion rates are the likely symptoms, in a world already showing the ill effects of aging populations in developed country markets.

Reply to  markstoval
April 28, 2015 9:11 am

There is probably a quid pro quo somewhere here with Obama and socialist Europeans to get something in return. Such manipulation of international institutions already undermined the World Bank to the point of the Chinese starting an alternative development bank in protest. It probably goes like this–It you want U.S. military help for Christians in the Middle East and Africa, it will cost you something in the lip service category.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Resourceguy
April 28, 2015 7:18 pm

There is something else afoot in the Pacific Rim which is a twelve member trading block the US is promoting. It is apparently not doing so well because it binds the members to rules the US will set. It is worth investigating. Did you see recent cries of alarm from the US worrying that it was not getting finalised? If it fails and the east Asians create a different trading block with China involved they can create their own rules. The new finance bank is related to this.
If Obama wants to drive carbon trading through the wording of trade agreements it will meet stiff resistance in the East. They don’t feel guilty about much like the West does. Watch that space.

April 28, 2015 8:55 am

As long as he runs it past Cardinal Pell there shouldn’t be a problem – he saw through the scam years ago.

Reply to  Questing Vole
April 28, 2015 9:32 am

He is not a fan of Pell’s in spite of Pell heading the new “Ministry of Economics”.
I think you’ll find that the sceptics (Pell, Burke, and a couple of others) will be the last people Francis would listen to, simply becaus they are who they are.

April 28, 2015 9:03 am

The Pope should be concentrating on the assault on Christianity instead of this nonsense that will adversely affect the poor as previously mentioned.

Reply to  Earl
April 28, 2015 9:18 am

It is the assault that he is dealing with in providing lip service to Obama in return for military assistance where needed.

April 28, 2015 9:06 am

It’s a great photo at the top. The Pope is in full finger-wagging flow, and the face partly obscured by his elbow is set in an earnest frown of supporting moral indignation.

Paul Westhaver
Reply to  Phlogiston
April 28, 2015 11:09 am


April 28, 2015 9:09 am

Thanks, Joe Ronan. Excellent article.
“The whole point of an encyclical to engage in teaching and to engage in teaching and to spark debate; to encourage thinking deeply into an issue and to question ourselves and our own actions.”
I see nothing wrong with that. Lets hope that is what comes out, but I’m still pessimistic about it.

Mike Maguire
April 28, 2015 9:10 am

There seems to be a lot of assumptions about what Pope Francis will say. I can’t help but have my own (educated?) guesses, which agree with much that has been stated recently.
It’s certain, based just on the fact that there are 1 billion of us Catholics, that this will be huge…….. no matter what he says and the interpretations, as Joe stated will be all over the place.
However, we should try wait until hearing exactly what the pope says.

April 28, 2015 9:11 am

The Pope’s job is to preach and teach about Jesus, not to get involved i political matters.
If he starts talking about earthly matters instead of heavenly matters, he besmirches
his purpose for living.

Ian Macdonald
April 28, 2015 9:14 am

I just hope it doesn’t turn out this way..

April 28, 2015 9:14 am

Re: Climate change encyclical, 4/28/2015
So the starting point will be a largely accepted position that the climate has warmed and that at least half of this change is very likely due to man’s actions. *
*Summary for Policymakers (IPCC-AR4, vol 1, page 10): “Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.” Bold added.
The standard terms used in this report to define the likelihood of an outcome or result where this can be estimated probabilistically … . AR4, Box 1.1: Treatment of Uncertainties … , p. 121.
… the following terms have been used to indicate the assessed likelihood, using expert judgement, of an outcome or a result: Virtually certain > 99% probability of occurrence, Extremely likely >95%, Very likely > 90%, Likely > 66%, More likely than not > 50%, Unlikely < 33%, Very unlikely < 10%, Extremely unlikely < 5% (see Box TS.1 for more details). Bold added, AR4, SPM, p. 3, fn. 6.
But now,
A level of confidence synthesizes the Chapter teams’ judgements about the validity of findings as determined through evaluation of the available evidence and the degree of scientific agreement. The evidence and agreement scale underpins the assessment, as it is on the basis of evidence and agreement that statements can be made with scientific confidence (in this sense, the evidence and agreement scale replaces the ‘level of scientific understanding’ [LOSU] scale used in previous WGI assessments). There is flexibility in this relationship; for a given evidence and agreement statement, different confidence levels could be assigned, but increasing levels of evidence and degrees of agreement are correlated with increasing confidence. Confidence cannot necessarily be assigned for all combinations of evidence and agreement, but where key variables are highly uncertain, the available evidence and scientific agreement regarding that variable are presented and discussed. Confidence should not be interpreted probabilistically, and it is distinct from ‘statistical confidence’. Bold added, AR5, ¶1.4.4, p. 138.
IPCC, mortally wounded by its failed AGW model, has moved away from what was already subjective criteria, e.g.,
judgment, deeper into the subjective, dropping even the appearance of objectivity: not … probabilistic[]. Modern Science is a mapping of (existing) facts onto (future) facts, where facts are observations reduced to measurements and compared to standards. IPCC, lest its model be judged by the MS standard of predictive power, has discarded the ultimate standard, the probability distribution of its facts. IPCC has slid down the slippery slope into the climatology quagmire that gave us AGW, a branch of Post Modern Science.
But just the idea that the upcoming encyclical might be postmodern is a revolutionary notion for the Roman Catholic Church.

