All articles from October 23, 2006


Cardinal McCarrick Continues to Conceal Rome’s Insistence that Pro-Abort Politicians Be Denied Commu

Part 1

By John-Henry Westen

CORNWALL, October 23, 2006 ( - Last week, recently-retired Washington Cardinal Theodore McCarrick delivered an address to the annual Plenary Assembly of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.  McCarrick, who headed up the US Bishops Conference task force on Catholics in Political Life, spoke mainly of his experiences on the task force and of the central debate it explored - namely that of whether or not to deny Holy Communion to Catholic politicians who reject Church teachings on central issues such as abortion and euthanasia.

During the 2004 deliberation among US Bishops, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith sent a letter to the US Bishops to use as a guide.  The letter pointed out that obstinately pro-abortion Catholic politicians, after being duly instructed and warned, "must" be denied Communion. 

In his 12-page address, however, McCarrick did not even provide the gist of Cardinal Ratzinger’s letter which outlined in six successive points why communion "must" be denied in the specified cases.  He did however speak about a bracketed afterthought at the bottom of Cardinal Ratzinger’s letter which spoke of reception of communion for Catholics who vote for pro-abortion politicians.

The failure to mention the central contents of that Ratzinger letter entitled "Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion. General Principles" is seemingly habitual for Cardinal McCarrick.

Although it was sent to the US Bishops via Cardinal McCarrick by Cardinal Ratzinger, the document was not revealed to the US Bishops.  Rather McCarrick gave the impression that Cardinal Ratzinger’s letter indicated Rome was ambiguous about the matter.  Speaking of Ratzinger’s letter in a June 15, 2004 statement to the US Bishops, Cardinal McCarrick said, "the Cardinal (Ratzinger) recognizes that there are circumstances in which Holy Communion may be denied."

A couple of weeks after Cardinal McCarrick’s speech, the letter from Cardinal Ratzinger was leaked to well-known Vatican reporter Sandro Magister, who published the document in full.  In a surprising move, Cardinal Ratzinger’s office confirmed the leaked document as authentic.

  In the days after the Ratzinger letter was leaked and confirmed as authentic, noted US theologian Michael Novak told the Washington Times that sources in Rome were perturbed by Cardinal McCarrick’s soft-pedalling of the Ratzinger letter. "Some people in the Vatican were upset that McCarrick was putting on too kind a face on it," Novak told reporter Julia Duin.

Rather than a permissibility to deny communion, Ratzinger’s letter spoke of cases where "the minister of Holy Communion may find himself in the situation where he must refuse to distribute Holy Communion to someone." It went on to explain that an obstinately pro-abortion Catholic politician who has been warned and instructed, if "the person in question, with obstinate persistence, still presents himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it."  (see the full letter from Cardinal Ratzinger: )

In interviews with Catholic writer Barbara Kralis, two US bishops said publicly that they were disappointed in not receiving the letter from McCarrick .  Asked, "were the contents of the memo made known to you and the other bishops at the Denver meeting?" Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis replied, "It certainly was not made known to me and I do not believe it was given to the other bishops. Cardinal McCarrick referred to the memorandum. We were told that, according to Cardinal Ratzinger, the application of the Canon 915 was up to the prudent judgment of each bishop. The text of the memorandum would have been very helpful at the meeting in Denver. Knowing now about the memo, I am disappointed it was not given to us at the meeting of the Bishops’ Conference."

Bishop Robert F. Vasa of Baker, Oregon also told Kralis the memo was not revealed, even to bishops on the task force. "As I recall, Cardinal McCarrick made reference to some letter, but I did not see a copy of the letter at the meeting. I don’t know if the committee writing the ‘Statement,’ entitled ‘Catholics in Political Life,’ was given a copy of the letter," he said.

Reacting to the controversy, Cardinal McCarrick tried to downplay the significance of the Ratzinger letter.  McCarrick said that the leaked Ratzinger letter "may represent an incomplete and partial leak of a private communication from Cardinal Ratzinger and it may not accurately reflect the full message I received." (see coverage: )

Some months earlier, Cardinal McCarrick was downplaying or even denying the statements of another Vatican Cardinal on the same topic.

In April 2004, the Vatican’s leading prelate - second only to the Pope - on the Sacraments, Cardinal Francis Arinze, declared unequivocally that unambiguously pro-abortion politicians should be denied Holy Communion. Cardinal Arinze said such a politician "is not fit" to receive Communion. "If they should not receive, then they should not be given," he added.

