While the liberal media may be tripping over themselves to declare Pope Francis’ new encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si (Praise be to You) a groundbreaking milestone in the Catholic Church on climate change, they are failing to mention the pope’s eloquent and articulate defense of life, especially as it relates to caring about the environment, our bodies and natural human dignity.
To summarize the Pope’s main points on abortion, he essentially says that caring for the environment, including the protection of endangered species and other animals, cannot be separated from or held above the protection of human preborn babies, even when that new little human life is deemed inconvenient.
(120) Since everything is interrelated, concern for the protection of nature is also incompatible with the justification of abortion. How can we genuinely teach the importance of concern for other vulnerable beings, however troublesome or inconvenient they may be, if we fail to protect a human embryo, even when its presence is uncomfortable and creates difficulties? “If personal and social sensitivity towards the acceptance of the new life is lost, then other forms of acceptance that are valuable for society also wither away.”
Pope Francis also isn’t afraid to point out the obvious disconnect between environmentalists who want to save trees and whales and stop animal testing but who have no problem promoting the ending of human life.
(136) [I]t is troubling that, when some ecological movements defend the integrity of the environment, rightly demanding that certain limits be imposed on scientific research, they sometimes fail to apply those same principles to human life. There is a tendency to justify transgressing all boundaries when experimentation is carried out on living human embryos. We forget that the inalienable worth of a human being transcends his or her degree of development. In the same way, when technology disregards the great ethical principles, it ends up considering any practice whatsoever as licit.
And the encyclical points out that living in harmony with nature is not authentic if we fail to have compassion for humans in all stages of life:
(91) A sense of deep communion with the rest of nature cannot be real if our hearts lack tenderness, compassion and concern for our fellow human beings. It is clearly inconsistent to combat trafficking in endangered species while remaining completely indifferent to human trafficking, unconcerned about the poor, or undertaking to destroy another human being deemed unwanted.
Pope Francis has quite the following – both from religious and non-religious people – so, in our view, it is imperative he uses his status as the head of the Catholic Church, and someone who is well-liked, to continue to speak the truth about abortion. Because of his charismatic personality, Pope Francis is able to relate to people in a way that the Church hasn’t been able to do in a long time. By speaking the truth about abortion and the protection of life in a way others, even those who disagree with the Church, can relate to, it is a big step towards opening hearts to understanding the dignity we all share as humans, no matter our stage of development.
For further reflection on the encyclical from a broader view, head on over to Ed Morrissey’s post at HotAir.com.