Eustace Cranch
April 28, 2015 9:15 am

“Have no respect whatsoever for authority; forget who said it and instead look what he starts with, where he ends up, and ask yourself, “Is it reasonable?”
– Richard Feynman

Reply to  Eustace Cranch
April 28, 2015 9:22 am

Okay, that’s a keeper and I’m starting a more organized Feynman quote collection.

Reply to  Eustace Cranch
April 28, 2015 11:15 am

Didn’t Feynman borrow from this?

Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it.
Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumoured by many.
Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books.
Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders.
Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations.
But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.
Hindu Prince Gautama Siddharta (Buddha)

Eustace Cranch
Reply to  Martyn K Jones
April 28, 2015 12:41 pm

Why should I believe that? 🙂

Reply to  Eustace Cranch
April 28, 2015 1:56 pm


Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Eustace Cranch
April 28, 2015 7:25 pm

“God is no respecter of persons.” Acts 10:34.
Should we be, unquestioningly? See through your own eyes and hear through your own ears. Nullis in verba.

April 28, 2015 9:16 am

If the Catholic Church endorses AGW, will the billions of non-Christians not then be compelled to reject AGW in a knee-jerk reaction? Especially if it means denying billions their abundant, cheap power in order to save some gay baby whales and polar bears?

Reply to  brians356
April 28, 2015 10:12 am

I think you mean LGBTQIA baby whales …
Your penis needs a time out, followed by some sensitivity training, anger management, vulvar role-playing, essential oils, aroma therapy, and a gluten-free game of Earth Ball, in which the only rule is there are no rules (except for that one, which is enforced at gun-point).

Steve from Rockwood
April 28, 2015 9:25 am

I’m trying to work the Pope and the Club of Rome into a single sentence but it isn’t working. I’ll be interested to see how the Pope addresses poverty and energy use in the same encyclical, which he should. After all, so many Catholics (especially the ones who look to the church for help) are extremely poor and increased energy use has been a serious wealth creator.

April 28, 2015 9:28 am

Maybe he’ll have something to say about Islam.

Reply to  HankHenry
April 29, 2015 4:12 am

he has , it is a peaceful religion

April 28, 2015 9:30 am

Who else in history used the catholic church to endorse a political scam?
can anybody help me out here? it’s amazing the blindness to blatant propaganda tactics. how many hard line environmentalists do you know that are catholic hierarchy fans? i thought this was all about science.

A C Osborn
April 28, 2015 9:32 am

THe Pope is definitely NOT starting a Debate about AGW, in fact they refuse to allow it at all.

Reply to  A C Osborn
April 28, 2015 9:49 am

Thx for the link…

April 28, 2015 9:41 am

From today’s NYT:
“In the United States the encyclical will be accompanied by a 12 week campaign to raise the issue…in sermons…

Reply to  Newsel
April 28, 2015 9:46 am

That will teach them.

