The Irish Bishop’s pastoral letter, CRY OF THE EARTH, is a clear, compelling, and action-directed assessment of the threat of global warming. Unfortunately, however, this letter fails to address associated problems that threaten life on our Mother Earth. Here are three:
#1 According to the United Nations, one in every five humans depends on fish as the primary source of protein. (United Nations, 2004) On the other hand, marine ecologists fear that the biggest single threat to marine ecosystems today is overfishing. Our appetite for fish is exceeding the oceans’ ecological limits with devastating impacts on marine ecosystems. The cod fisheries off Newfoundland, Canada, collapsed in 1992, leading to the loss of some 40,000 jobs in the industry. The cod stocks in the North Sea and Baltic Sea are now heading the same way and are close to complete collapse. As population grows, the pressure for more and more effective fishing increases, and no government can, in conscience, limit the growth of industrial fishing so that SUSTAINABILITY can again be achieved. For this crime, we and our children’s children will suffer. . . .
#2 The story for oil shows exactly the same phenomena. Recently developing countries like India and China are legitimately moving toward increased industrialization to feed, clothe, and house their teeming populations. Meanwhile, the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) 2010 World Energy Outlook estimated that conventional crude oil production has peaked and is depleting at 6.8% per year. So no government is currently rationing oil products; rather, every nation is trying to out-produce everyone else so that their people can enjoy the luxurious lifestyle that manufactured goods promise. But who is speaking for those who will be living when our industrialized landscape has to begin shutting down due to oil depletion? For this crime, our children’s children will suffer. . . .
#3 CRY OF THE EARTH says not a single word about “responsible family planning.” The world population at the time when Humanae Vitae was first published was 3.5 billion. Today’s world population is 7.2 billion. This is more than double. Let’s face it. Our Mother Earth CANNOT SUSTAIN another fifty years of reckless human population growth.
Meanwhile, the Vatican aggressively uses its seat in the United Nations to oppose contraceptive distribution in the developing countries. The USA bishops, for their part, have promoted the launching of no less than 43 court cases objecting to the inclusion of free contraceptives under Obamacare. In Ireland, until recently, contraceptives could only be dispensed by a pharmacist on the presentation of a valid medical prescription from a practising doctor. For the irresponsible blindness of the Vatican relative to Catholic family planning, we and our children’s children will suffer. . . .
When will the moral and ecological illusions of Humanae Vitae finally be publicly analyzed and exposed by the bishops themselves?