Sunday 15th September 2019

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Church Leaders Weigh In On Guns And Gaia

September 7, 2019 Frontpage No Comments

By CHRISTOPHER MANION

The “Dog Days of August” are usually uneventful, with Congress out of session and millions of folks enjoying their vacations. But our hard-working hierarchy hasn’t missed a day at the office, and their work product is truly prodigious.
God “offers creation to men and women as a precious gift to be preserved,” writes Pope Francis in his World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, released last week. “Tragically, the human response to this gift has been marked by sin, selfishness, and a greedy desire to possess and exploit. Egoism and self-interest have turned creation, a place of encounter and sharing, into an arena of competition and conflict,” he continued.
It’s difficult to tell whether His Holiness is criticizing individual productivity, private property, and competitive enterprise — or the abuse of these pillars of a free market economy. In recent years they have brought billions out of abject poverty. But either way, those who have created this plenty are nonetheless “exploiting” the environment, a gift which is “something good in God’s eyes.”
The Book of Genesis comes to mind. “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth” (Gen. 1:28). Is the Pope telling us the reverse — to let the Earth take dominion over us? He comes pretty close:
“We were created not to be tyrants, but to be at the heart of a network of life made up of millions of species lovingly joined together for us by our Creator.”
So the real tyrants are those who employ the gifts of creation to help humanity survive and flourish? Because humanity has a unique share in Divine Life, while the rest will pass away? Again, we’re not sure.
“We have caused a climate emergency that gravely threatens nature and life itself, including our own,” Pope Francis writes. “Now is the time to repent, to be converted and to return to our roots.” And what should repentance bring? Government power. Yes, all of these exploitations “testify to the urgent need for interventions that can no longer be postponed.”
The sheer volume of the hyperbole permits unprecedented interventions. And who will intervene — budding tyrants, perhaps? And what will prevent those “interventionists” from “exploiting” the rest of us? Not Christian charity. No way. Because it’s the United Nations that will save us from ourselves, specifically at its forthcoming “Climate Action Summit.”
You might not have heard them but “Many young people all over the world are making their voices heard and calling for courageous decisions,” the Pope writes. In their name and apparently on their authority, he calls for “concrete actions here and now.”
And what actions? “Now is the time to abandon our dependence on fossil fuels,” he writes. But wait — start here: a few billion of the world’s poor depend on firewood to cook their food and heat their homes. Are we to leave them hungry and cold, so that that our secular saviors can flaunt their superior virtue to the world’s elites, whom they are apparently desperate to please? Will they continue to fly around in their private jets while the rest of us hitchhike?
Borrowing the radical vocabulary of the Socialist International, the Holy Father proclaims an “ecological crisis” that requires “political and civic leaders” to control us, and punish us for the sin of exploiting Gaia, the goddess of the Earth.
Just what is it that has turned our shepherds against us?
Does Pope Francis realize that the “leaders” whom he invokes — indeed, in whom he has placed his fervent trust — will say anything in order to gain power?
Whatever his intention, one thing is clear: If they get that power, they will use it.

Some Guns Are
More Equal Than Others

Our U.S. bishops were also active in August, once again calling for more gun control. Bishop Edward K. Braxton of Belleville, Ill., resonated their common concerns in his Pastoral Reflection on the Deadly Epidemic of Gun Violence in the U.S. on August 6.
“We are facing a national crisis,” he writes, and, while he focuses on shootings with multiple victims (Sandy Hook, El Paso, and Parkland, for example), he doesn’t mention St. Louis, right across the Mississippi River.
Which is curious. According to Pew Research, “among big cities, St. Louis has had the nation’s highest murder rate since 2014.” In ignoring this rather stunning fact, the bishop typifies the tunnel vision of many among his fellow shepherds. Rarely do they mention St. Louis, Chicago, Baltimore, Detroit, or Philadelphia when bemoaning “gun violence,” even though between them those cities experience more gun murders in a fortnight than Dayton and El Paso combined.
Tragically, a majority of the gun violence in those five cities involves blacks assaulting blacks. And these cities are governed by Democrats, our bishops’ natural allies (except regarding abortion, of course). Moreover, many of those murders can be attributed to boys raised in fatherless homes, but that plague is rarely mentioned by our bishops. Why the silence, one wonders. . . .

Only The News
That Fits, Please

Ten years ago, Cardinal Burke said that the “Catholic News Service” (CNS) needed profound reform. Consider its story this week welcoming the opening of the new school year. CNS reports that “Parkland Survivors, U.S. Bishops Have Much In Common on Gun Violence.” The story chronicles the USCCB’s demands for increased gun control over the past thirty years.
The story constitutes classic agitprop, an unfortunate hallmark of CNS’s brand of “journalism.” This story ignores so much that Catholics must wonder, “Why are we paying for this?” (In case you didn’t know it, your parish’s Sunday collections are taxed to support the USCCB and CNS.)
In Parkland, Fla., last year, a former student killed 17 people at the Marjorie Stoneman High School. Immediately, demands for gun control flooded the national media, and leftist groups organized several Parkland students into an effective national lobbying force. Naturally, friendly media outlets like Catholic News Service jumped on the bandwagon.
Within a year, dozens of new state laws were passed. But would any of those laws have prevented Parkland? No. Because Parkland was not caused by guns. A mixture of politics, incompetence, cowardice, and evasion allowed this tragedy to happen.
The armed deputy assigned to protect the school was a coward (he has since been arrested on 11 felony counts of child neglect and perjury). The district commander was an incompetent affirmative action hire. The sheriff was a political hack and was fired. The school superintendent was accused of hiding evidence.
So it wasn’t guns. But that didn’t stop the Fake News Media, including CNS, from idolizing student David Hogg. Gun control groups quickly appointed him to “speak for Parkland students,” ignoring the countless students and families of victims who objected to the Left’s radical agenda and Hogg’s role in it.
The CNS “story” praises the USCCB’s gun-control efforts, focusing on the Sandy Hook shootings. But CNS ignores completely ignores the facts of that shooting that might be of vital interest to Catholics, even our bishops.
The murderer, Adam Lanza, was a poster boy for the fatherless child. His father dumped his mother and moved in with his mistress when Adam was nine years old. Peter Lanza, a senior executive at GE Capital, kept Adam’s mother on his health insurance because she suffered from MS, but he was a classic failure as a father.
The only media to focus on these fundamentals in covering the issue are those in the “pro-family” category, which unfortunately doesn’t include Catholic News Service.
Once more, Cardinal Burke was right.

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