In his general address from his retreat Castel Gandolfo this week, Ratzo talks of creation and how environmental catastrophes “remind us of the urgency of the respect owed to nature, recovering and appreciating, in everyday life, a correct relation with the environment”.
Quite right, Herr Ratzinger. So far, so good. We are out of balance with nature, and we’re reaping the consequences. But then he goes on:
The earth is a precious gift of the Creator, who has designed its intrinsic order, thus giving us guidelines to which we must hold ourselves as stewards of his creation. From this awareness, the Church considers questions linked to the environment and its safeguarding as profoundly linked with the topic of integral human development.
Have you spotted the sly link? He goes on:
Is it not true that inconsiderate use of creation begins where God is marginalised or also where his existence is denied?
Ah, right. So atheists are responsible for environmental catastrophe.
He fails to acknowledge that environmental catastrophe began with the Industrial Revolution, when God-fearing folk built smoke-belching factories. Yes, the process of environmental ruin has accelerated with the use of mass personal transport, deforestation and much else, but it was those mainly religious, God-fearing folk in the days before Darwin, the ones who gave us the industrial world and left the agrarian world behind, who set it in motion.
Terry Sanderson, president of the UK’s National Secular Society, says, “This is rich coming from the leader of an organisation that has plundered the world to enrich itself. As he sits in his golden palaces, surrounded by unimaginable luxury and material wealth, he lectures the rest of us about restraint and greed. We have nothing to learn about environmentalism from this hypocrite.”