Category Archives: climate change

Let’s Re-Ignite the Ember Days!

This is required reading for all SACC readers!   From the venerable Rorate Caeli:

Time for Worldwide Sacrifice: Ember Week in September

The equinox is coming. The Roman Church will once again remind us of the cycle of the seasons in this Ember Week in September.
We re-post, for those who are not aware of it, this article first posted by us in 2008, and reposted often since. May you all have a fruitful week of sacrifice.
___________________________________________________________

THE GLOW
OF THE EMBER DAYS
By Michael P. Foley



A potential danger of traditionalism is the stubborn defense of something about which one knows little. I once asked a priest who had just finished beautifully celebrating an Ember Saturday Mass about the meaning of the Ember days. He replied (with an impish twinkle in his eye) that he hadn’t a clue, but he was furious they had been suppressed.

Traditionalists, however, are not entirely to blame for their unfamiliarity with this important part of their patrimony. Most only have the privilege of assisting at a Sunday Tridentine Mass, and hence the Ember days—which occur on a weekday or Saturday—slip by unnoticed. And long before the opening session of the Second Vatican Council, the popularity of these observances had atrophied.

 
So why care about them now? To answer this question, we must first determine what they are.
 
The Four Seasons
 
The Ember days, which fall on a Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday of the same week, occur in conjunction with the four natural seasons of the year. Autumn brings the September Embertide, also called the Michaelmas Embertide because of their proximity to the Feast of St. Michael on September 29.1 Winter, on the other hand, brings the December Embertide during the third week of Advent, and spring brings the Lenten Embertide after the first Sunday of Lent. Finally, summer heralds the Whitsun Embertide, which takes place within the Octave of Pentecost.
 
In the 1962 Missal the Ember days are ranked as ferias of the second class, weekdays of special importance that even supersede certain saints’ feasts. Each day has its own proper Mass, all of which are quite old. One proof of their antiquity is that they are one of the few days in the Gregorian rite (as the ’62 Missal is now being called) which has as many as five lessons from the Old Testament in addition to the Epistle reading, an ancient arrangement indeed.
 
Fasting and partial abstinence during the Ember days were also enjoined on the faithful from time immemorial until the 1960s. It is the association of fasting and penance with the Embertides that led some to think that their peculiar name has something to do with smoldering ash, or embers. But the English name is probably derived from their Latin title, the Quatuor Tempora or “Four Seasons.”2


 
Apostolic and Universal
 
The history of the Ember days brings us to the very origins of Christianity. The Old Testament prescribes a fourfold fast as part of its ongoing consecration of the year to God (Zech. 8:19). In addition to these seasonal observances, pious Jews in Palestine at the time of Jesus fasted every Monday and Thursday—hence the Pharisee’s boast about fasting twice weekly in the parable involving him and the publican (Lk. 18:12).
 
Early Christians amended both of these customs. The Didache, a work so old that it may actually predate some books of the New Testament, tells us that Palestinian Christians in the first century A.D. fasted every Wednesday and Friday: Wednesday because it is the day that Christ was betrayed and Friday because it is the day He was crucified.3 The Wednesday and Friday fast were so much a part of Christian life that in Gaelic one word for Thursday, Didaoirn, literally means “the day between the fasts.”
In the third century, Christians in Rome began to designate some of these days for seasonal prayer, partly in imitation of the Hebrew custom and partly in response to pagan festivals occurring around the same time.4 Thus, the Ember days were born. And after the weekly fast became less prevalent, it was the Ember days which remained as a conspicuous testimony to a custom stretching back to the Apostles themselves.5 Moreover, by modifying the two Jewish fasts, the Ember days embody Christ’s statement that He came not to abolish the Law but fulfill it (Mt. 5:17).6

Usefully Natural

This fulfillment of the Law is crucial because it teaches us something fundamental about God, His redemptive plan for us, and the nature of the universe. In the case of both the Hebrew seasonal fasts and the Christian Ember days, we are invited to consider the wonder of the natural seasons and their relation to their Creator. The four seasons, for example, can be said to intimate individually the bliss of Heaven, where there is “the beauty of spring, the brightness of summer, the plenty of autumn, the rest of winter.”7



This is significant, for the Ember days are the only time in the Church calendar where nature qua nature is singled out and acknowledged. Certainly the liturgical year as a whole presupposes nature’s annual rhythm (Easter coincides with the vernal equinox, Christmas with the winter solstice, etc.), yet here we celebrate not the natural phenomena per se but the supernatural mysteries which they evoke. The Rogation days commemorate nature, but mostly in light of its agricultural significance (that is, vis-à-vis its cultivation by man), not on its own terms, so to speak.8

The Ember days, then, stand out as the only days in the supernatural seasons of the Church that commemorate the natural seasons of the earth. This is appropriate, for since the liturgical year annually renews our initiation into the mystery of redemption, it should have some special mention of the very thing which grace perfects.