April 28, 2015 10:08 am

they can huff and they can puff but they will never blow skepticism down.

masInt branch 4 C3I in is
April 28, 2015 10:09 am

“Galileo’s championing of heliocentrism was controversial within his lifetime, a time when most subscribed to either geocentrism or the Tychonic system.[9] He met with opposition from astronomers, who doubted heliocentrism due to the absence of an observed stellar parallax. The matter was investigated by the Roman Inquisition in 1615, which concluded that heliocentrism was false and contrary to scripture, placing works advocating the Copernican system on the index of banned books and forbidding Galileo from advocating heliocentrism. Galileo later defended his views in Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, which appeared to attack Pope Urban VIII, thus alienating not only the Pope but also the Jesuits, both of whom had supported Galileo up until this point.[9] He was tried by the Holy Office, then found “vehemently suspect of heresy”, was forced to recant, and spent the last nine years of his life under house arrest. It was while Galileo was under house arrest that he wrote one of his finest works, Two New Sciences, in which he summarised the work he had done some forty years earlier, on the two sciences now called kinematics and strength of materials.” From Wikipedia.
The Vatican and its Pope see the UN and its IPCC as placing Man at the center of the Universe. This give rise to the new politic-science of Homocentrism, with Man at the center of the Universe and God, the Vatican’s God, at the center of Man, a return to ancient Doctrine and placing the Vatican back in charge, governor and owner of all human affairs and artifacts.
Where for out thou the “carbon tax” and what will you become in the hands of the Vatican’s Pope!?

April 28, 2015 10:14 am

The last time people felt confused by the changing weather as the Medieval Climate Optimum descended into the Little Ice Age, in 1484 Pope Innocent VIII issued a papal bull decrying witchcraft and blamed the stressful highly variable extreme weather on witches opening the way for systemised persecution of witches.
Will history repeat itself?

Reply to  jim Steele
April 28, 2015 10:24 am

On the request of German inquisitor Heinrich Kramer, Innocent VIII issued the papal bull Summis desiderantes (5 December 1484), which supported Kramer’s investigations against magicians and witches:
“It has recently come to our ears, not without great pain to us, that in some parts of upper Germany, […] Mainz, Köln, Trier, Salzburg, and Bremen, many persons of both sexes, heedless of their own salvation and forsaking the catholic faith, give themselves over to devils male and female, and by their incantations, charms, and conjurings, and by other abominable superstitions and sortileges, offences, crimes, and misdeeds, ruin and cause to perish the offspring of women, the foal of animals, the products of the earth, the grapes of vines, and the fruits of trees, as well as men and women, cattle and flocks and herds and animals of every kind, vineyards also and orchards, meadows, pastures, harvests, grains and other fruits of the earth; that they afflict and torture with dire pains and anguish, both internal and external, these men, women, cattle, flocks, herds, and animals, and hinder men from begetting […]”[6]
Kramer would later write the polemic Malleus Maleficarum in 1486, which stated that witchcraft was to blame for bad weather. These remarks are included in Part 2, Chapter XV, which is entitled: “How they Raise and Stir up Hailstorms and Tempests, and Cause Lightning to Blast both Men and Beasts”:[7][8]

Reply to  jim Steele
April 28, 2015 10:28 am

Translation: Stay indoors and silent ye climate deniers, lest the Australian pseudo scientists shall condemn ye.

Reply to  Resourceguy
April 28, 2015 7:24 pm

Well they have the poohs right now, since Dr Bjorn Lomborg is setting up a think tank on climate change and the AGW nonsense at the WA university. Financed by big oil and also the Australian government. Good on Minister Pine.

April 28, 2015 10:17 am

If “Encyclical” is deemed in any way authoritative, in any way or to any extent coercive of belief, then it is just another term for “fatwa”, and just as much an abomination for thinking people to reject out of hand. No church has true dominion over a man’s thoughts; no church is true if it coerces, in any way, belief in it. If Catholics believe the Pope has any special authority over them, they are fearful children, not competent adults. True religions teach that it is all between the individual and God–a “personal relationship with God”. Dogma (whose handmaiden is fear) is ascendant over good reason now, on many fronts, but in the end it can only reveal dogma to be a fool’s desperate gambit to escape responsibility for his/her own thoughts and actions.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  harrydhuffman (@harrydhuffman)
April 30, 2015 4:51 am

A Fatwa, as I understand it, is a judgement which is not at all like an encyclical. A fatwa can be issued ‘against someone’. If it is a licence to kill, murder normally being a crime, then is it an indulgence as well. In the absence of a central authority, a fatwa can be issued by all sorts of people ‘with recognised authority’ and the followers of that issuer take it as law. Others may not. It is a recent word.
Fatwa | Definition of fatwa by Merriam-Webster
Definition of FATWA: a legal opinion or decree handed down by an Islamic religious leader . Origin of FATWA. Arabic fatwā. First Known Use: circa 1889.

