The latest buzz words ‘climate change’ only increases my desire to pray for those who fall for the lies that come from the god of this world (2 Cor 4:4). Even the Holy Father has been very vocal about ‘climate change’ and his so-called belief that Catholics have a ‘moral responsibility’ to do their part to reverse it. Pope Francis has even used his position as the Holy Father to take several positions on other social and global issues as well, while neglecting or outright rejecting what matters most.
However, the latest news that Pope Francis may consider ‘resurrecting’ the past practice, according to the tradition of the Church for Catholics to fast from meat on Fridays for the purpose of ‘climate change’ as a ‘moral obligation’ would be blasphemy. If the Holy Father were to do anything even close to this, he would be reducing himself and his authority, as the Pope, to the equivalent of a liberal teacher from the California public schools, in the 1980s. The narrative then was about how we weren’t going to have enough trees to breathe because we were cutting too many down in rainforest, to supply paper for kids to read! The teachers claimed that there wouldn’t be enough oxygen in the air by the time that the kids were ready to graduate high school and enter college. The problem…the teachers printed paper without fear and like it was going out of style. Even after terrorizing small children. That’s diabolical.
The only legitimate reason(s) to fast from meat, or anything for that matter, as a Catholic is to help you grow in your desire to love God with all your mind, heart, soul, and strength, develop a healthy self-love, and to love your neighbor as yourself (Mar 12:30-31). The tradition of the Church includes fasting from meat on Wednesdays and Fridays, which if you choose to follow the tradition of the Church you will be taking better care of your body and if you remember that your body is a Temple of the Holy Spirit, you will be more likely to be aware of how it helps you too (1 Cor 3:16-17). You may reduce your weight in the process, and you may even save money, which you could give to the poor (Mat 25:40). If there are any ‘benefits’ to the environment that come from it that you support, then it’s simply a side-effect. But if trying to reverse ‘climate change’ by fasting on Fridays is your primary motivation, you are ‘missing the point’.
If you choose to implement fasting, pay attention to your thoughts, feelings, and any sensations that you experience. You may notice that you were not aware of ‘why’ you have resisted this tradition in the past. Perhaps it’s as simple as you didn’t know about the tradition, but now you have a reaction to not knowing. If you can’t do both days, perhaps you could try starting with Friday. Bring it all to prayer by talking with God about what you experience. What is it like for you to make a sacrifice for God? Are you genuinely concerned about God’s creation? If so, what can you do to make changes in your life to take better care of your body and God’s creation, including the environment?
As for Pope Francis, well he’s like a father who has forsaken his children (Psa 27:10). Pray unceasingly with hope that the Holy Father may be enlightened, convert, and do penance for the sake of the salvation of his soul. When you pray for the Holy Father, do so quietly and humbly, out of obedience to the Word of the Lord, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Mat 5:43-45). You may also consider making an Act of Reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, adapted by Raymond Lloyd Richmond, Ph.D. and making a petition to God the Father with a Prayer of Protection from False Doctrine, adapted by Gianna Elms, LCSW.
I caution, you, however. Do not speak ill of the Holy Father and the state of his soul or you run the risk of condemning yourself. Only God can read his heart, completely. Due to matters that are more complex than what you may know, understand, or believe, it’s best to leave well enough alone and wish him well. It’s one thing to recognize that some of his behavior is sinful and even heretical. However, the degree of culpability and sorrow that he maintains are none of your business. Justice is for God.
Original publication date 06.22.2023. Post last updated on 12.21.2023.