Uniquely Roman

But what about Saturday? The Roman appropriation of the weekly fast involved adding Saturday as an extension of the Friday fast. And during Embertide, a special Mass and procession to St. Peter’s was held, with the congregation being invited to “keep vigil with Peter.” Saturday is an appropriate day not only for a vigil, but as a day of penance, when our Lord “lay in the sepulchre, and the Apostles were sore of heart and in great sorrow.”9 It is this Roman custom, incidentally, which gave rise to the proverb, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” According to the story, when Sts. Augustine and Monica asked St. Ambrose of Milan whether they should follow the weekly fasts of either Rome or of Milan (which did not include Saturdays), Ambrose replied: “When I am here, I do not fast on Saturday; when I am in Rome, I do.”10

Solidarity of Laity and Clergy

Another Roman custom, instituted by Pope Gelasius I in 494, is to use Ember Saturdays as the day to confer Holy Orders. Apostolic tradition prescribed that ordinations be preceded by fast and prayer (see Acts 13:3), and so it was quite reasonable to place ordinations at the end of this fast period. This allows the entire community to join the candidates in fasting and in praying for God’s blessing upon their vocation, and not just the community in this or that diocese, but all over the world.

Personally Prayerful

In addition to commemorating the seasons of nature, each of the four Embertides takes on the character of the liturgical season in which it is located. The Advent Ember days, for example, celebrate the Annunciation and the Visitation, the only times during Advent in the 1962 Missal when this is explicitly done. The Lenten Embertide allows us to link the season of spring, when the seed must die to produce new life, to the Lenten mortification of our flesh. The Whitsun Embertides, curiously, have us fasting within the octave of Pentecost, teaching us that there is such a thing as a “joyful fast.”11 The Fall Embertide is the only time that the Roman calendar echoes the Jewish Feast of the Tabernacles and the Day of Atonement, the two holidays that teach us so much about our earthly pilgrimage and about Christ’s high priesthood.12

The Ember days also afford the occasion for a quarterly check-up of the soul. Blessed Jacopo de Voragine (d. 1298) lists eight reasons why we should fast during the Ember days, most of them concerning our personal war against vice. Summer, for example, which is hot and dry, is analogous to “the burning and ardour of avarice,” while autumn is cold and dry, like pride. Jacopo also does a delightful job coordinating the Embertides with the four temperaments: springtime is sanguine, summer is choleric, autumn is melancholic, and winter is phlegmatic.13 It is little wonder that the Ember days became times of spiritual exercises (not unlike our modern retreats), and that folklore in Europe grew up around them affirming their special character.14


Even the Far East was affected by the Ember days. In the sixteenth century, when Spanish and Portuguese missionaries settled in Nagasaki, Japan, they sought ways of making tasty meatless meals for Embertide and started deep-frying shrimp. The idea caught on with the Japanese, who applied the process to a number of different sea foods and vegetables. They called this delicious food—have you guessed it yet?—“tempura,” again from Quatuor Tempora.


Dying Embers

While the Ember days remained fixed in the universal calendar as obligatory (along with the injunction to fast), their radiating influence on other areas of life eventually waned. By the twentieth century, ordinations were no longer exclusively scheduled on Ember Saturdays and their role as “spiritual checkups” was gradually forgotten. The writings of Vatican II could have done much to rejuvenate the Ember days. The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy decrees that liturgical elements “which have suffered injury through accidents of history are now to be restored to the vigor which they had in the days of the holy Fathers” (50).

But what came instead was the Sacred Congregation of Divine Worship’s 1969 General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar, where we read:

On rogation and ember days the practice of the Church is to offer prayers to the Lord for the needs of all people, especially for the productivity of the earth and for human labor, and to give him public thanks (45).
In order to adapt the rogation and ember days to various regions…the conferences of bishops should arrange the time and plan for their celebration (46).
Happily, the Ember days were not to be removed from the calendar but tweaked by national bishops’ conferences. There were, however, several shortcomings with this arrangement. First, the SCDW treats Rogation and Ember days as synonymous, which—as we saw in a previous article15—they are not. The Ember days do not, for example, pray for “the productivity of the earth and for human labor” in the dead of winter.

Second, by calling for an adaptation to various regions, the SCDW allowed the Ember days to take on an indeterminate number of meanings that have nothing to do with nature, such as “peace, the unity of the Church, the spread of the faith, etc.”16 Unlike the organic development of the Ember days, which preserved its basic meaning while taking on others, the 1969 directive has no safeguards to keep newly assigned meanings from displacing the Embertides’ more fundamental purpose.

Third, the national bishops’ conferences were supposed to fix the dates of the Ember days, but none, as far as I can tell, ever did.

Dead Embers & Lively Debates

In the wake of this ambiguity and indirection, the Ember days disappeared from the celebration of the Novus Ordo, and at one of the worst possible times. For just as the Church was letting its liturgical celebration of the natural slip into oblivion, the West was going berserk over nature.

Ever since the publication of Machiavelli’s Prince in the sixteenth century, modern society has been predicated on a technological war against nature in order to increase man’s dominion and power. Nature was no longer a lady to be wooed (as she had been for the Greeks, Romans, and medieval Christians); she was now to be raped, beaten into submission through evermore impressive technological advances17 that would render mankind, in Freud’s chilling words, “a prosthetic god.”

While there were some strong reactions against this new attitude, the modern hostility to the God-given only expanded as time went on, growing from a war on nature to a war on human nature. Our current preoccupations with genetic engineering, sex “changes,” and same-sex “marriage”—all of which are attempts to redefine or reconfigure the natural—are examples of this ongoing escalation.
 