April 28, 2015 10:21 am

Dr. Michael Crichton:
Today, one of the most powerful religions in the Western World is environmentalism. Environmentalism seems to be the religion of choice for urban atheists. Why do I say it’s a religion? Well, just look at the beliefs. If you look carefully, you see that environmentalism is in fact a perfect 21st century remapping of traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs and myths.
There’s an initial Eden, a paradise, a state of grace and unity with nature, there’s a fall from grace into a state of pollution as a result of eating from the tree of knowledge, and as a result of our actions there is a judgment day coming for us all. We are all energy sinners, doomed to die, unless we seek salvation, which is now called sustainability. Sustainability is salvation in the church of the environment…


Reply to  dbstealey
April 28, 2015 11:30 am

Plato suggested in The Republic to create a Gaia religion for the prole class so they would enjoy working the land more.
Venetian/Byzantine technique: Religion as a tool of the Total State, religious leader subservient to emperor.

April 28, 2015 10:25 am

” …meetings in Rome: Pontifical Academy of Science, and the other the Heartland Institute.”
The pope will be at one and not the other.

April 28, 2015 10:36 am

Is an Encyclical anything like an epicycle? Because I seem to recall epicycles having been one of the results of the Catholic Church’s previous forays into popular science.

Reply to  LeeHarvey
April 28, 2015 11:17 am


Is an Encyclical anything like an epicycle? Because I seem to recall epicycles having been one of the results of the Catholic Church’s previous forays into popular science.

False. Epicycles were required to CORRECT the “requirement” that the Grecian philosophers and THEIR conventional wisdom/scientific consensus needed to make the THEORY of circular orbits fit the experimental/observed DATA of the actual planet movements.
Like today’s 950 year long-term climate “cycles” and 66 year short climate cycles … the “establishment officially-scientific-and-political-consensus-approved theory” does not fit the observed evidence in the planets. Therefore, “climate castro-astrologists” are using epicycles and offsets to fix the data so it matches their “perfect” theory.

Gerry Shuller
April 28, 2015 10:38 am

Is it really necessary to have three threads in which the Know Nothings can live down to their name?
[Yes? .mod]

Paul Westhaver
Reply to  Gerry Shuller
April 28, 2015 10:59 am

Read Copernicus’ Letter to Pope Paul III wherein Copernicus gives the Know Nothings a name: Drones Amongst the Bees.
Also, without the idiots carping drivel, how would I have been able to find you kind sir? Here is where you discover who the ignoramuses are and are not. Hint… they are the first to drag out Galileo.

Steve P
Reply to  Paul Westhaver
April 28, 2015 11:36 am

idiots carping drivel
That’s not what I would call a very Christian characterization of your opponents’ point of view.

Paul Westhaver
Reply to  Paul Westhaver
April 28, 2015 11:44 am

….oh well….sorry to let you down. The world is full of carping idiots endowed with unbecoming entitlement of presumed intellectual competency. Drones amongst the bees.

April 28, 2015 10:56 am

Should we put out faith in a holy anti-sceptic solution?

April 28, 2015 11:00 am

We have to excuse us by Jesus Christ for such a deputy here an Earth

Gerry Shuller
April 28, 2015 11:06 am

“The Church is accepting the judgements of it’s scientific advisers. ”
Someone could use a good punctuation adviser.

Reply to  Gerry Shuller
April 28, 2015 11:31 am

By a strange synchronicity, today is National Apostrophe Day, Gerry. I just put up a large banner across Main Street here in Mt. Idy that says, “No apostrophes in personal pronouns!”

Steve P
Reply to  jorgekafkazar
April 28, 2015 11:38 am

One’s rules may have an exception.

Reply to  jorgekafkazar
April 28, 2015 11:42 am

comment image

Reply to  jorgekafkazar
April 28, 2015 11:44 am

Enough of this nonsense!
Shouldn’t we be concerning ourselves with apostrophic climate change?

Paul Westhaver
Reply to  jorgekafkazar
April 28, 2015 11:47 am

Darn… I din’t know that an apostrophe was not to be used on Personal Pronouns. hmmmm Proper nouns are OK!

