A look at the prepared remarks of Pope Francis which he’ll deliver at the White House reveals his thoughts on climate change (and interestingly, “air pollution”):
Mr. President, I find it encouraging that you are proposing an initiative for reducing air pollution. Accepting the urgency, it seems clear to me also that climate change is a problem which can no longer be left to a future generation. When it comes to the care of our “common home,” we are living at a critical moment of history. We still have time to make the changes needed to bring about “a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change” (Laudato Si’, 13). Such change demands on our part a serious and responsible recognition not only of the kind of world we may be leaving to our children, but also to the millions of people living under a system which has overlooked them. Our common home has been part of this group of the excluded which cries out to heaven and which today powerfully strikes our homes, our cities and our societies. To use a telling phrase of the Reverend Martin Luther King, we can say that we have defaulted on a promissory note and now is the time to honor it.
We know by faith that “the Creator does not abandon us; he never forsakes his loving plan or repents of having created us. Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home” (Laudato Si’, 13). As Christians inspired by this certainty, we wish to commit ourselves to the conscious and responsible care of our common home.
Although some would see the remarks as fairly benign, the key is to how they’ll be spun here (and elsewhere) to further a political agenda that says government must act now to forestall the ill effects of (man-made) climate change on our “common house”.
We all know we’re going to see these words over and over again in the coming weeks and months as the administration attempts to further its attempts to convince a skeptical public that climate change is both real, a product of man, and something that can be effected by government action (and taxes on you). Ironically, such action, if instituted, would likely effect the poor of the world the most.
We also know that part of the focus, given who is saying these words, will be US Catholics – certainly a large and important body of the political constituency. How they will react to this foray by the Pope in an area in which he has little expertise will be interesting.
Finally, we all know that this appeal to the authority of the Pope on matters of science is as large a logical fallacy as assuming a priori that Hillary Clinton is a sweet, incorruptible and uncorrupted granny.
But that won’t matter a bit during the campaign to leverage his words into some sort of political advantage prior to the December meeting in Paris on “climate change”.
Watch and learn.