Thursday, June 18, 2015


Read the encyclical for yourself.

 From Crux:

While much of the encyclical will be cheered by progressive activists, Francis is unflinching in his condemnation of abortion, population control, and gender theory.

“To blame population growth instead of extreme and selective consumerism on the part of some, is one way of refusing to face the issues,” he writes. “It is an attempt to legitimize the present model of distribution, where a minority believes that it has the right to consume in a way which can never be universalized, since the planet could not even contain the waste products of such consumption.”

He said the belief that we “enjoy absolute power over our own bodies” leads to the erroneous belief that “that we enjoy absolute power over creation.”

“Learning to accept our body, to care for it and to respect its fullest meaning, is an essential element of any genuine human ecology,” he writes. “Valuing one’s own body in its femininity or masculinity is necessary if I am going to be able to recognize myself in an encounter with someone who is different.”


Encyclical 'Laudato Si': on the Care of our Common Home'

Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Si' - AFP
18/06/2015 10:07
Pope Francis’ first encyclical is focused on the idea of ‘integral ecology’, connecting care of the natural world with justice for the poorest and most vulnerable people. Only by radically reshaping our relationships with God, with our neighbours and with the natural world, he says, can we hope to tackle the threats facing our planet today. Science, he insists, is the best tool by which we can listen to the cry of the earth, while dialogue and education are the two keys that can “help us to escape the spiral of self-destruction which currently engulfs us”.

At the heart of the Pope’s reflections is the question: “What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?”. The answers he suggests call for profound changes to political, economic, cultural and social systems, as well as to our individual lifestyles.

Chapter 1 sets out six of the most serious challenges facing “our common home”

  • Pollution, waste and our throwaway mentality: “the earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth”
  • Climate change: “one of the principle challenges facing humanity in our day” but “many of those who possess more resources and economic or political power seem mostly to be concerned with masking the problems or concealing their symptoms”
  • Water: “access to safe drinkable water is a basic and universal human right” yet entire populations, and especially children get sick and die because of contaminated water
  • Biodiversity: “Each year sees the disappearance of thousands of plant and animal species” and the consequences cannot be predicted as “all of us, as living creatures, are dependent on one another”. Often transnational economic interests obstruct this protection
  • Breakdown of society: Current models of development adversely affect the quality of life of most of humanity and “many cities are huge, inefficient structures, excessively wasteful of energy and water
  • Global inequality: Environmental problems affect the most vulnerable people, the greater part of the world’s population and the solution is not reducing the birth rate but counteracting “an extreme and selective consumerism”
And Chapter 3 explores six of the deep root causes of these growing crises

  • Technology: While it can bring progress towards sustainable development, without “a sound ethics”, it gives “those with the knowledge, and especially the economic resources… an impressive dominance over the whole of humanity”
  • The technocratic mentality: “the economy accepts every advance in technology with a view to profit……yet by itself the market cannot guarantee integral human development and social inclusion”
  • Anthropocentrism: we fail to understand our place in the world and our relationship with nature. Interpersonal relations and protection of human life must be set above technical reasoning so environmental concern “is also incompatible with the justification of abortion”
  • Practical relativism: environmental degradation and social decay is the result of seeing “everything as irrelevant unless it serves one’s own immediate interests”
  • Employment: Integral ecology needs to take account of the value of labour so everyone must be able to have work and it’s “bad business for society” to stop investing in people to achieve short-term financial gains
  • Biological technologies: GMOs are a “complex environmental issue” which have helped to resolve problems but bring difficulties such as concentrating land “in the hands of a few owners”, threatening small producers, biodiversity and ecosystems
So where do the solutions lie? Here are six of the best

  • In “The Gospel of Creation”: Chapter 2 examines the Old and New Testaments to show how human life is grounded in our relationships with God, with our neighbours and with the created world. We must acknowledge our sins when we break these relationships and realize our “tremendous responsibility” towards all of God’s creation
  • In Integral Ecology: Chapter 4 explores this new paradigm of justice which means “the analysis of environmental problems cannot be separated from the analysis of human, family, work-related and urban contexts”, while solutions must be based on “a preferential option for the poorest of our brothers and sisters”
  •  In Dialogue: Chapter 5, entitled ‘Lines of Approach and Action’ stresses the need for “honest and open debate, so that particular interests or ideologies will not prejudice the common good”. The Church does not presume to settle scientific questions or to replace politics, but it can promote dialogue on global and local governance, transparent decision-making, sustainable use of natural resources, as well as engaging in respectful dialogue with other people of faith and with the scientific world
  • In Education: Chapter 6 urges schools, families, the media and the churches to help reshape habits and behavior. Overcoming individualism, while changing our lifestyles and consumer choices, can bring much “pressure to bear on those who wield political, economic and social power” causing significant changes in society.
  • In Ecological Conversion: Chapter 6 also highlights St Francis of Assisi as the model of “a more passionate concern for the protection of our world”, characterized by gratitude and generosity, creativity and enthusiasm
  • In Spirituality: Finally Chapter 6 and the two concluding prayers show how faith in God can shape and inspire our care for the environment. The Sacraments, the Trinity, the model of the Holy Family and our hope for eternal life can teach, motivate and strengthen us to protect the natural world that God has given us 

Vatican City
(My comment: Despite the source, it is a very good summary!)

