Why I’m not cheering Ireland’s disinvestment

Catholic eco-advocates have an opportunity to build consensus with their more conservative brothers and sisters.

The big climate/eco news this week was Ireland’s disinvestment from the fossil fuel industry—a major win for the disinvest/reinvest movement. But another recent vote by the people of Ireland, which pulled the right to life for unborn children, darkens the image of Ireland’s ability to live the message of Laudato Si’. Now the question is, how will Catholic eco-advocates respond?

From the cheering and adulatory social media posts that I’ve encountered over the decision to disinvest, I’d say that the big players in Catholic eco-advocacy may be missing an opportunity to extend a unitive hand to conservative Catholics (and others) who prioritize the lives of the unborn over eco issues.

Of course, for Catholics, all these issues should be related. This has been the consistent teaching of Saint John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Pope Francis—who made this point in Laudato Si’:

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? (LS 120)

It would be helpful if more Catholic eco voices would voice a strong both/and congrats for Ireland’s disinvestment—which is good for climate policy—while at the same time berating the people of the Emerald Island for not being consistent in their life ethic.

No society can sanction the deaths of the innocent and ever really follow through on good eco policy. As Pope Francis said, the latter is inconsistent with the former.

So, a tepid applause for Ireland is coming from this Catholic eco-advocate—along with my disgust with the pro-death slippery slope they’ve taken—often with cheers—by agreeing that innocent lives don’t matter when the strong deem them not worth the investment of time or love.

May Mary, Saint Patrick, Saint Michael, and Saint Joseph pray for the people of Ireland.

About the Blog

Catholic Ecology posts my regular column in the Rhode Island Catholic, as well as scientific and theological commentary about the latest eco-news, both within and outside of the Catholic Church. What is contained herein is but one person's attempt to teach and defend the Church's teachings - ecological and otherwise. As such, I offer all contents of this blog for approval of the bishops of the Church. It is my hope that nothing herein will lead anyone astray from truth.