Having read and pondered the Green Encyclical, PopeWatch has reached certain conclusions:
1. The Pope really, really hates markets. Time and again he goes out of his way to bash markets.
2. The Pope favors a top down approach. For all the Pope’s singing the praises of the poor, one of the striking features of the Encyclical is how elitist in tone it is and how little trust that the Pope has in the unguided average man and woman to do what he considers to be the right thing in regard to the environment.
3. The Pope has little use for democracy. Time and again the Pope points out that elections cause governmental policies to shift when what is needed are long term solutions.
4. The Pope could care less if what he proposes leads to negative economic growth. I think for the Pope, a poorer material life for the great majority of people is a feature not a bug in what he proposes.
5. The Pope’s proposals, except for a few minor nods to subsidiarity, involve Caesar telling us what to do.
6. The Church created the Holy Roman Empire and then spent the next thousand years fighting it. PopeWatch believes that would also be the case if the global authority that Pope Francis so ardently desires should ever come about.
7. The use of Scripture to support the Pope’s Encyclical is strained, and in some cases shockingly weak. The Bible, except in a few scattered passages, is of little use for twenty-first century environmentalists attempting to transform their policy preferences into “Thus Sayeth the Lord!” commands.
8. The length and the bad style of most of the authors of the Encyclical will probably lessen its influence.
9. The document is deeply pessimistic in tone. Like most environmentalist screeds it relies on predictions of gloom and doom, that somehow never seem to come about, in order to produce assent and action from the reader. However, close reading of the Encyclical causes PopeWatch to suspect that the Pope believes that environmental harm has gone too far and that humanity will not, and perhaps cannot, undo the damage.
10. Passages in the Encyclical seem jumbled, with disparate elements falling over themselves. Those passages, PopeWatch suspects, are all Pope Francis, as they are the type of chaos that he brings to his writings, speeches and his Papacy.
Below are the notes of PopeWatch on the Encyclical by paragraph number:
1.Saint Francis liked the environment and so should we.
2.The world is in a sad shape from pollution and it is our fault.
3.This encyclical is as important as Pacem in Terris that was released in 1963.
4.The Pope cites Pope Paul VI on the environment so that you won’t think he is a hippie Pope off on his own hook.
5.Ditto as to Pope John Paul II.
5.Ditto as to Pope Benedict.
6.The Pope cites Patriarch Bartholomew because he is an environmental alarmist like the Pope and because modern pontiffs never miss an opportunity to suck up to the Orthodox, even though they all tell us to take a hike eventually when it comes to reunification.
9.Let’s drag Saint Francis back in and ahistorically paint him as an enviro-nut.
10.More Saint Francis.
11.More Saint Francis.
12.More Saint Francis.
13.Man made harm to environment is a big problem and we all need to work together to solve it.
14.If you think this whole environmental doom and gloom is idiocy you are in denial and part of the problem.
15.Yeah, the Pope is making this eco alarmist manifesto part of the Social Teaching of the Church. In the rest of the encyclical the Pope will first scare you with enviro gloom and doom picked from scientific sources that agree with him. He will then graft principles drawn from Judeo-Christian sources to develop a plan of action. Then he will tell you what he wants you to do about the environmental mess. He will support all of this with cherry picked examples from Christian history.
16.Organization of this Encyclical is sort of sloppy and the Pope will be zigzagging around.
17.Here begins the part where the Pope will scare you.
18.The world is going through a period of rapid change.
19.Humanity used to be confident, but now Humanity, at least the chattering classes, is pessimistic and concerned with the environment and that is a good thing.
20.Pollution is all around us.
21.The Earth is being turned into a vast rubbish dump. (Scared yet?)
22.Humans produce a throwaway culture and we should emulate the plants and their sustainable mode of producing energy and growth.
23.Climate is a common good and it has been getting warmer largely because of what humans do.
24.Cue the parade of factually dubious examples of harm caused by global warming.
25.Climate change is bad. Poor and developing nations hardest hit.
