Pope Francis’ Appeal for the Future

Pope Francis is pleading for world leaders to defend the rights of mankind and the future of nature against the power of corporations and the pillage of “free market” dogma, a warning about the planet’s survival that vested political and media interests reject out of hand, writes Daniel C. Maguire.

By Daniel C. Maguire

The Right has no applause for Pope Francis’s powerful encyclical Laudato Si (See, for example, David Brooks’s June 23 column) What the pope sees and his conservative critics do not is that the world economy is in crash mode, an accelerating train hurtling down the track and ignoring all the signs that say Bridge Out Ahead.

The instinct for self-preservation is strong: but in the human species, it seems, not strong enough. Like any good preacher, Francis tries to stir hope as he calls for radical reforms and the reforms he calls for are radical but the shrill of despair keeps peeking out at the brim of his Jeremiad.

Pope Francis. (Photo from Casa Rosada)

Pope Francis. (Photo from Casa Rosada)

At no point in this eloquent cri de coeur is the pope playing Pollyanna, but at times he seems close to Cassandra who was blessed with the knowledge of the future but cursed with the realization that no one will believe her.

The oceans with their coral treasures and rich animal life are dying of acidity and poison. The pope asks: “Who turned the wonder-world of the seas into underwater cemeteries bereft of color and life?” Arctic ice is in a death spiral and ice sheets are melting in Greenland as well as in the Himalayan-Tibetan glacier that provides water to hundreds of millions. The portents are nightmarish.

The governments of low-lying nations states like Tuvalu and Maldives have plans in place to remove their entire populations. To where? Topsoil and rainforests are perishing as we turn up the heat. We have double-based the planet with CO2 and we are near to passing or have passed some tipping points in the “big melt” where human efforts to stay catastrophic results will avail nothing. Agricultural scientists calculate that for every degree Celsius that temperature rises, wheat yields drop 10 percent in the earth’s hotter midriff.

Clive Ponting notes grimly: “About 40 million people die every year from hunger and related diseases, equivalent to 300 Jumbo jet crashes every day, with half of the passengers being children.”

The Pope sees all this and cries crisis! The neoliberals, drunk on our 300 years of nature-rape, insist we are doing fine. Minor tinkering like carbon credits will do all that we need but the overall system is fine, indeed sacrosanct. Beyond that, conservative critics complain that Francis has no practical alternative vision to the status quo he criticizes. Nonsense! He has an alternative vision replete with practical details that the Right finds abhorrent.

The Alternative Vision

The two dirtiest words in the neoliberal lexicon are redistribution and regulation and the pope repeatedly calls for both. Indeed he calls for regulation on a “global” scale by a supranational authority, “a true world political authority,” a concept tribal nationalism cannot abide.

He addresses governments and those gargantuan corporations that roam the planet like rogue behemoths; their legitimacy depends on their commitment to social and distributive justice. He mocks the self-serving naivete that says “the problems of global hunger and poverty will be resolved simply by market growth.” He scores the “numbing of conscience and tendentious analyses” that ignore the “excluded” poor, the expendables, “the majority of the planet’s population, billions of people.”

As Eduardo Galeano says, the reigning economic system vomits out the poor. The nub of the Pope’s message is: the poor need nourishment and it is murder for greedy hyper-accumulators to deprive them of it.

Redefining Social Life

Government, by definition is the prime caretaker of the common good. Francis redefines the “common good” to include the rest of nature, animals, and future generations. He conscientizes basic concepts like “development” and “progress” to encompass the well being of nature and future citizens of the earth. He forcefully redefines the most morally pregnant word in our vocabulary owning. 

There is no absolute ownership, he says; owning imports owing. There is a “social mortgage” on everything we own.

As Warren Buffet says, he could not have built his wealth in the Gobi desert. We receive from society more than we ever contribute. We owe back: taxes are not evil but are essential forms of social and distributive justice to repay part of that debt.

Francis condemns the speculative financial games played by the rich and the accumulation of “virtual wealth.” This casino economy is divorced from “the real economy.” It lacks contact with flesh and blood and soil.

