When I first started seeing headlines aboutthe Pope pushing for action on climate change, I assumed the College of Climate Cardinals had had a whip round and decided to buy Michael E Mann a funny hat and a big balcony to make up for the implosion of his self-conferred Nobel Prize. But no, this isn’t His Hockiness but His Holiness – the real, actual Pope:
This March, following a visit to the Philippines, Pope Francis will publish an encyclical on the environment that insiders say will tackle the issue of global warming head on. Pope Francis is hoping to have some impact when world leaders meet to discuss climate change in Paris next year…
So the pontiff wants to get a piece of the climate-change action. Do carbon offsets qualify for papal indulgences?
I’m not a Catholic, and so my views on the Vicar of Christ are neither here nor there. In the Anglican Communion, the Archbishop of Canterbury is generally regarded as a camp joke on a par with the leading panto roles, but I understand that not all “faith traditions” are the same in this respect. Nevertheless, I’m not a big fan of the present pontiff. Pope-wise, I like the other fellow – the Pope Emeritus or whatever you call him. Yet, putting personal preferences aside, the notion of a papal encyclical on climate change in order to “impact” a UN conference is utterly depressing in its cobwebbed banality.
And also kind of decadent at a time when some of the oldest Christian communities on earth are being systematically extinguished. That’s a real present-tense crisis, not one of those Al Gore if-we-don’t-act-now-time-is-running-out-to-save-the-polar-bears crisis. It’s happening now, now, now. Oughtn’t that to take priority for the Bishop of Rome? Is the Pope Catholic?
Nor is the onslaught on Christians confined to the Holy Land and the rest of the Middle East. Today’s paper includes an account of the ransacking of a Italian church by a man uttering certain phrases in Arabic. He smashed the baptismal font, two altarpieces, a painting of the Assumption, statues of the Madonna with child, our Lady of the Sorrows, our Lady of the Rosary, and St Joseph. No doubt he was just another of the “mentally ill“. Maybe all these mentally ill Koran-quoters would be worth an encyclical.
But no: The Pope’s decided to “tackle the issue of global warming head on”. Maybe he could just give Michael E Mann a fake papal knighthood instead…