The environmental movement that began in the 1960s has helped bring to light the wages of ruthlessly exploiting nature, and thus today we have a renewed appreciation for the virtues of responsible stewardship and for the marvels of God’s green but fragile earth. Yet this same movement, which has served in many ways as a healthy reawakening, is peppered with absurdities. Often the same activists who defend endangered tadpoles go on to champion the annihilation of unborn babies. Recently, after liberalizing their abortion laws, Spain’s socialist government introduced legislation to grant chimpanzees legal rights in order “to preserve the species from extinction”—this in a land with no native ape population.18

Contemporary environmentalism is also sometimes pantheistic in its assumptions, the result being that for many it has become a religion unto itself. This new religion comes complete with its own priests (climatologists), its own gospels (sacrosanct data about rising temperatures and shrinking glaciers), its own prophets (Al Gore, who unfortunately remains welcome in his own country), and, most of all, its own apocalypticism, with the four horsemen of deforestation, global warming, ozone depletion, and fossil fuels all leading us to an ecological Doomsday more terrifying to the secular mind than the Four Last Things.19

Conclusion

My point is not to deny the validity of these anxieties, but to lament the neo-pagan framework into which they are more often than not put. Modern man is such a mess that when he finally recovers a love of nature, he does so in a most unnatural manner. Both the early modern antipathy to nature and the late modern idolatry of it stand in dire need of correction, a correction that the Church is well poised to provide. As Chesterton quipped, Christians can truly love nature because they will not worship her. The Church proclaims nature’s goodness because it was created by a good and loving God and because it sacramentally reflects the grandeur of God’s goodness and love.

The Church does this liturgically with its observance of the “Four Seasons,” the Embertides. Celebrating the Ember days does not, of course, provide ready solutions to the world’s complicated ecological difficulties, but it is a good refresher course in basic first principles. The Ember days offer an intelligent alternative to pantheist environmentalism, and they do so without being contrived or pandering, as a new Catholic “Earth Day” or some such thing would undoubtedly be.

It is a shame that the Church unwittingly let the glow of Embertide die at the precise moment in history when their witness was needed the most, but it is a great boon that Summorum Pontificum makes their celebration universally accessible once again. What remains is for a new generation to take up their practice with a reinvigorated appreciation of what they mean. At least then we’ll know why we are so furious.

Call to Prayer and Fasting
This year, the Autumn Ember days are on September 21 [Feast of Saint Matthew, Apostle], 23, and 24. They follow the Feast of the Holy Cross (Sept. 14), the [fourth] anniversary since  the motu proprio took effect. Let all traditional Catholics unite to observe the traditional Ember fast on these three days: 1) to pray for the Holy Father’s welfare, 2) to thank Almighty God for the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, and 3) to pray for its full implementation in every parish around the world.
Michael P. Foley is an associate professor of patristics at Baylor University. He is the author of Wedding Rites: A Complete Guide to Traditional Music, Vows, Ceremonies, Blessings, and Interfaith Services (Eerdmans) and Why Do Catholics Eat Fish on Friday? The Catholic Origin to Just About Everything (Palgrave Macmillan).


_______________________________
NOTES:
This article appears in the Fall 2008 issue of The Latin Mass Magazine, vol. 17:4; web publication at RORATE CÆLI authorized by author and periodical. Images related to the First and Second Lessons and to the Gospel of Ember Saturday in September: in the first image, Aaron and Moses offer a holocaust to the Lord.
1.Officially, they fall on the first [full] week after the Feast of the Holy Cross (September 14).
2. Another theory is that “Ember” comes from the Old English, ymbren, meaning time or season.
3. The one reason stated by the Didache is more polemical: Christians fast on different days in order to be different from the “hypocrites,” i.e., the Pharisees (8.1).
4.Cf. Francis X. Weiser, Handbook of Christian Feasts and Customs (New York: Harcourt, 1958), 31-32.
5.Weiser does claim, however, that voluntarily fasting or abstaining on Wednesdays was still alive in some areas when he was writing (1958). Of course, the other remnant of the weekly fast is Friday abstinence from flesh meat.
6.Technically, neither Jewish fast was part of the Mosaic Law, though both were, I would argue, part of the Mosaic way of life.
7.From a prayer by St. Thomas Aquinas.
8.Cf. my article, “The Rogationtide,” TLM 17:2 (Spring 2008), pp. 36-39.
9.Jacopo de Voragine, “The Ember days,” in The Golden Legend.
10.Cf. Michael P. Foley, Why Do Catholics Eat Fish on Friday? The Catholic Origin to Just About Everything (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005), 148-49.
11.The medievals called this the jejunium exultationis—the fast of exultation.
12.There are relevant readings from the Old Testament and from the Letter to the Hebrews that are used throughout the year in both the 1962 and 1970 lectionaries, but the September Embertide is the only time that these readings are used in order to coincide with the autumn festivals of Sukkot and Yom Kippur. Again we see the principle of fulfillment rather than abolition liturgically enacted.
13.Cf. The Golden Legend, Volume 1, “The Ember Days.”
14.In the Middle Ages, the Ember days were kept as holydays of obligation, with rest from work and special acts of charity for the poor, such as feeding and bathing them. There was also an old superstition that the souls in Purgatory were temporarily released from their plight in order to thank their relatives for their prayers and beg for more.
15.Cf. my article, “The Rogationtide,” TLM 17:2 (Spring 2008), pp. 36-39.
16.Response to the query “How should rogation days and ember days be celebrated?” (http://www.catholicculture.org/library/view.cfm?recnum=5932, retrieved 2/20/08).
17.Cf. The Prince, ch. 25.
18.“Spain to Recognize Rights of Apes?” Catholic World News, 6/27/08, http://www.cwnews.com/news/viewstory.cfm?recnum=59360.
19.This is not a parody. Cf. Peter Montague, “The Four Horsemen—Part 1,” Rachel’s Environment & Health Weekly, #471, 12/7/95 (http://www.ejnet.org/rachel/rehw471.htm).

