FOX's Tall Tales
By R. D. Flavin


     His Holiness Pope Francis has recently announced he's preparing an encyclical (position statement) on climate change and global warming to be released sometime this autumn. One would expect heathens, enemies of the Church, and climate change deniers to speculate on what the Holy Father might suggest how Catholics should responsibly respect the Earth and our environment, but FOX's tall tales imagines a secret agenda of “population control,” while others at FOX seem content to limit their disrespect to pointing out that the Pontiff is not a scientist. While by nature, the fox is known for its cunningness, the cable television channel FOX, or properly FOX NEWS (the “news” department of Fox Entertainment Group, which is owned by 21st Century Fox [previously 20th Century Fox, an entertainment company formed from a merger of Twentieth Century Pictures and Fox Film Corporation, founded by William Fox in 1915], an offshoot of News Corp, the newspaper and media business established by Keith Rupert Murdoch, the Australian and American hyper-conservative publishing ogre), is not clever, resourceful, and about as cunning as a male Bos taurus in a porcelain tableware store. Verbally attacking the pope about global warming? I'm usually not a supporter of hunting for sport (for 'food' is another and legitimate matter), but chasing this FOX and its tall tales are too much for me to resist. Let's have some fun, shall we?

     I'll separate the above into three subjects in need of explanation and further examination. First, as a lapsed Catholic (with secular humanist leanings on some days and befuddled agnosticism on others, with only the rarest of moments when I allow atheism to be considered, though I'm steadfast in my rejection of the existence of a 'personal' god or G*d who pays attention to whether I prepare my morning eggs over-easy or scrambled, I do occasionally wonder at our universe and the 'miracle' of life from inanimate chemicals and compounds, ...and humbly allow the presence of a prime Creator who set off the Big Bang as an alternative to boring nothingness), I deeply feel a longing to follow the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth in the region of Galilee (what few which survived and are scholarly attributable), though I reject the concept of 'Christ' as mythological and fictional tragedy, hence the “lapsed” qualification. Jesus was a man, a teacher, and a brave Hebrew who went to Jerusalem with his message of peace and knew that he could be killed by either the Romans or other Hebrews. 'Christ' is an invented means for the Hebrew G*d to 'know' human' suffering, yet knew He would rise and live again. One was real and one was not. I do not doubt the existence of Jesus and hold that 'Christ' was a fictive character in a play which, unfortunately, continues to this day. Some believe Jesus sent his followers on a mission to comfort all they encountered with a compassionate hug and a message that it was not G*d who was angry, but conquering Romans and corrupt Hebrews who were making their lives difficult and often unbearable. 'Christ' ascended to Heaven and became G*d. Yeah, some listen, while most want the miracles... Today, we refer to such behavior as escapism. We could answer Pilate's question about truth, yet chances are he'd go back to watching FOX NEWS. I believe His Holiness Pope Francis would have us be shepherds of the Earth and care for it. Live by the 'Golden Rule' with honest, simple, and proper conduct, much like Jesus taught, rather than support greed, exploit and poison the land, and tell tall tales about those who disagree with their hyper-conservative agenda. FOX NEWS wouldn't know 'truth' if it walked into their studios and asked to use the bathroom. Okay, maybe that one was too metaphorical...

     A discussion or debate about climate change and global warming should include some scientific evidence to argue either pro or con. It's a given the Church has much to learn about banking and economics, however Catholicism has made great strides in accepting modern science, such as forgiving Galileo Galilei and his heliocentrism, and when Pope Saint John Paul II (aka Karol Józef Wojtyła) declared that 'Hell' was not an actual realm, but rather a self-induced state of suffering brought on by the troubled individual. Yet, it's with the development and acceptance of the theory of evolution I would challenge the puny pundits at FOX NEWS who would declare a disconnect between the modern Roman Catholic Church and modern science. As the Danish geologist, Bishop Nicolas Steno (1638-1686), the French scientist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, who received a Jesuit education (1744-1829), and the Augustinian monk Gregor Mendel (1822-1884), all inspired and paved the way for Charles Darwin's theory of evolution (with the profound acknowledgment of the work of the British naturalist, Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913), the Catholic 'reaction' was manifested (along with numerous other endorsements) through the 1950 encyclical by Pope Pius XII, Humani generis, whose central tenets on evolution were repeated and endorsed anew in a 1996 address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, by Pope Saint John Paul II, the 2009 conference at the Pontifical University in Rome on “Biological Evolution: Facts and Theories,” as well as the declaration to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences by His Holiness Pope Francis that "Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation." It would seem the Catholics spend more time studying science than FOX NEWS.

     My column for 11-28-2014, “Climate Arrangement,” touched on some of the developing salient points when describing and explaining global warming. However, it seems new information is becoming available on a daily, if not weekly, basis. NASA has recently launched an orbiting satellite observatory called SMAP (an acronym for 'Soil Moisture Active and Passive') which will help us better understand how water and carbon circulates around the globe and provide more data to assist climate studies. Also, somewhat oddly supporting James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis controversial Gaia hypothesis which suggested Earth as a self-regulating entity, is the shifting from northern latitude hardwood trees absorbing excess carbon dioxide fifty years ago compared to today, despite intense deforestation, and the jungle trees of South America and Africa assuming the task of soaking up our surplus of carbon dioxide. It's almost as if Mom Terra 'knows' how to heal Herself... There is much we don't know, extensive and irreversible damage to our environment has already occurred, yet with a responsible approach to energy production and industrial manufacturing, we may increase our chances of staying on planet Earth for a while longer. I suspect when His Holiness Pope Francis cautioned against greed, he included businesses which pollute and the companies who collect and market fossil fuels along with the individual and average Catholic who has become accustomed to certain new behaviors, i.e., the latest personal electronics and mini-mansions for the middle-class.

     To rant against the corporate-backed deceit of FOX NEWS would be a waste of my time, at this point, as many have already done so and much better than I ever could. We must remember that FOX is named after William Fox (1879-1952) and not the Canidae which the Old English called a 'fox', which came from the Proto-Germanic *fuhsaz, and the Proto-Indo-European *puḱ- or ‘thick-haired; tail’ before that. But that etymology is a tale for another time...

William Fox

Remembering our ability to change television channels,

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