Pope Francis Calls Nuclear Power Plants a Modern-Day Tower of Babel, Helen Caldicott MD by Ricky Onsman on June 26, 2015
In an audience with Japanese Bishops, Pope Francis had criticized nuclear power by comparing it with the Tower of Babel, as reported by Takeo Okada, the Archbishop of Tokyo. When human beings attempted to reach heaven they triggered their own destruction. “Human beings should not break the natural laws set by God,” the Pope said. (Mainichi Shinbun March 22, 2015; Asahi Shinbun March 25, 2015)
This is probably the first clear-cut criticism of the “civil use” of nuclear power issued by the Vatican. The Pope expressed his conviction during an ad limina meeting with the Japanese bishops on March 20. “The destruction of nature is a result from human beings claiming domination (over the earth).” With these statements the Pope referred to the TEPCO-nuclear disaster in Fukushima in March 2011. Soon after the terrible disaster, the Japanese Catholic Bishops’ Conference had publicly demanded from the government the immediate shutdown of all nuclear power plants.
During the audience, Bishop Katsuya Taiji, head of the “Council for Justice and Peace” of the Japanese Catholic Bishops’ Conference, had handed over letters of two activists from Fukushima to the Pope. The first author was Takumi Aizawa, a school clerk from Iidate Mura, the most contaminated place in Fukushima Prefecture, who is involved in health care and protection of children since the disaster. In fact Mr. Aizawa had the great wish to inform the Pope personally about the real situation of the people in the contaminated area because the government, the administration, many doctors and scientists, and the media try to cover up the extremely dangerous situation. The second author is Mako Oshidori, a well-known journalist from Tokyo, who attended most of the TEPCO press conferences with critical questions and who is investigating the contaminated region constantly…….
Until now the Vatican had condemned only the military use of nuclear power. Since the Vatican is member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it seems that with his critical statements about the “civil use” of nuclear energy Pope Francis deviates considerably from the position of his predecessors und is pursuing a new direction. Many Catholics hope that in his next encyclica on the protection of the environment the Pope will clearly voice also his critical attitude towards nuclear power.
Wolfgang Buff and Martin Repp
April 2015 http://www.helencaldicott.com/pope-francis-calls-nuclear-power-plants-a-modern-day-tower-of-babel/
10 key excerpts from Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment http://www.smh.com.au/environment/global-warming/10-key-excerpts-from-pope-francis-encyclical-on-the-environment-20150618-ghru2s.html June 19, 2015
Pope Francis is calling for an “ecological conversion” for the faithful in his sweeping new encyclical on the environment. In Laudato Si (Praise Be), On the Care of Our Common Home, he warns of harming birds and industrial waste and calls for renewable fuel subsidies and energy efficiency.
Here are some of the key passages people will read closely, everything from climate change and global warming to abortion and population control.
1. Climate change has grave implications. “Each year sees the disappearance of thousands of plant and animal species
3. Francis called for policies to “drastically” reduce polluting gases. Technology based on fossil fuels “needs to be progressively replaced without delay” and sources of renewable energy developed.
4. Christians have misinterpreted Scripture and “must forcefully reject the notion that our being created in God’s image and given dominion over the earth justifies absolute domination over other creatures.”
5. The importance of access to safe drinkable water is “a basic and universal human right.”
6. Technocratic domination leads to the destruction of nature and the exploitation of people, and “by itself the market cannot guarantee integral human development and social inclusion.”
7. Population control does not address the problems of the poor. “In the face of the so-called culture of death, the family is the heart of the culture of life.” And, “Since everything is interrelated, concern for the protection of nature is also incompatible with the justification of abortion.”
8. Gender differences matter, and “valuing one’s own body in its femininity or masculinity is necessary if I am going to be able to recognise myself in an encounter with someone who is different.”
9. The international community has not acted enough: “recent World Summits on the environment have not lived up to expectations because, due to lack of political will, they were unable to reach truly meaningful and effective global agreements on the environment.” He writes, “the Church does not presume to settle scientific questions or to replace politics. But I am concerned to encourage an honest and open debate so that particular interests or ideologies will not prejudice the common good.” And, “there is urgent need of a true world political authority, as my predecessor Blessed John XXIII indicated some years ago.”
