11 thoughts on “The Odd Couple: Pope Francis and Naomi Klein”

  1. I know the pope has gotten a lot of flack for dipping into environmental issues, but I think it’s about time the issue was brought to the forefront by world leaders – even religious leaders. I hope this spurs more debate on climate during the upcoming presidential election. There are some efforts here in the US to help reduce car emissions and improve fuel efficiency but what about all those electronic devices we as Americans are addicted to – and the toxic waste it creates in countries where they are shipped to when we consumers throw them out and move on to the next “new thing”? What are we doing to the people and terrain of those countries?
    How wonderful for you that you will get to be here with the pope during his visit to the US. I will be in Italy for our writing workshop at that time, but will be following his appearances and events with interest. I’m sorry I’ll also miss the potential chance to see you in the U.S. – maybe another time!

  2. . . what is needed is total system change – production to meet need not profit. Trouble is, most people get caught up in the word ‘Socialism’ without actually understanding what real socialism actually is – and, they can’t be bothered to find out.

  3. Joan Schmelzle

    Another interesting read. I have heard of Naomi Klein but know very little about her. This shed some light. I really don’t understand how people can object to the Vatican inviting her. But I should know there are enough narrow minded people in my religion. I love the cartoon. I will admit I have only read snippets of the encyclical, but like what I have read. And now that the Supreme Court has thrown out the President’s rules on emissions from power plants the Pope’s ideas seem ever more important. I hope he has a few words (really I’d prefer many words, but he’s probably too polite) on the subject for our Congress and the climate deniers there and those running for President. Whoops I think I’m off on a sermon so will just close saying how great that you get to travel on the papal plane. I will look forward to reading about it.
    A presto,

    1. Trisha Thomas

      Thanks Joan — I will be traveling on the Papal plane but most of the events will be pooled and I am not sure how many of the key pools I will be in. I certainly hope I am there for the speech in Congress because I am very eager to hear what he has to say. As far as the encyclical is concerned, I suggest you read the entire thing. It is fascinating and easy to read. It is easy to find on line– but I know they are also selling hard copies in bookstores.

  4. Let me say a few words of praise: I am wild about this Pope, and have long been about his patron St. Francis, and am gushing with admiration over his encyclical, much of which will be basic Christian teaching from now on. And now a caveat about Naomi Klein, whom I also admire a lot, but whom I question in her new role as Vatican spokeswoman on the environment: I see her as a red flag, because the Pope could have chosen to stand beside Katherine Jefferts Schori, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the US, who has been trucking on environmental issues, and on poverty issues, for the past nine years. He could stand with her newly elected successor, Michael Curry, an African American, also long a spokesman on these things. He could have invited Rev. Sally Bingham, Episcopal priest and founder of Interfaith Power and Light, a strong, nationwide organization focussed on preservation of the environment, and her friend and colleague, Bill McKibben, author and founder of 360.org, and leading environmental spokesman in the US, not a cleric but an active and professing Christian. But instead he, and presumably the Vatican, invited someone who in no way manifests any kind of religious alliance for the Vatican on this issue. I think this was deliberate, and I think by doing this the Vatican has reduced the importance of this encyclical from major to minor. You know the politics inside the Vatican over this has been huge. I am afraid Naomi Klein represents a victory for the conservatives–her 15 minutes will end, and then this will be over, another encyclical sitting on a shelf. It could have been the beginning of world wide interfaith work. But they didn’t even bring in a Rabbi who is active on the subject. No real power here, just a little celebrity glamor.

    1. Trisha Thomas

      Nancy — that is a fascinating comment and I will let it stand on its own because it is very important. I really had no idea about all those individuals that you mentioned and you are right that in this case it looks like the Vatican went for the high-profile glamourous celebrity to maximize media attention. And as part of the media, it looks like I fell into the trap.

  5. Gwen Thomas

    Well as you know Trisha, I think she has really connected with the Pope on the issue of climate change greatly impacting the poor. And, I feel they are right on, on this point. The real losers of global warming are those with little or no voice. Where she is going to most ruffle feathers with others, as you point out, is her strong belief that the biggest cause of climate change is the way we do business in this globalized economy that is highly inefficient and resource intensive (fossil fuels). She feels strongly that the way we do business in the developed world lines the pockets of the 1% and ultimately impoverishes the rest of us, particularly the poor and the natural environment. She does not consider herself a scientist. She argues that 97% of climate scientists, including those with major national and international agencies, have proof of global warming and the impact of humans. She is primarily concerned with the social, political and economic aspects of the issue. The Pope is trying to bring this to a broad audience and to challenge the powers that be. Bringing in a “secular Jewish feminist” and social activist really says a lot. Clearly they see eye to eye on the impact of climate change on the poor and the causes of global warming. I love her response “this is an alliance on a specific issue, not a merger.” I look forward to hearing about their productive discussions at this conference leading to both the Pope’s trip in the fall to the US (with you in tow!!) and ultimately to the climate change conference in Paris in the fall. Perhaps AP will send you to Paris to cover it?!?!? And if that happens you most certainly will need a camera woman – hint, hint!! Thanks for going to this. Great to have an insider there!

    1. Trisha Thomas

      Gwen — thank you for your comment and for encouraging me to cover this event. You clearly know much more about this than I do so I will let your comment stand for itself.

  6. Gwen Thomas

    Or to follow up on Nancy’s comment above, he could have invited Katharine Heyhoe from Texas Tech University. She is a climate change scientist and an evangelical christian who tries to bridge the gap between climate change issues and religion. She wrote “A Climate for Change: Global Warming Facts for Faith-Based Decisions.” She was also one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people for 2014. There are lots of talented folks out there. I am glad it is on the Pope’s agenda and it is important that we push it forward.

    1. Trisha Thomas

      How interesting — I have never heard of Katharine Heyhoe either– I am so un-informed on this whole climate change question. I need to start reading–and perhaps becoming more active too. We all need to pitch in to Save the Planet!!

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