The Vatican-UN Alliance: Architects of Death and Doom

Brought to you by Allan Gillis

 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Written by Elizabeth Yore

TIME Magazine cover January 1960

 

I told you so.

The jaw dropping invitation by Pope Francis’ Pontifical Academy of Social Science and Sciences, to Paul Ehrlich, the author of the bestseller, The Population Bomb should finally wake up Catholics. As shocking as the announcement is, it’s not surprising to Vatican observers. From the moment Bergoglio stepped out onto the loggia, this B
ishop of Rome has opened wide the bronze doors of St. Peter’s to the globalists and their population control agenda.

Not surprisingly, Peter Raven, Ehrlich’s collaborator on the Population Bomb, serves as an official member of the Pontifical Academy of Science. Paul Ehrlich hails as the ideological progenitor of the population control movement. His protégé, Jeffrey Sachs is featured as the uber Vatican expert on all things environmental and sustainable. Sachs, the UN bureaucrat and George Soros inner circle advisor, was provided a permanent perch at the Vatican while he spoke at 19 Vatican conferences during the first three years of the Francis Papacy.

This bizarre and troubling alliance was predicted when as a member of the Heartland Institute delegation, I traveled to Rome to protest the Vatican’s adoption of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Pope’s environmental exhortation, Laudato Si. At the Rome press conference on April 27, 2015, I addressed the topic of the Vatican’s Ehrlichian drift and adoption of population control.

The human trafficking crisis was being exploited by the Vatican as somehow linked to climate change. As an expert in human trafficking, I instantly recognized the false narrative by globalists to bootstrap their phony crisis of climate change with the real scourge of human trafficking. The culprit for the fraudulent and contrived panic peddling was none other than Jeffrey Sachs, who mimicked the scare tactics of the 60s population control guru, Paul Ehrlich. Here is an excerpt of my Rome remarks about Sachs and Ehrlich in April 27, 2015:

“And who is the Vatican consulting with on this problem? Jeffrey Sachs, who spends his career sounding the alarm that the world is overpopulated, and fertility rates must be lowered. In fact, at a 2007 international lecture, Sachs claims that “we are bursting at the seams.” The focus of Sachs’ overpopulation mantra is the continent of Africa. He argues that if only poor African countries would just lower their fertility rate, the world and Africa would thrive economically.

This fear mongering is nothing new. Sachs is standing on the shoulders of Paul Ehrlich, architect of the “sky is falling” deception perpetrated in his 1968 book, The Population Bomb. Ehrlich mastered the alarmist overpopulation canard with his infamous thesis, “the battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date, nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate.”

In furtherance of his imagined crisis, Ehrlich supported all kinds of draconian solutions to address this concocted calamity, including putting birth control in the water supply, forced abortions, coercive sterilizations, forcibly punishing countries who balk at implementing radical population control measures. Ehrlich’s recommendations also included punitive taxes on families who have children, and on childcare products, in order to “fix” the problem of global famine from overpopulation.

Ehrlich’s doomsday prophecy was a fraud.

Nevertheless, as a consequence of Ehrlich’s deceit, the UN began its course of worldwide reproductive edicts to reduce fertility, including contraception, sterilization and abortion. The big lie worked and the UN used fear as an opportunity to introduce abortion into the world order. Panic and fear mongering are the weapons of repressive organizations.

Jeffrey Sachs continues the phony Paul Ehrlich drumbeat of overpopulation, and conveniently adds new fear tactics of climate change and human trafficking to justify and bolster the urgency of abortion and other sterilization tools to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Today, same scare tactics, same players, new alarm bells. The scare strategy of catastrophic global warming, debunked by science, morphs into climate change, debunked by science, morphs into sustainable development. Undeterred, the United Nations asserts its power to impose its elitists’ goals on the world under the rubric of “shared sustainable development goals.”

“Yet, forever embedded into the bureaucratic culture of the UN is their desired weapon of choice, abortion on demand. That is why it is so very troubling that at a Papal Conference entitled Dignify Humanity, the Vatican is consulting with the Secretary General of the UN and Jeffrey Sachs to recommend ‘sustainable development’ measures, which we all know are abortion, contraception and sterilization to solve alleged climate change.”

Welcome to the New World Order of the Vatican where the purveyors of panic and architects of death are celebrated and featured by the Vicar of Christ. For those who still naively claim that Francis is unaware of the activities and invitations to Sachs and Ehrlich, please note that Pope Francis shared an intimate speaker dais with Jeffrey Sachs, while personally thanking Sachs for his Vatican work, and the Pope personally hosting a private meeting with Sachs and UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon in his papal apartment. Hardly unaware.