Cardinal McCarrick reacted to Cardinal Arinze’s statements by suggesting that Arinze did not really mean what he said. Speaking with the National Catholic Reporter, after Cardinal Arinze’s statements were publicized, McCarrick said of Cardinal Arinze, "I don’t think it was his eminence’s official opinion . . . The cardinal’s position . . . was that . . . the United States should figure out what they ought to do."

Since that time, Cardinal Arinze has so frequently been asked the question he has begun to joke about it. In a live interview on EWTN Cardinal Arinze was asked if pro-abortion politicians should be denied communion.  He replied: "The answer is clear. If a person says I am in favour of killing unborn babies whether they be four thousand or five thousand, I have been in favour of killing them. I will be in favour of killing them tomorrow and next week and next year. So, unborn babies, too bad for you. I am in favour that you should be killed, then the person turn around and say I want to receive Holy Communion. Do you need any Cardinal from the Vatican to answer that?  . . .  "Simple, ask the children for First Communion, they’ll give you the answer." (see coverage: )

Cardinal McCarrick’s full address

  Part 2 of this article appears here:


Study: Human Embryonic Stem Cells May Cause Brain Tumours

By Hilary White

NEW YORK, October 23, 2006 ( – A US research team has released a report showing that embryonic stem cells injected into the brains of Parkinson’s patients have a serious risk of forming tumours.

Steven Goldman and colleagues at the University of Rochester Medical Centre in New York wrote in the journal Nature Medicine, that human embryo cells injected into the brains of rats showed signs of forming cancerous cells.

Parkinson’s disease is caused when dopamine-releasing cells die in the brain and scientists have shown that stem cells can be targeted to repair the damaged tissue. Embryonic cells, however, have proven to yield unpredictable and sometimes dangerous results.

In the case of Parkinson’s, much progress has been made already with adult stem cells that so far do not show the same propensity as embryonic cells to form tumours or “go wild” and form unpredictable types of tissue.

In the case of Goldman’s research, though the injected embryonic cells grafted successfully with the area of Parkinson’s damage, the cells began dividing in a way that had the potential to develop into tumours.

Previous experiments with foetal cells have led to some disastrous failures.

In August 2003, a similar experiment using cells derived from aborted tissue, a repeat of an earlier attempt, resulted in what researchers involved called “catastrophic” and irreversible side effects.

The study, published in the Annals of Neurology, showed that of the 23 Parkinson’s patients who received transplants of aborted foetal tissue, 13 developed irreversible spasmodic movements in their limbs.

Read related coverage:
  Fetal Tissue Transplants Cause Disaster Again for Parkinson’s Patients in Experimental Treatment


US Bishops Draft Document to Warn of Harm Caused by Contraception to Marriage, Family & Society

By Meg Jalsevac

WASHINGTON, October 23, 2006 ( – The US Bishops have a third document slated for review at their semi-annual Baltimore meeting and this document will address marital love and the gift of life. The document is entitled “Married Love and the Gift of Life” and talks of the “false note” that contraception introduces to a marriage. As an ethical alternative, the document supports Natural Family Planning which, used under the right circumstances, “enables couples to cooperate with the body as God designed it.”

Catholic News Service reports that the document is intended to be used as a brochure and will be in ‘question and answer’ format.ÂÂ It was authored by the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities along with the committees on Doctrine and Marriage and Family Life.ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ

When asked by about the timing of the document, Dr. Richard Doerflinger, interim Executive Director of the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities at the USCCB, said, “The conviction has grown that there is a pastoral need for a simple educational piece addressed to Catholics considering marriage.” He said that it initially stemmed from the thought that some Catholics did not understand the abortifacient nature of some contraceptives but “quickly became a discussion of the lack of educational material from the bishops on overall teaching in general.”

Doerflinger said that the document was authored in the hope that the teaching would be welcomed by an entire generation that did not grow up amidst the debate that was created by Humanae Vitae about the Church’s authority to teach on such issues. The bishops hope that instead, Catholics today can focus on “the beauty of this teaching.”

