Monday, February 22, 2010

Lenten Carbon Fast -- Should We Reconsider?

Over the last few days, many Catholic bloggers have picked up on the Lenten Carbon Fast Calendar published by the Archdiocese of Washington. In fact, our colleagues over at Restore DC Catholicism had their posting linked on Fr. Z's Blog (congrats!).

But on my way to Church this morning, it dawned on me that maybe, just maybe, we are all looking at this thing wrong.

Maybe we should embrace it.

I mean, how many families due to sports, teens waking up late, split the Mass going -- two or three vehicles going to Mass, when there only needs to be one. How many of us live only a 20 minute walk from the parish, but still take our cars, so that we can then head out to sports or do food shopping.

Therefore I offer this open letter to the Archbishop and the Archdiocese.

If you have any thoughts or suggestions, I would love to hear from you on this.


Dear Archbishop Wuerl and the Environmental Outreach Committee:

Recently, you have taken quite a number of hits on the Lenten Carbon Fast published by the Archdiocese Environmental Outreach Committee. After some deliberation, I would like to join you in this effort and would like to make a number of recommendations of my own. These are but a few of the ones that have come to mind.

I hope that you find these useful and I look forward to their implementation, which will help us save the planet.

I look forward to hearing from you on this matter and if you need any further ideas, I will forward them to you.




Suggestion One: Encourage Catholics who are not planning on receiving Communion to stay at home and watch the Mass. Why use all of that gas, oil, etc. They can easily watch the Mass on the Howard University channel or EWTN. Even if 5% of all those who attend Mass do not receive Communion, that amounts to a fair number of vehicles off the road. And, it will increase the viewership of your taped Mass. Always a good thing.

Suggestion Two: Hear confessions via Skype or a web conferencing tool. We want to encourage people to come to confessions, esp. during The Light is ON for You campaign. Instead of having a person drive to his/her parish or to a parish at which they are not known (usually alone in the car), why not do it using the latest technology.

Equip a couple of priests with a laptop (with a camera and mic) - not that expensive and some of them may already have one. While waiting for the next person for confession, they can make themselves available. People can call in and if the priest is available, he can accept the call and make himself busy to those who may come to the church. Since we seem to encourage people to do face to face confessions, the only difference is that you are not physically present but the priest can see and hear you. Saves on gas, etc.

In fact, you don't even have to open up the Church for this. The priest can do this from his room or office. Saves on heating, lighting, and other maintenance. A real carbon footprint reduction if you ask me.

Suggestion Three. Cut down on the number of Masses offered each Sunday at least once a month. Parishes that offer four Masses, should offer three. Parishes that offer three should offer only two. So, it gets a little crowded. So it is not as convenient. People may go to another parish because it is at a more convenient time. Does it really matter, as long as they are going?

Suggestion Four. For this one, the Archbishop will have to give dispensation but heck, if we give a dispensation for eating meat when St. Patrick's Day falls on a Friday in Lent, we can certainly do it for this. What is more important than saving the planet?

Once a month, starting this Lent, the every Parish should close their doors on Sunday and request that everyone watch the Mass either on EWTN or the Shut-in Mass.

Now, you will take a hit on the Sunday collection (unless you do electronic giving) but can you imagine the carbon footprint reduction that this would bring?

Can you imagine how this will bolt the Catholic Church to the front of the environmental movement?

I bet that you and the Archdiocese will be on the cover of every environmental magazine, invited to speak on every talk show, and lauded by the entire world. Heck, we may even see a Nobel Prize Nomination!


Dymphna said...

I almost wish you'd send it just to see what the reaction would be.

Anonymous said...

You and your allies must approach this issue like Joe Friday --- "Just the facts, ma'am." The needed objective is to present a line itemed outline as to why the obsession with keeping tallies on carbon dioxide at this time in history is still a waste of time. Let us go through the steps.

1 - There certainly are environmental concerns that need attention, but the carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere is not one of them. In fact, concern for that which is considered to be the number 1 greenhouse gas on earth is not one of them, either.

2a - The percentage of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was approximately 384 parts per million in 2009. That constitutes .038% or .000384th of one unit of atmosphere. NOT 38%. And NOT 3.8%. NOT even .38% But, only point zero three eight percent.

2b - Now, ice core samples have proven that the level of CO2 has risen 104 parts per million since 1750. That averages 2 1/2 parts per million per year. No big deal. CO2 is not intrinsically a poison. Rather, it is an essential plant nutrient. It doesn't become toxic until it reaches a concentration of 1%, and it won't make you unconscious until it reaches a level of 7% to 10%.

Incidentally, CO2 levels rose an average of 1.45 parts per million since 1960. It never rose more than 2.6 ppmv in any one calendar year, since 1750.

2c - If the math was done correctly, 29% of the earth's CO2 emissions is the result of human beings breathing. Does anyone see a con game here? A pro-abort can have a field day with CO2 paranoia. The logic would be that, if you want to lower CO2 emissions, simply kill off 4 billion human beings. Add dogs and cats, too.

3 - Incidentally, the CFL light bulbs that the "global change" people say is necessary to have, in order to save the earth, contain mercury. Mercury. That's insanity. Pun intended.

