August 27, 2014

Catholics and Orthodox report promising progress in latest round of unity talks

global-warming2

I was going to post the release below a few days ago but decided against because, well, it had that ring of Constantinopolitan triumphalism to it. I'm jaded by Constantinople's global warming initiative where the full moral force of the Constantinopolitan Patriarchate (as well as the complete administrative resources of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese) was pressed into service on behalf of the global environmentalist lobby. Even a rudimentary search at the time when global warming was heralded as "settled science" would have given the independent observer pause; too many questions about the veracity of global warming "science" were raised by qualified scientists, unqualified political celebrities (Al Gore and others) were elevated to champion what ostensibly was a project of the scientific academy, too many adherents viewed environmentalism in quasi-religious terms (employing a twisting of the traditional moral vocabulary to justify their beliefs), and so forth. That the Ecumenical … [Read more...]

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew’s message for World Environment Day

It's too bad that Constantinople won't dispense with the Progressive rhetoric (first paragraph) because it creates the impression that Orthodoxy endorses the shabby thinking behind the ideology. (On the other hand, perhaps Constantinople does buy into the Progressive world view given that we were told global warming is established fact and were exhorted to work for passage of the Geneva Protocols.) Greed is certainly a factor in spoiling the natural world, but to attribute all despoiling to the greed of developed countries is, well, misinformed. Deprivation, ignorance, economic insecurity factor into it as well. In fact, environmental care is largely the province of the developed countries while underdeveloped countries (China, India, etc.) are the world's worst polluters. Keep in mind too that without technological progress, there would be no jets to travel back and forth between Constantinople and the US, no riverboats for riverboat cruises, no energy to power the websites that … [Read more...]

Fr. Damick: This Holy Earth – Ecological Vision In The Cosmic Cathedral

Theology is an unwelcome guest at international symposiums on environmental concerns which are largely occupied by data crunching in the service of politicians, international corporate interests, and environmental celebrities, says Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick, in Part 1 of his podcast This Holy Earth - Ecological Vision In The Cosmic Cathedral. But without a vision, the people perish, and data crunching cannot create vision. A technical "objectivized" approach to the environment where we understand creation as something detached from inner meaning and human participation -- as something extrinsic to the human person -- is impoverished Fr. Andrew argues. Sometimes the prescriptions are framed in a moral framework which gives the work an illusion of meaning, but fear is the engine that drives that machine. There is a lot to listen to in this podcast and Fr. Andrew has obviously has given this question a lot of thought. The ideas he weaves together (solid and coherent, btw) need to be … [Read more...]

Papal Environmentalism: Pro-Life and Pro-Marriage

ethics-public-policy-center

Ethics and Public Policy Center | George Weigel In his January 11 address to the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See, Pope Benedict XVI continued to carve out an interesting Catholic position on ecology. The Pope insists that care for creation is a moral obligation that falls on both individuals and governments. His very invocation of "creation," however, challenges the secular shibboleths that underwrite a lot of contemporary environmental activism. Here is the money paragraph in the papal address to the diplomats assembled in the Sala Regia of the Apostolic Palace: "Twenty years ago, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the materialistic and atheistic regimes which had for several decades dominated a part of this continent, it was easy to assess the great harm which an economic system lacking any reference to the truth about man had done not only to the dignity and freedom of individuals and peoples, but to nature itself, by polluting soil, water, and air. … [Read more...]

British Bishops Urge ‘Carbon Fast’ for Lent

stop-global-warming

Pity these poor guys, trying so hard to remain relevant -- and even then they are months behind. LONDON (AP) -- Several prominent Anglican British bishops are urging Christians to keep their carbon consumption in check this Lent. The 40-day period of penitence before Easter typically sees observant Catholics, Anglicans, and Orthodox Christians give up meat, alcohol or chocolates. But this year's initiative aims to convince those observing Lent to try a day without an iPod or mobile phone in a bid to reduce the use of electricity -- and thus trim the amount of carbon dioxide spewed into the atmosphere. Bishop of London Rev. Richard Chartres said that the poorest people in developing countries were the hardest hit by man-made climate change. He said Tuesday that the ''Carbon Fast'' was ''an opportunity to demonstrate the love of God in a practical way.'' … [Read more...]

Orthodox Natural Law Theory

As some have argued here, the Church's witness requires her to clearly articulate her anthropological vision.  The challenges that face both the Church and the larger society flow from competing visions of what it means to be human. The articulation of an Orthodox understanding of the human person is central to our moral witness in the public square, to our evangelical witness in the human heart and (most importantly) the effective preaching of the Gospel from the pulpit.  If we cannot present a clear and compelling vision of human life, then on matters of personal and public morality, sexuality, politics and public policy, the Church cedes the public square and the human heart to increasingly pagan and disjointed culture. Though her immediate concern is  the environmental movement, Elizabeth Theokritoff's Living in God's Creation: Orthodox Perspectives on Ecology, offers us an Orthodox approach to natural law grounded in Scripture and the Church Fathers and embodied in Christian … [Read more...]

