Guest essay by Eric Worrall
The papal Laudato Si’ encyclical on global warming continues to be a source of division, and has prompted reportedly heated exchanges between senior church figures, at a recent top level meeting in Rome.
ROME, December 18, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – A heated exchange regarding global warming and magisterial teaching between a top Vatican official and various other presenters ended a December 3 Acton Institute conference in Rome. Argentinean Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, a close advisor to Pope Francis and the Chancellor of both the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences stressed that the pope’s declarations on the gravity of global warming as expressed in the encyclical Laudato Si’ are magisterial teaching equivalent to the teaching that abortion is sinful.
Father Joseph Fessio, SJ, the founder of Ignatius Press who obtained his doctorate in theology under Joseph Ratzinger prior to his elevation to the pontificate, told LifeSiteNews, “Neither the pope nor Bishop Sorondo can speak on a matter of science with any binding authority, so to use the word ‘magisterium’ in both cases is equivocal at best, and ignorant in any case.” Fr. Fessio added, “To equate a papal position on abortion with a position on global warming is worse than wrong; it is an embarrassment for the Church.”
I applaud the courage of senior church figures who have had the courage to speak out against this divisive encyclical. People like the North American Jesuit Father Joseph Fessio, and Australia’s Cardinal Pell, church leaders with a track record of placing integrity before political convenience, who have publicly and repeatedly criticised the attempt to extend papal moral authority into deciding matters of science.