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Cardinal: failure to address climate change is ‘moral apartheid’

December 05, 2011

As the Durban Climate Change Conference reached its midway point, the president of the Church’s confederation of relief and development agencies compared current environmental policies to apartheid.

Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga, president of Caritas Internationalis, said that “just as South Africa’s apartheid era policies sought divisions along race lines, today the world’s environment and energy policies divide man from nature.”

“Don’t we realize that the climate is out of control?” the Honduran prelate said during his Sunday homily. “How long will countless people have to go on dying before adequate decisions are taken?”

“It’s true that in faith we wait ‘for the new heavens and the new earth’ as the second reading told us, but this does not mean indifference or complicity with those who destroy this land where we live,” he added. ‘Living holy and saintly lives’ means living in justice with creation and the environment, and especially with the poor people who are the primary victims of this serious problem.”

“In the desert John ‘cried out’ the need to prepare a way for the Lord. Today, in the desert of our planet earth, and in the desert of our hearts, the same voice is ringing out. This conference of delegates from so many countries cannot remain as a voice silenced by economic power.”


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  • Posted by: - Dec. 06, 2011 7:39 PM ET USA

    I've been hearing this global warming alarmism for most of my life and I'm growing weary of it. While you can demonstrate that earth's average temperature HAS risen a bit in the last 100 years, you can ALSO demonstrate that earth's temperature had FALLEN in the 100 years before then. ..There's also emerging evidence that some of the data that supports global warming has been..rigged. Seems there are "scientists" around the world who aren't quite as honest as we expected....

  • Posted by: lynnvinc7142 - Dec. 06, 2011 10:15 AM ET USA

    I'm wondering could it land one in hell if they refuse to mitigate & reduce their contribs to destruction of life on earth? Surely spreading disinformation is much worse, like Cain denying he killed his brother, but even worse bec the intent is to halt others from mitigating, and it could be the millstone around the neck for them. But God is all merciful to those who repend and turn to do good -- see how the father received his profligate son.

  • Posted by: filioque - Dec. 06, 2011 12:03 AM ET USA

    Your Eminence, the climate has always been and will always be out of control! The entire program of those who claim we are ruining the climate is to limit development by limiting energy production -- this is the worst thing that can happen to poor people. The people behind the panic are the anti-population, anti-development nihilists who are no friends of the poor.

  • Posted by: mrschips19308196 - Dec. 05, 2011 10:41 PM ET USA

    jdempsy: why are the ice caps on Mars melting? I would like to ask the Cardinal to also take a look at that fact..................

  • Posted by: bnewman - Dec. 05, 2011 10:18 PM ET USA

    There is much hot air expressed on climate change both by scientists (seeking funding,) and some church officials. It appears there has been a small increase in average global temperature over the past 50 years: some small part of this might have been man-made but how much if any is unknown. What is certain is that any funds expended on this hypothetical problem perhaps 100 years in the future, leaves less to be spent on serious problems in the third world now, such as clean drinking water

  • Posted by: stpetric - Dec. 05, 2011 9:40 PM ET USA

    I'm sure Cardinal Rodríguez has significant insight into anthropogenic climate change. After all, he's a cardinal.

  • Posted by: JP810 - Dec. 05, 2011 9:10 PM ET USA

    It's very hard to believe we have a Cardinal Prelate decrying "Kyoto Failure!" Tend to your sheep in the pews, not in the political bleachers! Good Lord!

  • Posted by: gshanley8181 - Dec. 05, 2011 9:03 PM ET USA

    The Global Warrming issue is deeply embedded in global leftist politics. The great tragedy is that many Catholic relief agencies lobby and promote this poitical agenda thereby aligning themselves with what is ultimately an anti-Catholic effort. Google it and follow the money trail.

  • Posted by: ILM - Dec. 05, 2011 7:35 PM ET USA

    Any possibility that some of this weather is God expressing concern about the state of world priorities and morality?

  • Posted by: Contrary1995 - Dec. 05, 2011 7:34 PM ET USA

    When it comes to climate change, it is Cardinal Pell who looks silly, not Cardinal Rodriguez. The vast majority of climate scientists accept both that the earth is heating up and that humans have some role in this process. If you investigate the ecologies of tropical and sub-tropical nations, then, you will see that a rise in sea levels will spell disaster for many developing nations: not to mention the decline of entire species of plants and animals.

  • Posted by: WLP - Dec. 05, 2011 6:32 PM ET USA

    "Our duties towards the environment are linked to our duties towards the human person, considered in himself and in relation to others. It would be wrong to uphold one set of duties while trampling on the other. Herein lies a grave contradiction in our mentality and practice today: one which demeans the person, disrupts the environment and damages society." Benedict XVI. Caritas in Veritate, June 2009.

  • Posted by: normnuke - Dec. 05, 2011 12:06 PM ET USA

    "countless people are dying"? Because of global warming? Really? Name two.And, while we're at it, "moral apartheid" sounds like a candidate for Fatuous Neologism of The Year award. Why not accuse those who don't subscribe to this new revolution of being climat 'deniers'? Oh, wait ...

  • Posted by: Erik George - Dec. 05, 2011 10:58 AM ET USA

    The more Cardinals talk this way about socio-political topics, the less trust I put in their judgment. Cardinals would do better to build up the Faith and restore Tradition rather than offering oblations to every sacred cow of this benighted age.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 05, 2011 8:53 AM ET USA

    Regardless of the urgency with which one regards environmental issues or climate change in general, this is an absurd, risible comparison.

  • Posted by: shrink - Dec. 05, 2011 8:26 AM ET USA

    Well, when it comes to green issues, count me an advocate of moral apartheid. It is becoming increasingly difficult to take seriously much of anything that comes out of the Vatican on economic or environmental affairs.