As Nicholas Fargnoli says, it’s not capitalism; it is “greedalism.” And as Thomas Piketty has shown, this form of capitalist economy bleeds inequality. Pope Francis calls the dominant form of capitalism “structurally perverse.”

Are all these the words of an innocent impractical idealist? Hardly. What the Pope offers is what Franklin Delano Roosevelt late in his life said we need badly: an Economic Bill of Rights. Such rights-talk has to get down to facts and the Pope does. Francis calls for “steady employment for everyone, no matter the limited interests of business and dubious economic reasoning.”

As Economist Alice Rivlin says: “It does not seem, from an analytical point of view, that there is any magic number below which we cannot push unemployment. It is a question of the will and of choosing the right mix of politics.” It is a question, the Pope says, of ethics.

The practical wisdom of this encyclical talks details: we need “small scale food productions systems … using a modest amount of land and producing less waste.” We need to break the power of monopolistic seed providers, not mentioning Monsanto by name but referring to it and other “oligarchies.”

People need to be free of noise, overcrowding, lack of safety, poor quality food. The right to clean water is a “human right,” not a consumer item for those who can afford it. “Saving banks at any cost, making the public pay the price” is immoral as is the corporate love of socializing costs while privatizing profits.

None of the needed changes will occur without public pressure, including boycotts since purchasing is a moral act. A more attentive and passionate and less compromised press is needed to call constant attention to the ongoing wrecking of the earth. This Pope hits all of that and more.

Where the Pope Fails

Pope Francis has a problem with women and it bedevils this encyclical. While citing the various groups who are exploited the Pope does not call special attention to the worldwide sexist exploitation of women and girls.

Moreover, he insists that “concern for the protection of nature is also incompatible with the justification of abortion.” In so saying he insults the millions of women who end their pregnancies for reasons they perceive as serious. A blanket condemnation of all these choice by women is wrong and even violates Thomas Aquinas’s insistence that “human actions are good or bad according to the circumstances.” This sorry part of the encyclical is a lamentable remnant of long-tenured woman-free Catholic ethics.

The Pope should realize that there is not a single topic he discusses in this otherwise marvelous encyclical that is not impacted by overpopulation. Every four and a half days a million people are added to our planet, most of those in the poor world. Yet, seemingly deaf to the limits of this planet, Francis says ”demographic growth is fully compatible with an integral and shared development.”

As biologist Harold Dorn says, no species can reproduce without limit: “There are two biological checks upon a rapid increase in numbers, a high mortality and a low fertility. Unlike other biological organisms [humans] can choose which of these check shall be applied but one of them must be.” Otherwise, famine and disease will do it for us and have already begun to do so.

On the Art of Looking                                        

Pope Francis in this encyclical makes a point that is often missed. There is an inexorable link between aesthetics and ethics. He stresses that the disenchanted cannot save and serve this good earth. He repeatedly urges that we open our wizened hearts to the beauty of this blessed plot. A human spirit that is not alive to the splendor of life, to its poetry and its art, is ill fitted to do earth ethics.

Curious as it may seem, the Pope’s stress on aesthetics recalled to me the witness of my son, already terminally ill, when he was around five years old. Danny was severely retarded by Hunter’s Syndrome and would die at age ten. I took him one day to see the lovely lagune near our home which is also a kind of bird sanctuary.

I had passed this scene regularly on my way to Marquette University, thinking serious thought to be sure, but not really looking. When I first took Danny there, he took one look at the sparkling lagoon waters and the mallards and other water fowl bedecked in lovely colors. He grabbed my leg excitedly and shouted: “Daddy, look!  Daddy look!!”

This little boy with blighted mind but exquisite affections was retarded but not blasé. He was stunned at the beauty of the scene, and he begged me to “look.” In his eulogy, I said that that one word “look” was Danny’s valedictory to the world, a world more retarded than he in the art of looking and relishing and rejoicing in the gift we have received on this privileged planet.

That too is the heart of the Pope’s plaintive appeal. Policy without ecstasy will be barren and ineffectual.

