IRONY OVERLOAD! The pope opened his mouth again.
Pope Benedict XVI has launched a surprise attack on climate change prophets of doom, warning them that any solutions to global warming must be based on firm evidence and not on dubious ideology.
You’ve got to wonder — does the pope think this is a good general rule, that we should use evidence rather than ideology to guide our lives, or is he only going to apply it selectively? There’s also a subtle double-irony here, because global warming is an evidence-driven conclusion (there is no ideology that thinks major climate change is desirable), while it’s the denialists who are promoting ideology over evidence.
And it just gets better — look, some senior Catholic cardinals are using “religion” and “dogma” as dirty words!
In the spring, the Vatican hosted a conference on climate change that was welcomed by environmentalists.
But senior cardinals close to the Vatican have since expressed doubts about a movement which has been likened by critics to be just as dogmatic in its assumptions as any religion.
Of course, this is the Daily Mail saying all this, so who knows how much of it is coming from snarky, sloppy reporters rather than the pope himself. So I looked up the Pope’s remarks. They aren’t quite as blatantly ironic in the original longwinded popese, but swaddled in the endless god-talk is a very conservative, ideological message: families are important, families are based on the marriage of a man and a woman, our ideal faithful heterosexual couple needs a home, but don’t you draw hasty conclusions that maybe their home is threatened.
The family, the human community and the environment
7. The family needs a home, a fit environment in which to develop its proper
relationships. For the human family, this home is the earth, the
environment that God the Creator has given us to inhabit with creativity and
responsibility. We need to care for the environment: it has been entrusted to
men and women to be protected and cultivated with responsible freedom, with the
good of all as a constant guiding criterion. Human beings, obviously, are of
supreme worth vis-Ã -vis creation as a whole. Respecting the environment does not
mean considering material or animal nature more important than man. Rather, it
means not selfishly considering nature to be at the complete disposal of our own
interests, for future generations also have the right to reap its benefits and
to exhibit towards nature the same responsible freedom that we claim for
ourselves. Nor must we overlook the poor, who are excluded in many cases from
the goods of creation destined for all. Humanity today is rightly concerned
about the ecological balance of tomorrow. It is important for assessments in
this regard to be carried out prudently, in dialogue with experts and people of
wisdom, uninhibited by ideological pressure to draw hasty conclusions, and above
all with the aim of reaching agreement on a model of sustainable development
capable of ensuring the well-being of all while respecting environmental
balances. If the protection of the environment involves costs, they should be
justly distributed, taking due account of the different levels of development of
various countries and the need for solidarity with future generations. Prudence
does not mean failing to accept responsibilities and postponing decisions; it
means being committed to making joint decisions after pondering responsibly the
road to be taken, decisions aimed at strengthening that covenant between human
beings and the environment, which should mirror the creative love of God, from
whom we come and towards whom we are journeying.
The irony is still there, but subtler. The pope is a perfect paragon of an entirely ideological source who lacks any evidence for any part of his message, so let us be uninhibited by ideological pressure and throw the words of that pretentious old man in the trash.