Memo to self: Never get Maureen Mullarkey mad at me:
A strain of inadvertent comedy runs through “Laudato Si.” Il Papa assumes the posture of governess to the world—Mary Poppins on the Throne of Peter. Who else could align the magisterium of the Catholic Church with exhortation to turn off the air conditioner, shut the lights, and be sure to recycle? For this Christ died: to atone for petroleum products. And for carbon emissions from private cars carrying only one or two people.
While Christians in the birthplaces of Christianity are crucified and beheaded for their faith, young girls are kidnapped and sold for the price of a pack of cigarettes, our encyclical whines: “In many parts of the planet, the elderly lament that once beautiful landscapes are now covered with rubbish.”
There is more in that letter-to-the-editor vein: “Neighbourhoods, even those recently built, are congested, chaotic and lacking in sufficient green space. We were not meant to be inundated by cement, asphalt, glass and metal, and deprived of physical contact with nature.”
Of course not. We were meant to live in a beautiful, walled-in enclave like Vatican City with splendid gardens, a throng of world-class museums, its own armed gendarmerie aligned with Interpol, and an impenetrable immigration policy.
Gospel quotations are bent to serve. In the chapter “The Gaze of Jesus,” we read this: “98. Jesus lived in full harmony with creation, and others were amazed: ‘What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?’ (Mt 8:27).”
That passage from Matthew has not a thing to do with harmony. Rather, it tells of Jesus’ dominion over nature. It is a statement of authority, of lordship over the natural order. The verse complements one from John: “He that cometh from above is above all.” By abolishing the scriptural intuition of power and might, the truncated quotation makes Jesus a screen on which to project a chimera of cosmic equality.
Go here to The Federalist to read the furious rest. Having read every word of the Green Encyclical, I suspect the most charitable interpretation of it might be as a huge Papal practical joke.