Doerflinger explained that the document “touches on the theology of the body” but its purpose is to “appeal to the aspirations of people planning to get married – it talks about the meaning of married love and the complete openness to each other that this requires. It proposes that this includes an openness to the divine gift of being able to help create a new life together.”Â

The document condemns the use of contraception saying, “When couples use contraception, either physical or chemical, they suppress their fertility, exerting ultimate control over this power to create a new human life with God.”Â

The authors convey the warnings of Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II who said that a “contraceptive mentality” would lead to more abortions and other evils. According to the document, “These predictions have come true… Today we see a pandemic of sexually transmitted diseases, an enormous rise in cohabitation, one in three children born outside of marriage, and abortion used by many when contraception fails.”

The document also warns against some of the newest forms of contraception, such as the ‘morning after pill’ which can be abortifacient.

Natural Family Planning is strongly supported throughout the document as a way that couples may, in serious circumstances, use the natural fertility cycles of a woman’s body to morally avoid conceiving a child. In NFP, a couple monitors the woman’s fertility and abstains from sexual intercourse when she is fertile.Â

The document says, “A couple need not desire or seek to have a child in each and every act of intercourse. And it is not wrong for couples to have intercourse even when they know the woman is naturally infertile… But they should never act to suppress or curtail the life-giving power given by God that is an integral part of what they pledged to each other in their marriage vows.”

The document is careful to explain that children are a gift to be welcomed. However, it explains, “In married life, serious circumstances—financial, physical, psychological, or those involving responsibilities to other family members—may arise to make an increase in family size untimely. The church understands this, while encouraging couples to take a generous view of children.”

Cardinal Keeler, chairman of the USCCB’s Pro-life Committee, wrote the introduction to the document saying that he expects the new brochure will be especially useful for those Catholics who are engaged or intend to be married or those who are newly married. Priests and seminarians will also find particular use in the document as they prepare couples for marriage and assist already married couples in living out a truly Catholic marriage.Â

According to Keeler’s introduction, Catholic couples currently “report using contraceptives at about the same level as those of other faiths or of no faith.” Only four percent of Catholics use Natural Family Planning.

Doerflinger said that a list of additional resources will be found at the end of the document including works by Christopher West, Dr. Janet Smith and Pope John Paul II’s initial talks on the Theology of the Body.
  This current pro-life document is welcomed by orthodox Catholics as there has been a considerable lack of public teaching on the issue resulting in Catholic marriages experiencing the same increasing rates of breakdown and resulting destruction of family life as non-Catholics. The document sums up its core message stating, “A failure to respect married love’s power to help create new life has eroded respect for life and for the sanctity of marriage.”
  Read Related LifeSite Coverage:

US Bishops Conference Set to Release Document on Contraception and the Culture of Life

Advisory Doctor to FDA Confirms Morning-After Pill Acts as Abortifacient

The Difference between Artificial Contraception and Natural Family Planning

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Joint Evangelical and Catholic Document on Abortion calls it Murder

By Gudrun Schultz

UNITED STATES, October 23, 2006 ( - Evangelical and Catholic leaders who have issued a joint statement declaring that care for the vulnerable in society is an essential requirement of authentic Christianity which must reject any deliberate taking of innocent human life as murder.

“The direct and intentional taking of innocent human life in abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, and embryonic research is rightly understood as murder,” the document ‘That They May Have Life’ declares, from Evangelicals and Catholics Together.

Published in the October issue of the Catholic magazine First Things, the statement identifies the biblical foundations of the call to protect and care for the unborn, ill and dying in the Divine command to “love your neighbor.”

“The love for the neighbor begins…with respect for the neighbor’s right to be, by honoring the gift of God that is the neighbor’s life. Thus the most basic commandment of neighbor-love is ‘You shall not kill’…rightly understood as ‘You shall not murder,’” the statement declares.

Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, editor-in-chief of First Things and a participant in drafting the document, said there was “intense” debate over the use of the term “murder,” in reference to abortion, in an interview with the Ledger.

“But we tried to be very precise, namely that any direct and deliberate taking of innocent human life is in ordinary language - and certainly in the language of the Western moral tradition - properly called murder,” he said.

The purpose of the statement is to “explain to our communities why we believe that support for a culture of life is an integral part of Christian faith and therefore a morally unavoidable imperative of Christian discipleship,” the authors write. “We believe it is of utmost importance that everyone involved in the public discussion of these questions understand the unbreakable connection between a Christian worldview and the defense of human life.”

“It is not the case that we wish to ‘impose’ our moral convictions on our fellow-citizens or, as some recklessly charge, to establish a ‘theocracy.’ Our intention is not to impose but to propose, educate and persuade in the hope that, through free deliberation and decision, our society will be turned toward a more consistent respect for the inestimable gift that is human life.”