Daniel C. Maguire is a Professor of Moral Theology at Marquette University, a Catholic, Jesuit institution in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is author of A Moral Creed for All Christians and The Horrors We Bless: Rethinking the Just-War Legacy [Fortress Press]). He can be reached at [email protected]



20 comments for “Pope Francis’ Appeal for the Future

  1. Dosamuno
    August 16, 2015 at 17:12

    The Catholic Church is a parasitic organization. Its death would be welcome.

    Popes are merely the CEOs of the world’s oldest multinational corporation whose business is stealing money and land and manufacturing Catholics—often under the guise of charity as when they kidnap children and raise them to be Catholic in the local mission.

    David Stannard in his book, American Holocaust, blames the Church and Christianity for the three worst mass atrocities in history: slavery; the slaughter of the indigenous Americans; and the Nazi mass murders. Papal Nuncio Eugenio Pacelli, later Pius XII was nicknamed “Hitler’s Pope”. He supported the Nazis and provided them with passports to South America after the war.

    Most of Hitler’s lieutenants and Hitler himself were Catholics.

    In 1550, at The Council of The 14 in Valladolid, called by
    Charles V, the Council sided with Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda who argued that Africans and the indigenous inhabitants of America were subhumans fit to be beasts of burden of the Conquistadors.

    Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo called for the death of the dark skinned peoples of Africa and America asserting “using gunpowder to kill Pagans is the burning of incense to our lord.”

    Sepúlveda called the brown skinned people “homunculi”—little subhumans.

    For hundreds of years the Church burned heretics, witch, scientists like Giordano Bruno, Protestants, Infidels, and Jews.

    The Protestants weren’t much better.

    Let the Catholic Church disappear. It’s teachings are fairy tales and derivative mythology. It’s done exponentially more harm than good. Popes are not flickering lights against the darkness: they are the darkness. The present incarnation of The Pope was associated with the brutal military regime of Argentina:


    I agree with Diderot: “Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.” And Popes are just glorified priests.

    • Brian
      August 21, 2015 at 09:01

      Hardly a genuine fact presented , just personal, hateful bile.

  2. Mortimer
    August 14, 2015 at 16:03

    Pope Francis represents one flickering match in the Immense darkness that envelopes the earth. He is not the hideous catholic church but one individual human with a seemingly sincere heart for the wretched of the earth.

    Nobel Peace Laureates Endorse Violence
    By Robert J. Burrowes

    12 August, 2015

    In a recent letter to US President Barack Obama twelve Nobel Peace laureates declared their support for the long history of US elite violence against Native Americans and enslaved Africans, as well as the US imperial violence around the world that has butchered tens of millions of people over the past 200 years. See ‘US: An End to Torture: Twelve Nobel Peace Prize laureates write to President Barack Obama asking the US to close the dark chapter on torture once and for all. Obama responds’. http://thecommunity.com/no-to-torture/

    The letter to Obama was signed by ex-President José Ramos-Horta (Timor-Leste, prize recipient in 1996), Archbishop Desmond Tutu (South Africa, 1984), Leymah Gbowee (Liberia, 2011), Mohammad ElBaradei (Egypt, 2005), Jody Williams (USA, 1997), Muhammad Yunus (Bangladesh, 2006), F.W. De Klerk (South Africa, 1993), John Hume (Northern Ireland, 1998), Oscar Arias Sanchez (Costa Rica, 1987), Bishop Carlos X. Belo (Timor-Leste, 1996), Adolfo Perez Esquivel (Argentina, 1980) and Betty Williams (Northern Ireland, 1976).

    The letter, the response from Obama and a subsequent article written by Ramos-Horta – see ‘Obama: The Courage to Say “We Were Wrong”‘ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jose-ramoshorta/obama-the-courage-to-say-we-were-wrong_b_7934284.html – were a stark reminder to those of us who struggle to end the violence in our world of what genuine peace activists are up against.

