Remember the poor – a visual epistle to the Pope

Josh writes: I don’t think this cartoon needs any words but many thanks to Cumbrian Lad for an inspiring post  over on the BishopHill blog.


Matt Ridley’s excellent article on Electricity for Africa is also worth reading – let’s hope Pope Francis reads it.

Cartoons by Josh

98 thoughts on “Remember the poor – a visual epistle to the Pope

  1. It is not about the poor. The poor are just lip service. The Catholic church gets tons of money from governments for charitable social services and skims quite a bit off the top to pay for church necessities. The church isn’t doing well financially otherwise. It also got quite the scare with Obamacare, potentially losing this gravy train over abortion.
    So what the Pope is doing is trying to get on these governments’ good side, by supporting the Global Warming doctrine. That way the Church feels it will still be able to get the billions of dollars of financing from various governments around the world, who want to tax us for our carbon.

    • @marque2 said “That way the Church feels it will still be able to get the billions of dollars of financing from various governments around the world, who want to tax us for our carbon.”
      Specifically how would the Church benefit from a carbon tax should it be implemented?

      • The church won’t get more money specifically from the carbon tax, but it is less likely the government will stop funding, because the church is trying to show they support government doctrine. Like I said, it was quite an shock when Catholic social services nearly lost funding over the Abortion/birth control stance.
        And companies do the same thing, especiallybwhen they are heavily regulated by government. Why does your power company send you a bill every month with a letter about green garbage?

    • It is not about the poor. The poor are just lip service. The Catholic church gets tons of money from governments for charitable social services and skims quite a bit off the top to pay for church necessities.
      And your evidence for that is?
      This is just yet another example of how people who don’t like the Catholic Church invent criticisms because it’s so much easier to criticise by inventing criticisms than by finding actual ones.

      • Nothing to do with Church hate. Just stating the obvious. Businesses do the exact same thing when they are reliant on government, or fear the government. They do green projects, green advertising, green giveaways, and green slogans -like “Beyond Petroleum”. Why would an oil company do any of this? Why do power companies send you garbage about being green every month.
        You might want to open your eyes a bit before casting aspersions.

  2. There is a very important principle at work here. And, it has to do with love. Love is almost universally misunderstood. And, the love exhibited by religions is even more misunderstood. Religions simply do not love poor people. Repeat: Religions do not love poor people. What religions love is poverty.
    I am very prepared to defend that.

    • Hi, Tom,
      I think I get what you’re saying. The “religious” (people) have often provided proof for your assertion. I’d like to offer this clarification. It is cults that love keeping people in poverty. Judiasm, Christianity, and other religions when accurately followed are clearly for free markets, personal liberty, and the truth that makes that all possible. It is those who twist a religion’s teachings, i.e., cults, which “love” poor people, e.g., Jim Jones’ “church.”
      Hope all is well,
      GREAT CARTOON, JOSH — powerfully accurate point.

      • Hi Janice. I don’t have any numbers to verify this but I’d bet that the number of Jewish people who live in poverty is probably quite similar to other religions. But, it’s also undeniable that quite a few professional and renowned people hark from that faith. And, it doesn’t seem to me that the Jewish faith preaches the supposed joys of poverty, need, and destitution. Could that be why it’s probably one of the most maligned religion in history?
        As for me, I’m an agnostic.
        Hope all is well with you.

      • Thanks for responding, Tom.
        I understand you, I think, and yet… I must add, that I think that the tenets of traditional Judiasm or of “mere Christianity” are not what you have a problem with. Nowhere does Scripture advocate living a life of poverty except for exceptional individual cases (such as the “rich young ruler” told by Jesus to sell all he had and follow him). Nor does it laud the joys of poverty, etc… that is error taught by cults, sub-groups of “mere Christianity.”
        Remember, too, re: your agnosticism, a relationship with your Higher Power (via Jesus) is not a matter of knowledge alone. It is faith working WITH reason.
        Take care,