10. Individuals must act. “An integral ecology is also made up of simple daily gestures which break with the logic of violence, exploitation and selfishness,” he writes. We should also consider taking public transit, car-pooling, planting trees, turning off the lights and recycling. “What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?” he writes. “Doomsday predictions can no longer be met with irony or disdain. We may well be leaving to coming generations debris, desolation and filth.” The Washington Post, Reuters
Climate change is the anticipated focus of Francis’ long-awaited papal encyclical on ecology because it merges his vocal concern for the poor and marginalized with condemnation of environmental exploitation. The world’s poor, who contribute the least to climate change, are disproportionately impacted by worsening droughts, rising seas, mega storms and famine, and they are least able to evade its destructive reach…………
Hopes are high that the pope’s encyclical creates momentum and will for the enactment of a United Nations climate
change accord in Paris this December
With encyclical, Pope Francis elevates environmental justice, The Conversation, Lisa Sideris, 16 June 15 When the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio chose Francis as his papal name, he signaled to the world a dual commitment to sustainability and the global poor. His namesake, Saint Francis of Assisi, was a man of poverty and peace who loved nature and animals, and is said to have preached his sermons to birds. Continue reading
It is also intended to improve the prospect of a strong new UN global agreement to cut climate emissions. By adding a moral dimension to the well-rehearsed scientific arguments, Francis hopes to raise the ambition of countries above their own self-interest to secure a strong deal in a crucial climate summit in Paris in November.
The pope chose Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals, as his namesake at the start of his papacy in 2011, saying the saint’s values reflected his own.
Explosive intervention by Pope Francis set to transform climate change debate, Guardian, John Vidal, 13 June 15 The most anticipated papal letter for decades will be published in five languages on Thursday. It will call for an end to the ‘tyrannical’ exploitation of nature by mankind. Could it lead to a step-change in the battle against global warming?
Pope Francis will call for an ethical and economic revolution to prevent catastrophic climate change and growing inequality in a letter to the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics on Thursday.
In an unprecedented encyclical on the subject of the environment, the pontiff is expected to argue that humanity’s exploitation of the planet’s resources has crossed the Earth’s natural boundaries, and that the world faces ruin without a revolution in hearts and minds. The much-anticipated message, which will be sent to the world’s 5,000 Catholic bishops, will be published online in five languages on Thursday and is expected to be the most radical statement yet from the outspoken pontiff.
However, it is certain to anger sections of Republican opinion in America by endorsing the warnings of climate scientists and admonishing rich elites, say cardinals and scientists who have advised the Vatican.
Three months ago, authoritative sources at the Vatican started saying that in June, Pope Francis would be issuing one of Catholicism’s most important statements — an Encyclical — on the climate crisis, and that in September, during his trip to the United States, he would speak to the United Nations General Assembly and to the U.S. Congress on the crucial need for action to prevent climate disaster. Seven rabbis responded to this news by deciding that Jews should address the climate crisis in the nearest way analogous to an Encyclical: with a broad-based Rabbinic Letter.
http://forward.com/opinion/national/309548/rabbis-against-climate-change/ & http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/-6200967183475774732
Sister Megan Rice, Freed From Prison, Is Unapologetic for Anti-Nuclear Activism, NYT By WILLIAM J. BROAD MAY 26, 2015“……..It was her fifth day of freedom after two years behind bars for a crime for which she is boldly unapologetic. In 2012, she joined two other peace activists in splattering blood and antiwar slogans on a nuclear plant in Tennessee that holds enough highly enriched uranium to make thousands of nuclear warheads. All three were convicted and sent to prison. But on May 8, an appellate court ruled that the government had overreached in charging them with sabotage, and ordered that all three be set free……..
Now, dressed in a sweatsuit that fellow inmates had given her, the nun was traveling to the American headquarters of her order in Rosemont, Pa., a suburb of Philadelphia. The agenda was to confer with her superiors about her future — one in which she plans to continue her anti-nuclear activism. One threat was that the federal government might challenge the recent ruling and try to have her thrown back in prison.
