Tuesday, January 24, 2012

CAFOD against Boris' Island

My attention was drawn to a letter in the Telegraph from CAFOD and Christian Aid. Why is the Catholic Fund for Overseas Development involved in in ecological lobbying about a distinctly London issue?

SIR - A new hub airport in the Thames Estuary would be a disaster for the environment, and, as a result, for people and wildlife in this country and globally. What's more, there is no clear support for this airport from the British aviation industry. We know this because similar proposals have been considered by previous governments on at least three occasions, and each time they've been thrown out If anything, the case for Boris Island will only look worse this time round, because action on climate change is needed more urgently than ever. Aviation is already responsible for more than a fifth of the UK transport sector's greenhouse gas emissions, and an airport accommodating 180 million passengers each year, as proposed by Boris Johnson, would be much larger than any airport in operation in the world today. Such a scheme would effectively be the death knell for the Government's promise to be the greenest ever, and would undermine its ability to show international climate leadership. That's why we will be opposing it every step of the way.

Paul Brannen, Christian Aid
Neil Thorns, Cafod
Martin Harper, RSPB
Craig Bennet, Friends of the Earth
and 10 others; see telegraph.co.uk

Telegraph Letters Sat 21 Jan 2012, Eric Hester seems to sum up my own thoughts.

SIR - It is not surprising that a letter disagreeing with a Thames Estuary airport as "a disaster for the environment" is signed by representatives of Friends of the Earth and the RSPB. It is surprising that it is also signed by representatives of Christian Aid and the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development. If Christian charities that collect money to help people in poor parts of the world know nothing about the subject, it seems odd to sign a public letter. If they allow staff to spend time studying the facts about the airport, how can they can justify using them in this way rather than in the ways for which people donate money - helping the world's poor? Eric Hester
Bolton, Lancashire
An airport in the Thames estuary might indeed be environmentally damaging but there other agencies which have a role in pointing this out like the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Friends of the Earth, or Green Peace even the Green Party but the involvement of the Catholic Church of England and Wales' fund for overseas development seems to stretching their mandate more than a little.
It raises the issue, yet again, as to whether CAFOD is opposing Boris' Island simply because CAFOD allies itself with British left-wing politics.


Anonymous said...

"It raises the issue, yet again, as to whether CAFOD is opposing Boris' Island simply because CAFOD allies itself with British left-wing politics."

Really Father !
Is it only now that you recognise that? It is one reason why I would never contribute to CAFOD and would never encourage anyone else to do so.
They (CAFOD) waste money given in charity

John Nolan said...

The fact that they sign up for the myth of anthropogenic climate change speaks volumes. I did, however, donate to cafod over Christmas, since I assume that its aid to poorer countries is ethically based.

Mr Grumpy said...

Greenhouse gases are no respecters of borders. Boris Island is symptomatic of the rich world's indifference to climate change; the worst consequences will be suffered by the poorest. So whilst I'm frequently irritated by aid agency leftism I think CAFOD are well within their remit here.

Pablo the Mexican said...

Many Catholic Agencies, simply put, are no longer Catholic.

The Holy Father no longer directs them a Grand Worshipful Master does.

We have the same problem in Mexico.

Catholic Cardinals, Bishops and Priests are directed by those that meet in the Synagogue of Satan against God and His Christ.

In the Northern part of Mexico, American Freemasonry has opened Gnosticism Schools to inculcate the Faithful.

Church Hierarchy is too busy with Green Issues, Gay Rights, and so on to offer resistance.

This is the new Roman Catholicism ushered in by the fruits of the Springtime.

Weep for the conversion of Rome.


david said...

This is why as a Catholic I will not support Cafod or purchase The Guardian at prayer Tablet.

nickbris said...

The biggest worry is that those particular organisations have allowed their names to be used by crooked fund raisers who CON kind generous,mostly elderly people into setting up Direct Debits & Standing Orders which they keep for years and years.

I know of at least two people in this Parish who have fallen for it,only about one P in the pound gets through but a lot of publicity is gained by getting involved in daft objections to various projects.

It is about time somebody looked into the fundraising business altogether. Banks can see what is going on and they have a duty of care to their vulnerable customers

Tom said...

I was instinctively against the aiport proposal myself. However, it strikes me that if CAFOD (and that other non-Christian org so-called-Christain Aid) is against it, then it must be a good thing. QED.

Doubt their opposition will rally thinking Christians to the cause againt the airport.

gemoftheocean said...

Bravo. As private individuals they have the right to embrace any lunatic ideas they may have about carbon footprints and the like -- but it is really unethical for taking money ostensibly to help the poor and then using the offices of the same to promote 'values' [one way or the other] which have nothing to do with the reason for the charity.

