Episcopal House of Bishops Issues Pastoral Teaching

Posted by Kendall Harmon

One of the most dangerous and daunting challenges we face is global climate change. This is, at least in part, a direct result of our burning of fossil fuels. Such human activities could raise worldwide average temperatures by three to eleven degrees Fahrenheit in this century. Rising average temperatures are already wreaking environmental havoc, and, if unchecked, portend devastating consequences for every aspect of life on earth.

The Church has always had as one of its priorities a concern for the poor and the suffering. Therefore, we need not agree on the fundamental causes of human devastation of the environment, or on what standard of living will allow sustainable development, or on the roots of poverty in any particular culture, in order to work to minimize the impact of climate change. It is the poor and the disadvantaged who suffer most from callous environmental irresponsibility. Poverty is both a local and a global reality. A healthy economy depends absolutely on a healthy environment.

The wealthier nations whose industries have exploited the environment, and who are now calling for developing nations to reduce their impact on the environment, seem to have forgotten that those who consume most of the world's resources also have contributed the most pollution to the world's rivers and oceans, have stripped the world's forests of healing trees, have destroyed both numerous species and their habitats, and have added the most poison to the earth's atmosphere. We cannot avoid the conclusion that our irresponsible industrial production and consumption-driven economy lie at the heart of the current environmental crisis.

Read it carefully and read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Bishops* Economics, PoliticsEnergy, Natural Resources* International News & CommentarySouth AmericaEcuador* Theology

16 Comments
Posted September 26, 2011 at 6:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Sarah wrote:

Heh—what’s so fun about this is that the vast vast vast majority of Episcopalians in the SE, and the SW will 1) not read it and 2) if they were to stumble across it will utterly disagree.

September 26, 9:27 am | [comment link]
2. evan miller wrote:

So much hot air.  No doubt their bloviating is a major contributor to
“global warming.”

September 26, 9:39 am | [comment link]
3. Undergroundpewster wrote:

I’ll believe it when I see our bishop ride his bicycle on his next visit to our parish (140 mile roundtrip).

September 26, 10:21 am | [comment link]
4. Cranmerian wrote:

Yes, isn’t it great that this was produced while they all flew to Ecuador for the meeting.  Please don’t mind that expansion of our own carbon footprint as we tell you to reduce yours.  Pot/Kettle, you know the drill.

September 26, 10:30 am | [comment link]
5. Hakkatan wrote:

If only they were as exercised about people knowing Jesus Christ! However, from their viewpoint, faith in Christ is of no consequence, unless it is part of the pathway for someone to becoming a good Leftist.

September 26, 11:31 am | [comment link]
6. jamesw wrote:

Cranmerian:

Please don’t mind that expansion of our own carbon footprint as we tell you to reduce yours.

Remember that the rules don’t apply to The Important People, only to their subjects.  Arnold Schwarzenegger was very quick to sign all sorts of global warming bills in California and trumpet this same sort of stuff, all the while owning and driving multiple Hummers.

September 26, 11:34 am | [comment link]
7. AnglicanFirst wrote:

“How long will the land mourn, and the grass of every field wither? For the wickedness of those who live in it the animals and the birds are swept away, and because people said, “He is blind to our ways.” (Jeremiah 12:4)”

Did this happen to the land because of the “wicked” non-green treatment of the land or did this happen to the land because of the “wicked” non-observance of the Law given to Moses by those living in the land?

September 26, 12:26 pm | [comment link]
8. driver8 wrote:

Who do they think is listening?

September 26, 2:49 pm | [comment link]
9. Pb wrote:

And I thought cows were to blame.

September 26, 2:52 pm | [comment link]
10. Teatime2 wrote:

While I believe there are far more pertinent and “in their pay grade” topics our bishops should be addressing, I will admit to being very concerned about the earth’s resources and the “green” mandates being used as political tools, and means of power and aggression. I read this recently and thought, “Whoa, the implications here are serious!” The good bishops need to read it:
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/China-Consolidates-Grip-on-nytimes-2650144197.html?x=0&.v=1

Moreover, the Chinese are making major inroads and investments in Africa. They’re busily building infrastructure and creating jobs while ensuring for themselves the development and export of African raw materials.
http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/65916/deborah-brautigam/africa’s-eastern-promise

A package of stories from the BBC, unfortunately older:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7086777.stm

Can we see where this is going? The world is on the “green technologies” band wagon and guess who possesses—and manipulates—the “rare earths” needed for green technologies? And guess who is investing in Africa and building solid ties to that continent for the future (and for supplies of fossil fuels and minerals, of course)?

The bishops need to stick with their own line of work, now more than ever. Christians are going to need solid teaching, encouragement, and witness to stay faithful through what’s to come. I wonder—is there a “government-approved” Anglican Church in China?

September 26, 3:18 pm | [comment link]
11. BrianInDioSpfd wrote:

Check out ICECAP for another perspective.

September 26, 4:01 pm | [comment link]
12. AnglicanFirst wrote:

Teatime2 (#10.) wrote,
“Moreover, the Chinese are making major inroads and investments in Africa.”

The Chinese have been active in Africa for decades.  During the Cold War, thery were building soccer stadiums as free gifts to African countries.

They were also giving nicely refurbished coastal patrol and attack boats to African countries.  Back then, during the Cold War, the Chinese Communist motivation was to have quick and free access to strategic African sites in the event that the “cold war” became a “hot war.”

The Saudis have also been giving ‘freebies’ such as mosques to the Africans over the past several decades.  Their motivation was and is to establish Muslim dominance in the African countries. 

Maybe the Muslim problems in Nigeria owe much of their origin to this Saudi, probably Wahabi, effort.

September 26, 4:05 pm | [comment link]
13. Capt. Father Warren wrote:

Heh, heh, heh; such concern for the environment from a bunch who had to jet to Quito, Ecuador to make the pronoucement.  The vast majority no doubt don’t have a lick of scientific training and don’t even comprehend the words they are mouthing.  They certainly do not understand the economic implications of what they are calling for—and most certainly would not want those implications to apply to them.

I wonder how many in the HOB are driving a smaller car than 3 years ago?  I wonder how many live in a smaller house than 3 years ago?  Are they car pooling?  Riding bicycles?  Walking?  It would make an interesting survey…....

September 26, 4:26 pm | [comment link]
14. Sacerdotal451 wrote:

The theology (or should I say lack thereof) contained within this document is astonishing.  The frequent misapplication of Genesis and the eisegesis necessary to make all the cute, furry animals, polar bears and seals our “partners” is mind-boggling.  Did any of the Bishops actually read this tripe before it was published?  I would like to know if any of them objected to this?  Is there a minority report out there?  More the point: who do they think they’re kidding?

Fr. Michael+

September 26, 4:52 pm | [comment link]
15. Tomb01 wrote:

Can you say ‘koolaid’?  Guess they are at least in the right part of the world to publicly announce they have been drinking it…

September 26, 10:20 pm | [comment link]
16. Bishop Daniel Martins wrote:

There was one dissenting vote that I could hear. My own. For the reasons cited by Warren Mueller. The document was written by the HOB Theology Committee. Bishops were given a copy the day before, though I understand it was debated a year ago (before my time) and re-referred to the committee for changes (I know not what). Discussion lasted maybe 15 minutes. No one spoke in opposition. It was, however, changed from a Pastoral Letter to a Pastoral Teaching.

September 27, 7:54 am | [comment link]
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