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December 5, 2014 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

Editor’s Note: From time to time, we publish bits of wisdom from the weekly columns of Fr. George Rutler, pastor of the Church of St. Michael in New York City. He wrote recently about the Battle of Lepanto in 1571 in which Christian naval forces organized by Pope St. Pius V under the protection of the Blessed Mother and her rosary, though badly outnumbered, saved Christian civilization from Muslim Turks.
“Our civilization,” said Fr. Rutler, “now is threatened not only by the heretical forces that engaged the Christians at Lepanto, but also by the more subtle forces of atheism, euphemistically called ‘secularism,’ that have insinuated themselves into our civil institutions. In 1985, a priest was deeply moved to see St. John Paul II praying the rosary humbly on his knees. He said, ‘I became aware of the density of the words of the Mother of Guadalupe to St. Juan Diego: “Don’t be afraid, am I not perhaps your mother?”’ From that moment, the priest has never failed to recite all fifteen decades of the rosary each day, even now that he is Pope Francis.”

Q. We know that people came to John the Baptist for “a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (Mark 1:4). How does John’s baptism differ from the Baptism we experience today? — K.R., Connecticut.
A. John’s baptism was one of repentance, where people showed sorrow for their sins by confessing them to John and undergoing a ritual washing of the body. But that was only a symbolic sign of interior purification, and a foreshadowing of the Baptism that Jesus would give to us (cf. Matt. 28:19). Our Baptism does not just symbolize purification, it actually brings about purification. Only the Christian Sacrament of Baptism washes away original sin, infuses the grace of God in us, and makes us adopted children of God.

Q. A recent issue of our diocesan newspaper carried a report on a three-person panel discussion on climate change held at Marymount University in Arlington, Va. Until I read this article and visited the recommended website, www.catholicclimatecovenant.org, I was not aware that our Church leadership, including the Vatican and the USCCB, seems to have accepted catastrophic climate change as absolute proven fact and that we must therefore make significant changes to our living standards in order to prevent or combat coming worldwide weather catastrophes.
There are many eminent scientists who do not subscribe to the climate change catastrophic scenario and they provide scientific evidence to support their reasoning. I am old enough to remember when certain scientists warned of a coming ice age, and then years later warned of global warming, and now we are being warned of climate change. Therefore, it seems to me that Church leadership is a bit premature in providing a ringing endorsement of what is possibly only an alarmist movement for political purposes.
What are your thoughts on this matter? — D.M., via e-mail.
A. Our thoughts are similar to yours. We, too, remember the wildly exaggerated headlines in the 1970s (cf. stories in Time, Newsweek, Life, and National Geographic) about a coming “ice age.” For example, Stanford University Professor Paul Ehrlich, author in 1968 of the grossly false book The Population Bomb, stated in 1971 that “global cooling” would cause the United Kingdom to become “a small group of impoverished islands, inhabited by some 70 million hungry people.” He said, “I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000.” England, of course, still exists in the year 2014.
The most bizarre thing about Ehrlich, and his like-minded climate cronies, is that no matter how wrong they have proven to be in the past, they are still accepted as experts today when they make fantastical predictions about the impact of “global warming” on the planet.
Consider former Vice President Al Gore, who has become a multimillionaire spreading global warming propaganda and whose film An Inconvenient Truth has been used to frighten children all across the world about an impending environmental apocalypse. From 2007 to 2009, Gore predicted that the North Pole would be “ice-free” in the summer by mid-2013 because of alleged “man-made global warming.” In point of fact, however, satellite data showed that the volume of ice in the Arctic in the summer of 2013 had actually expanded more than 50 percent over the volume in 2012.
The same is true at the South Pole, where the volume of ice in Antarctica is at the highest point since record-keeping began. This led to an embarrassing episode (if anything can embarrass these folks) in December 2013, when a ship carrying a bunch of alarmists looking to study how “global warming” was melting Antarctic ice got trapped there in a record-setting thickness of ice. They had to be rescued by helicopters.
When records showed that there had been no global warming over the past 17 or 18 years, and that in fact much of the United States had suffered from bitter cold last winter, White House Science Adviser John Holdren nevertheless blamed the cold weather on global warming! He said that “a growing body of evidence suggests that the kind of extreme cold being experienced by much of the United States as we speak is a pattern we can expect to see with increasing frequency as global warming continues.”
The other major falsehood about “global warming” is that it is, in the words of President Obama, “settled science.” On the contrary, there are literally hundreds of scientists who dispute the conventional wisdom.
One of these is Dr. Judith Curry, professor of climatology at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. Once known as the “high priestess of global warming,” Dr. Curry now calls herself a “heretic” because she no longer believes in the so-called evidence presented to support this theory. “I am mystified as to why President Obama and John Kerry are making such strong statements about climate change,” she said. “Particularly with regard to extreme weather events, their case is very weak.”
No doubt some of the climate change promoters believe that they are in the right, but it should be pointed out that others in the movement have a different agenda. Some are in it for the money (about a billion dollars a day is spent on climate change initiatives), and some are in it for the opportunity it provides for bringing about “a complete transformation of the economic structure of the world,” in the words of Christiana Figueres, executive director of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which is working on a new climate treaty for a summit in Paris in 2015.
She said that “this is a centralized transformation that is taking place because governments have decided that they need to listen to science. So it’s a very, very different transformation and one that is going to make the life of everyone on the planet very different.”
For more evidence questioning the global warming scenario, see articles by Alex Newman and William F. Jasper in the August 25, 2014 issue of The New American magazine (www.TheNewAmerican.com).
Now there is nothing wrong in expressing concern for the environment and seeking ways to curb pollution and to improve the living conditions of those in poverty; that is a sign of our solidarity with our less fortunate brothers and sisters. “In the beginning,” says the Catechism of the Catholic Church (n. 2402), “God entrusted the earth and its resources to the common stewardship of mankind to take care of them, master them by labor, and enjoy their fruits. The goods of creation are designed for the whole human race” (cf. Gen 1:26-29).
Problems arise, however, when those in leadership roles in the Church move beyond the general principles mentioned above and endorse specific policies that, as also noted above, have no basis in fact but will surely lead to “a complete transformation of the economic structure of the world.” If such a transformation is brought about, say, through more national climate laws or through international climate treaties, it will be at the expense of the individual freedom and economic well-being of those hardworking persons who already contribute much to the common good.
Sacrificing these people on the altar of climate change will not improve the environment or guarantee social justice for the needy. What it will do is reduce their living standards and increase the number of people in need as all are subjected to socialistic schemes that have never worked in all of human history. One cannot raise up the poor by knocking down those who have traditionally helped the poor.

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