Things are bad. Even organized religion says so. Although some not-so-organized spiritual traditions like Paganism and aboriginal spirituality have been preaching the green gospel for centuries, now Christians want to get in on the act. Pope Benedict XVI wants Catholics to change their wasteful ways. At least, that's the messages he's been giving, especially on World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia.
The traditional view of both Jewish and Christian faiths in regards to nature is that it was made solely for the benefit of humans to do with as they wished (See the story of Noah). But Pope Benedict is calling on Catholics to reverse this viewpoint, held since, well, God knows when.
"The wonder of God's creation reminds us of the need to protect the environment and to exercise responsible stewardship of the goods of the earth," he said, also noting that "teaching self-denial, temperance and a moderate use of the world's goods, man and woman are led to regard the environment as a marvel to be pondered and respected, rather than a commodity for mere consumption."
Show Me the Money
Usually, when organized religion talks about green, they don't mean grass. Critics of Pope Benedict's recent pro-environmental sermons claim that all he is doing is going where the money is. And there have been many other organized religions and other Christian denominations that have taken a very green stance, including Baptists and Jews.
Just how sincere is the Pope? In December of 2007, the "Green Pope" decried environmentalists who tell the truth about how bad the situation is and the inevitable consequences if we don't change our ways. He called them "scare mongers" and "Prophets of Doom".
Old habits die hard for a Pope. If we're not going to hell for impure thoughts, then we're going to hell for fear mongering. Just as long as we all go to hell. Oops, sorry - we're already there. Just ask the folks hit by Hurricane Ike and the people in Spain watching their country rapidly being turned into a desert.
Irony, meet the Green Pope. Green Pope, meet Irony.