Catholic Expert: Pope's New Encyclical Denounces Radical Environmentalism
SAN DIEGO, June 18, 2015 /Christian Newswire/ -- A Catholic expert said today that the news media and other observers are misinterpreting Pope Francis's new encyclical on environmentalism, Laudato Si.
"Some in the media are portraying the encyclical as if Pope Francis is a secular environmentalist, when in reality the encyclical is sharply critical of environmental ideologies that don't recognize mankind's unique place in creation," said Jimmy Akin, senior apologist for Catholic Answers, the largest lay-run apostolate of Catholic apologetics and evangelization in the United States.
Akin said the Catholic Church's longstanding teaching on caring for the Earth is fundamentally different than the politically driven agendas of many activists.
"Some environmentalists look on humans as menaces to nature-as if all other life was meant to be here, but humans are interlopers," he said. "But both Scripture and Pope Francis's new encyclical view human beings in a positive light and recognize that they have a unique and special role as caretakers of God's creation."
Akin pointed out that the Church has long been concerned with the care of nature. "As the Catechism says, 'Animals are God's creatures. He surrounds them with his providential care. By their mere existence they bless him and give him glory. Thus men owe them kindness,'" Akin said. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, published in 1992, states authoritatively what the Church teaches.
"The Catechism goes on to say that, while it is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer or die needlessly, 'it is likewise unworthy to spend money on them that should as a priority go to the relief of human misery. One can love animals; one should not direct to them the affection due only to persons.'"
One of Pope Francis's major themes in the encyclical is the plight of the poor and the need for a "human ecology."
"What Pope Francis is saying is consistent with what has long been Church teaching," Akin said, and it is far different than what the secular environmental movement advocates.
"For example, Francis makes the point that the care of creation provides no justification for abortion, but abortion is often part of the agenda of radical secular environmentalism," he said.
Catholic Answers (Catholic.com) is the largest lay-run apostolate of Catholic apologetics and evangelization in the U.S. It is dedicated to helping good Catholics become better Catholics, bringing former Catholics "home," and leading non-Catholics into the fullness of the Faith.
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