Church "behind the game" on energy: Bishop Toohey

Bishops Commission for Justice and Service chair, Bishop Chris Toohey, says that the Church is "behind the game" in terms of energy use with many buildings old and energy wasteful.

Bishop Toohey also warned that concern about the environment could become a "pseudo-religion" if the Church's strong spiritual and biblical traditions of caring for the Earth are not recognised, The Tablet reports.

"Sometimes an interest in the environment can become a bit of a pseudo-religion ... whereas we have a strong spiritual tradition and a biblical one for care of the environment," Bishop Toohey told The Tablet.

He says Catholics would not be true to their own tradition if they approached the ecological crisis without a firm theological and spiritual base.

The Church, he said, could draw on a rich source of teaching from Scripture, and saints such as Clare and Benedict.

Bishop Toohey's diocese of Wilcannia-Forbes is one of the areas worst affected by the 10-year drought afflicting much of Australia.

The Bishop's comments follow a similar call in last week's Catholic Weekly for the faithful to "keep a balance that is scientifically and religiously well grounded".

Bishop Toohey said we need to accept the "uncomfortable truth" and think about the way we produce and consume energy.

However, not all bishops are in agreement with Christian concerns over global warming.

Sydney Cardinal George Pell has made one of his strongest statements against the link between human activities and climate change to date, dismissing "doomsdayer" claims as "scaremongers".

"I am deeply skeptical about man-made catastrophic global warming, but still open to further evidence," he wrote in his weekly Sunday Telegraph column yesterday.

"We have been subjected to a lot of nonsense about climate disasters as some zealots have been painting extreme scenarios to frighten us."

Claiming that scientific evidence about climate change is mixed, the Cardinal says that "what we were seeing from the doomsdayers was an induced dose of mild hysteria, semi-religious if you like, but dangerously close to superstition."

Last year, Cardinal Pell angered environmentalists after describing concerns about global warming as "hysteric and extreme" and "a symptom of pagan emptiness".

Green issues are grounded in Bible, says bishop (The Tablet, 17/2/07)
Cardinal George Pell, "Scaremongers" (Archdiocese of Sydney, 19/2/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Diocese of Wilcannia-Forbes | Bishop Chris Toohey
Archdiocese of Sydney | Cardinal George Pell
Catholic Earthcare Australia

Act now on climate change: US bishops to Congress (CathNews, 9/2/07)
Face truth about fossil fuels, Bishop Toohey says (CathNews, 8/2/07)
Faith communities unite on climate change (CathNews, 5/12/06)
Oceania bishops voice concern on climate change, AIDS (CathNews, 15/8/06)
Brennan warns of cost of embryos moral purity (CathNews, 6/6/06)
Catholic Earthcare highlights Vatican climate change intervention (CathNews, 10/11/05)

19 Feb 2007

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