If you are versed in current events, you know religion is taking a beating from many directions, and churches of all religions are losing their members. A recent Pew Research study showed 35% of people born between 1981 and 1996 consider themselves religious “nones”. The reasons for the decline are many, often self imposed, and not frivolous. Abuse by clergy followed by cover ups and reassignments, sex and financial scandals committed by church leadership, lavish lifestyles, and pressure from outside political groups to not just tolerate but celebrate things that go against church doctrine.
On one hand, it’s difficult to blame people for leaving the church or never getting involved in one in the first place. Why surround yourself with and even revere what appear to be apex hypocrites preaching a message of service and charity while acting in ways that would land most people in jail. On the other hand, I personally want to tell these people to suck it up and either help fix their current church, or find another that will spiritually fulfill them. More on that later.
To the litany of complaints against the church, we can now add its support of the hoax that is catastrophic, man-made global warming.
Earlier this year, we heard of the coming of Pope Francis’ Encyclical called “Laudato Si.” An encyclical is defined as follows:
A papal document treating of matters related to the general welfare of the Church, sent by the Pope to the bishops. Used especially in modern times to express the mind of the Pope to the people. Although of themselves not infallible documents, encyclicals may (and generally do) contain pronouncements on faith and morals that are de facto infallible because they express the ordinary teaching of the Church. In any case, the faithful are to give the papal encyclicals their interior assent and external respect as statements of the Vicar of Christ.
These encyclicals aren’t on any set schedule but it’s interesting to note “Laudato Si” goes out to the broad Catholic public just in time for the International Climate Change Conference held in Paris this December.
Because this issue boils my blood and because I’m Catholic, I recently emailed one of our priests to ask him his position on global warming and if he or anyone else giving homilies at our church will address this it from the pulpit. His answers to me were sincere but displayed a lack of education typical of a busy person who doesn’t dig deep into politics. He said if we look at the dirty skies of major cities around the world, we would be in denial if we didn’t realize what we’re doing to the earth. Then he made what I’m sure he now deems a mistake by asking me my opinion.
Among other things, I told this wonderful man I believe catastrophic, man-made global warming is a hoax and that the subject has no place in church sermons. With a heavy heart, I told him that if it’s brought up in the way Pope Francis dictates – that it’s happening, man is causing it, and it’s catastrophic – my family and I will leave the church. He was stunned.
In my view we go to church to essentially do three things: 1) Say please 2) say thank you and 3) say I’m sorry, not necessarily in that order. We prove our sincerity for these three by serving those in need in our church communities and beyond. The underlying goal, of course, is to become better people. This is what we need church leaders for — to guide us in this process of fixing our moral failings. What we don’t need is someone giving a sermon intended to make people feel bad for not recycling.
Too little is said to condemn the Islamic cult persecuting non-Muslims every day throughout the Middle East and various other parts of the world. Too little is said to condemn politicians for promising to bring freedom back to the American people, and then piddle like abused puppies the minute they encounter resistance. Too little is said of women who intentionally leave out a decent, albeit imperfect, man to raise their children, or deadbeat fathers who don’t step up to lead their families.
If any priest in my parish stands before his flock and so much as hints at lecturing us on the perils of a made up religion – that’s what global warming is, my friends – my family and I are finding another church. Of the roughly 350,000 churches in the United States, there has to be at least one in my area where they don’t buy or try to push this nonsense.