    It was also a stark reminder that the Nobel Peace Prize, founded in response to the will of Alfred Nobel following his death in 1896, to be awarded to a person ‘who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses’ – see ‘The establishment of the Peace Prize’ http://nobelpeaceprize.org/en_GB/about_peaceprize/establishment/ – was corrupted beyond recognition a long time ago, as has been carefully documented by Fredrik S. Heffermehl in ‘The Nobel Peace Prize Watch’ http://www.nobelwill.org/ and again graphically illustrated by its recent award to a prominent perpetrator of violence like Barack Obama. See ‘Understanding Obama and Other People Who Kill’ http://www.countercurrents.org/burrowes070513.htm (In fairness, perhaps, it should be noted that Obama is not the most violent recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize: that title should no doubt go to former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.)

    Ostensibly written by the twelve laureates to ask Obama to end the extensive US torture program, the letter includes the following words: ‘The United States, born of the concept of the inherent equality of all before the law, has been since its inception a hallmark that would be emulated by countries and entire regions of the world. For more than two centuries, it has been the enlightened ideals of America’s founders that changed civilization on Earth for the better, and made the US a giant among nations.’

    Given the systematic atrocities planned, organised, sponsored, financed and committed by the US government throughout its history, which have been carefully documented by one author after another, one can only presume that the authors of the letter are delusional, incredibly ignorant or utterly devoid of compassion for those who have suffered or are still suffering from the extraordinary violence inflicted by military and economic forces controlled by the United States elite.

    This seems a long way from the ‘enlightened ideals of America’s founders that changed civilization on Earth for the better’ to which our Noble peace laureates refer. And I’m sure that if they care to go out and ask a sample of Native Americans, African-Americans, women, working people and soldiers suffering from PTSD, they will get more insight into the accuracy of their claim as it stands today.

    And what of the US impact on the rest of the world? Incredibly, in his article, Ramos-Horta says that ‘many of us on the other side of the world were touched forever when the Kennedys came out in support of the rights of Africans to rule themselves’. Is he naïve? A sycophant? Has he forgotten the vital role, extensively documented in the US National Security Archive, played by the US government in supporting the Indonesian occupation of his own country? See ‘A Quarter Century of U.S. Support for Occupation’ http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB174/

    I wonder what Desmond Tutu thinks of Ramos-Horta’s comment. Tutu, at least, should know what happened to the visionary leader of the newly independent Congo – see ‘Patrice Lumumba: the most important assassination of the 20th century’ http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/poverty-matters/2011/jan/17/patrice-lumumba-50th-anniversary-assassination – and have some idea of the history of US violence throughout Africa, Asia and Central/South America, killing true leaders and installing US stooges so that western corporations can ruthlessly exploit their natural resources. For a taste of the extensive documentation of this point, see many of the books by Noam Chomsky http://chomsky.info/ and the recent book by Andre Vltchek ‘Exposing Lies of the Empire’ http://badak-merah.weebly.com/exposing-lies-of-the-empire.html

    I am only too familiar with the truth being butchered by elites and their agents in academia and the corporate media. But to read the truth being butchered so ruthlessly by Nobel Peace laureates is nauseating indeed.

    I am deeply committed to searching out ways to resolve all conflicts nonviolently. But we must always start with the truth. Deluding ourselves about history or letting perpetrators get away with violence in the hope that they will be kinder to us next time does not work. Despite his pretty words, Obama will not change – see ‘The Destruction of Barack Obama’ http://www.countercurrents.org/burrowes170713.htm – and the US elite would not allow him to change should he seriously consider doing so. See ‘The Global Elite is Insane’. http://www.countercurrents.org/burrowes050214.htm

    If you have the courage to acknowledge and act on the truth, you are welcome to consider signing the online pledge of ‘The People’s Charter to Create a Nonviolent World’ http://thepeoplesnonviolencecharter.wordpress.com which has been signed by one honest and genuinely admirable Nobel peace laureate already.

    And remember this: if you have not won the Nobel Peace Prize, you are in the same category as Mohandas K. Gandhi and many other fine people around the world who still struggle relentlessly for a world without violence whatever personal price they may pay.

