We were previously treated to the spectacle of a prince of the Roman Catholic Church, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna, acting as a shill for intelligent design creationism and the Discovery Institute. Now we can go from Austria down to Australia and sit at the feet of another cardinal who is eager to share his wisdom with us. Cardinal George Pell of Sydney has signed up with the deniers of climate change. With his impeccable credentials as a cleric, Pell sees concerns about global warming as a rival religion.
Cardinal questions global-warming fearsPell's comments were reported in the April 2007 issue of The Catholic World Report, from which the above news item was quoted. The magazine appears to have picked up Pell's concerns from a post titled Scaremongers on the website of the cardinal's archdiocese, where the prelate's Sunday Telegraph columns are made available. It carries a date of February 18, 2007, so Cardinal Pell spoke before the release of this month's Climate Change 2007 summary by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, but I doubt it has changed Pell's mind. He is, after all, the sort of fellow who finds it appropriate to think it's evidence against global warming when he says, “January also was unusually cool.” Yes, that is indeed a weighty argument.
SEES A “SEMI-RELIGIOUS” INTENSITY
Cardinal George Pell of Sydney has questioned what he describes as a “semi-religious” focus on the issue of global warming.
In a column for the Australian Sunday Telegraph, Cardinal Pell charges that the intense concern about the dangers of climate changes are the result of an effective public campaign in which “zealots have been presenting extreme scenarios to frighten us.”
The result, the cardinal said, is “an induced dose of mild hysteria,” which he said has grown “dangerously close to superstition.”
Announcing that he is “deeply skeptical” about the argument that global warming threatens the future, the cardinal pointed to the mixed scientific evidence on the question. “The science is certainly more complicated than the propaganda,” he said, urging readers to reject “scare-mongering” and resist hasty conclusions.
On Easter Sunday, Pell included a little joke in his holiday message: “More importantly we are uneasy about the climate. We are told El Niño has disappeared, but the drought is not over in most parts. And we have the threat of global warming. It is to be hoped the one true God will accept all those carbon credits.” That cardinal—such a kidder.
My favorite item in Pell's discourse on global warming is his warning that the environmental community is getting “dangerously close to superstition.” The cardinal wishes to discourage all forms of superstition other than his own, so I think we can view his homily as an act of turf protection. The Roman Catholic Catechism offers this advice on the subject of superstition in paragraph 2110:
The first commandment forbids honoring gods other than the one Lord who has revealed himself to his people. It proscribes superstition and irreligion. Superstition in some sense represents a perverse excess of religion; irreligion is the vice contrary by defect to the virtue of religion.If that's not enough for you, paragraph 2111 offers more: “Superstition is the deviation of religious feeling and of the practices this feeling imposes.”
You might be wondering how to tell the difference between religion and superstition. Not to worry. Pell and his red-garbed brethren are ready to instruct us. Thanks to them, we now know that evolution and global warming are superstitions.
That's good to know.