Reply to  jorgekafkazar
April 28, 2015 12:22 pm

If I am not mistaken, ‘our’ is considered a possessive, and not a personal pronoun.
Are we’s all in agreement?

April 28, 2015 11:20 am

One would think the Pope would be far more concerned with Christians murdered in the middle east and Africa than global warming about now.

April 28, 2015 11:26 am

Paul Westhaver,
I’ve been enjoying your posts on this subject, here and on related threads.

Paul Westhaver
Reply to  Max Photon
April 28, 2015 11:40 am

Well.. thank-you Max. Similarly, I look forward to reading your great thoughts, experiencing your humor and irony, and benefiting from your good will in general. Cheers.

Adam from Kansas
April 28, 2015 11:27 am

To those equating the Christian church as a whole to the Vatican, well, I guess it’s a good thing then that there’s many conservative demoninations that do not take commands from the Pope at all.
The Christian church in its purest form is not related to Catholicism period. The Catholics have been slowly drifting away from the teachings of scripture for centuries (with their idea that no one has direct access to God and must instead pray to a selections of saints, the priesthood which Christ intended to abolish for good, the conversion of a faith-based salvation to a works-based one, the very existence of the Pope himself, ect…).
There are countless churches out there that do not buy the idea of man-made climate change, so please do not make the generalization that Catholicism = Christianity as a whole (even though I do not doubt that they remain in standing for a number of good things as well).

Paul Westhaver
Reply to  Adam from Kansas
April 28, 2015 12:53 pm

who wrote the scripture.. and when?

April 28, 2015 11:58 am

It’s rather remarkable that the heliocentric view of the solar system still persists to this day.
The earth does not revolve around the sun; the solar system revolves around its barycenter.
It’s interesting to trace the barycenter (relative to the sun) with one’s finger.

Paul Westhaver
Reply to  Max Photon
April 28, 2015 12:52 pm

I know! Great image BTW. I love using the barycenter argument now and again. I believe the center of the solar system is 1/4 of a sun radius above the surface of the sun in 2015. Not sure.

Curious George
Reply to  Max Photon
April 28, 2015 1:12 pm

And if Jupiter were 10x farther from the Sun (and therefore its gravitational influence were 100x weaker), the barycenter would also be 10x farther from the Sun. Aren’t we all orbiting around a barycenter of the Milky Way?

Reply to  Curious George
April 28, 2015 3:29 pm

If gravity is the only force at work, I would say yes.
If there are any electromagnetic forces at work in addition, then I suppose there might be deviation from the center of mass.
As I understand it the rotational properties of galaxies present problems to modelers who use only gravity.
Some plasma physicists (e.g. Anthony Perratt; Winston Bostick) have modeled better fits to the rotational properties by incorporating electromagnetic forces (from plasmas).

Ian Macdonald
Reply to  Max Photon
April 28, 2015 2:22 pm

… and scientists used to scoff at astrologers for pointing-out that a planetary alignment might cause strange things to happen. In principle they were right, even if not always right about the consequences. Just shows that you cannot reduce science to banalities; it is always has more nuances than a simple model suggests.

April 28, 2015 12:01 pm

I thank Joe Ronan for the lead post which is a discussion of the nature of the current version of the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) wrt unfolding activities leading up to issuing a new encyclical.
His lead post is not a scientific one; it is a RCC explanatory post.
The Pope’s upcoming encyclical represents a RCC theological guide to all humanity for human development in an area chosen by the RCC as important to its concept of god.
To the extent the forthcoming encyclical suggests authority in the interpretation of science, it is irrelevant. But, to the extent it is a surrogate for the voice of RCC god then it is a significant moral force on the RCC community.
Because we’ve got a post on the RCC’s nature and public announcement process, I wonder what posts will occur next on other religion’s nature and situation wrt position statements?

April 28, 2015 12:23 pm

Pandora’s box….? Some times Pontificating can result in unintended consequences…..

Joel Snider
April 28, 2015 12:26 pm

Progressive/Greenie types live in stereotypes and basically this is them projecting upon us as Bible-thumping science deniers – so they go and get the friggin’ Pope. Total condescension.

Gerry Shuller
April 28, 2015 12:28 pm

C’mon. Will a moderator please clean out the trash?
[On wholy holy political threads – here mixed thoroughly with thoughts most would assign the theoretical side of theology, much less secular politics affecting science or even climate change itself – it is best for irritated readers to chose to either ignore the thread, or to merely ignore the words that cause offense to some. .mod]

April 28, 2015 12:37 pm

Does this mean sainthood for bad modelers as the next act of ill-advised authority?