    Robert J. Burrowes has a lifetime commitment to understanding and ending human violence. He has done extensive research since 1966 in an effort to understand why human beings are violent and has been a nonviolent activist since 1981. He is the author of ‘Why Violence?’ http://tinyurl.com/whyviolence His email address is [email protected] and his website is at http://robertjburrowes.wordpress.com

    • dahoit
      August 14, 2015 at 19:09

      Remember the founding fathers didn’t edit all men are created equal into some.
      They were head and shoulders above our current yuppie scum elite poison ivy league Ziowhores.
      The perps and saviors of times gone by are not worthy of discussion today with modern criminal activity that dwarf the dead of centuries past.
      An exercise in self loathing or self righteous finger pointing to obscure today’s creeps.

  3. Hillary
    August 13, 2015 at 12:32

    The world net population increases by more than 3 humans per second, about 100 million per year.

    • Mortimer
      August 13, 2015 at 21:07


  4. Guest
    August 12, 2015 at 19:51

    “Indeed he calls for regulation on a “global” scale by a supranational authority, “a true world political authority,” a concept tribal nationalism cannot abide.”

    Here’s a different take on why the pontiff calls for the “supranational authority” over nation-state sovereignty bid, now. [FYI-The author of this forwarded link below, Odintsov, in his explanations, leaves out the intricacies of how currency/capital markets, beyond oil, are used to dominate “rivals” and extrapolate essentially world hegemony. Nevertheless, the general gist of the piece describes at least the dynamic of what’s actually now happening at the executive level of nation-state capitalist actors at the moment (TPP et al for the US, Russia/China et al yuan hegemony.) And what the Odintsov piece does say, unintentionally as it is unstated, is that as a nation-state, when you give up your currency sovereignty, the ability for a nation-state to issue its own sovereign currency, you give up your freedom to dictate national policy, such as they are (i.e. european currency union countries, states in the USA, etc.,) like environmental, labor, legal et al policies on a nation-state level.

    And so, what the Pope is actually doing, if looked at from the perspective of the Odintsov piece, by calling for this new system of non-nation-statehood status to a “supranational authority” then, could be viewed as an attempt to avoid another probable World War over this developing massive global tension (as expressed over the military “hot-spots” in the Ukraine, Syria/Iraq/Iran et al,) and thus, a very probable dissolution, or at the very least, diminution of the Roman Catholic Church (with the probable ascendency of the Eastern Orthodox Catholic Church in its place.) The Pope’s call for a “supranational authority” over nation-state sovereignty then, is a “kinder-gentler more liberal TPP-like” global economic framework as it were.


    • Mortimer
      August 13, 2015 at 21:05

      “supranational authority” always equals european dominion, in 1 way or another… .

      We know all the acronyms from, i.e., A.I.D. to CIA, NED, NHI (with their vaccine experiments,etc.), MSF,aka doctors without borders, who also carry out “vaccine experiments ” in poor countries, “Catholic Charities”, United Nations “peace keepers”, fraudulent “diplomats” – embedded “reporters”
      weapons dealers, drug merchants, provocateurs, kidnappers, suicidal bombers or straight, Paid liars like Ahmad Chalaabi? and other Paid “informants” and Plants.

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  5. Abe
    August 12, 2015 at 14:35

    despite the attempts of Protestants to promote the idea of sex for pleasure, children continued to multiply everywhere

    • dahoit
      August 14, 2015 at 18:37

      Nah,as the Bible says,it was Jews.(Sodom and Gomorrah)

  6. John
    August 12, 2015 at 14:28

    He sees you when your sleeping
    He knows when you’re awake
    He knows if you’ve been bad or good
    So be good for goodness sake !

    Santa Clause is coming to town

    Be good children, remember Sodom and Gomorrah

  7. Dosamuno
    August 12, 2015 at 14:14


    It’s amusing to hear the latest incarnation of “The Pope”, who like Dr. Who, periodically undergoes transformations, encouraging concern for the environment when his archaic, authoritarian, mythology based institution, The Catholic Church, and its madrassas are one of the causes of the degradation of the environment.

    The Church not only propagates the mythology of Genesis 1:26,
    “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth” but continues to teach the Monte Python Creed: “Every sperm is sacred.”

    By opposing birth control and abortion, the church has helped foment a population explosion that threatens to exhaust the world’s resources and condemn a large percentage of humankind to a Malthusian nightmare.