26.The Pope is in favor of the renewable energy boondoggles to get away from nasty fossil fuels.
27.Natural resources are being depleted and there are still poor people.
28.We are running out of water! (Panic!)
29.Poor people have bad water.
30.We have a duty to provide water gratis to the poor, because it is a basic human right for them to have other people pay for their water. Do not think of privatizing water! Caesar must control it.
31.Lack of water will lead to increased cost of food. Evil multinational corporations controlling water may lead to conflicts.
32.Earth’s resources are being plundered for evil free enterprise.
33.Species have rights! Stop causing them to go extinct!
34.More extinction gloom and doom.
35.The Pope will simultaneously rail about the conditions of the poor while being against economic development because it harms the environment.
36.The search for profits leads to damage to the environment.
37.Environmental sanctuaries are good.
38.You knew the Pope was going to sing the praises of rainforests, didn’t you?
39.Hands off wetlands and rain forests!
40.Hands off the oceans too!
41.The coral reefs, think of the coral reefs!
42.Greater study of ecosystems is needed so that Man, contra Nature, can guard all species against extinction.
43.Humans are harmed by environmental deterioration.
44.Cities are bad.
45.Don’t even think about establishing environmentally pleasant private areas.
46.The world’s going to Hell in a hand basket. (In spite of his smiles, this encyclical does indicate that the Pope is at bottom a deeply pessimistic man.)
47.The Pope doesn’t think much of you internet couch potatoes.
48.Poor hardest hit by environmental problems.
49.Must hear both the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor.
50.Pope is against those who wish to reduce third world populations, but he does want attention paid to imbalances in population densities.
51.Greedy gringo rich countries are responsible for economic disparities North and South and cause ecological damage in the South. (The Pope really is clueless when it comes to economics, isn’t he?)
52.The greedy gringos of the North are responsible for people being poor in the South. (Classic Peronism.)
53.Mama Earth has to be protected but we lack the political will and structures to do so. New techno-economic power structures if not stopped will kill the environment and freedom and justice. (One can imagine evil tycoons twirling their moustaches and chortling evilly. The Pope’s view of the world is not much more sophisticated than that.)
54.Economic and technological special interests block ecological reform; i.e. people who do not agree with the Pope have been successful in opposing the type of draconian ecological measures he favors.
55.Some countries are making ecological progress but those darn markets keep leading to more consumption which damages the environment. (Back in Real World, the best environment tends to be in the most capitalistic countries. The nations with the worst ecological records have all been Communist.)
56.More market bashing from the Pope. (Man, does he hate free enterprise.)
57.Pope foresees wars over scarce resources caused by financial interests. (Once again, the economic ignorance of the Pope is staggering.)
58.A break in the bleak for a brief acknowledgment that there has been ecological improvement in some countries.
59.Back to the bleak: such minor improvements in the environment blind us to the overall gloom and doom of the environment and the measures that must be taken to solve this problem.
60.The Pope points to extreme views on how to meet ecological issues, positioning himself to be the sweet, moderate voice of reason.
61.The Pope says that the Church has no reason to venture an opinion on many substantive issues, but that the environment is in such bad shape he is going to force himself to do otherwise in this area.
62.Religion is now added to the environmental politics of this Encyclical.
63.There is value to what the Catholic Church has to say on the environment.
64.Because we are Christians we must also be good stewards of the environment.
65.God created everything and called it good. God created each human being as unique and precious.
66.We have three relationships: With God, with our neighbor and nature. These three relationships have been ruptured by sin. (Original sin presumably.)
67.Rejects the idea that Man has dominion over the Earth and presents Man as a transient lease holder, with a duty to future generations to preserve and protect the property leased.
68.Man must respect the laws of nature and preserve nature’s equilibrium.
69.Pope calls for respect for all other living creatures.
70.Cain and Abel, and Noah and the Ark, are reinterpreted as calling for care of the environment and how sin leads to a rupture of our relationship with the environment.
71.Giving the land a year of rest periodically in the Old Testament is reinterpreted as environmental care for the land.
