August 23, 2014

Patriarch Bartholomew Coddles Environmental Extremists

green-patriach-thumb

- Taking care of the environment involves more than clean air, clean water, recycling and the other factors that we usually associate with responsible stewardship. It also involves ideas about the economy, human relationships, structuring communities, the meaning and value of work, the value of the unborn and aged and so forth. Every environmental program incorporates ideas about these factors even if they are not explicitly stated. In order to think clearly about environmental care, we have to look past the surface and examine the ideas that make up any environmental program. We have to ask ourselves do the programs promote human flourishing or impede it? Are trees and animals valued at the expense of the human person? Is man a blight on the earth who should be restricted from meaningful work and prosperity, or is his role as steward of creation a blessing to it? Below is an essay written for AOI by an anonymous author (I agreed to withhold the author's name) that describes the … [Read more...]

Christian Environmentalism that ‘Costs me Nothing’

Ascesis in the desert?

By John Couretas In his June 18 keynote address at the opening ceremony of the Halki Summit in Turkey, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew looked forward to the start of the Rio +20 United Nations Conference on Sustainability, June 20-22. He noted that attendees at his environmental gathering were “deeply frustrated with the stubborn resistance and reluctant advancement of earth-friendly policies and practices.” He called for greater sacrifice and personal responsibility (emphasis added in the quote below): Permit us to propose that perhaps the reason for this hesitation and hindrance may lie in the fact that we are unwilling to accept personal responsibility and demonstrate personal sacrifice. In the Orthodox Christian tradition, we refer to this “missing dimension” as ascesis, which could be translated as abstinence and moderation, or – better still – simplicity and frugality. The truth is that we resist any demand for self-restraint and self-control. [ … ] Each of us is … [Read more...]

How Do We Comprehend Natural Disasters Like Earthquakes and Tsunamis?

christ-and-creation

This essay below that Fr. David Hudson sent along is timely. I have a small parish now which means that after the Divine Liturgy we always have a discussion about any topic that people want to talk about. Today we had the question: How do we make sense of the tsunami in Japan? It wasn't the sermon and after the necessary caveats ("I am a priest, not a theologian," "this is my opinion" and so forth) I laid out how I saw it. I began with St. Paul in Romans, For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth … [Read more...]

Enviromentalism as Religion: Doesn’t the EP get it?

Do you want to understand why the Ecumenical Patriarch's coddling of environmentalism is not only wrong-headed but dangerous? First read Environmentalism as Religion in the New Atlantis magazine. Then recall that His All Holiness threw the full moral weight of his office behind of the Geneva Protocols, a crown jewel of environmental activism, during the Mississippi River Boat cruise last year. Fortunately the UN sponsored protocols were dead on arrival when the East Anglia fraud was exposed a month later. But the Ecumenical Patriarch has yet to explain why he supported them. Why employ such a reckless political strategy that could easily boomerang and undermine an already fragile moral authority? (We tried to warn him.) So why did he do it? And why does he persist in defending global warming as legitimate science and, even more troubling, build moral exhortations around it? Why insist on continuing the defense -- the sanctification really -- of the ideology? Could it 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...]

Response to the Patriarchal Address

While the Patriarchal address has much to commend it, the leveling of ideas it exhibits is troubling. The essay below was originally written as a comment, but I posting it here for comment and analysis. Frankly, the ideas in this speech are muddled. It sounds like it an American wrote it who has only a cursory understanding of the history of ideas. For instance, while the examples citing Ghandi and King are true, it is overlooked that the reason for Ghandi's success was that the English, despite their empire building in India, still responded to Ghandi's appeals that were shaped by and heard through the Christian moral tradition. The same holds true for King. He was successful because by drawing on the morality of the Christian tradition, particularly the inherent value of the individual, he awakened the conscience of nation shaped by that tradition. Ghandi's and King's success however does not translate into a universal appeal for non-violence, simply because non-violence … [Read more...]

Ecumenical Patriarch releases agenda for Mississippi Symposium

The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese released the schedule for Ecumenical Patriarch Batholomew's visit to the United States in October. Separately, a detailed agenda for his upcoming environmental symposium has been posted online. The patriarch's "Symposium VIII -- Restoring Balance: The Great Mississippi River" offers a rare opportunity to present Orthodoxy's distinctive, sacramental understanding of the stewardship of Creation to America and the world. And this trip, which will involve about 200 participants in all, will no doubt generate a huge volume of media attention. We will be following the symposium closely here on the Observer. If the text accompanying the agenda is any indication, the work of the symposium will be heavily inflected by an environmentalist ethic that looks at humanity primarily as a source of pollution and largely ignores the benefits of balanced economic development that does not degrade or abuse Creation. There is the utopian dream of returning the Earth to … [Read more...]

Patriarch Bartholomew on World Environment Day

Message from His All Holiness (June 5, 2009). The patriarch's full text follows: Today’s World Environment Day is an opportunity as well as an invitation for all of us, irrespective of religious background, to consider the ecological crisis. In our time, more than ever before, there is an undeniable obligation for all to understand that environmental concern for our planet does not comprise a romantic notion of the few. The ecological crisis, and particularly the reality of climate change, constitutes the greatest threat for every form of life in our world. Moreover, there is an immediate correlation between protection of the environment and every expression of economic and social life. For our Orthodox Church, the protection of the environment as God’s creation is the supreme responsibility of human beings, quite apart from any material or other financial benefits that it may bring. The almighty God bequeathed this “very beautiful” world (Gen. 1.26) to humanity together … [Read more...]