The statement refutes the argument of compassion frequently used by those who promote abortion and euthanasia, saying:

“While we can sympathize with those who view their own life or the life of another as a burden and not a gift…there can by no moral justification for murder.
“We are determined to employ every legal means available to protect, in law and in life, the innocent and vulnerable members of the human community.”

The statement’s authors plead with the Christian community to recognize the central place of respect for human life within the beliefs of the Church, and call for a “reasonable deliberation” with those who disagree, in an attempt to move beyond “culture wars.”

“Our churches do not simply support the pro-life movement as a social cause. Because the gospel of life is integral to God’s loving purpose for his creation, the Church of Jesus Christ, comprehensively understood, is a pro-life movement continuing God’s mission until the end of time.

“We cannot and would not impose this vision of a culture of life upon others. We do propose to our fellow Christians and to all Americans that they join with us in a process of deliberation and decision that holds the promise of a more just and humane society.”

Catholic leaders who endorsed the statement include Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J., Fordham University, Fr. Francis Martin, a foremost Catholic theologian and member of Mother of God Community, and Mr. George Weigel, senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

Evangelical leaders included Mr. Charles Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship, pastors Bill Hybels and Rick Warren, with the Willow Creek Community Church and Saddleback Church, respectively, and Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.

Read the full statement from Evangelicals and Catholics Together:

See coverage by the Ledger:


Nicaragua Moves Closer to Ban on All Abortions

By Gudrun Schultz

MANAGUA, Nicaragua, October 23, 2006 ( - A Nicaraguan Parliamentary committee approved proposed legislation last week that would ban all abortions in the country, including the deliberate abortion of a child when the mother’s life was in danger.

The measure will be debated at a national assembly hearing before a final vote is taken next week, BBC News reported Saturday. The legislation is expected to pass the vote.

Abortion is currently permitted in the predominantly Catholic country if the mother’s life is thought to be in danger. A proposal to permit “therapeutic” abortions was brought before the National Assembly in April 2006, fueled by the highly publicized 2003 case of a nine-year-old girl made pregnant by rape and given an illegal abortion.

Nicaraguan churches, in particular Roman Catholic and evangelical, responded to increasing pressure by feminist organizations for abortion on demand by working to close the remaining loophole in the country’s abortion laws.

A massive pro-life demonstration of more than 10,000 people in the country’s capital earlier this month, organized by the Catholic bishops and evangelical pastors, encouraged National Assembly leader Rene Nuñez to sponsor the legislation.

“Unless abortion is made a crime, then people can simply come out and say: ‘I have the right to an abortion, this is my body and I can decide,’” said Orlando Tardencilla, a member of the sub-committee which proposed the bill.

“That’s like saying: ‘I’m allowed to commit murder because these hands are mine, this gun is mine.’”

Managua Archbishop Leopoldo Brenes, who led the demonstration, said, “Therapeutic abortion is a door through which abortion could be legalized in Nicaragua, as has unfortunately happened in other countries.”

See related LifeSiteNews coverage:

Massive Pro-Life March Convinces Nicaraguan Congress to Propose Ban on All Abortions

Nicaragua Congress to Debate Legalizing Abortion



Australian Catholic Hospitals will Not Use Possible Cures from Embryo Research

By Hilary White

CANBERRA, October 23, 2006 ( – Anthony Fisher, auxiliary bishop of the Australian diocese of Sydney, told a Senate committee on Friday that Catholic hospitals in Australia would not be involved in stem cell research using embryos, including cloning, even if those experiments were to produce cures for serious diseases.

“I think if in fact what the cures involved was using parts taken from very early human beings that had been killed to get those cells, and then lines grown from them for that purpose, we’d have to say that you couldn’t morally cooperate in that activity,” Bishop Fisher told the committee.

Bishop Fisher said that the Church was unlikely to drop its opposition to the creation of human clones for research.

The Associated press quotes Fisher, “You couldn’t derive benefit from it personally. Certainly any direct advantage gained for a particular patient, I’d have to say, would be excluded because of the way it was gained.”

The Australian Senate is hearing submissions on a private members’ bill that would lift the ban on creation of cloned embryonic human beings for experimental research. Prime Minister John Howard has granted Parliament a conscience vote on the issue and the House voted to retain the ban in August.

