Why Pro-lifers Should Be Jacked About the New Environmental Encyclical
This is a post I’ve been wanting to write for a while, and when I saw Mr. John Allen’s article today in the Boston Globe, this seemed like a good time to put this together.
John Allen’s article today is titled “Pro-life anxiety over Pope Francis’ looming ecological manifesto.” This is not a critique of Allen’s piece at all, because there is a huge contingent of people who ARE pro-life and who ARE worried about the pending encyclical.
This fear is understandable. I also think it is misplaced.
I note two sources of this fear among pro-lifers, and the two sources are, in my estimation, of different weight.
1) The first source of this fear is political. The fear is understandable because so often in our political discourse today, the “climate change” argument is put forward by “liberals” and those from politically conservative camps typically attack the climate change.
To counter this fear, it is important to again remember that the Church is not a political party. Political parties can be more closely and less closely aligned with the “Catholic World View” but the Church is not a political party. Neither is the pro-life movement. Pro-life Catholics (which is what ALL Catholics are supposed to be) shouldn’t fear an encyclical on immigration, just because, in their estimation, anti-life politicians are more vocally supportive of immigration reform.
2) The deeper fear of a papal encyclical is, as Allen notes, a fear that talk of addressing the environment and taking steps to be better stewards of the Earth will ALSO be extended to justify population control. Again, there is, on the surface, evidence for this fear. A lot of people who talk about climate change in the world today put forth, as one of their top solutions for “saving the environment”, population control measures (greater access to abortion, sterilizations (forced if necessary), artificial contraception, etc.).
But here’s why I (as a “pro-life Catholic”) am jacked for the encyclical. We need Pope Francis to go in and show the world that it is possible to advocate for greater care for the environment WITHOUT saying we need to “figure out ways to keep poor people from breeding”
Look, it is no mystery that at times human beings radically abuse the environment. Tolkien said himself that one of his main motivations behind the “Lord of the Rings” was to illustrate that modernism, capitalism, etc. always are accompanied by a temptation to treat the environment simply as a thing to be pillaged for all the resources we can strip from it.
The Church and the papacy is at its best when it takes partially true world views and corrects them and shows the world their complete and authentic manifestation.
It is pretty clear to me that the Pope is going to do that in this encyclical. I feel confident that he is going to talk about the dignity of creation AND correct the idea that the way to better protect God’s creation is to contracept, sterilize, and euthanize God’s HIGHEST creation – the human person.
I can’t wait for the encyclical!