Q: Is the Catholic Church environmentally aware?


 

A: Is the pope Catholic?

Heh, heh. Well, it might not be quite that obvious yet, but we have been noticing a few interesting green developments in the Catholic Church of late.

Today, we learned from Reuters that Pope Benedict’s advisers are urging him to connect with President Bush on climate change. We also heard from the Guardian that the pope made a statement about the environment yesterday:

At a Vatican conference on climate change, Pope Benedict urged bishops, scientists and politicians - including UK environment secretary David Miliband - to "respect creation" while "focusing on the needs of sustainable development".

Um, easier said than done. In any hierarchical organization, it’s one thing for the head honcho to make a proclamation, and quite another for the masses (about a billion of them in the case of the Catholic Church) to start putting that proclamation into action.

But we have reason to believe that green ideas really are percolating in the Catholic Church—whether it’s because of the pope’s message, or just because green ideas are in the air these days. The Catholic press is buzzing about global warming (and it’s not just the usual suspect, we promise)! The evidence we’ve rounded up: 

  • National Catholic Reporter, one of the oldest and most widely read Catholic publications, recently posted an interview with Bill McKibben called “How to Make People Happier and Save the Environment.” 
  • America, a national, Catholic weekly magazine, has amped up its environmental coverage, most recently with this article about global warming, this review of Fred Pearce’s new book, “With Speed and Violence: Why Scientists Fear Tipping Points in Climate Change,” and this editorial about “global stewardship.” (Unfortunately some of America’s content seems to be available only to subscribers).
  • Even the traditionally über-local Diocesan press (most archdioceses have their own newspapers) is thinking green. For example, check out this piece from The Catholic Spirit, the newspaper of the St. Paul, Minnesota Archdiocese.

A body as far-reaching and powerful as the Catholic Church taking global warming seriously? Talk about good tidings.

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