In a recent speech about the environment, the Pontiff blamed atheists for being greedy earth raiders. Here's the full quote:
“Is it not true that inconsiderate use of creation begins where God is marginalized or also where his existence is denied? If the human creature's relationship with the Creator weakens, matter is reduced to egoistic possession, man becomes the ‘final authority,’ and the objective of existence is reduced to a feverish race to possess the most possible.”
You can find a transcript of the entire speech at Catholic.net.
Micha J. Stone of the Examiner (Portland, Maine) nailed it perfectly with this response:
Christianity, and Catholicism, are historically anti-environmental. In fact, if blame is to be placed for the current global environmental crisis, it is to be placed squarely upon the Judeo-Christian tradition. The fact that Christianity is anti-environmental is no secret. Indeed, many Christians have taken a perverse pride in claiming their dominion. For example, James Watt, who became U.S. Secretary of the Interior under Ronald Reagan in the early 1980s, wrote an influential and damning article entitled "Ours Is the Earth". Watt, speaking for countless Christians, made it abundantly clear that for believers the earth is "merely a temporary way station on the road to eternal life...The earth was put here by the Lord for His people to subdue and to use for profitable purposes on their way to the hereafter."
Swing over to Micha's post to read more of his response.
I'm a proud practicing Pastafarian, which basically means I eat a lot of spaghetti and don't believe in God. I am not a big fan of the Catholicism, I grew up having a very devout Catholic grandmother who dragged me to church and Sunday School every week. I never really bought into the program and started calling myself an atheist before I hit double digits. It's good to know that in addition to going to hell for denying the existence of God that it's also my fault that we've plundered the planet for all its worth. My bad.
There is a growing awareness in the religious community of the need to protect the earth and everything living on it. Grist wrote a good piece a couple years ago listing 15 green religious leaders, which, ironically, puts Pope Benedict XVI in the #6 spot. He got points from Grist for using an electric Popemobile, solar panels, and talking about the impact global warming will have on the worlds poorest people.
That's all and good, but it remains pretty galling that he'd try to throw the blame for global warming on us heathens. Poor form sir, poor form.