Today, Pope Francis released Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home, his encyclical on climate change. While the Pope deserves credit for using his massive pulpit to draw attention to the science behind climate change and human contribution to the problem, that didn’t stop him from ignoring the scientific consensus when it suited his needs:
Instead of resolving the problems of the poor and thinking of how the world can be different, some can only propose a reduction in the birth rate. At times, developing countries face forms of international pressure which make economic assistance contingent on certain policies of “reproductive health”. Yet “while it is true that an unequal distribution of the population and of available resources creates obstacles to development and a sustainable use of the environment, it must nonetheless be recognized that demographic growth is fully compatible with an integral and shared development”. To blame population growth instead of extreme and selective consumerism on the part of some, is one way of refusing to face the issues.
Since everything is interrelated, concern for the protection of nature is also incompatible with the justification of abortion.
It is the Catholic Church that is “refusing to face the issues.” Overpopulation is certainly not the sole cause of our environmental crisis, but there’s no question it is a significant contributing cause, and a rapidly expanding population will only exacerbate our environmental problems.
The pope’s continued unjustified opposition to birth control ultimately will detract from the weight given his other observations, some of which have merit. No one who thinks using a condom constitutes a grave moral evil can be taken seriously as an expert on the world’s problems. Pope Francis expends much energy decrying the misuse of technology. In the final analysis, his encyclical demonstrates that the world suffers as much from dogmatic thinking as it does from abuses of technology.
It’s just another example of Pope Francis, generally thought of as a game-changer for the Catholic Church, being hampered by the dictates of his own faith. He can push the boundaries but never cross them. The Pope is still the Pope.