It’s time to panic.

This is a featured column on The Remnant today!

A Two-Year Old Scrit – But, Still Freshly Salient

Allan Gillis

 

b99282846z_1_20150625145926_000_gdchlnno_1-0

I found and bookmarked this a while ago. It really impressed me, so I share it now as some are throwing rope over the tree branch and tying a lynch-knot – eyeing me intently.

The Catholic World Report published this article by Thomas Doran, a brilliant Catholic engineer, scientist and writer living in Michigan.  Mr. Doran takes what I believe to be a measured and truly Roman Catholic response to what the “environmentalist-whackos” on the left would have us all believing concerning the “imminent” man-made cataclysm of global climate-change.  I am a denier – and I was sickened by the way the Vatican engineered their climate-change summit to give verbiage to Bergoglio’s laughable encyclical.  The way that was done further convinced me that “Climate Change” is pretty much a farse foisted upon us by the leftist/globalist cabal.  The composition of the selected “experts” was clearly political and abandoned all pretenses to be an impartial body to help the Pope find “the truth” of the matter. I posted earlier on this blog about the “dissing” of Phillipe de Larminat, the French scientist that was banned simply because he wanted the chance to speak about and give proof that the sun actually has a greater influence than man on earth’s temperatures, but was told there was no room for him at the table. They did however find room for a whack-job atheist Hans Schellnhuber, who doesn’t share belief in the same God ostensibly worshipped by Pope Francis, but does however have his own faith – and it’s based on the Gaia Principle. He’s expressed a belief that “Gaia faces a powerful antagonist” — humans, which he considers the equivalent of a virus — and answers with events like earthquakes and arctic ice growth to cool itself.  In Schellnhuber’s world, mother earth is God and “will explode” if its population reaches 9 billion, a number that the UN projects in 2050. This is the type of “expert” Pope Francis relied on to come to his conclusions about climate change, not to mention the evils of capitalism in preying on the world’s poor.  I say it was all very, very political.  It stunk.

Here is the article by Mr. Doran courtesy of the Catholic World Report:

Catholicism and Environmentalism

“Catholics with an interest in the environment should attempt to separate legitimate science from ideological noise and organizational self-interest”

December 29, 2014

What are Catholics to make of the big environmental questions: climate change, deforestation and habitat loss, water quality and water shortages, the extinction of species, fossil fuels? How compatible is environmental activism with Catholicism? What does it mean to be responsible stewards of creation? These are important questions, made even more timely in anticipation of Pope Francis releasing an encyclical in 2015 on environmental and ecological issues.

Christians believe it is necessary and good to show “respect for the integrity of creation” (CCC, 2415) and to use the Earth’s natural resources prudently, but these beliefs don’t tell us whether specific environmental initiatives are morally compelling.

Environmental activism is often a matter of science and ideology. Not infrequently, when someone disagrees with a tenet fervently held by environmental activists, they are labeled “science deniers”. Ironically, many of those who blithely label opponents “science deniers” do not themselves understand the underlying science.

As an engineer/scientist who has worked in the trenches for over 30 years, taught environmental engineering subjects, and loves to explore history, I have seen my share of bad science and bad data (sadly, guilty myself on occasion). I’ve learned that while we need to rely on data, an honest skepticism of data is an important aspect of the scientific method. On many occasions, scientists—experts—have reached a consensus on something that was subsequently proven to be false. As Matt Ridley wrote in a 2013 Wall Street Journal article, “Science is about evidence, not consensus.” I’m with Mr. Ridley. I don’t care about consensus, no matter how passionate or morally indignant. I want to see the data and the evidence.

Objective criteria, clean data

Here’s an example. With hundreds, if not thousands, of articles and advisories warning us that our environment is under assault and deteriorating, how can anyone claim that America’s environment is cleaner than it’s been for over 100 years? I can, and I do, and here’s my evidence based on these criteria: waterborne illnesses, levels of pollutants in water and air, habitats, technological innovation, and sensory evidence.

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, and even into the 1920s, typhoid epidemics annually sickened thousands in American cities. Waterborne illnesses have been practically eradicated in the United States, to such an extent that most Americans take safe water for granted. Now that we can detect and measure pollutants in parts per billion, or even parts per trillion, many think that we are releasing more pollutants. On the contrary, the quality of treated wastewater and storm water discharged to rivers, lakes and streams has been steadily improving, as measured by significantly lower levels of pollutants. Some wastewater treatment plants discharge water of higher quality than their receiving streams.

As to air quality, there are more efficient combustion processes, fewer polluting products of combustion, and better air pollution abatement technology. Then, there are habitats for fish and wildlife. A 2010 Detroit News article reported: “From bald eagles to lake sturgeon, native wildlife is making a dramatic return in what might be considered the unlikeliest of places—the waters and shores of the Detroit River…After decades of struggling to overcome the Detroit River’s polluted past, a variety of fish and bird species have re-established themselves in the watershed. The budding osprey population is joined by increasing numbers of walleye, lake sturgeon and whitefish as well as bird species like the bald eagle and peregrine falcon.” We’re talking about Detroit, at one time the manufacturing capital of the world, and still a gritty manufacturing center. This is happening all over the country.

