GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (July 17, 2008) - A number of media reports covering today's speech by Pope Benedict XVI at the World Youth Day event in Sydney, Australia, characterize him as being alarmed about "global warming" and "climate change." In fact, the Pope's nearly 2,700 word speech used neither term.
What Pope Benedict actually said was: "Perhaps reluctantly we come to acknowledge that there are scars which mark the surface of our earth, erosion, deforestation, the squandering of the world's mineral and ocean resources in order to fuel an insatiable consumption." In this, he simply affirmed the Roman Catholic Church's teaching on environmental stewardship, which not only decries the pollution of Creation but also consumerism.
What was left out of most of today's media coverage of Pope Benedict's speech was his discussion of the loss of the "moral structure with which God has endowed humanity" and his sharp criticism of secularism.
Key questions: Was the Pope warning us of a climate crisis or a moral crisis? Has the Pope gone "green"?
TV and radio producers: Acton Institute experts on Catholic social teaching and public policy are available in Sydney, Rome, and Grand Rapids, to discuss Pope Benedict's comments on environmental and moral issues. World Youth Day wraps up July 20.