      • Just so you have the right definition, Janice, “neoliberal economics” believes in free markets, laissez-faire government–these latter two terms from a macroeconomic point-of-view are like taking the steering wheel off your Ferrari and hoping it will get you where you want to go–and personal liberty, as opposed to an emphasis on liberty for all members of society or the common weal.
        Investopedia explains that the use of the term “liberal” in economics is different from its use in politics. Neoliberal economics also wants all federal government finance regulations removed (produced the housing bubble), the privatization of the public domain, and believes in smaller government as opposed to a government that’s sized for a growing population of the people, by the people, and for the people. Size restriction trumps necessity and function. (Federal government employment now equals 1956 or 1966, depending on who you listen to.)
        Neoliberal economics was introduced by Milton Friedman in the 70s, who insisted that the Fed should run the economy with monetary policy, as opposed to Congress doing fiscal policy. It ended a long period of industrial capitalism with unrestricted outsourcing, and produced finance capitalism (what we have today with 40% of GDP, euphemistically called the 1%).
        The middle class (1945-1973) was not built with neoliberal economics. Middle class wages have not kept pace with the rest of the economy since 1980, according to the St Louis Fed’s FRED databases. And as the Bureau of Labor Statistics April 23, 2015 report showed, one in five US families now have no jobs in the family, which the BLS defines as “a group of two or more persons residing together who are
        related by birth, marriage, or adoption.”

      • @MRW,
        Neoliberal economics didn’t cause the housing bubble — government intervention into the mortgage business caused the bubble. Laws set by Congress and regulations by the Clinton and Bush administrations required lenders to make loans to people who didn’t qualify for mortgages otherwise. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac ensured the banks they had no risk of their own money.
        If neoliberal economics had been in place, the banks wouldn’t have made these loans. The guarantee of a bailout and threats of being sued by the Feds if they didn’t make those loans created the predictable bubble in equally predictable bust.

    • don’t be daft, How can a religion love ? You are confusing people with some sort of instruction on how to behave.

    • Ah… the ‘love and fear’ line…
      I watched Donny Darko too.
      I’m sorry, but no, love is too broad a brush to use as a defining ‘reason’ for nearly anything.

      • well, for example if you think evolution is true, you have to ask why would one thing want to reproduce with another thing ? what could be the mechanism to encourage that behaviour?

      • Zemlik,
        I dunno’ but how ’bout long hair, long legs, a nice figure, and fragrant perfumes, or, from a different perspective how ’bout bulging biceps, wash board stomachs, tight a…., and fragrant colognes?

      • yes, yes Tom I possess all those attributes 🙂 yet I was thinking of more primitive organisms, bugs and small cellular things. What gets them excited.

      • Or simply the ‘pleasure’ of the orgasm?
        PS – I include much non-human reproduction, a bit of that being pre-human, relating to our earliest ancestors.
        With the drive, maybe you had descendants.
        Without it – you didn’t. Full stop.
        Adaptability of said descendants is another question.
        But if you have no descendant – the future is truncated – very severely so!
        Auto revisiting [but not getting the Donny Darko bit. Too old, maybe? ME – not Donny D. I think . . . .]

      • @ Zemlik…you say that you possess all of the attributes described by Tom. Perhaps, you might want to rethink what you are implying with that assertion. I have an image of long flowing hair, bulging biceps, a nice figure, long legs, washboard abs, and fragrant perfumes and colognes. That is quite a picture.

    • If readers ever visit Mexico, Venezuela or Brazil and see the hillside “Favella’s,” this statement rings true.

    • Tom,
      I agree. I worked a lot in Latin America, where Catholicism and poverty prevail. Many ordinary folk who become more affluent through better-paying employment tend to … er … succumb to temptation and lapse from the faith. Poor folk have little more than the church for solace.

    • Mother Teresa loved poverty is what you are saying. Defend that.
      I’m not even religious but I know BS when I smell it.

      • Are you aware of Mother Theresa’s dealings with Charles Keating? Moreover, while Mother Theresa claimed to wish to die in the squalid clinics she operated in Calcutta, when reality met words she chose for herself state of the art clinics in California and Italy. Nope, it was poverty that she loved. Her clinics for the dying were atrocious.

    • Here’s a suggestion for Anthony: consider segregating (word chosen intentionally) all the abusive comments into a separate forum. That will offer an outlet for those who want to mimic Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals #5–“Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions.” In such a quarantined area they can call others stupid, morons and similar contentless pejoratives to their hearts content, as opposed to providing reasoned argumentation.
      The people who have agendas unrelated to climate change–for example attacking religious beliefs–can go there too. And people whose beliefs are attacked can duke it out with them without cluttering up intelligent and civil discussions of issues more central to climate change in the primary forum.
      I suspect that a lot of the warmists are happy to see WUWT discussions degenerate into mudslinging matches, because that damages the overall credibility of the content. And attacks on people’s cherished beliefs could discourage support from some who might otherwise be receptive to the skeptical position on climate change. I wouldn’t be surprised if warmists were deliberately contributing to the degradation of the discussions for those reasons.
      [Reply: Anthony cannot possibly read every comment; no one can, there are just too many. To be sure he sees suggestions such as yours, post it in Tips & Notes. ~mod.]