Fundamentalism: It’s Not Just for Right Wing Christians Anymore

On the Acton Institute's PowerBlog, John Couretas has a good post (Got a feelin' of Eco-Justice?) response to "the cascading daily disclosures of Climategate . . . global warming alarmist operating within the progressive/liberal precincts of churches and their activist organizations" have taken to dismissing science and playing " the theology card!" … [Read more...]

Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk: “The work of the Church is always mission-oriented because mission is a vocation of the Church”

The more I read what is coming out of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC), the clearer it becomes that they understand the culture within the Church and outside of it. The ROC will emerge as the world leader of Orthodoxy because it comprehends that the crisis in Western culture, including Russia, is primarily moral and speak to it with clarity. Note this paragraph: Archbishop Hilarion added that there were nominal Orthodox believers in the world who consider themselves Christians by birth or by belonging to a certain ethnic group, but they do not completely fulfill that what their religion prescribes. The archpastor expressed his regret, saying: “It is a common problem of all the religions: people identify themselves with a certain confession, but they do not shape their lives in accordance with its teaching.” He added: “This means there is such a phenomenon as a lack of serious and thoughtful consideration of the fact that they belong to the Christian Church. They even agree to … [Read more...]

More evidence that the EP’s global warming stance was reckless

We warned the Ecumenical Patriarch that endorsing the global warming agenda was reckless. Anyone with eyes to see clearly saw that global warming (since renamed "climate change" -- a harbinger that the effort might freeze over) was a political, not scientific, enterprise designed to wrestle control of economies away from nation-states and hand it over to non-elected bureaucracies. Now more evidence about the massive corruption surrounding global warming has emerged. The American Thinker ran a piece (see: Climategate: CRU Was But the Tip of the Iceberg) that alleges fraud from more research institutions that told us that global warming was a real threat including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS). It will take time for the reports to filter into the mainstream, but once they do, you can bet this house will come crashing down like ice breaking from a glacier. The Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Greek … [Read more...]

Science and the Demands of Virtue

Fr. Gregory Jensen

A new commentary by Fr. Jensen (Source: Acton Institute, Dec. 15, 2009) ----- Science and the Demands of Virtue by Rev. Gregory Jensen Contrary to the popular understanding, the natural sciences are not morally neutral. Not only do the findings of science have moral implications, the actual work of scientific research presupposes that the researcher himself is a man of virtue. When scientific research is divorced from, or worse opposed to, the life of virtue it is not simply the research or the researcher that suffers but the whole human family. Take for example, the scandal surrounding the conduct of researchers at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at East Anglia University in the UK. Whether or not the recently revealed emails and computer programs undermine the theory of anthropological global warning (AGW), it is clear that current public policy debate is based at least in part on the research of scientists of questionable virtue who sacrificed not only honesty and fair … [Read more...]

Christian Witness to the Environmental Movement

One more than one occasion I have been critical of the involvement of Orthodox Christians in the environmental movement.  Most recently wrote an essay critically of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew’s own opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal in which His All Holiness not only offered his support of international environmental regulations but also sought to justify theological his own involvement in the environmental movement. Publicly and privately, many Orthodox Christians criticized me for my disagreement and assume (wrongly) that I oppose our involvement with the environmental movement.  While I see why they draw this conclusion, I would argue not that we withdraw but that that the Church involve herself more fully in the environmental movement.  I would publicly encourage and support the involvement of those Orthodox Christians who they believe God is calling them to do. At the same time, however, I would also challenge my brothers and sisters in Christ to a more critical … [Read more...]

Green Patriarch on Copenhagen

Interviewed on Al Jazeera: And a statement (Source: ANA-MPA): ISTANBUL -- Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew called for a legally binding international agreement to avert the overheating of the planet, in a letter addressed to the leaders of the international community in view of the UN conference on climate change in Copenhagen. Reaching a beneficial agreement within the framework of the international negotiations in Copenhagen is not only morally imperative for the protection of the universe but a path to social and economic survival as well, he underlined. "The action against the climate change should not be regarded as an economic burden but as a major opportunity for a healthier planet for the benefit of humanity as a whole, the underdeveloped countries in particular," the Ecumenical Patriarch stressed. "Profit, especially, short-term profit, should not motivate our actions more so when it downgrades our shared and God-given natural heritage," he … [Read more...]