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Vatican’s resident climate change denier criticizes the Pope’s encyclical

Vatican’s resident climate change denier criticizes the Pope’s encyclical

Cardinal George Pell was brought by Francis to the Vatican for his financial expertise. He has been dutifully cleaning house at the Vatican bank. But at home in Australia he had crafted for himself the image of a climate change denier. He has held his tongue since the release of the Pope’s encyclical on climate change, Laudato Si (Praise Be to You). That changed last Friday when the Cardinal was interviewed by the Financial Times.

Stating that he felt that the document contained ideas of interest, he then proclaimed that the Roman Church didn’t have any expertise in science.

But the church has no particular expertise in science…the church has got no mandate from the Lord to pronounce on scientific matters. We believe in the autonomy of science.
Cardinal George Pell – Financial Times 16 JUL 2015

Prior to the encyclical’s  release, the Vatican hosted a conference devoted to the discussion of climate change and sustainable development on 28 APR 2015. It was attended by the Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon, religious leaders, nobel laureates and noted scientists. At that meeting the UN Secretary said that climate change was the defining challenge of our time. Since the encyclical was officially released, 18 JUN 2015, Pope Francis has taken his message on the road, speaking to folks in Latin America regarding our obligations to the earth and to one another.

Photo – the


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Rod Gillis

Laudato Si has an inter disciplinary character. I’m doubtful George Cardinal Pell appreciates that. The church may not have a particular expertise in science qua church; but it can offer a theological reflection on the state of the question as outlined by scientists. Besides, Francis is a Jesuit. Five will get you ten that one can find Jesuits who are also professional scientists.

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