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National Catholic Reporter: Climate Change, Not Abortion, Is Church’s #1 ‘Pro-Life’ Issue

Melting-ice-polar-bearAn editorial in one of America’s leading Catholic newspapers says climate change, not abortion, is the Church’s number one ‘pro-life’ issue.

“There may have been a time when moving from a point of indecision on the matter of climate change, to a decision on whether it is real and caused by humans or not, required leaps of faith of somewhat equal proportions. But that was a long time and a lot of science ago,” begins the editorial in the National Catholic Reporter titled “Climate Change is Church’s No.1 Pro-Life Issue.”

“The science, as it has developed, may not be perfect, but it is long past time that the question turn from whether human activity is causing climate change to what do we do about it. The Catholic church should become a major player in educating the public to the scientific data and motivating people to act for change.”

The editorial then references the recently-released National Climate Assessment, a bleak government report summarizing the present and future impacts of climate change on the United States which concludes human-caused climate change is happening now, it is causing increasing disruption and will worsen, especially if no action is taken to dramatically curb greenhouse gas emissions.

“While the church has taken it on the chin for centuries-old condemnation of scientific truths, the reality today is that it stands uniquely in a position to not only aid the science but also engage in the ethical discussions essential to any consideration of global warming,” the editorial continues.

“If there is a certain wisdom in the pro-life assertion that other rights become meaningless if the right to life is not upheld, then it is reasonable to assert that the right to life has little meaning if the earth is destroyed to the point where life becomes unsustainable.”

Addressing claims by climate change deniers that global warming is a global hoax or conspiracy, the editorial cites a Washington Post column by Michael Gerson, who wrote that “in this case the conspiracy would need to encompass the national academies of more than two dozen countries, including the United States.”

The editorial concludes:

“Finding a fix for climate change and its potentially disastrous consequences, particularly for the global poor, is not the work of a single discipline or a single group or a single political strategy. Its solution lies as much in people of faith as in scientific data, as much or more in a love for God’s creation as it does in our instinct for self-preservation.”

Pope Francis has also repeatedly called for better environmental stewardship.

In his inaugural address, he said the Church’s mission includes “respecting each of God’s creatures and respecting the environment in which we live.”

“If we destroy Creation, Creation will destroy us,” the Pontiff told a recent audience.

“Creation is not a property which we can rule over at will; or, even less, is the property of only a few,” the Pope added. “Creation is a gift.”

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