  3. It’s not bad but if it is meant to be a shadow of Africa then I think the pope needs to have a darker tint.

    • No, Zemlik, you have to understand, the Pope is above that – and everything else. [sigh]

  4. “I don’t think this cartoon needs any words”
    I think it does need words because I don’t get it. If it’s a cartoon, what is the punch line? What does the cartoon have to do with the poor? And why would the Pope be writing an “epistle to the Pope”? Can someone explain what I’m missing here?

    • Oh, the shadow is Africa. I didn’t notice that. I should have refreshed to see the rest of the comments before I commented.

    • I think the point of the cartoon is that the Pope should be aware ( shadow over him ) of the poor Africans who could use some efficient method of power supply rather than be conned by the climate change arguments.

      • Poor African Christians could use a bit of support for preventing people of other religions from wantonly slaughtering them. But the rest of the world closes a blind eye. Pope just preaches peace while they get slaughtered.

  5. I like the things that have been written and reported about this Pope. I’m not a Catholic so my ignorance on papal matters is natural but the guy seems to be a well grounded individual.
    I place the responsibility of good science education and advice squarely at the feet of the men and women of science that are paid by governments to perform a high level service. Science has become a prostitute but redemption is always available with admission of wrong doing. I would urge the science prostitutes to confess their misdeeds. The path ahead can be bright but only with complete honesty and a demonstration of true love for science and human understanding.
    The Pope, like most of the masses of people living on the planet, may have not had the supreme privilege of studying and enjoying science. For those of us that were so fortunate, it is our individual responsibility to spread the truth about the physical world around us. We need to be honest with people and say, we don’t really know how the climate operates but here’s what we do know and here are areas where our knowledge falls short.

    • Doug, Pope Francis got a BSc in Chemistry before he went into holy orders. [face in palms] he really should know better. He is just following the “science” from the IPCC. If ever there was a time for the Church to IGNORE Science, it is now.

      • If the Pope has a BSc in Chemistry, why would he not know that CO2 is a harmless, odorless, colorless gas that is plant food. More CO2 increase crop yields.
        And also, CO2 is a radiative gas that expands and rises when heated. It does not “trap” heat like a “blanket”, or back-radiate to further warm the earth.
        A blanket is a solid. all gasses expand and rise when heated.
        Try this:
        1. Comparing 200ppm to 400ppm CO2.
        Roughly speaking, 200 extra parts per million CO2 has to absorb enough energy to raise the other 999800 parts per million of the atmosphere by 1°C, very roughly from15°C to 16°C which is approximately about a 5 watts per square meter change.
        200 is 1/5000 of 1 million therefore 200 parts of CO2 has to absorb 5,000 times the energy to raise the temperature of the other 999800 parts.
        To raise 1 square meter of atmosphere by 5 watts, CO2 would have to absorb 25000 watts?
        Totally absurd is it not?

      • Actually, I think he’s following the Millennials. He’s attempting to show that the Church is still ‘relevant’ and accepts ‘science’ – in order to try to re-fill the pews and the Church coffers.
        If you look at voting trends in the USA, you will clearly notice that the ‘Catholic Vote’ is nearly always strongly in favor of the liberal democrat candidate. The Catholic Church is simply following a rather predictable pattern and certainly will begin immediately teaching CAGW nonsense in all her schools. They have already done so in my area. The local Catholic schools have a significantly stronger support for CAGW than the local public schools — this may surprise many, but it is nonetheless true. To be a Catholic in the USA generally means to be pro-abortion [quietly though], vote Democrat and vote often, and have a strong sense of human centric ideals even when those ideals are unsupported by factual evidence.

    • Wise words that the likes of Richard Betts and Tamsin Edwards would be wise to heed. I suspect that their comfortable lifestyles and the need to pay heed to what is necessary to continue to live high off the hog will continue to rule them.
      You use the word “prostitute” for these “scientists”. Yet I suspect that most prostitutes are more honest.

  6. He appears to have lost sleep over this issue. Perhaps the skeptic team has gotten thru to him.

    • Maybe he caught the 97 percent consensus mistake too late and now has Encyclical Remorse.

  7. Or perhaps he’s lost sleep over the inherent goodness of conserving resources vs the desire to enable the African poor to have a better standard of living.

  8. As a priority for expending any taxpayers funds for Africa and beyond, well in front of hypothetical AGW issues, we should add 1: Effluent Sanitation and 2: Clean Water supply since SCIENTIFIC STUDIES shows these two factors cause of 80% of the worlds ills.

      • By the way, when Africa has attained the affluence of present-day Asia, the population will have peaked and start a negative trend. Africa is by far the most urgent zone of environmental intervention (abatement of contaminants) as it can be utilized for food production should the climate become too cold to grow crops in much of the NH in a few decades.