“It would be an honor,” Sister Rice said during the ride. “Good Lord, what would be better than to die in prison for the anti-nuclear cause?”……..
Sister Rice, thin but seemingly healthy, was in high spirits and voluble as she talked about her religious order, her atomic radicalization, her life in prison and what may come next. Continue reading
Demand nuclear disarmament, not deterrence, National Catholic Reporter 20 May 15 “……..Today, the U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals contain an estimated 14,700 nuclear weapons, with the other nuclear powers holding another 1,000 or so, according to the Federation of American Scientists.
It is within these contexts that world leaders gathered this month in New York to assess nuclear deterrence and nuclear weapons proliferation. They meet every five years by terms of the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which requires the five signatory nuclear nations — the U.S., Russia, France, England and China — to give up their nuclear arsenals in exchange for the non-nuclear signatory nations to give up their ambitions to acquire nuclear arsenals.
The U.S. says it is pursuing nuclear disarmament. At the same time, it says it is modernizing its nuclear arsenal and will spend $1 trillion to meet this end over the next 30 years. Other nuclear-possessing nations are also modernizing their arsenals. The nuclear arms race is spiraling up, not down.
The U.S. bishops have tried to stay in step with Vatican statements. This was the case at the time of the 1983 pastoral. But as U.S. disarmament has slowed and even reversed, the Vatican has been speaking out more strongly against nuclear deterrence, becoming increasingly vocal in questioning nuclear deterrence morality.
In July 2011, Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, then permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, said in a formal address in Kansas City, Mo., “It cannot be lawful to continue indefinitely to possess weapons which are unlawful to use or threaten to use, or are already banned for most states, and are subject to an obligation of elimination.”…….
As the Non-Proliferation Conference opened last month, Archbishop Bernardito Auza questioned the morality of efforts to modernize nuclear deterrence systems. Quoting Pope Francis, he said: “Spending on nuclear weapons squanders the wealth of nations. To prioritize such spending is a mistake and a misallocation of resources, which would be far better invested in the areas of integral human development, education, health and the fight against extreme poverty.”
Sadly and dangerously, U.S. nuclear weapons have become a fixture in our military system. We are not moving with full determination to nuclear disarmament. The contrary is true. Thus, the thin “moral acceptance” our bishops once gave to U.S. deterrence has outlived itself……
In the absence of hierarchical consensus, it is imperative that we and other Catholics amplify the case the Vatican is clearly articulating and condemn U.S. nuclear policy. In expressing this condemnation from the heartland of the United States, we are buoyed by the hopes of countless millions around the world who are also demanding that nations possessing nuclear weapons give them up before they destroy us all.
No more nuclear weapons! No to nuclear weapons modernization! http://ncronline.org/news/politics/editorial-demand-nuclear-disarmament-not-deterrence
Believer among the skeptics: A Canadian’s crusade to convert Christians to climate change belief, National Post William Marsden | April 24, 2015 WASHINGTON — Climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe, a cheerful, Toronto-born evangelical Christian, has become the hottest ticket in the highly polarized U.S. debate over climate change.
Named in 2014 by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in America, she is sought out by Hollywood stars, applauded by environmentalists and fellow scientists, and a huge draw on the Christian speaking circuit because she has opened the door, if only a crack, to the largest and single most stubborn community of climate skeptics in America — evangelicals.
She has essentially become a missionary among her own people. And in doing so she has single-handedly raised hopes of a potential breakthrough in U.S. climate politics. The reasoning is simple. If you can convince evangelicals of the reality of man-made climate change, the rest of the country will follow………
“So I realize that, sure, most of these people, if you polled them, they would say climate change isn’t real. But if you actually take the time and talk to them, only about 10 per cent of people are hardcore”……..
Climate science was not the issue, she said. The debate was over faith. She faced a wall of Christians who believed that God’s absolute power eclipsed anything that mankind could do to the planet.
