The Greenest Pope in History

Is Benedict XVI a “green pope”? Some Catholics think so. Maybe even the greenest pope. The Acton Institute disagrees:

The problem, however, is that the present hype about “the greenest pope in history”—to cite another headline—is misleading. A somewhat different picture emerges from careful analysis of Benedict’s formal pronouncements on environmental matters.

I disagree, too. The greenest pope in history was Sylvester II, whose work in hydropower produced a hydrolic-powered organ. Sylvester, before his pontificate, also did a lot of work on astronomy. We can only assume he was looking at the stars because of the utter despoliation of surrounding fields with CO2-producing cows and wretchedly unregulated agriculture.

Furthermore, as the first French pope, we can infer that his aspirations were more environmentally zealous than any of our own.  His economic practices are probably a model for our own. You see, Sylvester’s carbon footprint is reputed to be zero.

1 Comment

  • September 22, 2009

    Nathan P Origer

    First, to resort to the Acton Institute for sound Catholic opinion is — though, in fairness, not nearly as absurd — to go along the same route as to cite Novak or Weigel for the same. The institute is ideological first, and Christian — Catholic or otherwise — second. This should come as no surprise, given for whom it is named.

    Second, the last two paragraphs, as Gregg has written them, suggest precisely how fatuous the entire piece is.

    He writes, “As anyone who has studied his life and thought knows, Joseph Ratzinger has never been intimidated by political correctness. Certainly Benedict affirms our greater sensitivity to the environment’s fragility and the ongoing necessity for orthodox Christian theological reflection upon man’s relationship with the natural world. But Benedict does not make the mistake of romanticizing nature, which can, after all, be very cruel. Nor is he afraid to underline the dark, anti-human side to much Green ideology.

    In this regard, Benedict’s “greenness” turns out to be rather pale.”

    That is, even he distinguishes between small-“g” “greenness” and Green ideology. That Benedict’s “attention to environmental subjects is grounded, unsurprisingly, in a very orthodox Christian theological analysis” does nothing to negate that he is the “greenest pope in history,” notwithstanding, perhaps, Sylvester II, as you note.

    Third, the snark is hardly necessary.