April 28, 2015 1:03 pm

Professor Woodcock told the Yorkshire Evening Post:.
“The term ‘climate change’ is meaningless. The Earth’s climate has been changing since time immemorial, that is since the Earth was formed 1,000 million years ago. The theory of ‘man-made climate change’ is an unsubstantiated hypothesis [about] our climate [which says it] has been adversely affected by the burning of fossil fuels in the last 100 years, causing the average temperature on the earth’s surface to increase very slightly but with disastrous environmental consequences.
“The theory is that the CO2 emitted by burning fossil fuel is the ‘greenhouse gas’ causes ‘global warming’ – in fact, water is a much more powerful greenhouse gas and there is 20 time more of it in our atmosphere (around one per cent of the atmosphere) whereas CO2 is only 0.04 per cent.
“There is no reproducible scientific evidence CO2 has significantly increased in the last 100 years.”
He also said:
“Even the term ‘global warming’ does not mean anything unless you give it a time scale. The temperature of the earth has been going up and down for millions of years, if there are extremes, it’s nothing to do with carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, it’s not permanent and it’s not caused by us. Global warming is nonsense.”
Professor Woodcock dismissed evidence for global warming, such as the floods that deluged large parts of Britain this winter, as “anecdotal” and therefore meaningless in science.
“Events can happen with frequencies on all time scales in the physics of a chaotic system such as the weather. Any point on lowland can flood up to a certain level on all time scales from one month to millions of years and it’s completely unpredictable beyond around five days.”
Also, the only reason we regularly hear that we have had the most extreme weather “since records began” is that records only began about 100 years ago.
“The reason records seem to be being frequently broken is simply because we only started keeping them about 100 years ago. There will always be some record broken somewhere when we have another natural fluctuation in weather.
“It’s absolutely stupid to blame floods on climate change, as I read the Prime Minister did recently. I don’t blame the politicians in this case, however, I blame his so-called scientific advisors.”
When asked how can say this when most of the world’s scientists, political leaders and people in general are committed to the theory of global warming, Prof Woodcock answered bluntly:
“This is not the way science works. If you tell me that you have a theory there is a teapot in orbit between the earth and the moon, it’s not up to me to prove it does not exist, it’s up to you to provide the reproducible scientific evidence for your theory.
“Such evidence for the man-made climate change theory has not been forthcoming.”
This lack of evidence has not stopped a whole green industry building up, however. At the behest of that industry, governments have been passing ever more regulations that make life more difficult and expensive.
“…the damage to our economy the climate change lobby is now costing us is infinitely more destructive to the livelihoods of our grand-children. Indeed, we grand-parents are finding it increasingly expensive just to keep warm as a consequence of the idiotic decisions our politicians have taken in recent years about the green production of electricity.”
Professor Woodcock is the latest scientist to come out against the theory of man-made global warming. James Lovelock, once described as a “green guru”, earlier this month said that climate scientists “just guess”, and that no one really knows what’s happening.
Judith Curry, chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, also said that she was “duped into supporting the IPCC” and added “If the IPCC is dogma, then count me in as a heretic

Curious George
April 28, 2015 1:07 pm

The Church is engaging in everyday problems: What is their position on gun ownership?

Reply to  Curious George
April 28, 2015 1:16 pm

And meat consumption? and driving SUVs/trucks?

Reply to  Curious George
April 28, 2015 1:19 pm

and fossil fuel investing?

Reply to  Curious George
April 28, 2015 3:34 pm

… why we park on driveways, and drive on parkways.

April 28, 2015 1:24 pm

And two of the “Bali Nine” who are Australians have been executed.

April 28, 2015 1:30 pm

After the Bali bomings in 2005, some of my workmates and my manager at that time, had people literally die in their laps. They came back to New Zealand VERY different people. Were the perpetrators exceuted?

David Larsen
April 28, 2015 1:33 pm

Remember, Nickolus Copernicus postulated the earth revolves around the sun and got excommunicated. Galileo invented the telescope, proved it and got excommunicated. A belief in the One True God does NOT have anything to do with the fraud of Rome. That fraud has nothing to do with science either.