72.Psalms enlisted in the cause of persuading Catholics that God calls upon us to protect the environment.
73.The prophets teach us to call upon God the Creator of the Universe.
74.Babylonian captivity and the Roman empire tossed in for some obscure reason.
75.God is the creator and owner of the world. Remember that!!!
76.Each creature has its own value and significance to God.
77.God chose to create and loves all of His creatures.
78.Nature not divine. (In case you suspected that the Pope was calling for the worship of Gaia.)
79.Church must protect mankind from self-destruction.
80.God can create good out of the evil Man has done.
81.Human beings are unique and can never be reduced to the status of object.
82.Pope bashes free enterprise again.
83.Human beings called to lead all creatures back to their Creator.
84.Each creature has its own purpose.
85.Creation reflects the glory of God.
86.More on that theme.
87.Pope repeats part of the Canticle of the Sun of Saint Francis.
88.Pope creeps up to pantheism and then runs back.
89.God owns all of nature, including us.
90.Human beings are above all other creatures, but equal to each other, and because of this equality we should be alarmed by inequalities between humans.
91.Ties environmentalism in with caring for other humans.
92.Those who are cruel to other creatures usually are cruel to other humans.
93.Common ownership of the Earth, tied in with universal destination of goods.
94.Quotes the bishops of Paraguay: “Every campesino has a natural right to possess a reasonable allotment of land where he can establish his home, work for subsistence of his family and a secure life. This right must be guaranteed so that its exercise is not illusory but real. That means that apart from the ownership of property, rural people must have access to means of technical education, credit, insurance, and markets”. (One can imagine the government power needed to bring to pass such enforced equality.)
95.Private property requires that the property be used for the good of all. (Once again, the Pope knows as much about economics as a pig knows about calculus.)
96.Jesus dragged in to score some strained ecological interpretations of passages in the New Testament.
97.Jesus loved nature. (Except for a certain fig tree.)
98.The Pope states that Jesus lived in harmony with nature and then quotes a passage, “What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?”, that emphasized the dominance of nature by Christ.
99.Christ, the Word, entered Creation by His birth.
100.Christ will deliver all of nature to God the Father at the end of time.
101.The mess that the environment is in is our fault and in this section of the encyclical the Pope will explain why this has happened.
102.Two centuries of rapid technological advances.
103.Technoscience when well-directed (By whom?) is good.
104.Technology has greatly increased our power to destroy.
105.Our technology has advanced far more rapidly than our wisdom to use it properly.
106.The Pope does not think much of the scientific method when nature is viewed as an object. He believes that this plays into the illusion that resources are limitless. (Like most Leftists, the Pope views the world through the belief that it is a fight over a limited pie, not taking into account Man’s manifest ability to expand the pie.)
107.Many of the ills of society come from viewing technological advance as an end in itself.
108.Making technological advance as a mere instrument rather than an end seems inconceivable in the modern world.
109.Pope stops to bash free markets yet again.
110.Rapid technological advance leads to fragmentation of knowledge rather than the generalized knowledge in many areas we need to make decisions. (Actually, the politicians who make the decisions in most countries usually have a fairly general education and are frequently untouched by much in the way of knowledge of individual technological fields.)
111.The Pope wants people to look at the world through an ecological prism rather than a technological prism. He wants people to be educated to view the world in that manner. (Mission accomplished Your Holiness, considering the amount of time wasted on green propaganda in most schools these days.)
112.Time to rein in technology and direct it. (By whom?)
113.People have lost faith in a better future through technology.
114.Pope calls for a cultural revolution. (A phrase with an unfortunate historical resonance.) The Pope assures us that he is not calling for a return to the Stone Age, but he is calling for a slowing of technological progress. (Leaving aside whether that would be desirable, would it even be possible on a global scale?)
115.A purely technological way of viewing the world detracts from the dignity of the earth and of human beings.
116.Not clear, but Pope seems to be calling for a turning away from technology and a more traditional way of viewing life, one more in harmony with nature. (The Pope seems to have a romanticized view of the past prior to modernity.)
