By Stephen C. Webster on November 14, 2013

Sarah Palin and the tea party might be agog over Pope Francis's allegedly liberal bent, but if this week's news is any indication, they haven't seen anything yet.

The popular new Catholic pope was pictured this week posing with two Argentinian environmental activists and holding up a t-shirt with an anti-fracking slogan on it.

The photo was published to Twitter on Tuesday by Argentinian anti-frakcing activist Juan Pablo Olssen. Pictured with Olssen and Pope Francis is Argentinian politician and environmental filmmaker Fernando Solanas, according to Foreign Policy magazine.

Pope Francis reportedly told the men that he is preparing an encyclical, or statement regarding Catholic doctrine, about "nature, humans and environmental pollution." He also posed for a second photo with a t-shirt featuring the Spanish-language slogan, "El Agua Vale mas que el Oro," which means, "Water is worth more than gold."

Argentina has become a hotspot for anti-fracking activism thanks to a deal the government struck with U.S. energy giant Chevron Corp. to extract oil and gas from sites in the Andes mountains. The state-run oil company YPF SA is partnering with Chevron on the $1.24 billion project, which aims to tap the world's second-largest reserve of shale gas.

Debates over the agreement were met with furious protests outside the legislature in August, and officials resorted to riot-style crowd control measures. The country is home to a thriving pro-environment movement, which frequently stages protests against out-of-country investment in energy and mineral extraction projects.

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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