068: Left…Right…Catholic: Solving the Problems of Environment, Economics, & Morality

Picture of by Matthew Leonard
by Matthew Leonard

By now you’ve come to expect this.

And by “this”, I mean challenging topics. Well, this one is a doozy.

We’re going to talk about nature. And by that I don’t just mean forests and rivers and cute little squirrels. I also mean human nature.

My guest is the brilliant Dr. Ben Wiker, author of an incredible new book titled, “In Defense of Nature: The Catholic Unity of Environmental, Economic, and Moral Ecology.”

He’s a genius at showing how the respect and care for creation necessarily leads to respect and care for human nature…and vice versa.

In other words, it’s illogical to be an environmentalist and try to destroy humans at the same time.

Similarly, if you are a defender of life and human nature, you need to not forget about the natural world.

If the tree hugger alarm bells are faintly ringing in your brain, don’t worry. I’m not that guy. (I haven’t even worn Birkenstocks since the 90s.)

This is an incredibly deep topic and a massive issue between Left and Right, Liberal and Conservative.

To bridge the gap, this episode exposes the fact that there is real unity in nature, unity between the physical and spiritual realms.

And that unity has consequences.

If that seems obvious to you, just wait. I’m betting that you’re going to have some serious “Holy Toledo!” moments during this episode.

Among other things, Dr. Wiker and I discuss:

  • What is catholic ecology? (Yes, I intended a small “c”.)
  • Who was Francis Bacon and why should his bacon be cooked.
  • The connection between landfills and sin. (Not gonna lie. This one threw me at first.)
  • The evil underbelly of (and religion surrounding) recycling
  • How contraceptive principles actually apply to food
    • a.k.a. “Why you’ll never look at Froot Loops the same way again”
  • Why sometimes what’s good for the economy is not good for you

This is an episode that doesn’t pull any punches.

But it does provide a common foundation form which we can approach a very serious and damaging divide. So put a bowl of granola in one hand and a gun in the other, lean back, and enjoy!

God bless,



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6 Responses

  1. Matthew.

    Both you and Dr Wiker did a great job in describing the issues of today from both sides. You also brought into view the economic situation whereby not only the wealthy but also poor will be impacted by potential solutions. Think the book would be a worthwhile read. That said, our Lord did give each of us stewardship over this world. How humanity responds appears to depend on one’s real faith values. Those who have no faith values tend to believe themselves “gods” (Tower of Babel, post Davidic kings and even today – after 9/11, “We will rebuild…”) Solutions to these issues are indeed complex and loaded with unintended consequences. Only God has both the knowledge AND wisdom to resolve them. People, by refuting God in this and other countries will never come to an equitable solution. The answer, and I did not hear it addressed, is for all, most importantly those in leadership positions, to seek our Lord’s answer through prayer and seek our Lord’s blessings to bring both sides of the issues to the table and work together to implement His solutions. Matthew, please keep up your good work and I pray that our Lord will always bless and prosper all you do in His name.

    1. Gene – Thanks for the comment and I totally agree. Seeking the Lord and praying for guidance and wisdom – particularly for those in leadership positions – is always foundational. God bless!

  2. I like how you and Ben illustrated how ALL nature is connected and that neither left nor right can have the whole answer to the problems we face. None of us hold all truth. We need to dialogue with each other with the Holy Spirit guiding us.
    Thank you Matt!

    1. That’s exactly right, Carolyn! It’s all connected. The sooner we all recognize it, the sooner things can change (and heal). Thanks for the comment and kind words. God bless!

  3. From listening to this conversation three times (!), I bought Dr. Wiker’s book and man, I see what you’re saying even more truly, Matthew, that it’s paralyzing. What do I buy? Is it OK that that’s wrapped in three layers of plastic? Should I even OWN an iDevice? Well, since our ‘hippie days’ I’ve been more concerned than most about recycling and not overusing resources , but now even more so. I feel guilty and pray a little prayer when I toss something plastic in the recycle trash. What else can we do??? Should I throw that awaaaaay?????

    In the book, he goes into much greater depth on porn and human trafficking and that was utterly and totally disgusting and eye-opening. There is no depth of evil too deep for mankind…

    And a question: Why are those rare metal mines in Africa and the recycling Mordors of China not exposed for the world to see? Or are they and we don’t care??

    1. Hi Jill. I feel your pain! I’m trying to be much more temperate and am far more cognizant of what I’m using and tossing. But you’re right, Dr. Wiker’s brilliant commentary on how all of this relates to porn and human trafficking is infuriating. I wish we’d had time to get to it because it’s really the most destructive part about all of this.

      Yes, I do think there are people talking about it (like the Art of Catholic:), but not enough. I think that’s because it’s the real “Inconvenient Truth”. We can’t just recycle away our intemperance. Nor can we ignore the destruction of human nature, which many on the Left, for some reason, are so blind to. All of that said, I think one of the best ways to spread the work of Dr. Wiker on this. I think his take on it is absolutely brilliant. God bless you!

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