117.Ties in lack of care of nature with lack of care of people, including embryos. (The most ardent environmentalists PopeWatch has known have usually been pro-aborts.)
118.Must have care for the environment along with care for each human person.
119.A healing of the environment must tie in with a healing of interpersonal relationships. (PopeWatch is sure he saw something like that on a dorm poster back in the seventies.)
120.Decries the irrationality of pretending to be in favor of the environment while simultaneously being in favor of abortion.
121.The Pope calls for a new synthesis.
122.Too much looking out for number one is bad for the environment.
123.Pope zeroes in on his root of all evil: free markets.
124.Ties in the value of labor with ecology.
125.Calls for a correct understanding of work.
126.Points to monasteries and the role work plays in them.
127.Work for everyone no matter whether it makes sense economically or whether a business has any need for the work.
128.Pope calls for technology to stop replacing workers. (A true Luddite feel here. Is this even possible, let alone desirable?)
129.Calls for shackling of large enterprises and government boondoggles to help small enterprises. The Pope shows a true lack of understanding of how economies operate.
130.Calls for limitations on experimentation on animals unless it is being done to the care of humans or the saving of human lives.
131.Caution as to genetic manipulation.
133.Genetic manipulation of food.
134.Caution as to genetic manipulation of food.
135.Pope calls for open debate on the issue.
136.Pope criticizes environmental groups concerned with protecting the environment but not concerned with experimentation on human embryos.
137.Pope considers elements of what he calls an integral ecology.
138.Everything is interconnected.
139.Environment is the relationship between nature and the human society that lives in nature. “Strategies for a solution demand an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature.”
140.Research will aid us in producing growth that is sustainable and respects all of nature.
141.Calls for an economic ecology that will protect the environment as well as fostering economic growth. (PopeWatch suspects that the Pope is clueless as to how and why economic growth occurs.)
142.The health of a society’s institutions impacts the environment. To have a healthy environment the institutions of a society must not promote injustice, violence and loss of freedom.
143.Ecology also involves protecting the cultural treasures of humanity.
144.Respect the rights of people and cultures. The Pope seems to fear that global markets have a leveling effect on local cultures.
145.Many forms of environmental exploitation also undo local social structures.
146.Protect indigenous communities and their cultural traditions!
147.The Pope wants improvement in the environment in which people lead their daily lives.
148.Pope praises people who live in bad locations, slums for example, but who improve their lives by ties of families, friendship and other associations.
149.Bad living conditions can lead to anti-social behavior, but the Pope is confident that love can always triumph even in the worst living conditions.
150.Pope believes that urban planners should always take into consideration the views of people who live in the locations subject to the planning.
151.Common areas and landmarks should be protected. (The Pope demonstrates no understanding that such “should lists” are carried out in real life by bureaucratic regulation that stifles investment and economic growth, precisely what poor people anywhere need.)
152.The Pope condemns lack of housing in urban areas. At the same time he wants to attempt to preserve and “integrate” slums and run down areas through improvements. (The Pope’s focus, as throughout the entire Encyclical, is for government to do quite a few things, many of them contradictory. He is unaware that some of his goals could be reached by getting government out of the way and unleashing the markets he so distrusts.)
153.The Pope likes public transportation and does not like private cars in urban centers. Public transportation should be improved.
154.Life isn’t a bed of roses for those living in rural areas, even though the focus of the Pope is on urban dwellers.
155.Pope takes a swipe at the gender ideologues who pretend that “man” and “woman” are voluntary categories rather than facts of life. (Would that the Pope had written an encyclical on that subject!)
156.Human ecology is inseparable from the common good.
157.A nod to subsidiarity, especially in regard to the family, as promoting the common good.
158.Solidarity and preference for the poor along with a reference to the universal destination of the world’s goods. (When talked of globally, the universal destination of goods would require a dictatorial state of immense powers to take from the haves and give to the have nots.)
159.Remember the youth!
160.What type of world do we want to leave our kids? (A free one would be nice your Holiness.)
