Laudato Si –Too Much of a Good Thing?

Why the negativity from some conservatives? All truth is Catholic truth and the ecology movement makes good points about the stewardship of the world’s resources. It’s common sense that we should’t rape the planet. It’s common sense that we should not be wasteful. It’s common sense that we should not pollute. It’s common sense that we should work for the common good. It’s common sense that we should be aware of all these issues and it’s common sense that a civilized government enacts safeguards and environmental protection legislation.

The hypocrisy of some American conservatives over these issues is astounding. They don’t seem to have problems with zoning laws that prevent their neighbor opening a junk yard in their suburb. They don’t think it’s a bad thing for the local city council to prohibit a landfill from being started next to their kid’s school. They don’t mind that the law fines people for littering, but they get all huffy at the idea that the government should enact environmental safeguards.

I also wonder why there is such a American conservative phobia about “socialism” whenever it is suggested that tax money be used for environmental safeguards. We don’t mind tax money being used to pay for the fire service or the state parks or national parks, but we think it’s government interference if legislation goes through to protect the environment from industries and processes that would destroy the environment.

I have also been bemused and annoyed by the liberal reactions to the encyclical. There is a self righteous subtext in their commentary that reads, “Well, at LAST the Catholic church is getting with the real issues of the day!” It’s like they think the gospel has been preached for the first time and this is going to change the world. One Catholic website had a huffy headline suggesting that most priests didn’t preach about Laudato Si last Sunday, with the subtext being, “We know the awful priests don’t really care about the environment. I expect most of them will ignore the encyclical and the only ones who will really appreciate it are the nuns on the bus.”

I expect most priests didn’t have the time to read the whole thing and wished Fr Lombardi would have issued some Cliff Notes.

I preached on it on Sunday even though I had just arrived back from Italy on Thursday, went to Rhode Island to speak on Saturday and  had a serious does of jet lag….

….but I’m lucky because I have Mrs Longenecker to write my homilies for me….

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