Since 2010, there have been faint indicators that the Papacy was thinking about promoting a weekly day of rest to combat Global Warming. This idea was first hinted at when Pope Benedict spoke to the E.U. labor unions in Denmark. He suggested that a weekly day of rest might be simultaneously good for the workers AND for the planet. Fast forward to 2019.
Charles Camosy is an Associate Professor at the Department of Theology at The Jesuit University of New York, namely Fordham University. Three days ago, Camosy authored an article in the The Salt Lake Tribune, titled Heeding Pope Francis’ eco-encyclical could pave way for Green New Deal.
In this article he argues that Pope Francis’ approach to climate change — one focused on culture — is far superior to moving immediately to legislative approaches like the recently floated Green New Deal. He says,
According to climate science experts, we have 12 years to dramatically curb our carbon emissions before we reach a tipping point, after which climate change is not only inevitable but also disastrous. In light of this emergency, I argued that we need to take the next decade or so to work on changing culture — and then, in the final few years, work to pass dramatic legislation in a changed cultural and political environment.
Right now, attempts to shove the Green New Deal down the throats of an unwilling public do little but push them further away from embracing the culture change we need.
Laws demand certain specific actions. “Culture change,” in addition to often being more difficult to name and define, takes more work and patience to bring about.
Citing Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical Laudato Si, Camosy calls for members of society to “be motivated” to accept laws and regulations to fix climate change. He continues,
For laws to bring about the necessary long-term effects, “the majority of the members of society must be adequately motivated to accept them, and personally transformed to respond.”
Camosy rightly observes that the Pope is calling for a profound interior conversion, an “eco-conversion” if you will. Such a conversion, the Pope says, must be both individual and communal. But it must be a fundamental change of life — much like that of the saint best known for his spiritual emphasis on God’s creation, St. Francis of Assisi.
Are you listening to this? The Pope is calling for a spiritual conversion experience from the inhabitants of the earth. This is radical environmentalism on Jesuit steroids. Camosy continues,
We must also celebrate rest, especially from buying and selling, by returning to a focus on keeping the Sabbath.
As it did for St. Francis, Pope Francis argues that this kind of conversion can restore “ecological equilibrium, establishing harmony within ourselves, with others, with nature and other living creatures, and with God.”
What are they calling for here? Say it with me. “SUNDAY.”
They want religious institutions to work to help people cultivate a spiritual foundation that makes “ecological conversion” possible. And anyone who worries about the existential threat of global climate change (and there is a worldwide propaganda program going on to instill climate fear in adults, children and religious organizations) should do all they can to support religious institutions in this work. This is also the work of the United nations, in their 2030 Agenda.
Regretfully, certain individuals in the General Conference PARL department are helping to bring this kind of religious eco-conversion to pass. Ganoune Diop, for one, is working to bring about this new social fabric. This, in spite of the fact that the UN is consistently wrong in their predictions:
Pope Francis made it clear, that “seminaries and houses of formation” which can provide not only spiritual formation but “education in responsible simplicity of life”, must help in creating this new social fabric—itself the product of eco-conversion. Camosy continues,
These changes are not only necessary as part of the direct fight to lower carbon emissions. They also are the only real hope we have to change the culture so that one day we will all accept something like the Green New Deal.
They Have a Ten-year Goal.
Camosy ends his article with these chilling words.
Think 10 years isn’t enough time for such dramatic changes to take hold? You underestimate the power of changing hearts to bring about life-changing legislation. In 2004, GOP operatives put anti-same-sex marriage policies on state ballots to draw out voters who were opposed to the practice. By 2014, American culture had transformed so dramatically on gay and lesbian marriage that pushing legislation barring it would have been political suicide.
Our culture could also have an ecological conversation in a similar time frame. Perhaps even faster, given the new technologies. Let’s get to work.
Just nine years after 2010, we are seeing high-level theologians from New York Jesuit University openly admit that the Sabbath Commandment may be useful to further the global warming/climate change agenda. They want the global population to be ‘conditioned’ to request laws and regulations to ‘fix’ climate change. And they want to see it happen inside of ten years. And they want SUNDAY.
“We must also celebrate rest, especially from buying and selling, by returning to a focus on keeping the Sabbath” (Charlie Camosy, Department of Theology, Fordham University).
Camosy grew up in the cornfields of Wisconsin, but is grateful to be teaching in the Bronx. A theme running throughout his work is the fostering of intellectual solidarity between political and ethical approaches which find conversation difficult. A Roman Catholic anthropology which refuses to choose to between individually- and communally-construed understandings of personal dignity is particularly important in this regard.
He has put this intellectual solidarity into practice as the founding member of the organizing committee for an international conference designed to think and speak differently about abortion, the founder and co-director of the Catholic Conversation Project, an editor and contributor for catholicmoraltheology.com, and a board member of Democrats for Life.
Camosy is also on the board of the College Theology Society and the advisory board of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good. He is thrilled to be a part of the international working group Contending Modernities which is spending four years exploring how Catholicism, Islam and Secular Liberalism can productively interact in the public sphere with regard to difficult ethical issues related to science and bioethics.