    According to the Catholic Couple to Couple League, the basis of the church’s opposition to birth control may be explained as follows:

    “The basic reason for the Church’s opposition to any sort of sinful action is that such actions are contrary to the nature God has given us. Jesus said about marriage, “Let no one take apart what God has put together” (Mk10:9). This can also be applied to the act of sexual intercourse which has been called “the marriage act” for centuries of Christian history.

    In the natural act of completed marital sexual intercourse, there is a symbolic bodily unity of man and wife. However, in every form of unnatural birth control, there is a positive effort to destroy the procreative potential of an act that God has given us as a unique sign of married love.”

    Firstly, Jesus is a myth. It’s doubtful that any such person ever existed. If anyone wants to cite Mr. Christ’s opinions on human reproduction, I demand to know how they’ve communicated with him and to see some evidence of this communication.

    Secondly, how can anyone determine what god put together? God is also mythical and doesn’t exist. Maybe if she or he appeared in an interview on *Democracy Now, *I’d change my mind. Maybe not. I don’t trust Amy Goodman as much as I once did.

    “Unnatural birth control”? What is natural birth control? Abstinence? Jerking off? Withdrawal before ejaculation? Why are any of these methods less natural than putting a small hood over the penis?

    According to World Overpopulation Awareness, the most serious effects of overpopulation are:
    Depletion of resources: for example: for oil, the sweet crude is mostly gone, leaving the hard-to-get oil at great energy cost to civilization because energy powers civilization and renewables have a long way to go to fill in for fossil fuels. This country is going into debt to keep production up. Other resources being depleted: soil, water, arable land, fertilizer (phosphate), metals. Pollution: carbon, plastics, nitrogen, GTO crops.

    And, also according to WOA, http://www.overpopulation.org/faq.html#, the main factors contributing to overpopulation are anything that gets in the way of a woman’s ability to control her own reproduction. This would include: patriarchal traditions, lack of contraceptive choices, lack of education, child or forced marriages, banned or unsafe abortions, disenfranchisement, misinformation about birth control, doctor’s ill-informed or prejudiced attitude, and use of a less effective method of birth control, such as the pill, condoms, or withdrawal – the three most common methods in the U.S..

    All three archaic Abrahamic religions have factions that advocate the restriction of birth control and abortion. None are more egregious than Pope Francis’s reactionary Catholic Church. If Jorge Mario Bergoglio sincerely wants to stop the destruction of the environment, a good first step would be changing the repressive, misogynous, archaic policies in his own house.

    • Abe
      August 12, 2015 at 14:42

      I’ve given this long and careful thought

    • Zachary Smith
      August 12, 2015 at 16:04

      By opposing birth control and abortion, the church has helped foment a population explosion that threatens to exhaust the world’s resources and condemn a large percentage of humankind to a Malthusian nightmare.

      Agreed. The Catholic Church is responsible for much unnecessary suffering. Besides withdrawing the nutty prohibition against contraception, it ought to be using the church facilities around the world to provide sex education, and if necessary, the devices and medicines needed to prevent unwanted pregnancy. As for abortion, it’s probably too much to expect the Vatican to actually embrace abortion, but a very good start would be to ‘discover’ that ‘recent’ Church teachings are in error by defining ‘ensoulment’ as happening at conception as it once was. Those ‘recent’ teachings corrected nearly two thousand years of defining the event as when ‘quickening’ happened. That is, when the mother first felt the movements of the developing fetus. Sad to say, neither is very likely.

      In the 1848 Irish Potato Famine the British caught a lot of hell which they entirely deserved. But the Church was responsible for much of that suffering too.

      If anyone wants to cite Mr. Christ’s opinions on human reproduction, I demand to know how they’ve communicated with him and to see some evidence of this communication.

      It’s news to me that Mr. Jesus ever had an opinion recorded on methods of restricting family size and child spacing. But then, he wouldn’t have had much to say about color televisions either. BTW, it’s extremely unlikely that a man by that name didn’t live and get executed by the Romans.

