Get ready for Pope Francis’ climate change encyclical

By Tom Quiner

The Pope’s encyclical on climate change will be released tomorrow.

Readers of this blog know that I’ve been skeptical of climate change hysteria, sometimes dubbing it “climate change theology.”

My skepticism is based on a number of factors:

√ Scientists have been caught “cooking the books” on some of their data.

√ Climate models have been wrong too many times.

√ Climate models often exclude natural factors than can affect data.

√ Data gathering is an imperfect science.

√ Surveys that claim consensus among the scientific community are often misleading, sometimes intentionally skewed, and usually irrelevant. (For example, the survey that claims that 97% of all climate scientists support the premise that mankind is causing climate change is based on a mere 79 completed surveys.)

√ Liberal politicians are using this issue as an excuse to exert more control over our lives through increased taxes and regulations.

So, what is a faithful Catholic supposed to do with the Pope’s encyclical? First of all, read it.

He is the beloved leader of our Church. I will weigh his words carefully and respectfully. Like any good Catholic, I embrace all 7 of the Church’s social justice teachings, the last being ‘Care for God’s Creation.’

I was at Living History Farms here in Urbandale, Iowa, when Pope John Paul II visited in 1979. His homily praised farmers and called on us all to be good stewards of the land. I have always taken that to mean to strive for a clean environment and protect natural resources.

Catholics may disagree on the means to accomplishing social justice. For example, the fifth social justice teaching of the Church exhorts “The dignity of work and the rights of the workers.” To that end, U.S. Catholic bishops call for an increase in the minimum wage, which I believe to be counterproductive to low skill workers. I agree with the teaching, but believe it can be accomplished more productively using different means.

I was just interviewed by the Des Moines Register for an article they are preparing on the encyclical. The reporter asked if many Catholics read encyclicals. I said Catholics who attend Mass every week probably pay the most attention to them, that they do carry a lot of weight with serious Catholics.

Tomorrow’s encyclical is a totally different animal, because the liberal mainstream media is waiting to use it as a club against conservatives.

I asked the reporter when was the last time the Des Moines Register covered a Pope’s encyclical. He laughed and said he had no idea.  I told him the answer is “never.”

The media loves to distort Catholic teaching and papal remarks. Faithful Catholics need to be diligent to be sure an accurate message is conveyed to the public.

The stakes are high.



  1. oarubio on June 17, 2015 at 10:27 pm

    I have no fear that Pope Francis will be aligned with Al Gore/ Al Jazeera (spelling?) or any other “Al’s” in any way as of tomorrow!

  2. John Rozycki on June 18, 2015 at 8:41 am

    There is another aspect of this issue. IF the earth is warming and IF it is due to mankind’s activity, there is debate as to whether or not its effects are that dire. The Copenhagen Consensus (a group of economists) ranks global warming quite low in terms of its effects as compared to other problems in the world. While not taking issue with global warming per se, the Copenhagen Consensus recommends deploying resources to solve problems that are more pressing.

    I share your skepticism, Tom. Is it happening? Is it caused by mankind? Are the effects that dire? I am not convinced.

    • quinersdiner on June 18, 2015 at 9:37 am

      Totally agree with you. The dire consequences of ‘global warming’ seem to have been not only overstated, but the beneficial aspects ignored. Now it seems that climate models suggest that the earth hasn’t warmed for 15 years or so. So we’re left with the assertion that the climate is ‘changing.’ Duh. I really like the way the Copenhagen Consensus approaches the subject. The Register ran a piece I ran on the subject five years, which I will link below, which presents the Copenhagen premise. Liberals were aghast at the thought of using cost/benefit analysis. You could’ve scripted their responses, John. Thanks for writing.

  3. Bruce on June 18, 2015 at 9:49 am

    Your Pope agrees with the over-whelming evidence yet you continue to deny it. I understand why people like the Koch Brothers try to distort the reports or fund the 2% of scientists who deny climate change. Greed is a strong motivator.

    I don’t understand why people like those here deny it.

    • quinersdiner on June 19, 2015 at 3:20 pm

      Hi Bruce: I’ve read quite a bit about the claim that 98% of scientists agree on the idea of dangerous, man-made climate change. It is a false, misleading number. I’ll follow up with more. And the greed seems to be on the side of climate change scientists whose funding depends on them producing data (in other words, cooking the books) that supports climate change theology.

    • Shawn Pavlik on June 20, 2015 at 12:32 pm

      How about the fact that since the hype first started we have been in a 10 year cooling cycle?

  4. violetwisp on June 19, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    I’m looking forward to your follow up post on this topic.

    • quinersdiner on June 19, 2015 at 3:23 pm

      Thanks, Violet. I’ve only read excerpts from the encyclical. It’s a long one by typical encyclical standards. There’s some good stuff in it that I like, namely the integration of natural and human ecology. I think the Pope veers off base in some places, but he makes it clear that the debate must continue with an open mind: “On many concrete questions, the Church has no reason to offer a definitive opinion; she knows that honest debate must be encouraged among experts, while respecting divergent views.” (no 61) I’m hoping to respond a little more fully this weekend as I have time.

  5. artaxes on June 20, 2015 at 5:54 pm

    … and deliver us from global warming …

    Progressives, socialists etc. tell us that the church should not interfere with pollitics and yet they applaud the pope for doing just that.
    Anyway, the danger is not the church’s interference with politics but politics’ increasing interference with the church.
    It’s a good thing to have compassion and to help the poor and the needy on a volontary basis but the notion of “social justice” that one can only get wealthy by taking something away from others and that therefore it is ok to take from the wealthy by force and give to the poor is not only immoral but it was never Jesus’ idea of solving the problem.
    Leftists give never out of their own pockets but they want to take money away from others in order to “help” the poor.
    Much of the poverty in the West is not caused by greedy capitalists taking your money away but by greedy states taking your money and freedoms away, thus robbing you of your chance to escape poverty.

    As for “Global Warming”, it was a fraud from the beginning.
    There is one simple fact that destroys the whole idea that CO2 causes global warming.
    ALL the data from the past (tens of thousands of years) shows that it is always the temperature that changes FIRST and THEN (hundreds of years later) the CO2 concentration changes.
    Therefore the CO2 can NOT BE the CAUSE of change in temperature but an EFFECT.
    This is easily explained by anyone with the most basic knowledge in chemistry.
    Water absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere but the warmer the water gets the less CO2 it can absorb.
    This means that the oceans release CO2 into the atmosphere as they get warmer and that they absorb CO2 from the atmosphere as the get cooler.
    Another problem for those trying to sell “Global warming” is, that for the last 15 years the temperatures did not rise while the CO2 concentration was steadily increasing.
    Perhaps that’s what caused them to rebrand the whole thing as “Climate change” but that is really idiotic because the climate does nothing BUT change. It changes constantly with or without humans.
    After all, it was not humans driving cars that caused the last ice age to end.
    And since the climate changes constantly it is the height of human stupidity and hubris to believe that we can keep the global temperature on a constant level (whatever that temperature is) that seems desirable to us humans.
    Should we intervene in in the earth’s complex ecological system to prevent the climate from changing if that were possible?
    If we answer that with yes we should be aware that even if that would be possible the intervention necessary would be so radical and drastic that it would fundamentally change the earth’s ecosystem with results that would be far worse than simply adapting to the changing climate.

    • quinersdiner on June 20, 2015 at 7:31 pm

      Really interesting info. Thanks for sharing!