    • Can’t say this often enough. Safe water and treated sewage is the main reason for the squaring of the survival curve as cultures develop. The difference is mostly in child mortality.

      • But kim, the old folks (like me) live longer too. As one ages, there are potentially more years that one’s body is highly susceptible to bad sanitation than during early childhood. The “mostly” part is demographics of present age distribution.

      • Oops, I meant to say the demographics reflecting current age distribution among the living population.

      • Doubting Tom, yes, that is part of the squaring of the survival curve. Safe water helps all ages, but is particularly important for the young; they die quickly of diarrhea.
        Wayne, it is amazing how much we take safe water for granted in the developed world. The childhood mortality is one of the reasons so many of the poor have many children; half die.

      • Yes, and education plays a significant role too. According to a program I saw on NHK World awhile back, vividly graphic signs are being posted along some African rivers to discourage the inhabitants from relieving themselves into the river.
        In the US we do better, for the most part, but issues remain. We’ve largely cured people of relieving themselves in public – even that breaks down quickly when there’s no authority around – but we now have about 60 million dogs running around which are apparently free to drop poop anyplace they desire, and we have only about 50% confidence that the “dog guardians” (as they call them in Boulder) will clean up the filthy mess.

  9. We can only hope the Pope takes a good look at reality and says “to hell with this apocalyptic theory!”

  10. One has to wonder at the willful ignorance of these so called “do-gooder”.
    In the middle of watching the testimony to the USHR10 Committee on Science, Space and Technology where they are taking testimony regarding the proposed EPA ruling on NOX and SO2. As is being pointed out, these new rules cannot be met even if there was a ZERO human contribution. A world gone mad.
    “Powering Africa: There is a direct correlation between economic growth (and the reduction of poverty) and electricity supply. If sub-Saharan Africa is to fulfill its promise, it needs power—and lots of it.”
    Note also that both India and China have used the middle finger to the Pope and the rest of his ilk. But then they are not RC and are no doubt happy to see their competitors hamstrung.
    And for what?
    Time for the EPA to revert to their original remit: no more Rule making to a monitoring (State Overview) role only.
    Also the question is being raised in committee regarding an overhaul of the CAA. I like where this is heading.

  11. The Vatican is just looking to get in on a cut of the $100Billion Climate Aid fund. Expression of fealty to this new faith of Climate Change is necessary.
    For the Vatican, it is always about the money. They would be weighing in on this issue if there weren’t substantial amounts of money to be had. The Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Sciences, an office led by Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, is an Argentine and a confidante of Pope Francis. Somewhere in that office undoubtedly is an agreement on some Climate Aid money for the Vatican and/or Catholic church development efforts. In some ways, this is not a bad thing, as the Catholic Church and its NGO charities do a far better job at outreach to poor nation’s than does nation-state actors directly. But the Vatican always demands an overhead cut for Rome.
    I am not cynical in this regard. Just a realist, eyes-wide open, to the “how” the Catholic Church, and the Vatican in particular, have always operated.

  12. Latin America will remain stuck just above Africa in regional benchmarks of development. Jeffrey Sachs will have plenty to arm wave over.

  13. This pope has a socialist background. He’ll be fine with the other socialists’ (UN Climastrologers) plan for redistributing our wealth (carbon indulgences) to the poor in Africa (to be intercepted and squandered by some local dictator or terrorist group).

    • He also runs quite a bunch of windmills on Vatican owned land in Spain and Italy. (and other places).
      Needs to keep the subsidies flowing.

  14. Great cartoon. Since there will continue to be lots of reference to religion as this process unfolds I personally think it would be useful for us to define the meme that is attempting to pin the tail of global warming in all things organic or inorganic on the global donkey as the cult of global warming/climate change.
    That way we can elevate the discussion from metaphors that don’t really get at the point that religious or irreligious is not necessarily irrational. The cult of global warming works more like a tribal incantation leading right up to the sacrifice of innocents.

    • As Moses said to God upon receiving the Torah from Him, “Let me get this straight, You want us to cut the ends of our dicks off?”

      • Mods, no hard feelings, but that was the punch point” 🙂
        Half truths do not work.
        From my point of view, stiffnecks” wold have being more appropriate.
        Thanks anyway.

  15. I seems to me that the Pope does not understand scientific method and is being misled by activist advisers. That alone is a bad thing. The Pope should not put his weight behind something that he does not understand. If you are not fully committed to scientific method and, therefore, a gold-plated skeptic, then you cannot engage in good science or discern the good science from the chaff.

