Internet porn, greenhouse gases, and shopping could be the new scourge of the Earth. Pope Benedict addressed a huge gathering of young people in Sydney, Australia, today and said that that they were inheriting a planet whose natural gifts have been "scarred" and "squandered" to fuel insatiable consumption.
His latest environmental plea to save the planet for the young, was aimed at about 150,000 of those youth in Sydney after a "Pope on a boat" ride through the harbor. The sentiment maybe delivered to the right audience: Australia is one of the world's highest per capita greenhouse emitters stemming from coal-fired power stations, combined with the worst drought the country has seen in 100 years and an endangered river system that feeds the nation's food belt.
The Pope's words did not stop at the physical pollution of belching coal — the world is facing a spiritual pollution of sex, drugs, and shopping sprees as well. He said:
Our world has grown weary of greed, exploitation and division, of the tedium of false idols and piecemeal responses, and the pain of false promises.
TV and the internet were top on the list of sins. To see what he may have been aiming directly at Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,
The Pope aimed his focus at TV and the internet for glorifying sex and violence as entertainment. He said:
I ask myself, could anyone standing face to face with people who actually do suffer violence and sexual exploitation explain that these tragedies, portrayed in virtual form, are considered merely entertainment?
Troubled though our planet and species seem to be, the Pope still managed to see the holy. The beauty surrounding him in Sydney, and the scenery he passed on his journey inspired this:
It is as though one catches glimpses of the Genesis creation story — light and darkness, the sun and the moon, the waters, the earth and living creatures.
Is the Pope's focus on modern problems like exploitation on the Internet and of natural resources exactly right? Does acknowledging these temporal problems enhance the Church's relevance? Is there still a bit of Eden left on Earth?