ROME — Progressive Catholics are rending their seamless garments over poll results showing that a “shockingly low” number of U.S. Catholics support Pope Francis’s radical take on global warming.
“Ahead of the release of Laudato Deum [the pope’s new climate encyclical], shockingly low numbers of American Catholic[s] support @pontifex on climate. Formation on this should be a priority for bishops,” writes Stephen Schneck, who served as national co-chair of Catholics for Biden in 2020.
Schneck is also on the Board of Directors for Catholic Climate Covenant and was previously a board member for Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, a group created by former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s former campaign chairman, John Podesta, which figured prominently in the scandalous 2016 Wikileaks revelations.
The poll in question that so unnerved Schneck and his fellow social justice warriors refers to a September 28 article by the Pew Research Center, which found that a minority of U.S. Catholics (44 percent) subscribe to the theory that the earth is warming “mostly due to human activity.”
Pope Francis, while himself an ardent believer in the climate “emergency,” has obviously never taught that the earth is warming mostly due to human activity as a matter of Catholic doctrine since this hypothesis lies outside the purview of Church teaching.
The Pew survey found that 29 percent of American Catholics think the earth is getting warmer “mostly because of natural patterns,” and another 13 percent hold that there is no solid evidence that the earth is getting warmer at all.
Last year, Pope Francis bemoaned the multiplication of environmental disasters that he believes are generated by global warming.
“The climate changes of our time have multiplied extreme atmospheric events, with dramatic consequences for civilian populations,” the pontiff said. “The impact is catastrophic for people who lose their homes due to flooding of waterways, tornadoes and hydrogeological disruptions.”
“The earth cries out! The earth cries out!” he exclaimed. “When we force our hand, nature shows her cruel face and man is crushed, forced to cry out in fear.”
This past summer, the pope said it is time for world leaders to “listen to science and institute a rapid and equitable transition to end the era of fossil fuel.”
It is “absurd to permit the continued exploration and expansion of fossil fuel infrastructures,” he declared in his message for the September 1 Feast of Creation. “Let us raise our voices to halt this injustice towards the poor and towards our children, who will bear the worst effects of climate change.”
“The unrestrained burning of fossil fuels and the destruction of forests are pushing temperatures higher and leading to massive droughts,” the pope stated, a product of “consumerist greed, fueled by selfish hearts.”
Moreover, he contended, “predatory industries are depleting and polluting our freshwater sources through extreme practices such as fracking for oil and gas extraction, unchecked mega-mining projects, and intensive animal farming.”
“Let us heed our call to stand with the victims of environmental and climate injustice, and to put an end to the senseless war against creation,” he said.
Many Catholics have turned to saner voices that have begun to prevail in the scientific community, notably with August’s World Climate Declaration, which flatly denied the existence of a so-called “climate emergency.”
The declaration, whose 1,600 signatories include two Nobel Prize winners, notes that climate models have proven inadequate for predicting global warming, carbon dioxide (CO2) is not a pollutant, and climate change has not increased natural disasters.
“The geological archive reveals that Earth’s climate has varied as long as the planet has existed, with natural cold and warm phases,” the declaration states. “The Little Ice Age ended as recently as 1850. Therefore, it is no surprise that we now are experiencing a period of warming.”
Moreover, the world has warmed “significantly less than predicted by IPCC [International Panel on Climate Change] on the basis of modeled anthropogenic forcing,” the text reads, and the gap between the real world and the modeled world “tells us that we are far from understanding climate change.”