ROME — The archbishop of Mexico City said this week in Rome that climate change skeptics are the “black sheep” of the Catholic Church since environmental “experts” believe we are near a point of no return.
“The human person is the only being that can either care for or damage the ecology,” said Cardinal Carlos Aguiar Retes, as reported by Crux, an online Catholic news outlet. “I would not want for the apocalyptic scenes of the Book of Revelation to begin happening in this century.”
“In all the best families, there’s a black sheep,” the cardinal said. “And in the international community, there are also people who don’t believe in the damage we’re doing [to the planet].”
Following Pope Francis’s lead, Aguiar Retes said the bishops participating in the Amazon synod have reached a “generalized consensus” on the need to stimulate the conscience of the faithful on the care “of our common home.”
The cardinal said that the Catholic Church can do two “fundamental things” to help the planet.
On the one hand, the Church can encourage an “ecological conversion,” by helping people realize the interrelation of ecosystems, biomes, and human activity.
“We’re at a point of maximum alert,” he said. “Experts have told us that there’s a point of no return, but we’re still in time to stop the processes degrading our common home.”
Secondly, all the members of the Church must demand that governments enact policies that promote the care of the environment, he said.
As a church, he said, “we want to help generate a conscience in favor of the common home.”
Pope Francis has earned the reputation of the most ecologically focused pope in history. In 2015, he produced the first-ever encyclical letter on care for the environment.
A vocal advocate of the 2015 Paris Climate Accord, Pope Francis has urged climate change skeptics to an “ecological conversion,” stating that such skeptics are often engaged in “continued wars of domination camouflaged by righteous claims” that “inflict ever greater harm on the environment and the moral and cultural richness of peoples.”
Francis has stated that humanity is experiencing a “climate emergency,” and therefore disbelief in human-induced climate change is a “perverse” attitude that endangers everyone.
Four “perverse” attitudes that obstruct the quest for concrete solutions to the problem of climate change “range from denial of the problem to indifference, nonchalant resignation, or blind trust in technical solutions,” he said.
These perverse attitudes, Francis said, “certainly do not help honest research and sincere and fruitful dialogue on building the future of our planet: denial, indifference, resignation and trust in inadequate solutions.”
Last June, the pope threw his moral weight behind a carbon tax, saying is imperative to oblige people to curb the use of fossil fuels.
“A carbon pricing policy is essential if humanity wants to use the resources of creation wisely,” he said. “The failure to manage carbon emissions has produced a huge debt that will now have to be repaid with interest from those who come after us.”
The cost of carbon usage must be paid here and now by those who use it, and not deferred for future generations to cover, he proposed.
The pontiff warned of disastrous consequences if humanity does not immediately react to the threat of climate change, since the world has reached a “critical moment” and there is no time to waste.
“Dear friends, time is running out!” the pope told a group of participants in a Vatican-sponsored conference on energy transition.
“We cannot afford the luxury of waiting for others to come forward or of prioritizing short-term economic benefits. The climate crisis requires decisive action from us, here and now,” he said.