Hayhoe countered with scripture stating that while God created the Earth, he gave mankind dominion over it and Christians have to play an active role as its protector and not just its exploiter. Add a pinch of basic climate science and that’s essentially her message.
“I had to be a whole person not just a scientist and I had to share with them why I cared about climate change,” she said. “And for me my faith was a big part of that and for people here their faith is a big part of that.”
The word got out and before long Hayhoe had to meet increasing demands to talk to evangelical and other Christian communities…….
“I see my responsibility not as changing people’s minds but as offering them the information they need to change their minds.”http://news.nationalpost.com/news/a-believer-among-the-skeptics-a-canadians-crusade-to-convert-christians-to-climate-change-belief
Catholics to press nuclear weapons ban at UN treaty review conference, Dennis Sadowski Catholic News Service | Apr. 24, 2015 It was April 11, 1963, as the Catholic church was in the midst of the Second Vatican Council, that St. John XXIII issued his landmark social encyclical Pacem in Terris (“Peace on Earth”) that included a call for a verifiable ban on nuclear weapons.
More than 50 years later, the Holy See continues to make the moral case for nuclear disarmament.
The Vatican’s most recent public comment came in December at the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons.
“The time has come to embrace the abolition of nuclear weapons as an essential foundation of collective security,” the Vatican said in a paper titled “Nuclear Disarmament: Time for Abolition” delivered to the conference.
In it, the church held firm to its stance that any use of nuclear weapons was immoral and argued that the time has come to abandon nuclear deterrence — the principle that such weapons might be used and that they exist to deter another country from using them. Previously, the Vatican conditionally accepted deterrence as “a step on the way toward progressive disarmament.”
But that has not happened, and Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Vatican’s permanent observer to the United Nations, is likely to reiterate its call for total nuclear disarmament during the monthlong Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference opening April 27 at the United Nations….
“Look what the policy of deterrence means morally,” the bishop continued. “In order for deterrence to work, you have to intend to use it. What does that intention mean? That means you are willing to use an indiscriminate weapons to kill innocent people. Again, that is not morally acceptable.”……..
Pax Christi is among dozens of peace groups meeting and marching in New York in the days leading to the conference. Pax Christi also sent a statement to Catholic members of Congress signed by more than 1,200 people and organizations calling attention to the church’s stance. A copy of the Vienna statement and a letter from the Japanese bishops’ conference addressing nuclear weapons on the 70th anniversary of the use of atomic weapons at the end of World War II also were part of the package………………
Sr. Mary Ann McGivern, an NCR contributor and member of the Sisters of Loretto who served on her order’s Committee for Peace, joined the Pax Christi delegation. She attended the 2005 review conference.
McGivern told CNS her community has proposed that the U.S. enact a unilateral nuclear weapons ban.
“We’re saying that no matter what the rest of the world does, it’s time for the United States to set aside our nuclear weapons,” she said.
While it is unlikely that any proposal for quick action on a ban will find its way into the U.N. conference’s final report, McGivern said she hopes the idea will begin to percolate among the delegates.
“The only way real abhorrence against nuclear weapons develops,” she said, “is for people to gather, hear one another and take those ideas back home.” http://ncronline.org/news/peace-justice/catholics-press-nuclear-weapons-ban-un-treaty-review-conference
Iran nuclear deal: ‘Accusations with very little proof’, DW 14 Apr 15 In an interview with Deutsche Welle, former IAEA nuclear inspector Robert Kelley suspects the nuclear watchdog could be misused as a tool to derail the nuclear deal with Iran. Diplomats and experts will start hammering out the legal and technical details of a nuclear agreement between Iran and six world powers next week in Vienna, the EU diplomatic service announced Thursday.
Foreign ministers from Iran and the group of Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany agreed on the outlines of the deal on April 2 in Lausanne. In addition, Iran and the group of six still have to draw up a list of Iranian nuclear sites, which experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, will get to visit as part of its probe into alleged nuclear weapons projects.
A senior IAEA delegation returned from a visit to Tehran on Thursday, without any answers on ten new suspected research and development projects identified by the agency in addition to the two that are already being discussed.
