The Middle East, Fundamentalism and Climate Change


In the Synod of Bishops of the Middle East, the Pope delivered an incredible reflection, without reading a text or prepared paper (see the video), that includes deep spiritual reflections, especially on Mary and ‘simple faith’, the dangerous ideologies of our times, such as the slavery of capital and fundamentalist terrorism that become gods, and the environment¬† and climate change as an example of the world being shaken at its foundations. This text is a must read, see the full version here. Below some of the key passages:

  • Those who seemed to be gods are not gods and lose their divine characteristics, and fall to earth. Dii estis et moriemini sicut nomine (cf. Psa 81:6-7): the wresting of power, the fall of the divinities. This process that is achieved along the path of faith of Israel, and which here is summarized in one vision, is the true process of the history of religion: the fall of the gods. And thus the transformation of the world, the knowledge of the true God, the loss of power by the forces that dominate the world, is a process of suffering.
  • Let us remember all the great powers of today’s history, let us remember the anonymous capital that enslaves man, which is no longer in man’s possession, but is an anonymous power served by men, by which men are tormented and even killed. It is a destructive power, that threatens the world. And then the power of the terroristic ideologies. Violent acts are apparently made in the name of God, but this is not God: they are false divinities that must be unmasked; they are not God. And then drugs, this power that, like a voracious beast, extends its claws to all parts of the world and destroys it: it is a divinity, but it is a false divinity that must fall. Or even the way of living proclaimed by public opinion: today we must do things like this, marriage no longer counts, chastity is no longer a virtue, and so on. These ideologies that dominate, that impose themselves forcefully, are divinities.
  • And there is also a final word in Psalm 81, “movebuntur omnia fundamenta terrae” (Psa 81:5), the foundations of earth are shaken. We see this today, with the climatic problems, how the foundations of the earth are shaken, how they are threatened by our behavior. The external foundations are shaken because the internal foundations are shaken, the moral and religious foundations, the faith that follows the right way of living. And we know that faith is the foundation, and, undoubtedly, the foundations of the earth cannot be shaken if they remain close to the faith, to true wisdom.

In this last point the Pope makes a specific reference to the climate, and how our behavior threatens the foundations of the world we live in. It seems like a recognition of anthropogenic climate change. But the Pope isn’t interested in the details and debates, but immediately wants to draw attention to the root of the problem: “moral and religious foundations”, the foundations of our humanity and existence. In the end, the problems of the world are a reflection of the heart of man (Guadium et spes 10).

Special thanks to Dr. Luna for the link.

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