Federal Health Minister Tony Abbott said that Australia must not pursue human cloning and embryonic stem cell research, calling such a move “a bridge too far”. The Lockhart report review of stem cell research, however, recommended overturning the ban on therapeutic cloning.

Catholic Health Australia chief Francis Sullivan released a statement ahead of his appearance at the Senate committee that said a decision to overturn the cloning ban is likely to set a dangerous precedent that human life is “expendable”.

“The Senate will be taking a moral position on the status of the human embryo which effectively undermines the principle of protecting innocent human life”.

Sullivan’s comments to the Senate will say, “The Senate will be enshrining in law a utilitarian evaluation of the human embryo. That is, the embryo is expendable. The embryo is not as valuable as futuristic research.”

Read related coverage:
  Australia Retains Ban on Human Cloning


Catholic Church in New York Must Provide Contraceptives for Employees Court Rules

By Hilary White

NEW YORK, October 23, 2006 ( – A ruling from a New York Court of Appeals has ordered Catholic institutions in the state to provide contraception coverage for female employees in health insurance plans.

The Catholic Conference of New York had argued against the order as being contrary to religious freedom guaranteed in the Constitution. The Conference is likely to appeal the decision to the US Supreme Court.

“We believe that forcing Catholic institutions to provide contraceptive coverage and to pay for it is a violation of our religious liberty,” said Dennis Poust of the Catholic Conference.

While Catholic health and charitable institutions do not formally hold that contraceptives fall under the category of “health care,” the court ruled that the state has a “substantial interest in fostering equality between the sexes and in providing women with better health care.”

Commenters have said that the ruling is part of a dangerous trend where courts decide for religious organizations how they must conduct their internal affairs.

At the Alliance Defense Fund blog, “Constitutionally Correct,” an attorney for the ADF wrote, “This ruling is further evidence of the threat that secularism poses to Christian organizations.” (see the post here:Â)

The court decided that the legislation requiring birth control coverage did not violate the constitutional rights to religious freedom because the main or only purpose of Catholic Charities was not the spreading of Catholicism.

“The legislation does not interfere with plaintiffs’ right to communicate, or to refrain from communicating, any message they like; nor does it compel them to associate, or prohibit them from associating, with anyone.”

The court noted that the case would have been more difficult to decide had the institutions involved employed more Catholics who objected to contraception on religious grounds.

View the ruling:

Read commentary at Mirror of Justice legal blog:


U.S. Constitution Does Not Address Abortion, Suicide Rights, Says Justice Scalia

By Gudrun Schultz

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 23, 2006 ( - Federal Court decisions on controversial issues such as abortion and suicide rights should be left to the legislature, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said Saturday, condemning unelected judges for creating new rights not found in the Constitution.

“You talk about independence as though it is unquestionably and unqualifiedly a good thing,” Scalia said, speaking on the judiciary at a talk sponsored by the National Italian American Foundation, the Associated Press reported. “It may not be. It depends on what your courts are doing.”

“The more your courts become policy-makers, the less sense it makes to have them entirely independent.”

The decision to legalize abortion was an example of a court action that overstepped the bounds of judicial jurisdiction, Scalia said, creating frustration for both sides of the issue.

“Whichever side wins, in the courts, the other side feels cheated. I mean, you know, there’s something to be said for both sides.”

“The court could have said, ‘No, thank you.’ The court could have said, you know, ‘There is nothing in the Constitution on the abortion issue for either side,’” Scalia said. “It could have said the same thing about suicide, it could have said the same thing about…you know, all the social issues the courts are now taking.”

Judicial activism is a recent social development that threatens the objectivity of the courts, Scalia said.

“It is part of the new philosophy of the Constitution,” he said. “And when you push the courts into that, and when they leap into it, they make themselves politically controversial. And that’s what places their independence at risk.”

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito Jr., speaking at the event, agreed with Scalia—he said, “the same thing exists, but to a lesser degree, with the lower courts.”

Scalia criticized both the media and the general public for making simplistic assumptions about the courts and for sensationalizing judicial decisions.

“The press is never going to report judicial opinions accurately,” he said. “They’re just going to report, who is the plaintiff? Was that a nice little old lady? And who is the defendant? Was this, you know, some skuzzy guy? And who won? Was it the good guy that won or the bad guy? And that’s all you’re going to get in a press report, and you can’t blame them, you can’t blame them. Because nobody would read it if you went into the details of the law that the court has to resolve. So you can’t judge your judges on the basis of what you read in the press.”