Reply to  David Larsen
April 28, 2015 3:33 pm


April 28, 2015 1:56 pm

In case you have not noticed it, the ramp up of ongoing global warming media assault has moved into even higher gear and into previously quiet areas of media and orgs (Vatican). The Paris summit must have some very big bucks, over reach, and redistribution of wealth on a massive scale to justify this latest media effort.

April 28, 2015 2:01 pm

Joe – Interesting article, thanks. Your quote from Francis’ Korea visit where he says that the body of an encyclical is doctrinal and proposes that uncertainty or multiple hypotheses be referenced in footnotes seems to suggest some quite large footnotes being possibly of more interest than the body of the encyclical.
Never seen an encyclical so I was just wondering about the format and brevity or otherwise. Is it of the form of a main marketing glossy document with hyperlinks to the footnotes?

Joe Ronan
Reply to  Jeff
April 28, 2015 3:25 pm

Thanks Jeff. Encyclicals can be longer or shorter, but are always plain text and very much the opposite of a glossy marketing document. There are many examples on the Vatican website – they are public documents and a quick search will turn up a few. Try searching on Lumen Fidei and that should take you to a Vatican link to the document (Pope Francis first one). On the Vatican website the notes are linked from the text, but not to the reference documents, so I’m afraid it’s not easy following the references up. There may be other sites that link them, but I’ve not come across them.

Reply to  Joe Ronan
April 28, 2015 6:18 pm

Got it. I’ll go look.Thanks again.

April 28, 2015 2:39 pm

What will the call be from the Vatican when the AMO is in full decline alongside the solar cycle? It will be fuel and food for the poor in between blame for polar vortex and unprecedented this or that.

April 28, 2015 2:53 pm

One wonders if the Pontiff will realize that cheap energy helps the poor most.
Or will it be a “Let them burn natural gas.” moment to people who can barely afford coal?

Reply to  Stephen Rasey
April 28, 2015 2:57 pm

It will never be natural gas for the poor. There is a fundamental transport problem with that statement. Only coal can be trucked or sent by rail or various classes of vessel to ports of variable size. Natural gas is for the pipeline endowed and the special case of LNG. For the poor it is kerosene, coal, wood, and dung.

Tom J
April 28, 2015 3:28 pm

I recall in the vapid pre-election shenanigans of 2012 the man of the people, Barack Obama, had a fundraising dinner, or some such, with none other than fashion dragon lady herself, Anna Wintour. This unseemly event was deliciously lampooned by the opposition. On the screen, in silver script on a navy blue background the glamour of the night’s festivities was spelled out while directly underneath, also in a sophisticated script, one by one, the dismal economic numbers, unemployment rates, and such, silently glided across the screen, followed by an escort of glamorous bubbles. A lovely lampoon indeed.
Well, I have a similar recommendation for the presentation of this encyclical. As the information on the Pope’s viewpoints on CAGW glides across the screen each nugget is followed in the same way as set forth in the foregoing. But, not with bubbles. No, with gentle, relatively small sized, helium inflated, condoms gracefully blowing across the screen and accompanying each statement.

April 28, 2015 3:32 pm

This was in my news feed this afternoon:
Pope Attacked by Climate Change Sceptics

April 28, 2015 4:00 pm

One of the objectives of climate-change advocates is the redistribution of wealth from developed nations (CO2 producing climate sinners) to less developed nations. Based on his previous statements, I suspect Pope Francis will be on board with that in his encyclical. In 2014 Pope Francis said that a more equal form of economic progress can be had through “the legitimate redistribution of economic benefits by the state.” I’m not sure what he means by “legitimate redistribution,” but if it is done by “the state,” I fail to see how it could be legitimate. If he had said “by individuals,” in the same way Jesus encouraged individuals to give of their own wealth, I would have no problem with his statement.
Past popes have also called for the redistribution of wealth and for the protection of the environment and the climate. Here are some brief excerpts from Pope Benedict’s long 2009 encyclical:

…the Church has unceasingly highlighted the importance of distributive justice and social justice for the market economy…
The processes of globalization, suitably understood and directed, open up the unprecedented possibility of large-scale redistribution of wealth on a world-wide scale…
…the protection of the environment, of resources and of the climate obliges all international leaders to act jointly…
…there is a strongly felt need, even in the midst of a global recession, for a reform of the United Nations Organization, and likewise of economic institutions and international finance, so that the concept of the family of nations can acquire real teeth.
…to bring about integral and timely disarmament, food security and peace; to guarantee the protection of the environment and to regulate migration: for all this, there is urgent need of a true world political authority, as my predecessor Blessed John XXIII indicated some years ago. … Obviously it would have to have the authority to ensure compliance with its decisions from all parties…

