Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Catholic Online reports that new priests will be expected to be familiar with and promote efforts to reduce carbon emissions.
New priests to learn about global warming as part of formation
LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) — The Catholic Church is intimately concerned about climate change. The Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences is the world’s oldest, longest running scientific mission. That body, which advises the pope on matters of science, has concluded that global climate change is real and is caused, at least in significant part, by human activity.
This is important to the Church because creation care is part of our mission. We are called to be stewards of creation. It’s also important because climate change can exacerbate the ills of poverty. Poor people in much of the world are the most vulnerable to changes.
Unfortunately, the issue is politicized. In the late 1970s, when the issue threatened the financial interests of the fossil fuel industry, the political lobbies, chiefly in the United States, financed a massive political disinformation campaign to manufacture the illusion of dissent within the scientific community.
We know because this manipulation of public opinion has been caught and documented. The fossil fuel industry funds nearly all of the climate change skeptics, going so far as to commission questionable studies, to financing think tanks, and even paying individual bloggers. The deception continues today.
But what does this have to do with the Church?
The Church has a responsibility to care for people, and the environment. And care for one is also care for the other.
Now updated guidelines for the formation of clergy says new priests should understand this as well:
“Protecting the environment and caring for our common home — the Earth, belong fully to the Christian outlook on man and reality. Priests should be “promoters of an appropriate care for everything connected to the protection of creation.”
The new guidelines suggest that in the future, priests will also have a good grasp of the global climate change problem and will share this with their congregation.
From the Vatican website;
The Gift of the Priestly Vocation
… For some time now, experts and researchers, active in different fields of study, have turned their attention to the emerging planetary crisis, which is reflected strongly in the current Magisterium regarding the ‘ecological question’. Protecting the environment and caring for our common home – the Earth – belong fully to the Christian outlook on man and reality. They constitute in some way the basis for a sound ecology of human relations. Hence they demand, today above all, a “profound interior conversion. It must be said that some committed and prayerful Christians, with the excuse of realism and pragmatism, tend to ridicule expressions of concern for the environment. Others are passive; they choose not to change their habits and thus become inconsistent. So what they all need is an ‘ecological conversion’, whereby the effects of their encounter with Jesus Christ become evidence in their relationship with the world around them. Living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience. Therefore it will be necessary for future priests to be highly sensitive to this theme and, through the requisite Magisterial and theological guidance, helped to “acknowledge the appeal, immensity and urgency of the challenge we face”. This must then be applied to their future priestly ministry, making them promoters of an appropriate care for everything connected to the protection of creation. …
Whats next? Excommunication of scientists whose theories aren’t approved by the Pope?
Update (EW) – Added a quote from “The Gift of the Priestly Vocation” from the Vatican website.