“Vice Pope” Blasts Pope’s Critics On Taking Care Of The Environment

On Tuesday, Pope Francis? closest adviser, Cardinal Oscar Rodr?guez Maradiaga, spoke at a press conference in Rome where he chastised American critics of the Pope’s forthcoming document on protecting the enviro1nment.

By T?nia R?go/ABr via Wikimedia Commons
By T?nia R?go/ABr via Wikimedia Commons


He linked the criticism, especially that of the Americans:

?…a capitalism that doesn’t want to stop ruining the environment because they don’t want to give up their profits.?

He praised the encyclical’s coordination with the U.N. summit on climate change in Paris and explained that most of the church and the world await the document ?with hope.?

(For readers who may not know, an encyclical is?a papal letter sent to all bishops of the Roman Catholic Church)

This is especially significant because Maradiaga is head of Pope Francis’s advisory council. The two are so close that Maradiaga is known colloquially as the ?vice pope.? ?Unlike recent remarks on the nature of marriage, these comments come not from a somewhat tangential cardinal but perhaps the highest ranking Vatican official.

Put simply, it is safe to assume that Maradiaga is saying what Pope Francis is unable to which?gives his remarks even greater credibility.

The coming encyclical itself has been the subject of much speculation.? Very little has been said about what the document will contain, and Maradiaga’s remarks may be the most revealing clue to date.

However, it is remarkable that the Catholic Church, with its penchant for vagueness and, at least in the United States, its political alliance with conservatism, would deliver such a clear and resounding one-two punch.

It is perhaps unsurprising, then, that although the encyclical has yet to be published, many in the U.S. have already begun to rebut those ideas which may conflict with conservative climate science denial.? Many prominent U.S. Catholics have counseled caution in accepting the encyclical too readily without proper (read: conservative episcopal) interpretation, while conservative-leaning Catholic think tanks have hosted speakers who challenged the science of climate change.

Whatever the level of conflict when the encyclical finally is published, it is certain that, on the issue of taking care of the environment, the church is on the right side of history.