Having recently made legal claims to historical gas and mineral rights under vast tracts of British land, the Church of England has taken a position against those who oppose hydraulic fracturing, or fracking — the process of breaking up rock formations underground in order to extract natural gas.
A spokesman for the church says the issue is an economic one and compares opponents of the process to anti-vaccine activists, claiming that the poor “suffer most when resources are scarce.”
In contrast, Pope Francis, who chose the papal name of the patron saint of animals and the ecology, appeared in public after meeting with Argentine environmentalists and held up two T-shirts signifying opposition to the procedure, one of which linked fracking to the issue of water pollution and its effect on the poor.
Q: Is fracking an ecological concern connected to poverty? What position should churches take, if any, on environmental issues like fracking?