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COVID-19, global warming and reduction of Catholic guilt | Earth beat



COVID-19 and global warming are enough to make me miss the days of clerical power and Catholic guilt. In those good days and bad, the church hierarchy was able to issue thunderous edicts, and most Catholics followed his instructions like sheep. If the laity did not do this, they would feel guilty and fear going to hell.

The church had the power to make and break kings; the power to shape cultures and control the actions of people. Too bad she doesn’t have such power to save humanity from itself today.

Could the Pope declare vaccine skeptics and climate change deniers heretics and put their books, articles, Facebook pages and tweets on the Forbidden Books Index?

It would be quite a change from when Galileo and Darwin were considered heretics. This time, clerical power would support science.

Nothing would please me more unlawfully than to have the governors of Florida and Texas excommunicated, as well as the rulers of the petroleum and coal industries, just as kings and nobles were excommunicated in the past.

And rather than organizing crusades against Muslims, as it has done in the past, the church could mobilize its people to protect the health of the Earth and of humanity. But today the children’s crusade is led, not by the church, but by Greta Thunberg. Hopefully, it will be more successful than the Children’s Crusade of 1212, which ended in disaster.

There was a time when Christianity had the capacity to do great things (some good, some bad).

We marvel at those Christians of the past who dug the foundations of great cathedrals, the completion of which they and their children would never see. The idea of ​​undertaking a project, such as the construction of a cathedral, which could take centuries to complete is incomprehensible to us.

Today, it is impossible for us to make sacrifices (wear masks) that will benefit us in a few months, let alone make sacrifices (reduce carbon emissions) that will benefit our grandchildren in the decades to come. to come.

Pope Francis, in his 2015 encyclical Laudato Si ‘, called on the world to individual and systemic conversion to prevent the rapidly approaching catastrophe. Some responded, such as the Laudato Si ‘Movement (formerly known as the Global Catholic Climate Movement).

But millions of us go about our business caring about our daily lives as Catholic bishops and elites (including me) discuss Latin Mass, Communion for Politicians, and Grindr, rather than the climate apocalypse to come.

Francois is right. We need both individual and systemic conversion.

Our lifestyles must change and our carbon-based economic system must change. The thermostat must be raised in summer and lowered in winter. We need to recycle and use less energy. But we also need government regulations and a carbon tax to make the entire economic system less dependent on carbon.

It won’t be easy, but it has to be done. The church has lost its clerical power, so I guess we’ll have to depend on Catholic guilt. But this time, the hell we face will be of our own making.