There’s trouble at the Vatican, where Pope Francis’s much anticipated encyclical Laudato Sii was leaked four days early to the Italian magazine L’Espresso.
It’s not immediately clear where the leak originated. The bootleg release was in Italian, not in English—leaving American reporters scrambling to cut and paste the nearly 200 pages of text into Google Translate.
Then, the Vatican Press Office stepped up to insist that it was only a draft, hence not worthy of media attention and analysis. A Vatican official later told Bloomberg that the release of the draft, which broke the embargo set for Thursday, was a “heinous act.”
As the day passed, passages of the text—particularly a portion of the document which dealt with climate change—were published in English; and there was plenty there to excite global warming’s true believers.
A translation published by The Guardian opens by saying that climate change is the Earth’s way of protesting “irresponsible use and abuse of the goods that God placed in her.” It continues:
“We have grown up thinking that we were her owners and dominators, authorized to loot her. The violence that exists in the human heart, wounded by sin, is also manifest in the symptoms of illness that we see in the Earth, the water, the air and in living things.”
One possible point of contention appears in Section 20, which implies that carbon dioxide—the byproduct of a normal human bodily function—is a pollutant:
“It is true that there are other factors (such as volcanism, and the variations of the orbit of the Earth, the solar cycle), but numerous scientific studies indicate that most of the global warming of recent decades is due to the large concentration of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and other) issued mainly because of human activity.”
In Genesis 2:15, God directs Adam to care for the Earth and cultivate it. Indeed, the world—the ambient air and our entire ecosystem—have been entrusted to our benevolent care; and mankind must soberly reflect upon how an industrialized society will accept God’s challenge to exercise dominion over the planet.
Some worry, however, that adherents to a politicized “climate change” ideology will value conservation over human life, reducing effluents by reducing human population—either through contraception and abortion, or through euthanasia. But the draft does reject population control as a solution:
“To blame demographic growth and not the extreme and selective consumption of some is a way of not facing the problem.”
On Thursday, Laudato Sii is expected to be officially released by the Vatican.
Image: By Jolly Janner (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons