The rumour is out that the Pope will issue an encyclical on climate change in the new year.
No one says it better than Mark Steyn.
I'm not a Catholic, and so my views on the Vicar of Christ are neither here nor there. In the Anglican Communion, the Archbishop of Canterbury is generally regarded as a camp joke on a par with the leading panto roles, but I understand that not all "faith traditions" are the same in this respect. Nevertheless, I'm not a big fan of the present pontiff. Pope-wise, I like the other fellow - the Pope Emeritus or whatever you call him. Yet, putting personal preferences aside, the notion of a papal encyclical on climate change in order to "impact" a UN conference is utterly depressing in its cobwebbed banality.
And also kind of decadent at a time when some of the oldest Christian communities on earth are being systematically extinguished. That's a real present-tense crisis, not one of those Al Gore if-we-don't-act-now-time-is-running-out-to-save-the-polar-bears crisis. It's happening now, now, now. Oughtn't that to take priority for the Bishop of Rome? Is the Pope Catholic?
Nor is the onslaught on Christians confined to the Holy Land and the rest of the Middle East. Today's paper includes an account of the ransacking of a Italian church by a man uttering certain phrases in Arabic. He smashed the baptismal font, two altarpieces, a painting of the Assumption, statues of the Madonna with child, our Lady of the Sorrows, our Lady of the Rosary, and St Joseph. No doubt he was just another of the "mentally ill". Maybe all these mentally ill Koran-quoters would be worth an encyclical.
But then I suppose an encyclical on violence in the name of religion might just get some heads chopped off in the Vatican.