Pope Francis is talking about plastics in the oceans while his church is sinking under the weight of abuse allegations, say critics. Yet while both issues are serious, neither is what it appears — and the moment provides a good opportunity to discuss both.
The newsflash is that the Catholic Church probably never had a serious “pedophilia” problem — it had a homosexuality problem — and these trespasses peaked in the 1970s and are relatively rare today. And while the oceans are increasingly clogged with plastic, this isn’t caused by America or even the West in general, as the mainstream media would imply. These realities matters because a prerequisite for prescribing the right cure is making the correct diagnosis.
As for the church scandal, attention was refocused on it by an August Pennsylvania grand-jury report detailing the alleged sexual abuse committed by approximately 300 predator priests against upwards of 1,000 victims; it also reveals how certain bishops covered the abuse up. Horrible story, for sure.
Often de-emphasized, however, is that these alleged crimes occurred over a 70-year period and that the statute of limitations has expired on most of them. This underlines how such abuse is largely a thing of the past; the church did, in fact, take measures to make its institutions safe places for minors.
Yet the same cannot be said of government schools. As Hofstra University professor Charol Shakeshaft found after conducting a 2004 federally funded study, the child-sex-abuse problem in government schools is 100 times the magnitude of the church scandal — and is still ongoing.
Then there’s Hollywood’s child-sex-abuse scandal, which I’ve reported on here, here, and here. I’ll let the reader figure out why the powers that be, including establishment media, pound the drum on the church scandal while behaving as if these others don’t exist. We shouldn’t tolerate, however, the usual gripe here — the leftists’ claim that mentioning the other trespasses is a diversionary tactic — when these very people slam the church on one hand but then actually work to legitimize real pedophilia on the other. This shocking truth I reported on here.
Speaking of which, pedophilia is defined as “sexual attraction to pre-pubertal children.” Yet the church scandal mainly involved teens, and the now-disgraced Cardinal Theodore McCarrick preyed almost exclusively on young adult seminarians. The point?
As LifeSite recently reported, the church sex scandal was largely one of homosexuality. But actually admitting this would make the church seem better and homosexuality a whole lot worse — and neither outcome aligns with the leftist agenda.
From plastic reportage to reportage about plastics brings us to Pope Francis. Recently, he “said efforts to fight plastics litter must be waged ‘as if everything depended on us,’” reported the New York Post Saturday. For this he has been criticized, and given that a wise focus currently would be purging homosexuals and abuse-enablers from the church hierarchy, the timing is bad. But the pope does have a point, one largely misunderstood — probably even by him.
For the record, I wrote back in 2007 about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a massive accumulation of floating debris said to be 80 percent plastics and twice the size of Texas. Since then, my town, Virtue Signaler Central, instituted a plastic-bag ban; plastic straws have been put in the crosshairs; and now leftists, killjoys all, want to ruin parties everywhere by prohibiting sales of balloons.
But let’s burst their bubble with reality: Only about one percent of plastics in the ocean are from the United States. Our nation and Europe combined account for a mere two percent.
That the economically powerful West, with its conspicuous consumption, wouldn’t be a culprit in this problem is so counterintuitive (to most) that it perhaps wouldn’t even occur to the establishment media. But who then is to blame?
“Eight of them are in Asia: the Yangtze; Indus; Yellow; Hai He; Ganges; Pearl; Amur; Mekong; and two in Africa — the Nile and the Niger,” the site continues.
Moreover, CNBC informed in 2016 that the environmentalist group the “Ocean Conservancy said in a report ... that 60 percent of the plastic trash flowing into the sea originates from China, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, and Thailand” (video below).
Explanation? Unlike the West, these nations are relatively poor and have wanting waste management systems, so much garbage ends up in waterways. Just watch the video below about Indonesia’s Citarum, said to be the world’s most polluted river.
Have you ever seen a US river in such a state, with water and banks clogged with plastics?
And here’s a piece on the Yamuna, said to be India’s most polluted river:
So what’s the solution? As Watts Up With That suggested in April, it ultimately “may be plastics engineered to biodegrade in the environment over a short period of time. Many companies now offer biodegradable plastics for single-use applications, usually at a cost premium over common plastics. Unfortunately, green groups often oppose biodegradable plastics over fears of methane or carbon dioxide emissions.”
So while the solution may involve us Westerners (originating new technology), this problem has nothing to do with us. As is always the case, the freest countries economically not only are the richest, but also have the cleanest environments.
The US is Exhibit A, too. Our air and water are far purer than they were in the 1950s. And how’s this from the Everything You Know Isn’t So file: There’s approximately three times as much forested land in the US today as there was a century ago. A third of our nation is covered with trees, giving us eight percent of the world’s total amount of forest despite having less than eight percent of its land mass. We’re doing a darn good job on the environment.
Oh, and do you remember the justification for transitioning from paper to plastic supermarket bags in the 1970s?
It was said to be necessary to save trees — it was another environmentalist bandwagon.
None of the above realities are likely to stop leftist virtue-signaling. But the willingness to accept facts is the true test of whether one really wants to solve problems — or just propagandize.
Photo of Pope Francis at top: Malacañang Photo Bureau