By Don Corrigan
Pope Francis delivered a controversial message during Holy Week that will have people in and outside the Catholic Church talking long after Easter passes. Conservative critics of Pope Francis have warned that he should stay in his lane – a strictly religious lane – but he has become more outspoken with the crisis of the 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic.
“There is an expression in Spanish: ‘God always forgives, we forgive sometimes, but nature never forgives,’” Francis said in the interview published April 8. “We did not respond to the partial catastrophes. Who now speaks of the fires in Australia, or remembers that a year and a half ago a boat could cross the North Pole because the glaciers had all melted? Who speaks now of the floods?
“I don’t know if it is nature’s revenge, but it is certainly nature’s response,” Pope Francis added. “Every crisis contains both danger and opportunity: the opportunity to move out from the danger,” he said. “Today I believe we have to slow down our rate of production and consumption and to learn to understand and contemplate the natural world.”
Francis became the first pope in Catholic Church history to devote an entire encyclical to the issue of care for the environment, in which he condemned human exploitation of nature.
The earth “now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her,” Francis wrote. “We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will. The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life.”
The Pope can cite an increasing number of scientists that contend destruction of the earth’s natural habitat is hurting
human survival because pathogens spread rapidly when the diversity of species is reduced.
According to Carl’s Climate Letters, a daily report published by a former fossil fuel investment adviser in St. Louis, scientists are pointing to evidence that suggests disease epidemics will become more frequent as the climate continues to change. With this change, microbes will survive in the environment longer with higher temperatures and humidity.
On average a new infectious disease emerges in humans every four months and 75 percent of these are coming from animals, according to a report cited in Carl’s Climate Letters, published by Carl Campbell. Climate change is playing a role in driving new health dangers and proliferating new viruses. Biodiversity loss from a warming Earth is a key driver in new novel diseases
In addition to coronavirus the list of diseases under review by scientists monitoring climate change impacts includes Ebola, bird flu, swine flu, MERS, Rift Valley fever, SARS, West Nile virus and the Zika virus.