The question “Is the Pope a Catholic?” used to be a way of affirming the truth of a statement whose veracity had been challenged. Not any more. In a rambling interview in the British far-out-Left Catholic magazine The Tablet, Pope Francis was asked whether the widespread economic damage from the Chinese Communist virus provided an opportunity for “ecological conversion”. The Tablet is nothing like as keen on Christian conversion as it is on “ecological conversion”, whatever that may be.
Here is what the Pope said in reply:
“There is an expression in Spanish: ‘God always forgives, we forgive sometimes, but nature never forgives.’ We did not respond to the partial catastrophes. Who now speaks of the fires in Australia, or remembers that 18 months ago a boat could cross the North Pole because the glaciers had all melted? Who speaks now of the floods? I don’t know if these are the revenge of nature, but they are certainly nature’s responses.”
Last month, the Pope was even more specific in remarks published by a Spanish website, Religion Digital. Asked whether the pandemic was nature’s way of taking revenge on humanity, he replied: “There is a saying, that you know it. God always forgives. We forgive from time to time. Nature never forgives. Fires, earthquakes … nature is kicking us to take care of nature”.
As I explained a couple of weeks ago, the Chinese virus is not a judgment from God. Now it seems necessary to explain that it is not a judgment from Nature either. The Pope’s feebleminded, New-Age, totalitarian animism is nothing less than pagan. Is the Pope a Catholic, or is he a Druid?
Where is the comfort to the families who have lost loved ones to the Chinese Communist virus, when, in effect, the Pope is telling us that we are all guilty of causing the pandemic because we have not heeded the anti-scientific, pro-Communist drivel about global warming that he and some others have been spouting for decades?
Let us remorselessly fact-check the Pope’s remarks, one by one.
Fact 1: Nature is not a sentient entity that can consciously take the decision to punish us. The Pope’s statements “Nature never forgives”, “Nature is kicking us to take care of Nature”, “fires, … floods … are certainly Nature’s responses” all imply that Nature has a consciousness, soul or anima capable of rational thought and decision. There is zero scientific basis for any such implication. Animism is a nonsensical, pagan doctrine that, until the Pope picked it up and ran with it, had been justifiably extinct for at least a millennium.
Fact 2: The bush fires in Australia were started by lighting and by arson after one of the many long periods of drought that have occurred throughout the recorded history of Australia, whose national poet wrote of it as “A land of droughts and flooding rains”. The fires had nothing whatsoever to do with global warming, because elementary atmospheric physics dictates that a generally warmer climate is a generally moister climate, making bushfires less likely. The global land area under drought has, therefore, fallen inexorably for more than 30 years. The Australian fires, which were not unprecedented either in their severity or in their extent, were simply weather. That is why no one talks of them any more.
Fact 3: As far back as 1903 a sailboat was able to sail through the North-West Passage, where nowadays a powerful icebreaker is needed to assist vessels hoping to get through the ice. There is nothing new about the intermittent opening of the northern seaway, which has happened numerous times throughout the past century and more. Nor is there anything inherently bad about less rather than more ice in the Arctic. Even the polar bears prefer warmer weather, and they do not need sea ice at all, for they evolved from land-based brown bears about 200,000 years ago (I remember it well), and still rear their cubs on land. Oh, and there are about seven times as many of them as there were 80 years ago.
Fact 4: The “glaciers” have not “all melted”. For a start, as anyone with a high-school education knows, it is not “glaciers” that obstruct the North-West Passage through the Arctic but sea ice, whose extent is highly variable both seasonally and inter-annually. Indeed, the growth of sea ice to mid-March, the time of the annual maximum extent, was faster this year than in most recent years. There are more than 160,000 glaciers on Earth, nearly all of them in Antarctica and Greenland, and most of them have never been visited by Man. The notion that they have “all melted” is arrant nonsense. Some have receded; others have advanced; and Dr. Bhat of the Indian Geological Survey says that the pattern of advance and retreat in the Himalayas, for instance, where glacier records – the longest in the world – have been kept since the days of the glorious British Raj 200 years ago, is much as it has always been.
