The Right has no applause for Pope Francis’s powerful encyclical Laudato Si (See, for example, David Brooks’s June 23 column) What the pope sees and his conservative critics do not is that the world economy is in crash mode, an accelerating train hurtling down the track and ignoring all the signs that say Bridge Out Ahead.
The instinct for self-preservation is strong: but in the human species, it seems, not strong enough. Like any good preacher, Francis tries to stir hope as he calls for radical reforms – and the reforms he calls for are radical – but the shrill of despair keeps peeking out at the brim of his Jeremiad.
At no point in this eloquent cri de coeur is the pope playing Pollyanna, but at times he seems close to Cassandra who was blessed with the knowledge of the future but cursed with the realization that no one will believe her.
The oceans with their coral treasures and rich animal life are dying of acidity and poison. The pope asks: “Who turned the wonder-world of the seas into underwater cemeteries bereft of color and life?” Arctic ice is in a death spiral and ice sheets are melting in Greenland as well as in the Himalayan-Tibetan glacier that provides water to hundreds of millions. The portents are nightmarish.
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