“The Pope denounces the ecological crisis but does not belong to the church of Al Gore," wrote Giuliano Ferrara, director of Italian daily Il Foglio, in his editorial column after reading Benedict XVI's message for the World Day of Peace. Ferrara described the papal message as being "of great culture" in its reminder that man must be valued above all other living things.
The Pontiff's message underscores the threats to the environment and the necessity of taking decisive action to find long-term, inter-generational solutions to the crises of today. It also provides parameters for the role of the Church and individual Christians in combating the environmental and economic crises, pointing to a renewal of values and morality without losing sight of the "distinctiveness and superior role" of human beings over nature.
"Benedict XVI," wrote Ferrara in his analysis, "in no way denies human abuse of nature,” but in affirming the ecological crisis, neither does he share "the environmentalist religion or environmentalism as a religion."
"The Pope has another faith," Ferrara explained, one "based on the transcendence of a God that creates man in his image and likeness to entrust nature to him ... he has, evidently, no need for replacement beliefs, of ideologies feigned as science."
The Holy Father's letter included a warning against sacrificing the sanctity of man and applying an attitude of absolutism to nature, giving it equal status to mankind. To this, the director of Il Foglio added that such a mentality of reducing the person "to nothing more than a particle of nature... excludes, (at times) even with the approval of scientific certainty, the self-conscious freedom of humanity."
The Pope credits the differentiation between humankind and other animal and plant life to the God-given unique physical and meta-physical constitution of men and women and their capacity to govern and protect the creation entrusted to their hands, explained Ferrara.
Benedict's caution against “pantheism tinged with neo-paganism, which would see the source of man’s salvation in nature alone" is not merely words to be heeded by the faithful, Ferrara emphasized in the editorial. Instead, readers should also read them as a "sign of civilization and culture, an interesting syntax for us laymen and modernists (and postmodernists)."
"Indeed we too, for a long time, have been intellectually scorning and criticizing, based on rational arguments consistent with the Biblical tale, the magic environmentalism of the gurus and the militant organizations who foster a global redemption, especially when dubious, manipulating emails are exchanged as part of an idolatrous dance, supported by powerful interests with no true magic whatsoever," wrote Ferrara.
Il Foglio also published an article in its Wednesday edition on the the deception of certain scientists and politicians who have falsified statistics to sway public opinion in their favor in the global-warming debate.