Pope’s climate encyclical is a religious document 

By John Malett

Referring to the encyclical on climate change, Leonard Pitts (“Pope Should Stick To Religion?” July 22 Opinion) focuses on what he calls Pope Francis’ “bare-knuckles critique of the excesses of capitalism,” ignoring the excesses of politics, ecology, science, technology and relativism which the pope also addresses.

It should be obvious to Pitts when Pope Francis writes, “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,” this is not a political document requiring specific solutions to specific problems.

It is a religious document reminding Catholics of their moral obligation to follow not some, but all of the church’s teachings when making prudential judgments on any issue. That is a practice the left, through laws and intimidation, seeks to prevent.

On the danger of relativism the pope writes, “when objective truth and universally valid principles are no longer upheld, then laws can only be seen as arbitrary impositions or obstacles to be avoided.”

On the fullness of God’s creation: “Since everything is interrelated, concern for the protection of nature is also incompatible with the justification of abortion. How can we genuinely teach the importance of concern for other vulnerable beings … if we fail to protect a human embryo?”

On science, relativism and ecology: “When some ecological movements defend the integrity of the environment, rightly demanding that certain limits be imposed on scientific research, they sometimes fail to apply those same principles to human life … transgressing all boundaries when experimentation is carried out on human embryos.”

Finally, speaking to environmentalists, Pope Francis warns: “Our relationship with the environment can never be isolated from our relationship with others and God. Otherwise, it would be nothing more than romantic individualism dressed up in ecological garb, locking us into a stifling immanence.”

[This letter by Mr. Malett appeared in the Des Moines Register.]