DW talked to Robert Kelley, former IAEA director for nuclear inspections in Iraq and now expert for nuclear energy and weapons issues with the Stockholm-based International Peace Research Institute.
DW: The IAEA plays a central role in the nuclear deal reached in Lausanne on April 2. Now, an IAEA delegation under chief inspector Tero Varjoranta, which sought answers to allegations over the possible military use of Irans nuclear program in the past, left Tehran without those answers. What exactly is the IAEA looking for?……….
In this age of satellites and super high sensitive detectors, how difficult would it be to effectively hide nuclear activities?
The very best detectors in the world are the IAEA inspectors. If you for some reason offend Iran so much, that they kick the IAEA out, then you are blind. You won´t know anything about what is going on. So one of the things that are good about this new agreement is: The inspectors have access to every aspect of uranium mining, conversion to the right chemicals, chemicals producing uranium hexafluoride in the enrichment plant and things after the enrichment plant. So the inspectors are getting a very good picture of everything Iran is openly doing.
And they are also going to be looking at procurement. The import regime is part of the agreement. That is a very powerful thing. The chances of having a completely clandestine, hidden, secret program becomes much more difficult when you have these things in place. Things like the handling of uranium and plutonium do leave a lot of signatures and detectors can pick them up. Not from space but on the ground. But you can´t detect things like explosives and explosive bridgewire detonators, because they have conventional military uses, they are used in mining, for all kinds of other activities. And you can´t call that a nuclear activity. http://www.dw.de/iran-nuclear-deal-accusations-with-very-little-proof/a-18388394
Pope Francis’ Latest Mission: Stopping Nuclear Weapons, TIME, 11 Apr 15 Elizabeth Dias @elizabethjdias “……… The Vatican has long opposed nuclear weapons, but Pope Francis is making the cause one of the top diplomatic priorities of his two-year-old papacy.
In December, the Vatican submitted a paper calling for total nuclear disarmament to the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons. In January, Pope Francis touted nuclear disarmament as a major goal alongside climate change in his speech to the Vatican’s diplomatic corps. And on Easter Sunday, he publicly prayed that the prospective multi-nation deal to halt Iran’s nuclear weapons program would be “a definitive step toward a more secure and fraternal world.”
Many observers expect the Pope to raise the topic in his speech to the United Nations in September, especially as that event also commemorates the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s historic U.N. speech calling for “never again war, never again war.”
“Pope Francis has recently pushed the moral argument against nuclear weapons to a new level, not only against their use but also against their possession,” Archbishop Bernedito Auza, the Holy See’s Ambassador to the U.N., says. “Today there is no more argument, not even the argument of deterrence used during the Cold War, that could ‘minimally morally justify’ the possession of nuclear weapons. The ‘peace of a sort’ that is supposed to justify nuclear deterrence is specious and illusory.”……….http://time.com/3817021/pope-francis-nuclear-disarmament/
There is a compelling need to listen to the voices of our youth who will inherit the challenges and catastrophes we fail to address and pre-empt. We believe we must be reconciled to Creation and to one another and that there is an urgency to this call. We believe the issue of climate change is a moral issue at its heart……….
We will develop and distribute educational resources for everyone (adults, youth and children) on climate change, climate justice, and the ethical and practical principles of sustainable living in global and local contexts……..
We encourage Anglicans everywhere to:……….
Implement energy conservation measures in church buildings and moving to renewable energy sources as quickly as possible…….
We call upon political, economic, social and religious leaders in our various constituencies to address the climate change crisis as the most urgent moral issue of our day. We urge them to:
· Work with all possible commitment and speed toward fair, ambitious, accountable and binding climate change agreements at national and international levels.
· Develop policies that genuinely assist environmental and climate refugees and promote mechanisms of intergovernmental co-operation that ensure their human rights, safety and resettlement………
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – The Catholic Church supports the efforts of scientists to study the causes and effects of climate change and insists governments and businesses must get serious about specific commitments for protecting the environment.But Pope Francis, like his predecessors, does not pretend to have a technical solution to the problem. However, he does feel a responsibility to remind Christians of their religious obligation to safeguard creation, beginning with human beings who are created in the image and likeness of God.