Justice Alito agreed with Scalia and said the Internet has radically increased individuals’ ability to affect public opinion on the judiciary. “This is not just like somebody handing out a leaflet in the past, where a small number of people can see this,” he said. “This is available to the world….It changes what it means to be a judge. It certainly changes the attractiveness of a judicial career.”

“It so happens that everything that is stupid is not unconstitutional,” Scalia commented.

Throughout his 20 years on the Supreme Court, Justice Scalia has been consistent in his strong opposition to the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision legalizing abortion. One of the strongest conservative voices on the Court, Scalia defends an interpretation of the Constitution that is faithful to the original context and meaning.

See related LifeSiteNews coverage:

Scalia Says Roe vs. Wade Abortion Decision Was “improper” Action of Liberal Judges

Scalia Questions ‘Sanity’ of Important Moral Decisions like Abortion Being Decided by ‘Unelected Judges’



300 Million US Population in Light of Kyoto, Global Warming and Other Created Hysterias

By Joseph A. D’Agostino

FRONT ROYAL, Virginia, October 20, 2006 ( - Opponents of population growth almost always cite environmental concerns, and this week’s media coverage of America hitting 300 million in population was not an exception. I have written recently about other myths connected to population growth, from suburban sprawl to immigration, and this week it’s time to talk about the environment.

Environmentalists’ big problem is that by almost every measure, the environment of the United States has gotten cleaner in recent decades as her population increased by 50%. Our population hit 200 million in 1967 and 300 million last Tuesday. In those 40 years, America cleaned herself up quite well. At the same time, the supply of natural resources has expanded, not contracted, as new discoveries and new technologies outpace resource consumption.

Keep in mind that ever since Protestant clergyman Thomas Malthus in the late 18th Century, doomsaying prophets have predicted that, due to the increasing human population, the world would soon run out of some resource, causing mass deaths and social collapse. When Malthus launched his jeremiads, the world’s population was approximately 1 billion. Today, it is over 6.5 billion, and we are still waiting for the extinction of any crucial natural resource.

Consider the following evidence for an ever-cleaner environment and more abundant natural resources:

* In 1982, half of our nation’s ozone monitoring stations detected levels exceeding the federal health standard. Twenty years later, only 13% did.

* Wrote Joel Schwartz in the Summer 2003 issue of Regulation, “Between 1981 and 2000, carbon monoxide (CO) declined 61%, sulfur dioxide (SO2) 50%, and nitrogen oxides (NOx)14%. Only two among hundreds of the nation’s monitoring locations still exceed the CO and SO2 standards. All areas of the country meet the NOx standard. For all three pollutants, pollution levels are well below the EPA standards in almost all cases.” Indications are that our air has continued to get cleaner in the last three years. Emissions from cars and SUVs less than ten years old have dropped to a fraction of older cars’ levels. As older cars get junked and government-mandated clean technologies are implemented, car and SUV emissions are expected to drop by a further 90% over the next 20 years. Breathe deep.

* Water has become similarly cleaner, and the United States’ drinking water is generally considered the best in the world. (I am not claiming that our water supply is free of pollution, just that it is cleaner than it was 30 years ago.) Reports the EPA, “The Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974 has helped our citizens enjoy one of the safest and cleanest water supplies in the world. . . . In the last 30 years, we have significantly increased the number of individuals and communities receiving water that meets public health standards. More than 273 million people receive water from 53,000 community water systems. There has been a three-fold increase in the number of contaminants regulated under the Act since it was passed in 1974. Close to 92% of the nation’s water systems provide drinking water that meets all public health standards, and state and federal regulators are working to ensure that all systems meet standards.”

* Worrywarts now emphasize that America’s Western states could run out of water if population growth continues. It’s true that Western water, currently cheap even in most desert regions, could become modestly more expensive over time as demand increases. But running out is highly unlikely. California can prepare for growth in demand from 8.8 million acre-feet annually today to the expected 11.4 million acre-feet in 2020.

For example: “It is anticipated that another 162 [water] recycling plants will come on line this decade. These projects, which are mostly in southern California , are expected to produce up to 1 million acre-feet of recycled water annually by 2020,” says the Water Education Foundation. Desalination plants, though expensive, could always provide more water for California and other Western states near the coast.

