Blog Post

Is Earth Hour New Age?

PH writes: “I am writing  because I have connection to the Sisters of Mercy having Mother Francis Bridgeman as an ancestor. I have just watched your show with Susan Brinkman who has written the book series 'Learn to Discern' and when opening my e-mail from the Mercy Foundation was horrified to see the link for Earth Hour which seems very New Age. I am aware of the dissent in some Religious Orders and pray for conversion to true catholicity for all involved. May I have your comments about this Earth Hour link if you have time in your busy schedule?”

Even though today’s climate change movement is heavily infiltrated with New Age earth worshipers and a host of “green religion” gurus, Earth Hour is not in itself a New Age project.

Earth Hour is a global movement sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund to turn off the lights for one hour every year on a designated day in March with each country being given a specific time to cut the power in order to create a “cascade effect.” This website will give you the exact date and time of the next Earth Hour.

It is estimated that as many as one billion people in 4,100 cities and 87 countries on seven continents turn out the lights during Earth Hour, including St. Peter’s Basilica, the Las Vegas Strip, the United Nations Building and the Golden Gate Bridge.

The official Earth Hour website claims its mission is to “send a clear message that Americans care about this issue and want to turn the lights out on dirty air, dangerous dependency on foreign oil and costly climate change impacts, and make the switch to cleaner air, a strong economic future and a more secure nation.”

While many of these environmental groups are involved in questionable programs, such as those aimed at cutting “carbon footprints” through population control measures, there is nothing wrong with participating in moral “green initiatives.”

In fact, the popes have been very vocal on the need to care for the environment. Pope Francis published the Encyclical Letter Laudatio Si in which he says, "T]he ecological crisis is also a summons to profound interior conversion…Living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience."

His predecessor Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI addressed this concern during World Peace Day in 2006 when he said: “The destruction of the environment, its improper or selfish use, and the violent hoarding of the Earth’s resources cause grievances, conflicts and wars, precisely because they are the consequences of an inhumane concept of development.”

Saint John Paul II also exhorted Christians to “realize that their responsibility within creation, and their duty towards nature and the Creator, are an essential part of their faith.”

In fact, several years ago, the Vatican listed pollution as one of seven “social” sins. Bishop Gianfranco Girotti, head of the Apostolic Penitentiary, said: “You offend God not only by stealing, taking the Lord’s name in vain or coveting your neighbor’s wife but also by wrecking the environment.”

But the Church’s commitment to a healthier planet goes far beyond mere words. The Vatican recently outfitted the roof of the Paul VI auditorium with 2,400 solar panels that produce 300 kilowatt hours of energy – enough for 100 households. The Vatican’s 300-seat cafeteria was outfitted last summer with a solar-heating system to provide more efficient heating and air conditioning. In addition, the pope’s summer residence, Castel Gandolfo, a 17th century palace in the Alban hills south of Rome, may soon become the site of a renewable energy project to break down biodegradable waste material to produce methane and gas. The Vatican’s engineers are currently conducting a feasibility study on this.

Embracing the cause of a greener planet is a good thing, so long as organizations involved in these areas respect the right to life and the divinity of our Creator – which many of them don’t.

When considering environmental programs to support, watch out for the presence of New Age “eco-spirituality.” This worldview fosters a religious worship of nature known as pantheism, which is based on the belief that the cosmos is animated by one spirit or is guided by a universal consciousness of which man is merely one more participant. This vision of the relationship between man and the planet is often referred to as “depth ecology.” It denies the basic difference between human and non-human existence and speaks of a bio-centric equality, whereby a mountain, a flower or a turtle would have the same right as would a man to its own fulfillment.

“It fosters a religious worship of nature or of mother earth as if it were a divine reality,” writes Archbishop Norberto Carrera. “It ends up labeling man as an intruder and considers him a curse for the cosmos. At the heart of the radical ‘green’ movement, it pressures governments for legislation that would cut back human population and limit technological development in order to heal the planet.”

You might also watch out for "red flags" such as references to Gaia or the Gaia hypothesiss, creation spirituality, Mother Earth, the “Cosmic Christ.”

One should also avoid the writings of former Catholic priest, Matthew Fox, as well as Fr. Thomas Berry, both of whom subscribe to a New Age concept of environmentalism.

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