161.Don’t just sit there, panic!
162.Pope condemns individualism and selfishness. Help the poor. (Of course collectivist efforts, ostensibly for the poor, have produced both bad environments and immense poverty. In Argentina the dominant party, the Peronists, have sought to channel government power to help the poor for the past seven decades and produced vast corruption, immense slums, a stagnant economy and a vast bureaucracy. It seems that the Pope believes this type of effort will work next time if good hearted people are in charge.)
163.Now the Pope will tell us what to do about this mess, although he hasn’t been shy about giving out general suggestions prior to this part of the Encyclical.
164.One world with a common plan. (That sounds both ominous and impossible.)
165.Replace fossil fuels as soon as possible.
166.The ecological movement has met with limited success.
167.1992 Earth Summit goals have not been reached.
168.The Pope cites several international environmental conventions that he believes have been working.
169.Progress has not been made on climate change because some countries put national interest above global good. (As defined by whom?)
170.Make the gringo countries pay for cleaning up the mess.
171.The Pope condemns the carbon trading scam.
172.Poor countries need help in not being poor and in ecologically sound development. The gringo nations should pay to help them accomplish this.
173.Calls for some global authority to impose global regulations. This should be done by agreement among the nations of the Earth.
174.A global authority for the oceans.
175.A global authority to tame the nasty free markets.
176.Fairness within countries when it comes to improvements of the environment as well as between nations.
177.Ramp up the nanny states to impose rules for our own good.
178.Darn Democracy prevents imposition of necessary measures to improve the world.
179.A confused paragraph where the Pope rambles on about cooperatives, noble indigenous people, and an insistence on a ramping up of the regulatory state. (PopeWatch has no doubt that the Pope personally wrote every word of this paragraph, as it resonates with his stream of consciousness style when he goes off text.)
180.Economies must be transformed to conserve energy, modifying consumption, and the Pope continues with a laundry list of other things that he has zero chances of getting from economies short of gun point.
181.Darn Democracy prevents continuity of policies.
182.The Pope notes the problem of corruption in regard to environmental impact studies, even as he calls for an increase in regulation which will lead to more corruption. (The more power government officials have over businesses through regulations, the more they will bleed them for every cent that they can get. Coming from Argentina, the land of endless hands out by government officials for bribes, the Pope should know this.)
183.The Pope has a wishlist for environmental impact assessments that would effectively kill the creation of any new manufacturing, mining or energy businesses.
184.More of the same.
185.Questions the Pope wants asked before any new business is approved: “What will it accomplish? Why? Where? When? How? For whom? What are the risks? What are the costs? Who will pay those costs and how?” (The Pope, knowingly or unknowingly, wants to put civilization in stasis, a la Japan from the 17th-19th centuries. This is a terrible plan and its saving grace is that it is not possible on a global scale.)
186.Projects should be halted if they could pose great harm even if the science is uncertain.
187.The Pope notes that he is not opposed to all technological innovations. (Perhaps not, but that would be the result of this Encyclical if it is taken seriously outside of Catholic blog comboxes.)
188.The Pope understands that it is not easy to achieve consensus on certain environmental issues. (That assertion would be easier to swallow if the Encyclical were not such a stacked deck.)
189.More bashing of markets. (The Pope does not seem to view the love of money as the root of all evil, but rather the free investment of money.)
190.The environment must be saved no matter what it costs in money. (The Pope, in his hatred of markets, ignores that the most successful capitalist countries have the best environments. PopeWatch suspects that the Pope does truly believe that endless amounts of money can be conjured out of nothing.)
191.A decrease in production and consumption can lead to new forms of developments. (Yep, more of the slums like the ones the Pope used to visit in Buenos Aires.)
192.The Pope describes his ideal economy which has zero chance of realization.
193.Contain economic growth by setting “reasonable limits” (By whom?), and even retracing our steps. (If Pol Pot hadn’t kicked the bucket in 1998, PopeWatch would wonder if he had a hand in writing this section.)