In a 2014 Wall Street Journal article, “The Scarcity Fallacy”, Matt Ridley identifies many instances when ecologists predicted the world’s resources would run out, though technological innovation has since broken through these limits again and again. Against the evidence of history, many believe that if we can’t solve a problem today, then it will still be a problem next year and next decade. Dire predictions are often based on this misconception.

Fact: we have the technology to go from toilet to tap, if the psychological barrier can be surmounted. Oil and gas reserves that were supposed to have already run out are now projected to last far into the future due to fracking and shale oil technology innovations. Trenchless technologies now allow us to repair and replace infrastructure with minimal disruption of the surface environment. There is also abundant sensory evidence that the environment has been steadily improving. Some can remember the days when oil sheens covered rivers and lakes, when coal-fired home furnaces produced black palls over our cities, when industrial and municipal wastes were dumped on empty sites or in unsecure pits. These environmental scars have been virtually eradicated in America. Many of these improvements came about because of the efforts of dedicated environmentalists.

The reason these science-based assessments are important is that a good environmental end may not be morally compelling when evaluated in relation to other—conflicting—good ends: thousands of jobs; products to keep us well-nourished, healthy, and safe; property rights; or even another good but conflicting environmental end, such as zero water discharge versus lowest carbon footprint.

Rejecting ideology, finding balance

The ideology of many in the environmental movement also bears examining. There is a quasi-religious and especially virulent element in the environmental movement for whom, as the Journal puts it, “climate change has become a totemic cultural issue, like abortion and gay marriage…What matters is that they are on the right side of the cultural and political symbolism.”

Without weighing in on the complex issue of climate change, I am suggesting that environmentalism has become a moral lodestone to many, one in which facts, data, evidence are of secondary concern. Among these vocal activists, you will find the themes that man—exerting an unsustainable carbon footprint—is a threat rather than a transcendent creature; that man should have no more legal or ethical standing (and maybe less) than any other animal; that messy free markets are environmental threats; that states or intergovernmental organizations with people who know better ought to be establishing economic, environmental, and energy policy; in short, a materialistic interpretation of the relationship between man and the planet. And lest we think that these themes are limited to the radical fringe, some of these tenets are seeping into mainstream environmentalism.

Given a free hand, these movement activists’ energy and industrial policies could return us to the days of freezing in the winter, roasting in the summer, and perishing from lack of food and the pharmaceuticals that keep diseases at bay. More importantly, the Catholic concept of man undergoes violent deconstruction with this ideology, or quasi-religion. Man’s work and dignity should not be subordinated to the natural world, which is far different from saying man should be able to rape the world to satisfy his appetites. The right balance is achieved when man is properly formed in relation to virtue and reason so that he behaves responsibly in relation to the environment. Sadly, the materialistic dogma that many of these activists espouse views virtue, and even reason, as mere human or societal constructs.

It’s important to recall that Catholics have done groundbreaking work in the sciences. In a recent Magnificat article, “The Church and the Beginning of It All”, Anthony Esolen writes about the Jesuit priest, George Lemaitre, who first espoused the Big Bang Theory (convincing Einstein), and the monk, Gregor Mendel, who is considered the father of the science of genetics. I worked with a faithful Catholic engineer with a balanced environmental perspective who is more knowledgeable than anyone in the world on the subject of automotive water/wastewater treatment. Many Catholics may be unaware of the number of highly esteemed Catholic scientists. Serious and committed Catholics, far from being anti-science, embrace honest and ethical scientific inquiry, while recognizing that the competency of science does not extend to the ultimate philosophical questions.

Certainly, there are environmental issues of concern today, even in a cleaner America: invasive species, occasional outbreaks of pathogens and toxic algae in water supplies, spills, failing and leaking infrastructure. But considering our track record in the past century, these threats are solvable, or at least manageable.

Catholics with an interest in the environment should attempt to separate legitimate science from ideological noise and organizational self-interest; not an easy task these days, and recognize that the environmental scare of the month may not be morally compelling, but this rational approach to the environment should be governed by an awareness that though man was given dominion over the Earth—women and men are more than just intelligent animals—we are also expected to be good stewards of this world and its resources.

 

Climate Change Study For Priestly Formation!

by Allan Gillis

enviro-pope

Yup! You heard that right! It is now required by seminary rectors and bishops to school the young seminarians on “environmental threats and climate change”!

What ever happened to the requirement for proficiency in Latin?

The Boston Pilot http://www.thebostonpilot.com/article.asp?utm_source=ConstantContact&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=breakingnewsletter&Source=we&ID=178080   reports this afternoon that new guidelines have been issued from The Vatican for schooling the “young-skulls-full-o-mush” in order to make them suited for priestly duties in this post-conciliar church.

The Congregation for Clergy recommends that women be on the staff of seminaries or teach at the universities where the candidates study and that seminarians’ ability to relate to and work with women be considered in the candidate’s evaluation, since the majority of parishioners with whom the future priest will work are women. [what a damned shame!]

