Originally published July 11 2015
Pope says you can't be environmentalist and pro-choice at the same time; they contradict each other
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) Much political hay has been made over a recent environmentally themed encyclical published by Pope Francis. Some have praised it for placing emphasis on man-caused global warming, while others have criticized it for the same reason, citing a lack of real scientific evidence of the same.
But some who have praised the document for its progressivism may have overlooked a central Catholic theme contained in it: namely, that the pope has stated it is not possible for someone to be an advocate human life but not for the Earth and the environment.
The message, in short, is that you can't be both pro-Earth and pro-choice when it comes to the issue of abortion, because the "life" of the planet is as valuable as human life.
It was a message that the pontiff has delivered in the past.
"We need to see -- with the eyes of faith -- the beauty of God's saving plan, the link between the natural environment and the dignity of the human person," he wrote in a speech prepared for young people in the Philippines in January, according to Catholic News Service.
Earlier, in November, the pope told a conference that "the crisis of the family has produced a human ecological crisis, for social environments, like natural environments, need protection."
Pro-earth is pro-life
Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, commented that the pontiff's pro-environment encylcical is not part of a political agenda, but rather it is based in biblical teachings.
"When Pope Francis says that destroying the environment is a grave sin; when he says that it is not large families that cause poverty but an economic culture that puts money and profit ahead of people; when he says that we cannot save the environment without also addressing the profound injustices in the distribution of the goods of the earth; when he says that this is 'an economy that kills' — he is not making some political comment about the relative merits of capitalism and communism," Turkson said about the encyclical, as reported by The Christian Post. "He is rather restating ancient biblical teaching."
The previous Holy See, Pope Benedict XIV, wrote in a 2009 encyclical, Caritas in Veritate, that lacking respect for the environment was akin to disrespecting the natural family.
"If there is a lack of respect for the right to life and to a natural death, if human conception, gestation and birth are made artificial, if human embryos are sacrificed to research, the conscience of society ends up losing the concept of human ecology and, along with it, that of environmental ecology," he wrote.
Claire Hutkins, writing for Common Dreams, a progressive news site, framed the pope's message thusly:
Reframing pro-life brings the issue into everyday decisions: The average American may never face unwanted pregnancy, but he or she might decide whether to buy a car or bike to work; buy beef or go vegetarian; divest his or her portfolio from fossil fuels or do nothing. He or she can also step up pressure for governments to limit further development of fossil fuels. This is safeguarding life.
As New York magazine notes further, Francis' encyclical is further stating that, in order to care for the planet, the same care and respect for "the unborn" must be shown:
If you say you care about life, he's saying, you have to care about all life — including both the most microscopic of fetuses and the world in which they may one day live. "Since everything is interrelated, concern for the protection of nature is also incompatible with the justification of abortion," he writes.
Whether you agree or disagree, generally, with the pontiff's recent encyclical, the one thing most people would have to agree upon is that his message of "life" – and the Catholic Church's message, as well – is at least consistent.
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