Fr Ray Blake said...

The Holy Father seems concerned about climate change - Christianity demands respect and concern for our neighbour but climate change isn't the issue it is the Fund for Overseas development involved in a national politics.

gemoftheocean said...

These 'climate change' people are largely charlatans. Just looking for another way to stomp on humans traveling, working, etc. Green on the outside, red on the inside. Did you miss the last two years where the Torygraph had extensive reporting on the data fudging and outright suppression of information contrary to their pet theories? The earth has been warming and cooling for billions of years. If the Holy Father got suckered by this, he should know better. It's right to 'respect the earth' and have reasonable conservation efforts and makes sure to take care of the earth so people don't go around dumping untreated toxic waste wherever they please. It's NOT cool to PrinceCharile-AlBore like try and lecture everyone else while flying around in a private jet plane, all the while setting up phony carbon credit scams. Just another effort to rob the productive nations blind and give to the wanna be tinpots in third world countries. while all the while the 'watermelon'* types pontificate. Yeah, I'm 'concerned' about the Sun's solar flares too. Nothing I can do to stop them!

[*watermelon types = green on the outside, red on the inside.[

Johannes Viljoen said...

I'd agree with Mr Grumpy. Climate change disproportionately affects the developing world and will contribute to financial and economic inequalities therefore the issue does fall within CAFOD's remit. Furthermore there is no suggestion that they have spent any money on the matter. It doesn't cost anything to write a letter to a newspaper - if they sent it by email rather than by snail mail using a 34p stamp. They don't need to spend any money on it, all the research is out there to be read already.

Fr Ray Blake said...


Is that really what you think of the Pope?

Climate change is a real issue, whatever its cause, as is the use of the world's resources.

The subject I was hoping to have a rational discussion about is Cafod's official opposition to this particular proposal.

Amfortas said...

Why do these kinds of debates bring out the unorthodox Catholic rightwing fringe and the borderline sedevacantists? Or, indeed, those who see the devil at work in every human folly? I do not speak as someone on the left, either politically or theologically.

Mike said...

Suppose that in the 1930s a Catholic equivalent of CAFOD had argued that in the interests of world peace the UK should rearm. Would we have argued at the time that this organisation should have kept its nose out of national politics? Or suppose that a German equivalent of CARITAS had advocated that people should oppose the Nazis because the Nazis were anti-Semitic. Should German Catholics have argued that this organisation keep its nose out of national politics?

CAFOD argues that (a) the proposed airport will cause an increase in carbon emissions and that (b) these emissions will lead to an increased global temperature and that (c) this will cause all sorts of problems for people in developing countries. On that basis they have every right to object to the proposed airport. They just happen to be wrong about (b) as has been shown by the fact that carbon emission have continued to increase over the last decade but over that time there has been no statistically significant increase in the global temperature. This has been admitted by Phil Jones, the Director of the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia:

gemoftheocean said...

Fr. If the pope has bought into the 'man-made global warming' business he's been had. Quite okay and valid to be concerned if people are dumping toxins or are otherwise poor stewards of the earth's resources and habitat. Quite another to get sucked in by charlatans. And the 'man caused global warming the sky is falling give us more billions so we can soak you into paying more taxes' crowd is ignorant as best, evil at worst. I'm not saying the pope is a 'watermelon' I'm saying the charlatans in the global warming crowd are.

gemoftheocean said...

As to CAFOD, did they poll the people who donated to them? The people who donated may all have individual views on the subject, and they should have no right to speak as if they present the united front of a group of people on that issue. It's dishonest.

Same reason I dislike unions. They can often times FORCE someone to pay union dues and then turn around and give those monies to politicians the union member may find objectionable if not outright immoral, Why should a person be forced to pay money ostensibly going to better his working conditions and then have no power to stop people who are turning a large portion of that money over to some politician who supports abortion and is anti-Catholic and Anti-Christian in his/her voting pattern. Now these CAFOD people misused money per se in doing what they did. However, I don't see how it can be right for them to anoint themselves as Little Prince Valiants on an issue which their donors have not granted them the right to speak for them on such an issue, as if they speak for ALL the donors of that group and that is what these people did.

The Thirsty Gargoyle said...

For what it's worth, Father, I responded to this on my own blog; I think this is well within CAFOD's remit, however it may look.

And, to be fair, Ben Trovato has replied countering me.

You might find something of merit in both of our arguments.

Amfortas said...

No, gemoftheocean, people cannot be forced to pay union dues in this country. From which planet do you hail?!

gemoftheocean said...