Fact 5: The “floods” are not attributable to global warming but to mere weather. Warmer weather means more moisture in the air, but it does not necessarily mean more floods, as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change pointed out in 2013. Does no one in the Pontifical Academy of Witchcraft and Wizardry read any more?
Fact 6: The pandemic originated with a conspiracy between the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party and its wholly-owned subsidiary the World Death Organization to pretend that there was no epidemic, then to admit that there was one but that it could not spread directly from human to human, then to suppress the first information from Taiwan that it could and did, then to demand that the world should not impose bans on international travel to and from China, then to allow some 5 million people to travel all over the world, ensuring that the virus would rapidly spread to the 210 countries that it has now reached.
Fact 7: The deputy Prime Minister of Japan, the former national security adviser to Mr Trump and the Henry Jackson Society are among many individuals and bodies around the world who are publicly stating that the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party and the World Health Organization, together with its Ethiopian Communist Director-General, its Chinese Communist former Director-General, its Irish Communist head of emergency management and its Communist former deputy Director-General, should be put on trial for crimes against humanity.
Fact 8: There has not been a single syllable of criticism from the Communist Holy See for Communist China’s dishonesty, which led directly to the current pandemic. What is intriguing about the present Papal paganism is that it puts the Holy See even more egregiously and fatuously at odds with objective scientific truth than in the days of Galileo Galilei, whom the Church is often accused of having tortured (as the relentlessly ill-informed Stephen Fry said the other day) for having made the blameless assertion that the Earth goes round the Sun.
I have read the papers in the trial, in the original Latin. What they reveal is fascinating, and very different from the accounts given in the sillier anti-Catholic history books and newspapers. First and foremost, Galileo was not tried for believing that the Earth orbited the Sun, for that fact had been known for centuries. He was tried for drawing the absurd and scandalously heretical conclusion that because the Earth was not, after all the centre of the universe the Incarnation, mission, trial, torture, crucifixion and resurrection of the Lord of Life were not all that important in the scheme of things.
The trial was lengthy because the curmudgeonly Galileo refused to recant his heretical position. In the end, seven of the ten Cardinals who served as his judges decided to let him off the hook if he would sign a statement to the effect the Sun visibly goes round the Earth, and not the other way about, making Galileo’s daft theological conclusions as to the centrality of the Lord of Life redundant.
Three of the judges rightly refused to go along with any such nonsense, for they foresaw that the Church would end up being accused of adopting the anti-scientific position that the Earth does not orbit the Sun. At no time was Galileo tortured (Stephen Fry, please note). Instead, he was subjected to a form of house arrest (social distancing?) so lax that he was free to travel and lecture all over Italy.
If the Pope is so willing to put his Communism before his Catholicism that he will not only fail to criticise the Chinese Communist Party for its direct role in the current pandemic but will dissemble to the effect that “Nature” has inflicted the pandemic upon us as a punishment for not heeding the Communist Party line on global warming, the question arises whether we are in any way bound to follow his misguided teaching.
The answer is No. The Pope is entitled to expect our obedience in matters of faith or morals, and only then if his teaching is manifestly consistent with what was taught and held throughout the Church before. But he is not entitled to expect our obedience in matters of science or politics, for neither of those topics forms part of his missio canonica. He has wandered barmily off the reservation. Until he wanders back, we must heed him no more.
Meanwhile, have a happy Easter, watch Mass online, get some of the glorious crowd-choiring music of the famous choir of the Church of St Martin in the Fields, and keep safe.
Happy Easter to one and all, and keep safe. Wear as much personal protective equipment as you can if you leave your own property. Here, to give you a seasonal laugh, is His Lordship in his “don’t-mess-with-me” antiviral gear: