Climate Change Alarmism in the Catholic Church

News: World News
by William Mahoney, Ph.D.  •  •  October 15, 2019   

Arrest of ecological alarmist Fr. Newell symptomatic of bigger trend

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LONDON ( - The recent arrest of a Catholic priest for his participation in a climate change protest is representative of a relatively new push among the hierarchy of the Catholic Church to engage in alarmist activism over climate change.

Passionist Fr. Martin Newell was arrested Sunday in London for a demonstration with Christian Climate Action, the so-called Christian arm of Extinction Rebellion.

Newell was taking part in a demonstration Sunday to call for ecological conversion and demand police return equipment that police allegedly confiscated from disabled members of Extinction Rebellion during an earlier climate change protest.

I am here to help raise the alarm, to call for a profound ecological conversion.

Attempting to glue himself to the ground, Newell said:

I am here to help raise the alarm, to call for a profound ecological conversion. The life of God's creation is under threat, especially the lives of God's poor. I am here to help protect our common home, our mother, our sister which is among the most abused of our neighbours, as Pope Francis has said.

Newell has a history of being arrested for protesting against climate change and war. It was reported in 2015 that he had been sentenced six times for failure to pay fines, damaging property and other offenses related to his protesting.

As a Passionist priest, Newell's climate change activism is in sync with the direction the religious order has taken as evidenced from their newsletter for next month dated Nov. 11, 2019: "The Franciscan Action Network and the Global Catholic Climate Movement have partnered to invite you to 'live the change' by signing the interfaith statement, 'Walk Gently on the Earth' and, more importantly, committing to living sustainably."

This preoccupation with ecological matters and climate change alarmism has entered the visible Catholic Church, and Pope Francis, bishops' conferences and members of the hierarchy actively push the agenda.

Pope Francis' 2015 encyclical Laudato Si' and the Instrumentum Laboris (working document) for the Amazon Synod titled "New Paths for the Church and for an Integral Ecology" ― both documents preoccupied with activism regarding ecological matters ― are being discussed now at the Amazon Synod that ends Oct. 27.

The New York Times reported in 2001 that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) voted unanimously June 16, 2001, "to issue a statement calling for immediate action to mitigate the effects of global climate change."

The USCCB statement is titled "Global Climate Change: A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence, and the Common Good."

In 2018, Cdl. Joseph Tobin of Newark, New Jersey, signed the "U.S. Catholic Climate Change Declaration (USCCCD)" at the request of Bp. Richard Pates, the episcopal liaison to the Catholic Climate Covenant.

The President's decision not to honor the U.S. commitment to the Paris agreement is deeply troubling.

The USCCCD states: "As Catholic communities, organizations, individuals, and institutions in the United States, we join with state, tribal, and local governments, as well as businesses, financial institutions, and other faith organizations, to declare that we are still in on actions that meet the climate goals outlined in the Paris Agreement."

President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris Agreement on June 1, 2017, which triggered a negative reaction from the USCCB the same day:

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), along with Pope Francis and the entire Catholic Church, have consistently upheld the Paris agreement as an important international mechanism to promote environmental stewardship and encourage climate change mitigation. The President's decision not to honor the U.S. commitment to the Paris agreement is deeply troubling.

At a conference titled "Laudato Si' and the U.S. Catholic Church: A Conference Series on Our Common Home" at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, June 27–29, Bp. Robert McElroy said that climate change needs to be a "top priority" in his keynote address and that the United States has "rejected the only realistic pathways that have emerged to heal our broken planet."

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