Editorial policy must be consistent with Catholic social teaching



In a Sept. 26 editorial written by one of Rhode Island Catholic’s editorial writers the writer labels Ms. Greta Thunberg, a climate change advocate for her generation, as a pawn of China and Russia to install a worldwide “green dictatorship” modelled on their own countries’ governments. These “extreme forms of socialism” would lead to the ultimate reality, “the true Catholic faith will be sacrificed.” The writer cites Dr. Laurent Alexandre as the source for this scenario. The article details Dr. Alexandre’s scientific credentials as “surgeon-urologist” (no training listed), “a graduate of Sciences Po” (Paris institute of Political Studies), “HEC” (Paris Business School) “and ENA” (France’s National School of Administration for training French senior civil servants). He is co-founder of Doctissimo, a French health and well-being website. His credentials do not indicate he is an expert on environmental science and specifically climate change.
Unfortunately, the writer did not include any references to Catholic teaching on climate change and the need for immediate action. On June 18, 2015, Pope Francis issued his first encyclical, “Laudato Si’”, subtitled “On Care for Our Common Home.” The pope stated, “Never have we so hurt and mistreated our common home as we have in the last two hundred years.” He continued, “Reducing greenhouse gases requires honesty, courage and responsibility.” He included statements from Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Saint John Paul II who urged nations to curb the effects of climate change before the planet is unalterably damaged. That same year, Francis added the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation to the Catholic Calendar. This year on September 1, 2019, he addressed a message to the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. “We have caused a climate emergency that gravely threatens nature and life itself, including our own.” Governments should “renew commitments decisive for directing the planet towards life, not death.” Three days before the Sept. 26 editorial was published, Pope Francis addressed the U.N. Climate Action Summit and reinforced the need for courage, responsibility and honesty to curb the effects of climate change.
Your editorial on the “Green Dictatorship” contradicts the newspaper’s own editorial published in the previous Commentary of Sept. 19, 2019, titled “Eternal truths must not be sacrificed on the altar of progress.” The writer of that editorial discusses the first three plenary councils of Baltimore in 1852, 1866 and 1884 in which the American bishops “recognized that everything they enacted must mirror communion with the Bishop of Rome and the divine deposit of the faith.” The Sept. 26 editorial does not mirror Catholic teaching as espoused in the encyclical of the current pope and statements by two previous popes.

Richard G. Einig, Ph.D. & Lynne H. Einig, East Greenwich