Amfortas: Planet earth. And I'm smart enough to know that laws are in different in each country. You seemed to have missed that point. Both the US and UK have laws technically forbidding closed shops, but the reality is in many industries if a person wishes to work in certain jobs he more or less has to join a union. I notice your Trade Unions throw a lot of money at political parties. [As they do in the US. Gee, can you guess which parties those are? Doesn't take a rocket scientist.]

nickbris said...

The best thing about Boris Island is that it will lead to the eventual closure of Heathrow and then they could build one of those lovely American style Trailer-Parks which would help to solve the housing problem.

Johannes Viljoen said...

Gem - it's climiate change (eg instability) not global warming. I'm guessing you're American. No other intelligent person/country would claim the issue is fabricated by charlatans. The evidence, although not yet inconclusive, is overwhelming.

Just another mad Catholic said...


You don't have a problem with Unions, you have a problem with what unions have become.

Maria Hulia said...

Nickbris - where is the evidence to support your assertion that only one pence in each pound of CAFOD's revenue reaches charitable causes on the ground? This is a ridiculous claim and totally ungrounded.

Amfortas said...


I now understand that you're from Planet America. It's all too easy to assume that people are referring to the UK and forget that the internet is international. Sorry.

Interestingly, the more miltant trades unions in the UK do not throw money at the Labour Party anymore. Believe it or not most union members in the UK do not contribute to political funds.

But I'm with Fr Blake. All this is a long way from the question of why CAFOD is taking a position in relation to Boris Island. There are environmental pros and cons attached to the new airport proposals. And I'm not just thinking about climate change but the impact on our surroundings. The scheme deserves to be debated. But I don't think CAFOD should court controversy by entering this debate. And who does a CAFOD representative speak for? Certainly not the bishops and certainly not the donors. We ought to know.

nickbris said...

My research tells me that the VAST MAJORITY of funds collected by "Fund-Raisers" goes into their own pockets,they are pestiferous and misleading.

When they phone and ask for donations they accidentally on purpose fail to disclose that the contribution agreed to goes on for life and a lot of people are bamboozled,I do know some of the victims

Paul, Flitwick said...


Well how come the last ten years have seen a slight fall in global temperatures, despite massive increases in carbon dioxide emissions as the far east irapidly industrialises?

The climate is changing becuase it has constantly changed throughout history. What is far from proven is that man caused carbon dioxide emissions are responsible

Johannes Viljoen said...

Paul Flitwick - I hope you don't expect me to answer your question in a combox with a hundred word limit but as an example the polar ice gaps are melting at an unprecidented rate. The vast majority of scientists broadly agree with the evidence supporting climiate change. Be a sceptic if you want but history will prove you wrong.

Pablo the Mexican said...

I wonder why Catholics cannot grasp deterioration as a result of Sin?

We know things are going down hill.

That is why we pray for God's mercy.

Only the weeping of the Church will get God to change the mess we created back to the good He created.


Paul, Flitwick said...

The evidence that climate has warmed in recent years is overwhelming, the evidence that this warming is due to man made carbon dioxide emissions and will continue to warm does not appear to be overwhelming.

That is not some madcap belief in the USA, it is widely and increasingly held in Britain too.

In any case, even if the warming is mainly due to human activity, there is still the inconvenient fact that if the tens of billions being spent on anti global warming measures (many of which such as wind turbines are near useless until a cheap way of storing electricity en masse is invented) were instead spent on feeding, vaccinating housing and installing infrastructure (such as water supplies) for the poor, it would be rather better spent.

I also gather that the carbon dioxide polar ice caps on Mars are also shrinking at present.

Johannes Viljoen said...

''That is not some madcap belief in the USA, it is widely and increasingly held in Britain too.''

I'm sorry I don't accept this, where is the evidence supporting this (yet again) unfounded assertion? This view is not widely held in the UK, least of all by reputable scientific organisations.

Mike said...

Johannes, the “vast majority of scientists” is not the same thing as “many scientific organisations”. It may well be that the leaders of many scientific organisations have expressed a belief in the theory that global warming is caused mainly by human activity but how many of the MEMBERS of these organisations agree with that view. More importantly, just suppose that the vast majority of scientists did believe in what you claim – would that make it correct?

Paul, Flitwick said...

There is also the issue that any scientist working for an establishment relying on public funds (ie most of them) who deviates from the establishment line on this subject tends to suffer much the same fate as a parish priest who announced that he was in future going to say all his novus ordo Masses in latin ad orientem with the sign of peace omitted.

As to justiying my previous assertion, there has been plenty in the press from warmists lamenting that the public is increasingly sceptical and a quick google search on "uk public global warming sceptics" or similar will reveal all.

Mrs. Malaprop said...

Can anyone recommend some Catholic charities that are doing a good job and making efficient use of the money they receive?

Paul, Flitwick said...

I would think Aid to the Church in Need would be fairly near the top of the list?