Father George Rutler explains why the Saint Peter’s light show was bad science and bad religion walking hand in hand:
There are legitimate ways to consider the significance of carbon emissions in relation to variations in solar activity, changes in the terrestrial orbit and axis, fluctuations in gamma ray activity, and tectonic shifts, and the solid fact that Earth has been warmer than it is now in 7,000 of the last 10,000 years, but hypotheses should not be pronounced as conclusions. And if the Church’s “voice crying in the desert” is to be prophetic, it should not cry wolf. Nor should the Church allow herself to be appropriated by political elites, business interests, and what Santillana in the instance of the Renaissance called “vested academic interests,” whose tendency is to exploit benevolent, if emotive, environmentalists.
So it was perplexing that on the recent Feast of the Immaculate Conception, the feast itself was upstaged by an unprecedented light show cast on the façade of St. Peter’s Basilica, sponsored by the World Bank Group, an environmental foundation called Okeanos, and Vulcan, Inc., a Seattle-based private company dedicated to exposing “sins against the climate.” Sins? These interests may have good intentions, but the parameters of banking, business and academe do not include imputing sin. There may be offenses and even crimes against the balance of the ecosystem, but not sins, unless science really has become a religion. The irony is that many who impute sins to those who disrupt the balance of nature, also defend and promote unnatural acts among humans. Although the Immaculate Conception was neglected by the New Age light show with its flying birds and leaping porpoises, it is consoling to remember that the Virgin Mary was completely free of sins against the climate, and departed this world without leaving any carbon footprint.
In the saga of environmentalism, the eleventh century Anglo-Scandinavian King Canute is often mistakenly evoked as a symbol of arrogance for setting his throne up on an English beach, possibly at Westminster or West Sussex or Southampton, and ordering the tides to roll back. The details are vague, but the real point of the story is that Canute deliberately choreographed that drama to instruct his flattering courtiers in the limits of earthly power against the seas and skies. They had preened that their king could slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet. The tides did not withdraw, the king and his court got wet and Canute declared: “Let all men know how empty and worthless is the power of kings, for there is none worthy of the name, but He whom heaven, earth, and sea obey by eternal laws.” It was a warning for scientists flattered by clerics, and clerics flattered by scientists. King Canute’s performance was better than any flamboyant light show. Better still, King Canute then placed his crown on the great crucifix in Winchester Cathedral and never wore it again. In matters of speculative science, it would be edifying to see the members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the directors of the World Bank Group, corporate executives, and academics, do the same.
Go here to read the rest. The prestige and resources of the Church are being prostituted in the service of bad science. This is a deeply shameful moment in the history of the Church. Even more shameful are the huge numbers of Catholics silent or supportive as to this sad spectacle.