4 - One of the other green house gases is methane. Methane can be a problem if the hand of God's wrath simultaneously releases from ocean floor crusts the methane seated their. This is because methane has 20 to 25 times the infrared absorption capability than does CO2. However, the amount of methane in the atmosphere is only 1.79 parts per million.

5 - Ozone is the other green house gas. It constitutes about 0.00006% of the atmosphere.

6 - The Number 1 Green House Gas is
none other than Water Vapor. It makes up about 1% of the atmosphere, whereas nitrogen makes up 78% of the same atmosphere and oxygen makes up 21% of it. Now, if you insist on being faithful to the Climate Change regime, then you can never boil water again. No soup. No tea. Etc. In fact, you must drain all ocean water from within the tropics and fill in the space with sand.

How more ridiculous does a person have to sound, in order for people to realize that somebody somewhere was trying to pull fast one on us?
Donald Wuerl either got conned in subscribing to the CO2 hysteria or he decided to cash in on it.

Is God the Holy Trinity so incompetent a creator that they/he can only create a ridiculously fragile planet?

Anonymous said...

There is a series of responses to the claim that we are in a process of global warming that will cause the ice in Anarctica to melt and contribute to a rise in sea levels:

This phenomenon was mostly observed in West Anarctica with ice shelves collapsing into the ocean. The sea level rise is calculated to have been .14 to .28 millimeters per year, between 1992 and 2006. However, 2009 and 2010 saw a drop in temperatures, and therefore, the pattern was broken.

Now, there are approximately 25 millimeters per inch. Thus, without years such as 2009 and 2010, it would still take 87 to 178 years for the sea level to rise 1 inch, due to West Anarctica ice shelf collapses.

There is one point to make here. The small change in Anarctica's surface temperature can't have caused some of its ice shelves to collapse --- 0.09 °F per decade rise from 1957 to 2006. The theory is that warmer inflow water from the deep ocean slightly off of the continential shelf was the contributing factor.

Now, eastern Anarctica was said to have been contributing to negative digit sea level rise --- to sea level lowering. This is said to be caused by the ozone depletion over Anarctica and the resulting "polar vortex."

Now, 2005 and 2006 were exceptionally warm years. However, that pattern was broken. 2010 had the coldest winter in 21 to 40 years, depending where on earth you spent winter.

The bottom line is that Planet Earth has a lot of fail safe mechanisms attached to it. In addition, the insult to the Carbon Footprint people is that the true environmental needs of today are not mentioned by them. It is as if the Carbon Footprint campaign were an anti-environmental diversion tactic, hiding the true environmental needs of our age.

Anonymous said...

Actually, The Archdiocese would love to embrace many of your suggestions. Cut the number of Masses? They'd love to do that, except of that darn collection basket wouldn't be used as often. Call in Confession? Then they can have the same "virtual Confessional" as they have "virtual Pro-Life Center". It might be there, but who knows how to use it? Well, one could go on and on, but believe me, they think your suggestions are serious.

Anonymous said...

Why don't we sell everything off and just have a virtual church, instead? Priests can be replaced with cardboard cut outs, and we can send all those unconsecrated hosts to Pelosi, for her photo ops. The excuse could be that it is too inconvenient to be Catholic at this time. After all, it is way too inconvenient to have a real pro-life movement that will actually get the job done. So, why don't we fold up all the tents and just go home? I'll leave the mercury infested compact fluorescent light on for you. Can't have enough of that mercury, you know.

Anonymous said...

More than once did a guy say, "If they could tax us for the air we breath, they'd do it."

Well, they've been trying to tax us for the air we exhale.

What a bunch of snakes. Are they gonna still try to enact the carbon dioxide tax, after the latest disclosures about Climategate?

Do the Climategate proponents know the physics behind trying to fit a square peg through a round hole?

Anonymous said...

Mercury CFL bulbs? Brilliant! Just what we need. Obsess ourselves with carbon dioxide plant food, but ignore mercury in the home.

In days past, the presence of mercury came first, and then insanity followed. Today, insanity comes first and then the presence of mercury follows.

Anonymous said...

Q: How many Donald Wuerls does it take to screw in a CFL light bulb?

ANS: None. He gets Cokie Roberts to do it for him.

Alex Majthenyi said...

Re: Lenten Carbon Fast 2010

Carbon is a minute portion of our greenhouse gases. (more than 90% of greenhouse gases is water vapor)
Greenhouse gases are claimed to be a cause of global warming. But is there global warming?
Long term absolutely. I live in a valley that was once covered by glaciers.
Was or is global warming caused by man?
Perhaps an insignificant portion.

We love the environment. We also love humanity.
We should stop growing corn for methanol and grow wheat and other grains for food. We could feed all of the starving people in the world.
We should drill for oil and use some of the proceeds to help the poor.
We should develop nuclear power (like the rest of the world) for pollution free electricity.

We love conservation but please don’t raise it to the level of prayer.
Please don’t ask us to bow to climatologists.
Please don’t try to replace prayer and our God with anti-carbon theology and false Gods.

Thou shalt not have strange gods before me.