I would be surprised if Pope Francis doesn’t also call for a “world authority,” like his predecessors, to protect the climate and the environment, regulate migration, and redistribute wealth, etc. If he does, most climate-change advocates and environmentalists will be pleased. But the pope and his predecessors cannot be blind to the implications of giving a “world political authority” the power to “ensure compliance with its decisions from all parties.” Once you create such a powerful global entity, there is no going back. They would have to realize that it would not be long before such a world authority turned its attention to population control. It would just be a matter of time. Wouldn’t that go against Church teachings and doctrine, or are such things expendable for the “greater good”?

Reply to  Louis
April 29, 2015 7:35 am

I guess the answer comes down to the definition of authority. A lot of religious statements of social causes are never translated to action impressed on the body as a whole. These are manipulated statements from a small group of representatives using word play and bias. That is not the same as instructions for a groundswell movement in to go wreck havoc on the economy, regulations, or tax system. It may incite some policy pot shots, regulatory over reach, and cover for corrupt leadership, but not economic hari kari. I suppose you could say it is the formula for Latin American politics and economic backwardness. It wins elections there but not social progress.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Louis
April 30, 2015 5:17 am

Wasn’t John the Baptist a member of the Essenes? They lived in common-purse communes which are asset sharing communities. I am not surprised the Pope talks about sharing (redistribution of excess to those in deficit).
Common purse communes are a heck of a lot older than communistic ideas about forced equality. Intentional communities are common enough around Waterloo. But they don’t think too highly of communists who persecuted the hell out of them, including killing the grandfather of a friend of mine. Not everyone willing to share equally is a communist.

April 28, 2015 4:22 pm

Jeffrey Sachs & co, with what looks like a call for Population Control aka Depopulation by CAGW policies?
pdf. 12 pages: April 2015: Climate Change and The Common Good: A Statement Of The Problem
And The Demand For Transformative Solutions
The Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences
Prepared By P. Dasgupta, V. Ramanathan, P. Raven, Mgr M. Sorondo, M. Archer, P. J. Crutzen, P. Lena, Y.T. Lee, M. J. Molina, M. Rees, J. Sachs, J. Schellnhuber, Mgr M. Sorondo
(OPENING LINE) Unsustainable consumption coupled with a record human population and the uses of inappropriate technologies are causally linked with the destruction of the world’s sustainability and resilience…
(page 7) Historical Context
About 10,000 years ago, when we humans were first beginning to cultivate crops for food, world population was approximately one million,
with about 100,000 in Europe. As agriculture spread and our numbers grew, the world enjoyed a relatively stable climate…
sort of clashes with the Pope’s call for large families…surely.

April 28, 2015 6:15 pm

4. Roman Catholic Church.
a) a committee of cardinals, established in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV, having supervision over foreign missions and the training of priests for these missions.
b) a school (College of Propaganda) established by Pope Urban VIII for the education of priests for foreign missions.
1. (RC Church) a congregation responsible for directing the work of the foreign missions and the training of priests for these
Shocking, but true: some Catholics today still seem to think that the murder of Bruno and the persecution of Galileo were completely justified on “theological” grounds.

April 28, 2015 7:31 pm

The Pope claims to be the personal representative on Earth of the Creator of the Universe. Now he pontificates on AGW. Ahem!

April 28, 2015 8:12 pm

Paul Westhaver on April 28, 2015 at 6:04 pm
– – – – – – –
Paul Westhaver,
I responded critically to your various comments on this thread about the Roman Catholic Church’s treatment of Galileo. My critical comment directed at you is above at John Whitman on April 28, 2015 at 7:24 pm

Bill Parsons
April 29, 2015 2:28 pm

Very eloquent and interesting post, Joe. And much appreciated.

David Larsen
April 30, 2015 9:20 am

I knew Rabbi Ephraim Fischoff. He translated Max Weber’s original Sociology of Religion into English from German. He also had a PhD. in Sociology. He also wrote a paper that said Protestant capitalism ushered in the Age of Enlightenment into Europe back during the dark ages. Change course head back into darkness via Rome.

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