194.The Pope wants a root and branch transformation on the economy away from profit. Once again, the Pope and Real World economics are not on speaking terms.
195.Those who think economies are about profits are wrong.
196.The Pope turns to politics.
197.A healthy politics agrees with what the Pope wants to do.
198.Politics and economics should cooperate. (Heavens no! Real disasters result when politicians and businessmen are singing from the same hymnal.)
199.Science cannot give a complete explanation of life.
200.Technical solutions to problems are of no use if Man has lost his way.
201.Dialogue among religious believers to solve the problems confronting Man. (When such “dialogues” are conducted, they usually involve elites who share the dominant zeitgeist of the chattering classes of the West, and often have little in common with the average members of their religions. That is why such “dialogues” have so little fruit and are exercises in futility, other than good media attention for those involved.)
202.Those sons of Adam and daughters of Eve will need to change pronto!
203.Pope condemns consumerism. (PopeWatch has always been amused that clerics, whose physical needs are met by their flocks, so often condemn consumerism in their flocks.)
204.The Pope traces most of the ills of the world to what he calls consumerism.
205.Better angels of our nature.
206.A change in lifestyle and social pressure could bring about change.
207.Earth Charter calls for us to make a new start.
208.Disinterested concern for others is essential.
209.Better living through educational indoctrination.
210.Ditto. (The Pope has an immense faith in education to change views on the environment. A typical Jesuit view that is both true and false. Some students will accept this, and others will deeply resent and reject what is being rammed down their throats. Think of Voltaire who was educated by the Jesuits.)
211.Pope as environmental nag. Wear a sweater and turn down the heat you no good!
212.Good environmental actions in our daily lives will restore our self-esteem. (That could be true. Most enviro nuts that PopeWatch has encountered have had a very high view of themselves.
213.Ecological education every place. (This reminds me of the emphasis that Communists placed on indoctrination, with generations bored stiff attending endless lectures on Marxist theory.)
214.Political parties and the Church must also engage in ecological education. (Endless lectures from Caesar and Christ on keeping the planet green.)
215.If people are taught to appreciate beauty they will embrace environmentalism.
216.Now the Pope begins to write about Christianity being used to make us all good little ecologists.
217.Pope rejects that good Christians may properly reject environmentalism. (This is perhaps the most disturbing passage in a very disturbing Encyclical.)
218.A healthy relation with nature is only one facet of personal conversion.
219.Self improvement by individuals will not solve ecological problems that require collective solutions.
220.Back to the theme of conversion.
221.Finishing the theme of conversion.
222.Less is more. The Pope clearly wants people to lead poorer material lives and richer spiritual lives.(However the world is neither a monastery nor a convent.)
223.More celebration of simple non-consumerist life. (The irony of this is that environmentalism tends to have its most staunch advocates among the most affluent sectors of society. When one is rich and possesses too many worldly possessions, it is very easy to call on others to lead a life of simplicity and lack of possessions.)
224.Sobriety and humility are hallmarks of the new life that the Pope is calling the world to.
225.Pope calls for a less frantic life through dedication to ecology and the common good.
226.Live in the present without concern about what comes next. Emulate Christ’s serene attentiveness.
227.Say grace before and after meals.
228.All men are brothers.
229.Being good and decent are worth it.
230.Quotes the Little Flower on the need for small daily kindnesses.
231.A civilization of love.
232.Community actions to protect the environment.
233.A mystical meaning to be found in everything. (Near Pan-theism again.)
234.Seeing God in Nature.
235.Nature used in the Sacraments.
236.Praise of the Eucharist.
237.Go to Mass on Sundays!
238.God the Father created everything, God the Son united Heaven and Earth, and God the Holy Spirit permeates the Universe with love.
239.The Trinity has left its mark on all creation.
240.The relationship of the persons of the Trinity is mimicked in the relations within creation.
241.Mary grieves for the poor and all creatures laid waste by human power.
242. Saint Joseph can inspire us to protect the world.
244.”May our struggles and our concern for this planet never take away the joy of our hope.”
245.God does not abandon us.