Pope Francis yesterday unleashed a mighty call-to-action over climate change and other catastrophes caused by humans. This coalescence of faith and science is rare enough, but judging by the excited buzzing of social media, the Dope Pope has struck a major nerve.
In the encyclical, or “teaching letter,” Francis single-handedly bitch-slapped the politicians and corporations worldwide who insist on questioning the scientific realities of what humanity hath wrought unto our planet. As the NYTimesreports, the encyclical also called out global greed, invoking “the reckless pursuit of profits” that affect the poor most deeply. He also lamented our “excessive faith” in technology, our chrome-plated new Gods:
He praised the progress achieved by economic growth and technology, singling out achievements in medicine, science and engineering. But, he added, “Our immense technological development has not been accompanied by a development in human responsibility, values and conscience.”
Across our soulless tech platforms, social media’s response to the encyclical was mostly positive, with many using the name of the letter, Laudato Si, as a hashtag. Many of the tweets and posts took choice pull quotes from the document. The Pope himself (or his social media manager), @pontifex, was on a bit of a Twitter tear, cranking out 33 status updates in short succession. A few selections:
(Here’s the full text of Laudato Si)
The alliance between economy and technology ends up sidelining anything unrelated to its immediate interests.
The deterioration of the environment and of society affect the most vulnerable people on the planet.
To blame population growth, and not an extreme consumerism on the part of some, is one way of refusing to face the issues.
These problems are closely linked to a throwaway culture.
Media interest was enormous for the Vatican’s announcement, especially following Monday’s leak of the document.
No one can accuse the Pope of not covering his bases:
#LaudatoSi will be presented by a Ghanaian cardinal, a Greek Orthodox theologian, an atheist German scientist and an HK-born American woman
Meanwhile, an unofficial trailer released by a Brazilian climate action group proved to be both popular and entertaining, as the Pope takes on pollution like an action hero:
What the hell is an encyclical, anyway?
How are the cool kids weighing in?
Facebook posts drove the same point home:
And how will the Pope’s call to action impact snarky Catholics worldwide? Crucial considerations:
Some nights we pack our many kids into a large SUV & take a drive saying a family rosary. Is this a sin now if not in a Prius? #LaudatoSi
While others mused more philosophically:
But the White House was definitely down:
In the midst of all of this revolutionary church environmentalist excitement and calls from the spiritual head of state of 1.2 billion people to change the world, let us never forget the very best Pope Francis meme: