Rome Newsroom, Jan 27, 2021 / 07:04 am
A Vatican official has encouraged Catholics to apply the Church’s social teaching to evaluate proposals for a “Green New Deal.”
Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Vatican Secretary for Relations with States, reflected on topic in a Jan. 23 guest lecture for a course organized by the Centesimus Annus pro Pontifice Foundation on “The Church’s Social Doctrine for a Green New Deal.”
He pointed out that the philosophical underpinnings of some Green New Deal proposals contained a modern assumption that technological progress inevitably yields good results.
He said: “The Green New Deal and similar plans do not question either the industrial system, which historically is at the origin of pollution or the financial system of international stock exchanges, but are rather programs that tend to respond to economic dynamics that deal with the environmental problem, directly and indirectly, with electric and autonomous vehicles, various other forms of ecological industry, information technology, artificial intelligence, robotics, and 5G technology, just to name some particularly relevant examples.”
He continued: “We are well aware that it is difficult, if not impossible, to go back to pre-industrial times; we also understand that improvements in science and technology are helping us to reduce the very serious environmental problems facing the world. However, we can never be credible ecologists without a critical eye on the modern idea of progress, understood as the reassuring linear development of human possibilities through unlimited technological evolution.”
“The tragic irony is that such a culture, which imagines the product of man as the supreme, saving and definitive instance, then inexorably ends up destroying man and his environment.”
In his lecture, the archbishop encouraged Catholics to commit themselves to “a constructive dialogue” with advocates of a Green New Deal, saying that a Christian perspective would introduce “precious added value” into the discussion.
To illustrate this, he quoted Pope Francis: “Freeing others from their slavery certainly implies taking care of the environment and protecting it, but even more helping the human heart to open itself with trust to that God who not only created everything that exists but also gave us given himself in Jesus Christ. The Lord, who first takes care of us, teaches us to take care of our brothers and sisters and of the environment that he gives us every day.”