  16. The Catholic Church–or any other church for this matter–has not business making pronouncements on science. It’s not within its domain of expertise.

  17. The above is also true for 1.5 billion people in South Asia and many in Middle and South America. Why do these Green people want the poorest people to pay more for electricity than themselves?

  18. The Catholic Church was the original intellectual bastion of the royal powers. Like today’s intellectuals who ingratiate themselves to power, the Catholic Church provided legitimacy to the crown for the claim of devine right to rule from God. The adherence to the current powers demand for the devine right to rule due to CO2 is only slightly different.

  19. “Give a man a fish, and he eats for a day. Teach a man how to fish, and he eats for life”.
    If His Holiness truly is a wealth re-distributionist socialist, the above quote is probably something he has yet to really understand.
    In and of itself, poverty isn’t really the problem……it’s the SYMPTOM of a problem. The poor of Africa and elsewhere need the economic development and infrastructure that will enable them to meet their everyday human needs such as energy, food and water, sanitation, adequate shelter, etc. When one uses climate change alarmism as a pretext for global wealth redistribution (and maybe as a facade for caring about the planet), one merely addresses those symptoms of poverty rather than the cause or causes themselves.
    The Third World’s poor will forever remain mired in poverty as long as there are people in the world such as His Holiness in positions of power and influence who still insist on thinking in wealth redistribution terms (using scientifically faulty climate change alarmism as a pretext) rather than economic development terms. The U.N. itself is also guilty of this. With environmentalists and their political allies in power blocking the path to fossil fuel power plant construction (and maybe nuke plant construction as well) in the Third World, the future is far from bright for the poor in those nations.
    I don’t know….maybe the U.N. and the Vatican ARE involving themselves in economic development in the Third World. If so, they should concentrate more on this and less on wealth redistribution and forget about the scientifically faulty notion of alarming climate change as a pretext for it.
    Meaningful environmental protection measures can only happen AFTER basic human needs can be met through economic development, not before them. Until this is well understood, both the poor and the environment in the Third World will continue to suffer.

    • The cause of poverty is, in most cases, government. Irrespective of the philosophical base, government seems to eventually get into the hands of greedy power hungry folks who prey upon the people.

  20. Perhaps before advocating global income redistribution, the pope should consider a current application of the theme of the movie, “Shoes of the Fisherman.” Sitting on a pile of church wealth amassed from the collection of “widow’s mites” over a millennium and a half while preaching income redistribution sounds a bit insincere.
    Real global income equality (Gross World Product of appx. $75 trillion / population of 7.2 billion) yields a “fair share” income of about $10,500. Great step up for a beggar on the streets of Bangladesh, but not so good for even the poorest resident of the US.

  21. I agree with others who posted about water quality and treatment. If one travels from a typical western country auch as Australia, where we have enjoyed the benefits of electricity and water/waste treatment, to Africa there is strong advice given to not drink tap water, only, imported bottled water. Air (Open air fires for heating and cooking, low quality diesel/petrol and poorly maintained engines) and water quality is a real problem in Africa, especially, in the countries I have been to.

  22. Anthony, religion has no place on a blog that purports to be about science. It’s bad enough to see the tinfoil hats and zealots on threads devoted to science.

    • But the Pope is now embracing “science” to get more public funds for the Church. I say fair game

  23. My long-time friend Tom Harris just sent me his latest, well worth the read:
    Great article Tom.
    The latest time the Catholic Church tried to control the climate, they did so by burning witches during the Little ice Age. It has been estimated that 40,000 to 50,000 innocent people were executed for witchcraft in Europe and the American colonies over several hundred years. This huge addition to the planet’s carbon footprint did little to alter the natural global cooling that destroyed crops and caused widespread starvation.
    The latest climate control nonsense from the Vatican will be equally foolish, tragic and ineffective. As you state, the Vatican is condemning the third world to perpetual poverty and servitude through continued energy starvation.
    I visited the Vatican in about 1995. As a protest against the Vatican’s climate heresy, I am tossing out all my souvenirs of that visit. I shall especially miss my favorite, my Pope-Soap-on-a Rope, that has lasted without attrition for two decades – a miracle!
    Best wishes, Allan 🙂

  24. Also a very good article by Matt Ridley – thank you.
    Bjorn Lomborg is a luke-warmist and in that he is almost certainly incorrect – there is no global warming crisis.
    Nevertheless, Lomborg is correct in his conclusion – that we need to fight poverty and energy starvation in Africa through the use of sensible energy solutions including fossil fuels – this is a much higher priority than green energy schemes, which are not green and provide little useful energy.

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