Fallible fracking: What is the Pope’s position on hydraulic drilling?

Pope Francis, known for stepping into controversial topics since lightning struck St. Peter’s Square and Bergoglio took on the Pontiff role for the Catholic Church, may be doing it again. This time he is siding with the anti-fracking movement across the world, and in the United States where places like the Marcellus Shale have changed the course of energy … Or so we are told by some..

According to reports in ECOWATCH, The Pope watched a film called La Guerra del Fracking or The Fracking War.. This film was banned in movie theaters in Argentina.. The new ‘dirty war’ so to speak that is being created across the world has been divisive, especially in Argentina where the government didn’t call fracking,  fracking, but instead renamed it ‘unconventional’ gas extraction.


Some wonder whether a simple photo of the Pope with anti-fracking activists means anything. RR Reno, the editor of FIRST THINGS, wrote this days back about the Pope and the fracking issue:

And then there’s Maureen’s assumption that Pope Francis swallows the goofiest and least defensible forms of contemporary environmentalism. I see no reason to think he’s offering support to positions that regard “man as a parasite,” as she suggests. Nor do I have reason to think the Pope will adopt a sky-is-falling “apocalyptic alarmism” in the forthcoming encyclical on the environment.

Nor can we conclude that Francis opposes fracking. Popes have their pictures taken with lots and lots and lots of people. One photo of a distracted pope with anti-fracking advocates does not a policy position make.

Here is the NATIONAL CATHOLIC REPORTER take on the ‘anti-fracking Pope’:

The nine-minute video, titled “Pope Francis and the environmental defense,” first appeared on YouTube in December 2013. While it doesn’t provide irrefutable evidence that Francis has aligned with opponents of the controversial drilling technique — he never discusses fracking directly in the clip — the footage does provide a glimpse of a candid pope talking about environmental issues and the importance of and dignity associated with work.  

In narrating the short film, Solanas said that the purpose of the audience was to talk about environmental crimes. After arriving to the meeting alone, the pope began to bless rosaries, T-shirts and other items placed on a table. Among them was the “Water is worth more than gold” shirt, which Francis held up for a photo.

 “You are happy with this,” he said in Spanish, according to the video’s translation, which at times is rough.

A number of environmental groups worry about fractional drilling and the dangers it poses to the future sustainability of the planet. While it has added to an environment of lower gas prices and more competition in the natural gas world, it has also created earthquakes. Scientists finally had to admit over the past several months that several shakes in Ohio were the result of fracking. Even more, popular websites like Dutchsince and others constantly pinpoint fracking wells as the cause of several quakes across the nation in places that did not typically have them for several centuries.

Just this week, the state of Connecticut was hit with nine small quakes –at the time this post is being written– and some wonder if the ground underneath parts of the Northeast is changing due to the massive surge in fracking wells in the Marcellus region.

Also, across the world, weird booms and bangs have been heard being accompanied by giant shaking moments. People, at least in some quarters, blame these also on fracking.

Regardless of the pro or con movements to the gas extraction issue, it’s undoubtedly one of the biggest environmental issues of our time. And it’s always prime time for a Pope to announce his position on such a topic that generates arguments around the world.

So .. is Francis for or against the new dirty war?