I remember, years ago, a good friend of mine – now a rising star in the Archdiocesan hierarchy here in Bostoniensis regaled me with tales of life at St. John’s Seminary.  In all that he endured, studied and worked on – he NEVER took a class in Latin – nothing, zero, zip, zilch, nada.   People – it is mandatory in the “Latin Rite” that a priest be well-schooled in Latin.  Seriously.  It IS a requirement – tho quietly ignored.   Ya think they’ll ignore the new requirements on global warming, I mean cooling?

What a Bunch o’ Maroons!

 

So a group of “Catholic” investors decide to cower to the Enviro-Pope’s global-warming…  I mean global climate-change    encyclical by divesting from the evil empire of fossil fuel companies.  What a bunch of maroons!

This story in The Pirate today…Boston’s “c”atholic news source – One can almost see the staff writer frothing at the mouth!

Catholic groups around the world break ties with fossil fuels

By Staff
Posted: 10/6/2016

Washington D.C., Oct 6, 2016 CNA/EWTN News.- On the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi this week, seven Catholic organizations on five continents announced they are divesting from fossil fuel companies in an effort to care for creation.

The announcement also fell on the last day of the Season of Creation, a Christian celebration and period of reflection on the state of the environment which began with the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation on Sept. 1.

The move is the largest joint faith-based divestment from fossil fuels to date. Earlier this year, four Catholic orders in Australia announced they were divesting of coal, oil and gas following the call of Pope Francis in his encyclical “Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home.”

The initiative is also part of a larger, global movement to divest from fossil fuels, one of the largest such movements in history. Almost 600 institutions worth over $3.4 trillion globally have announced divestment commitments, according to gofossilfree.org.

Among the seven Catholic groups divesting is the Diocese of the Holy Spirit of Umuarama in the Brazilian state of Paraná, the first diocese and Latin American institution to make such a move.

Bishop Dom Frei João Mamede Filho of Umuarama said he felt he was following the call of the Gospel and of Pope Francis to care for creation and therefore “protect all forms of life.”

“We can not accommodate and continue allowing economic interests that seek exorbitant profits before the well being of people, to destroy biodiversity and ecosystems, nor continue dictating our energy model based on fossil fuels,” he said.

“We know that Brazil has abundant sources of clean and renewable energy that do not harm our common home. Therefore, I believe that the proposal to turn the Diocese of Umuarama into low-carbon is a practical way to achieve what Laudato Si’ calls for.”

The Diocese is also taking steps to become low-carbon and is part of COESUS, an anti-fracking coalition in Latin America.

One United States group, St. Louis-based SSM Health, was also among the seven groups included in the announcement. Founded by the Franciscan Sisters of Mary, SSM Health is one of the largest non-profit hospital systems in the country.

“As a Mission-based Catholic organization, SSM Health has always been deeply aware of the importance of caring for our natural resources. Our renewed commitment to the environment keeps us consistent in word and deed with the Franciscan Sisters of Mary, our founding congregation, and with the climate change encyclical released by Pope Francis in June 2015,” William P. Thompson, SSM Health President/Chief Executive Officer, said about the announcement.

The other groups included in the divestment announcement include the Federation of Christian Organisations for the International Voluntary Service (FOCSIV) in Italy; the Presentation Society of Australia and Papua New Guinea; the Missionary Society of St. Columban, based in Hong Kong and with a global presence in 14 countries; the Salesian Sisters of Don Bosco – Daughters of Mary Help of Christians in Milan and Naples (Italy), and the Jesuits in the English Canada province.

The announcement was coordinated by the Global Catholic Climate Movement, a community of lay people, priests, religious, bishops and a global network of member organizations “responding to the Pope’s call to action in the Laudato Si’ encyclical” by “working together on the climate change crisis.”

***********************************************************

“Now all you need are the bakers and the flute players and you can have a festival.” [ a line from HBO’s Rome series by James Purefoy’s excellently-played character Marc Anthony]

I’m a proud climate-change denier!    I hold firmly that all this “the sky is falling” stuff is simply designed to have us cry out for more government and less liberty.  Period.

I just wish more people would use their heads and NOT consume every fashion and fad that the mass media vomits out.  Dogs do that.  I am a man. A man created by God in His own image, the same God that created Heaven and Earth…ohh, and I mock the notion that eentsy-weentsy-little humans could ever destroy God’s creation!  We might mess it up a little – but we could NEVER destroy it ourselves.  We’re just NOT that powerful or important – despite what Nietzsche tried to teach us.

What a bunch o’ maroons!

 

Allan Gillis “The Denier”

 

 

