Sunday, June 21, 2020

"Apocalypse in Slow Motion" - More Thoughts (Part 2)

Who is this masked man?

Is he scared? He looks scared. Maybe he's a germophobe. Or maybe his eyes are bugged out because the thing is wrapped so tightly on his face. Or, maybe he's just goofing around.

Most likely, it's goofing around. The expression, that is. He did seriously go out in public dressed like this.

He tries to be decent fellow, to keep the public good in mind, and he has no compelling reason to protest against the current law requiring masks in public places. It won't last forever, and for now it seems like a sensible and not excessively onerous precaution. So he has covered his face.

But with what?

What is he actually wearing? The fact is that he lives in a fairly rural area and doesn't go out in public very often these days. He goes out open-faced when he's alone, walking and enjoying the local scenery (and did quite a bit of that during the Spring) but he has only gone out to public gatherings a few times since March, only on Sundays since the churches reopened.

Being both too distracted and too cheap to buy a mask, he has made his rare sojourns wearing a clean dish towel. It seemed humorous to him, going to church looking like a bandit or a bank robber.

But now, Summer has arrived, and, man, this thing makes you get hot! So, it appears that the dish towel is not so clever after all. It looks like it's time to buy a mask.


I was born in 1963. The population of the world that year was about 3.1 billion people (which was more than double the population at the beginning of the century).

Now in this year of 2020, the world's population is about 7.8 billion.

In my lifetime so far (I do hope I have some time yet ahead, God willing) the global population has increased by 4.7 billion people!!

I'm not citing this fact in a negative way, nor do I advocate using unnatural means to "control" (i.e. suppress, suffocate) "population growth." I am in favor of people. I believe that the creativity of people — working in an integral ecological harmony with the resources, energies, and fruitfulness of the natural world — will make it possible for many more to thrive on this earth.

If we live with wisdom and generosity, we can flourish in a world of beauty and multitudinous diversity. It's not numbers of people who threaten the earth. The threat comes from material cupidity, that drives some people (they need not be many) to do violence to the world and foolishly strip its resources in an insatiable lust for power and possessions.

Size of population doesn't really increase this danger, because the vast majority of the population — whatever its size — is poor. And whatever may be their particular incoherence in relation to their immediate environments, the poor are inevitably subject to the few who actively possess power to manipulate material reality. What is crucial is that power be used with wisdom. A genuine ecological wisdom recognizes the world as a dwelling place (and even a "garden" — visions and echoes of that primal reality still inspire imitation in our present fractured milieu). It is the dwelling place of human persons and all the rest of the multifaceted creation that has been entrusted to them.

Wisdom, love, reverence, and gratitude will enable us to "grow" in our human capacities in a way that is proportionate and therefore enduring. We will cultivate our understanding and creativity, and use our technological powers to render our environment more hospitable, more pedagogical, and more tranquil — more of a "home." Without fear, we will be free to foster new generations in harmony with the "human ecosystem" of our bodies and the organic (but also interpersonal) relationships they perpetuate. Then we will also appreciate the gift of the whole creation, contemplate its beauty, care for it responsibly, and use gently and appropriately what it provides for our needs. Above all, a wise, grateful, integral ecology means engaging in the ongoing history of the world with a fundamental trust in the transcendent, pervasive, provident Mystery (the Mystery of Goodness) that sustains all things in being and brings them to fulfillment.

It makes a difference for how you view ecology when you acknowledge the radical dependence of every created being on God. You're not afraid of people as such. People are central to the meaning and fulfillment of the whole created universe. It is sin that ruptures the ecosystem. People, as people, are beautiful. Through the hearts of people, the whole of creation is destined to find the language to express its gratitude.

All of that being said, I want to just marvel at this stunning fact of my own lifetime: 4.7 billion more people on earth today than when I was born! Wow!! It's another feature of the truly epochal historical period we are passing through.

Today there are 7.8 billion people in the world. And every one of them a person, unrepeatable, precious, infinitely loved, created in the image of God, possessing inestimable value.

Up with people!

The ecological measure for the human community (and along with it the whole earth) is justice and love, wisdom, self-restraint, and generosity. This is an ecology that uses all of our reason, understanding, and creativity, but that hopes in God.

What is the alternative? That the few continue to rape and pillage the earth in order to indulge their lust for power while the multitudes are sterilized?


Another "Father's Day" has come. I had a good day with the family. But I miss my own father, and have fond thoughts of my youth - indeed of the days when he was quite a bit younger than I am now.

This is my Dad and Mom and their boys, circa... oh, I'm guessing 1977-1978. So he's 42 and she's 39 and we're teenagers. (I needed a haircut!😉) This is the Dad I remember when I was growing up in Pittsburgh. I'm more grateful to him than I can ever express.

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY, DAD!❤➕ Rest in Peace.