* Proven oil reserves are at an all-time high of 1 trillion barrels. Far from running out, we keep finding more of it. And in North America alone, there are an additional 2.3 trillion barrels of oil in shale and other forms currently too expensive to use. Technology may soon make them economically viable. Plenty of alternatives to petroleum currently exist, from liquefied coal to diesel from agricultural waste. And nuclear power is still there, ready to provide an almost inexhaustible supply of power for any purpose if people ever get over their hang-ups about it.

* World food production is so efficient that many governments, including our own, spend billions of dollars a year to pay farmers not to grow food in order to prevent a food price collapse. Barring some unforeseen blight on world agriculture, there is no chance of the world’s being unable to feed itself. Famines today are caused by distribution problems, usually produced by war or deliberately inflicted by corrupt governments to enhance their own power.

What of that massive political movement known as global warming, today’s fashionable secular substitute for the Biblical apocalypse? Bored of combating everyday environmental problems such as mercury in seafood and hormones in drinking water, environmentalists invented something much sexier: The imminent destruction of Earth unless you do what we say! Why trudge to local land-use meetings to lobby for preserving open space when you can preach the salvation of the world like an Old Testament prophet? One gains so much more social importance if people think you have the answer to averting Armageddon.

Perhaps it’s just a coincidence, but global warming theology produces the same practical results as the socialism Western leftists have been forced to abandon: An immense increase in the power of the political/regulatory class and an immense reduction in the standard of living of ordinary people. Why have so many scientists jumped on the bandwagon? Contrary to popular myth, scientists are just as venal and fallible as anyone else, and he who pays the piper calls the tune.

As Patrick J. Michaels of the Cato Institute wrote in the Philadelphia Inquirer on March 9, 2004, “Politics distorts science, particularly environmental science, because 99.99% of those sciences’ financial support comes from the federal government. Scientists distort science because their careers depend on the money they bring to their university or their laboratory. Both the employees of the academy, and the academy itself, must support a political process that results in the exaggeration of threats. In competition for a finite federal outlay, scientists present their particular issues (global warming, cancer, AIDS) in the most urgent light possible, threatening societal ruin if their work isn’t funded.”

And why wouldn’t federal bureaucrats want to hear evidence of a massive crisis that massively enhances their own power and budgets?

I’ve written about global warming hysteria before, so I will restrict myself today to noting the following:

* The Earth’s climate is always trending warmer or cooler at any given moment. There is no genuine evidence that any current warming trend (if one even exists) falls outside the range of natural climatic variation.

* According to global warming hysterics’ own studies, there is no correlation between when the bulk of man-made greenhouse gases were put into the atmosphere and warming. In fact, temperatures declined for decades during at least one of the most intense periods of industrialization.

* Proponents of the Kyoto protocol, which would decimate the standards of living of the common peoples of America and Western Europe, themselves admit that it would have no significant effect on stopping warming. They want something far more radical and which would have to apply to the whole world to work.

* The Western world continues to transfer its industrial capacity to the Third World. China and India, which together have over one-third of the world’s people, are rapidly industrializing and aren’t going to stay mired in poverty no matter what Western political hacks and their bought-and-paid-for pointy-headed experts say. Reducing the world’s overall greenhouse gas emissions is impossible. Instead, it is as certain as such a thing can be that greenhouse gas emissions will continue to rise for decades to come, even if Al Gore becomes President of the United States—-unless affordable technologies that allow unfettered industrial development but prevent greenhouse gas emissions are invented and then adopted by the Third World.

* In the 1970s, it was fashionable to worry about “global cooling,” supposedly caused by man-made pollution in the atmosphere blocking out the sun’s energy. Fifteen years later, media-favored experts starting talking about global warming supposedly caused by man-made pollution trapping in the sun’s energy.

There is no correlation between population growth or population density and environmental degradation. Instead, wealth correlates to environmental degradation and then improvement. When a country begins to develop, her environment suffers. But when she has reached a certain level, between $3,500 and $15,000 in per capita income, her environment begins to improve as people can afford (and demand) cleaner technologies.

And then the wealthier they get, the cleaner their environment becomes. That’s why ultra-poor subsistence-level areas, Western Europe, Canada, and the United States all have the cleanest environments. Getting China, India, and other developing countries over the wealth hump is the surest way to improve the world’s environment. Preserving America’s economic and per capita wealth growth is the best way of continuing to improve ours.

  Joseph A. D’Agostino is Vice President for Communications at the Population Research Institute.

See related links Extra Special MUST READ Report on Population Control

World’s worst polluted Places in Russia, China, India

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