Clearing his calendar for a week in late March, Pope Francis rolled up his sleeves to put the final touches on an encyclical letter about the environment; building on what he and his predecessors have said, the document — planned for publication early in the summer — is expected to present ecology as the ultimate pro-life, pro-poor, pro-family issue.
For Pope Francis, like Pope Benedict XVI, safeguarding creation is not simply about protecting plants and animals, or just about ensuring the air, water and land will support human life for generations to come. Those things are part of the task……….
the long-term prospects for the fossil fuel industry look uncertain at the very least. But don’t take my word for it, thepresident of the World Bank and the governor of the Bank of England have among others warned of the risk posed to fossil fuel assets by climate change action.
The divestment movement does not seek to financially bankrupt the vastly wealthy fossil fuel industry. Instead, the campaign is aiming for moral bankruptcy and is supported by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who testifies to the power of divestment in helping defeat apartheid in South Africa.
With their opponents now taking the threat of divestment seriously, the campaigners will be hoping to they are another step closer to the final stage of Ghandi’s analysis: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
The speed is appropriate given that the campaign, which argues the fossil fuel industry is a danger to both the climate and investors’ capital, is the fastest growing divestment campaign yet seen, moving quicker than those against tobacco and apartheid. It’s moving fast in the financial world too, with one finance executive calling it “one of the fastest-moving debates I think I’ve seen in my 30 years in markets”. Continue reading
Climate Change and Intergenerational Ethics, St Louis post Dispatch January 14, 2015 • Kate Lovelady Humanism, despite its name, is concerned not only with humanity. People exist in and only because of a fantastically complex natural system, and therefore humanists believe that an essential part of living ethically is living in a way that is sustainable for future generations as well as for other species.
Traditional western thought, religious and secular, has tended to see the rest of nature as a tool for human happiness and progress, but more and more people of every worldview are coming to understand humanity as co-residents of the Earth, as one part of nature–the only (that we know of) self-conscious part, and therefore having a special opportunity and responsibility.
The economy is not alive. It is important; it is one of the ways humans organize ourselves to survive and to pursue happiness. But despite legal fiction, businesses are not people, and the economy is a being and cannot be killed. Humans and other creatures can be killed, and they will be by climate disruption, which will destroy cities and some entire low-lying island nations, create environmental refugees, and result in avoidable deaths.
Many who want to do nothing about climate change now, imagine future solutions of far-fetched plans to trap carbon in new ways or reflect sunlight from the upper atmosphere—meaning they are unwilling to face economic challenges, but they are willing to burden future generations with unknown and possibly enormous and long-lasting dangerous effects of major geo-engineering. This is immoral.
The consequences of climate disruption will seriously affect the lives of today’s children, and continue to fall on people far into the future. In American political arguments, budget deficits are routinely called immoral because of the burden they might impose on our children; the burden of climate change and environmental degradation will be much greater.
We need a new morality of intergenerational ethics. Never before have humans been able to make decisions that have such drastic impacts on future generations. We’re not used to thinking that long-term. But we must learn to; our ethics must evolve to match our technological capabilities. Future generations are completely at our mercy, since they don’t even exist yet. We have to make choices as if they will exist, and we have an ethical obligation to act in their interest, because they are helpless.
Religious communities should be at the forefront of a new movement for intergenerational environmental justice, in several ways:……….
Religions teach interdependence, a value that opposes the mainstream culture of the radically independent consumer in which the “best” life is supposedly the one in which you never have to share anything with others………
If you’re interested in these issues and how your congregation or religious tradition can help, join Climate Reality on Tuesday January 27, at 7pm, at Ladue Chapel for a panel discussion on “Faith, Ethics, Social Justice and Climate Change.” http://www.stltoday.com/lifestyles/faith-and-values/civil-religion/kate-lovelady/climate-change-and-intergenerational-ethics/article_1736901c-9c1f-11e4-844d-8b26cdb28539.html
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