The attack on traditionalist bloggers

By Augustinus

The usually sensible Fr Longenecker has a piece over at Crux http://www.cruxnow.com/church/2016/05/27/radical-catholic-blogs-may-be-a-cesspool-but-saying-so-wont-help/ on the scandal involving a Fr Rosica who began to sue a traditionalist blogger Vox Cantoris http://voxcantor.blogspot.ca/  last year. Rosica claimed that this blogger practiced character assassination and was filled with too much venom and hatred. It is not clear what Fr Rosica was suing about because you cannot sue someone for being full of hatred. Anyway the usually sensible Fr Llongenecker wrote a piece yesterday over at Crux arguing that suing traditionalist bloggers would do no good as they ‘will remain a cesspool of hate and venom’. I would have thought that  the usually sensible Father would have denounced the practice of suing fellow Catholic bloggers, traditionalist or otherwise as being immoral in itself unless there was a case for something like libel. But Longenecker instead more or less endorsed the view that traditionalist bloggers were filled with hate and were simply spilling bile. I am amazed someone as sensible as Longenecker can think this about people who dedicate their lives to fighting for the Church! When I review the traditionalist blogs mentioned in his piece I do see a lot of venom and some crazy stuff but no more than I see in the mainstream catholic bogs I visit. There is hatred, venom, shrill wild claims, nonsense, and character assasination all over the Catholic blogosphere.–both in mainstream Vatican II Catholics and among traditionalists….though I have to say that the only heresies I see are promoted by Vatican II Catholics not the traditionalists. I do not see the traditionalists claiming that all religions are equally true and that there is salvation outside the catholic church but I have seen that argued in many mainstream catholic blogs.   Among the blogs that Longenecker dissed was ipeter5….Now take a look at who writes for that blog

Contributors

Obviously these are good, smart, competent, accomplished people all of whom are orthodox Catholics and all of whom are in good standing with the Church. Instead of threatening to sue them we should be cheering them on even when we do not agree with some of the things they say. When they say crazy stuff we should critique it just as we do when non-traditionalist bloggers do so. In Fr Longenecker’s account of the Rosica affair, Rosica dropped the suit against Vox Cantoris when Michael Voris created bad publicity over the whole thing but in my reading of the affair Rosica dropped the suit when figures within the Church hierarchy commented in the press that church figures should NOT be attempting to silence militant bloggers.

May I recommend to my fellow Catholic bloggers, traditionalists and mainstream alike, the model we have adopted here at saveourcatholicchurch? We publish both traditionalist views and mainstream Vatican II, pro Pope Francis views and everything in between. I myself have written pieces that many consider traditionalist and other pieces in praise of Pope Francis (for his encyclical on climate change for example).  We cannot arrive at the truth without talking to one another, without conflict and debate. Error has no rights it is true but we first need to decide where the error lies in our Church today and that can only be decided via prayer, open debate and fasting.

Bernie Sanders accepts Pope Francis’ Vatican invitation

Brought to you from The New York Daily News by Allan Gillis

Meg Wagner –

bernie-sanders

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is making a one-of-a-kind campaign stop at the Vatican— and hand to God, he swears the invite was not his idea.

The Vermont senator was asked out of the blue last week to speak at an April 15 church conference with Pope Francis on social, economic and environmental issues, said a Sanders spokesman.

The candidate went public with the news on Friday, when the Vatican confirmed that Sanders, along with other world leaders, academics and scholars, was asked to attend.

But Margaret Archer, president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, told Bloomberg News that Sanders — in a show of “monumental discourtesy” — lobbied for a spot at the get-together.

“Sanders made the first move, for the obvious reasons,” charged Archer. “I think in a sense he may be going for the Catholic vote. But this is not the Catholic vote and he should remember that and act accordingly — not that he will.”

Sanders spokesman Michael Shank denied her version of what happened, and claimed there was no angling for a spot before the March 30 invite arrived.

In a copy of the invitation provided by the Sanders campaign, Archer was listed as one of the people officially requesting Sanders’ presence.

After making the trip to Rome, Sanders will return to New York for the final days of campaigning before the April 19 primary.

While a Jewish socialist from Brooklyn and an Argentine Catholic pontiff sounds like an odd couple, Sanders said the two shared similar views on many issues — particularly the economy and specifically the 1% of America’s wealthiest people.

“He’s talking about the idolatry of money, the worship of money, the greed that’s out there,” said a clearly thrilled Sanders in a Friday appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program.

“He’s trying to inject a sense of morality into how we do economics. And we need that, absolutely, desperately.”

Sanders described himself as a “big, big fan of the Pope,” and has invoked Pope Francis during his increasingly contentious campaign against front-runner Hillary Clinton.

The idea of a so-called “moral economy” as espoused by the Pope “is an issue that is very dear to my heart,” Sanders said.

The socialist Democrat has won six of the last seven Democratic primaries or caucuses, with the New York race shaping up as critical for both candidates. The Vatican visit will come the day after a crucial May 14 Clinton-Sanders debate in his native borough.

Sanders, who hopes to meet with the Pope next week, offered a quick preview of what to expect from his address to the Vatican crowd.

“I will … be addressing the planetary crisis of climate change and the moral imperative to make sure we leave this planet in a way that is healthy and habitable for future generations,” said Sanders.

Sanders, during his morning show visit, said the pope’s views on global wealth and morality were far more radical than his.

“Read what the Pope is writing,” said Sanders. “What he is saying is not only that we have to pay attention to what he calls the dispossessed … (But) how our whole culture is based on ‘I need more and more and more, and I don’t have to worry about veterans sleeping out on the street or elderly people who can’t afford their prescription drugs.’”

(emphasis by your blog host)

UPDATE:

After thinking about this overnight – for me, it begs the question; if Bergoglio weren’t a cleric – would he have ended up an Argentinean Socialist/Communist thug?  Why didn’t Rick Santorum get invited to the Vatican?  Oh!  That’s right – he’s a “Denier”!!  …well then, doesn’t that put Santorum (and others like myself) on one of Frankie’s “peripheries”?