Is Vatican City a Moral Shirker?

Lisa Schiffren04 Jun, 2023 4 Min Read
Sacrificing Jesus on the altar of the Green God.

So, it turns out that Vatican City — Europe’s smallest nation, less than half a square kilometer in size and with a population of only several hundred — isn’t living up to its moral obligations. Not those moral obligations, the ones spelled out in the Holy Bible or the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Those are mostly fine, though there are increasingly issues there too, what with the leftist Pope Francis at the helm. But that’s not the morality on which the Vatican has been tried and found wanting.

Last September, the Vatican signed on to the Paris Climate Accords. It committed, along with the other Paris signatories, to reduce carbon emissions in a meaningful way. In fact, Francis had already promised to reduce Vatican City’s emissions to net-zero by 2050. These actions probably seemed like low-cost virtue-signaling opportunities. But unfortunately for the Pope, Paris tries to hold its signatories to account. And they've recently made use of their new Implementation and Compliance Committee to publicly harass the Vatican for their failure to produce an actual plan for how they’re going to go green. The committee even tweeted about it.

One wonders just what it is that tiny Vatican City can actually do to scale back emissions. Should it stop investing in the kind of heavy, energy intensive industries that climate cultists object to the most? Oh wait — there are no industries in Vatican City, except a lot of tourism and some industrial strength religious observance. There's very little low-hanging fruit there. They aren't running any coal-powered electricity plants.

No power plants, just tourists and the faithful.

In fact, the microstate had already installed lots of solar panels years ago. Not on the roofs of its main buildings, mind you, which happen to be known for their delicate frescos and massive domes. Further, way back in 2020 the Pope committed to planting more trees and getting rid of single use plastic bags. And he has promised that 75 percent of Vatican waste will be recycled by the end of this year. So, that’ll make a difference…

And, according to Reuters, the Vatican has pledged "to substitute all its combustion engine cars with electric or hybrid vehicles." Vatican City is, of course, the ideal state for the use of unreliable E.V.s, since there are zero distances to travel. We’re mostly talking golf carts for aging clergy. And Pope Francis has issued orders for Catholic schools around the world to provide “an education for integral ecology to favor development and sustainability and encourage economic policies that respect the environment.” Will this come during science class, or religious instruction?

Again, what can Vatican City, which occupies land smaller than most ranches in Wyoming, actually do to comply with the literal terms of the Paris Treaty? If the answer is that it really can't, why would Pope Francis sign on to this treaty? Because he wants to hang out with all of the Cool Countries? You know, the ones that like to bully farmers whose cows' farts they believe threaten human existence? The ones which consistently ignored the last pope's requests to acknowledge their own Christian roots? The countries which actively promote alternative faiths that are assiduously attempting to displace the Judeo-Christian religions?

One of the key requirements of the Paris Climate Accords is that developed countries must provide money to help less developed countries to meet their climate goals. But given its strengths, perhaps the Vatican should offer to pray, instead of pay. Of course, the kind of people who believe deeply in “climate change” don’t tend to believe in the traditional power of prayer to a personal God. Because “climate change” is itself one of those religious alternatives to Christianity, with Mother Gaia (or perhaps Saint Greta Thunberg, with her honorary degree in Theology) as the "saving victim" on her own cross, and all of us climate sinners, with our air conditioners and gas-powered cars, taking the place of Pontius Pilate and the Sanhedrin. That bit actually appears to be what Pope Francis himself believes.

Though most religions contain prayers for weather, it’s never been clear what the correlation between those prayers and the actual crop yield is, over time. That’s also true of those ancient civilizations that attempted to appease the weather gods with human sacrifices. Just as it is not really clear what the relation between “green policies” and preventing the earth from boiling over, or having hurricanes, or hot summers really is. You just have to believe.

Gaia, forgive me...

Of course, paying instead of praying for salvation has a long history. In the Middle Ages it was common for churchmen to sell indulgences, which was widely understood as a monetary payment for remission of sins that would take time off a sinner's stint in Purgatory. There were no environmental sins at the time — that's a fairly new concept. But they are front and center for devotees of the Church of Climate Change, and consequently that faith's priestly caste have revived the sale of indulgences, in the form of carbon offsets. Apparently neither John Kerry nor Al Gore gets on his private jet without one!

It's nice to see that the Book of Ecclesiastes was right: “There is nothing new under the sun."

Lisa Schiffren has been an editorial writer, political reporter, war correspondent, (Afghanistan during the Soviet war, before there were roads), and GOP speechwriter. She wrote speeches for Vice President Dan Quayle, and worked in Counterterrorism/Special Operations policy at the Department of Defense. She writes these days from her native New York City.


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