Mohler responds to Pope Francis’ ‘Laudato Si’

Communications Staff — June 18, 2015

mohler-about-imageR. Albert Mohler Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, released today the following statement in response to Pope Francis’encyclical, Laudato Si:

Laudato Si is a very interesting document, by any measure. Pope Francis is absolutely right to identify our care for creation as a theological issue. As stewards of creation, we are called by the Creator to take care of the world he has made. At the same time, several of the Pope’s central claims about climate change have more to do with the current scientific consensus than with theology. Furthermore, some of his specific proposals are likely to harm those he seeks to help — the poor. While fossil fuels are surely contributing to an increase in carbon emissions, it is hardly helpful to tell the poorest nations among us that they must forego immediate needs for refrigeration, modern medicine, and the advances of the modern age that have so extended and preserved life. At this point, there is no alternative to dependency on fossil fuels, and this is as true for the Vatican as for the United States and other advanced economies. The Pope definitely takes sides on several questions, though it is not clear that the Catholic church is willing to accept all the implications of the arguments asserted in this document. Pope Francis has also tied the credibility of his papacy to scientific arguments that may well change over time, perhaps radically.

“It is interesting that fairly little of the encyclical actually references climate change, though this is what the international media have found most interesting. The Pope also rejects contraception and population control and affirms the Catholic Church’s traditional understanding of gender. My guess is that the secular press will make much of the Pope’s statements on climate change and very little of his affirmation of historic Catholic teachings that run contrary to the modern secular worldview.

“Evangelical Christians reject the very idea of the papacy and the concept of the Vatican as a political state. We do not issue encyclicals nor do we claim to represent a sovereign state with a foreign policy. The Pope’s encyclical will be much discussed, but time will tell if there is any major policy impact from his arguments. On the day of its release, it looks as if there are sections that will please and displease all sides in our ongoing discussion about climate change and the care of creation. This is a conversation that will not end with Laudato Si.”

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