      • Dosamuno
        August 12, 2015 at 19:27

        Mr. Smith.

        I enjoyed reading your comments.
        Had I lived in Ireland, I would have joined the IRA–Catholic or not.
        The British Empire didn’t treat anyone very well, but what they have done to the people of Ireland is despicable. The Irish have gotten a small measure of revenge through Yeats, Joyce, and O’Neil–to name just three writers, who produced better literature than any Brit– except one, perhaps.

        We could back and forth on whether there was a historical Jesus or not: probably neither of us would convince the other. However, you might enjoy reading this essay by Robert Price even if you don’t agree with it.




    • dahoit
      August 14, 2015 at 18:35

      Sam,is that you.?Dick Dawkins?
      The cup is half empty.

  8. Mark
    August 12, 2015 at 14:08

    Thank you Mr. McGuire,

    I found the lesson from your child more valuable than that from the Pope.

    Imagine the great magnitude of impact if the Pope would show the world his sincerity by selling off the art in the Vatican and buying as much rain forest as that money could buy.

    He and likeminded others could easily start to preserve the natural world in whatever capacity could be realized — and of course this is being done on a small scale now.

    I say this not to criticize, but because actions do speak louder than words. The Pope has a huge audience and free publicity.

    It’s my belief he could have no bigger impact on human lives and the world, than by selling off the Vatican’s accumulation of materialistic wealth and putting that money towards long term solutions that will help move mankind away from selfish greed while helping us survive this most precarious time in our brief overall existence.

    This impact would be further enhanced with the Pope having the faith to give up his privileged life and set an example living a meager existence by leaving the smallest posible of personal footprints behind.

    We’re all going to be making sacrifices of one sort or another even if it’s the continuing sacrifice of our morality and concern for one another by refusing to change. These necessary sacrifices if not made, will in most probability mean our selfisness will be our own demise.

    • dahoit
      August 14, 2015 at 18:32

      You want the church to commit suicide right?By impoverishing itself?Jeez,then they’ll be just another bread line member.
      Abortion for convenience,killing our progeny is a most uncivilized ridiculous answer to human frailty.
      And its assault on human spirituality is immense,giving rise to pre-emptive war,drones and other murder as protective necessity.

      • Mark
        August 15, 2015 at 06:28

        The church lives off charity now.

        What would actually change about that if the church sold off material possessions that actually cost money to store and maintain?

        Unless I’m mistaken, nothing would as far as living off charity would be concerned — except they would be living a life of bare essentials that would be closer to Christ’s teachings than the status quo.

  9. paul wichmann
    August 12, 2015 at 08:37

    I have little complaint with anything in this fine piece. So emphasis:

    “The instinct for self-preservation is strong: but in the human species, it seems, not strong enough.”
    [ In fact, self-preservation is all-in-all – for one‘s self; for family it is a bit diminished; for the immediate tribe, a bit more. For the rest, all the way to the remainder of the species, it is inapplicable, if not the opposite – the anti-self – to be defeated, disposed of, or left to rot. This disposition is been codified by the religion of neoliberal capitalism. ]

    “ …but the overall system is fine, indeed sacrosanct…”
    [ The winners in a losing system obviously prefer this, to being mere participants, much less losers, in a winning system. But a winning system, according to the fundamentals of life, is not quite possible. However, the losing system so (corrupt and vile and) destructive that it poses the threat of extinction is fanatically defended by our winners. It cannot be otherwise. ]

    “regulation on a “global” scale by a supranational authority, “a true world political authority,” a concept tribal nationalism cannot abide.”
    [ it was hinted elsewhere in the article that ‘tribal nationalism‘ is for mid-level dictators. Indeed, the “supranational authority” the Pope speaks of would terrify our Gark Marketeers…simply because it would replace their own “supranational authority.” ]

    “He was stunned at the beauty of the scene, and he begged me to “look.” “
    [ Danny was inspired, possessed of a simplicity and purity that the rest of us have cast off.
    At the proliferation of information and communications, I curse “Stop communicating; start thinking.” Yet, from long ago, the Buddhists have said, “Don’t think, Look.” ]

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