Pope Francis has clearly embraced what he calls a "very solid scientific consensus" that humans are causing cataclysmic climate change that is endangering the planet. The pope has also lambasted global political leaders for their "weak responses" and lack of will over decades to address the issue.

In what has already been the most debated papal encyclical letter in recent memory, Francis urgently calls on the entire world's population to act, lest we leave to coming generations a planet of "debris, desolation and filth."

"An outsider looking at our world would be amazed at [our] behavior, which at times appears self-destructive," the pope writes at one point in the letter, titled: "Laudato Si', on Care for Our Common Home."

Addressing world leaders directly, Francis asks: "What would induce anyone, at this stage, to hold on to power only to be remembered for their inability to take action when it was urgent and necessary to do so?"

Francis writes, "As often occurs in periods of deep crisis which require bold decisions, we are tempted to think that what is happening is not entirely clear. ... Such evasiveness serves as a license to carrying on with our present lifestyles and models of production and consumption. This is the way human beings contrive to feed their self-destructive vices: trying not to see them, trying not to acknowledge them, delaying the important decisions and pretending that nothing will happen."

Such sharp words on the situation facing humanity pervade the more than 40,000-word letter, which has a far-ranging scope -- first reviewing scientific conclusions on climate change and other environmental degradation before going into deeper implications for both the church and the global international system.

The document also shows a notable reorientation of the church's understanding of the human person, from a being that dominates to one that responsibly serves creation.

The title Laudato Si' comes from St. Francis of Assisi's famous 13th-century prayer "The Canticle of the Creatures." Translated into English as either "Be praised" or "Praised be," it is an Umbrian-Italian phrase used throughout the prayer to give thanks to God for creation.

The Vatican's Thursday launch of the encyclical -- which has already drawn public criticism from two Catholic U.S. presidential candidates and from right-wing groups that deny climate change science -- was preceded by some controversy Monday when a draft version of the document was leaked by the Italian newsmagazine L'Espresso.

The final version of the text does not seem to deviate in any substantial way from the leaked copy. In fact, the official English translation presents some matters more forcefully than the leaked Italian draft, adding sharper words, especially in the pope's call for action on the part of global leaders.

Tackling climate change in the first of its six chapters, Francis states bluntly: "A very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system."

He continues, "Humanity is called to recognize the need for changes of lifestyle, production and consumption, in order to combat this warming or at least the human causes which produce or aggravate it. It is true that there are other factors (such as volcanic activity, variations in the earth's orbit and axis, the solar cycle), yet a number of scientific studies indicate that most global warming in recent decades is due to the great concentration of greenhouse gases ... released mainly as a result of human activity."

Among other main issues and themes touched upon by the letter:
  • Environmental degradation causing lack of access to drinking water, loss of biodiversity, and decline in quality of human life;
  • Pervasive global inequity that leaves billions experiencing "ecological debt";
  • The search for long-term solutions to replace fossil fuels and other unsustainable energies;
  • Tying together the ecological crisis with a global social crisis that leaves the poorest in the world behind and does not make them part of international decision-making;
  • Changes in global lifestyle that could "bring healthy pressure to bear on those who wield political, economic and social power."
Starting his letter with a short preamble on the purpose for his writing, Francis refers to his predecessor John XXIII, who famously addressed his 1963 encyclical Pacem in Terris to "all men and women of good will."

"Now, faced as we are with global environmental deterioration, I wish to address every person living on this planet," Francis states. "In this Encyclical, I would like to enter into dialogue with all people about our common home."

"I urgently appeal, then, for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet," he says. "We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all."

Climate change, loss of biodiversity, global inequity

Before addressing scientific matters, Francis first acknowledges work done in ecology by his predecessors since Pope Paul VI and also quotes at length Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew.

The pope then dives deeply into recent scientific research to present a picture of what is happening to the environment around the world. He cites extensively from statements and appeals by many of the world's bishops' conferences -- at least 16 -- and also cites heavily from earlier work on the issue done by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

Writing in the first chapter -- titled "What is happening to our common home" -- Francis says that because of waste from homes and business, construction and demolition, "the earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth."

After addressing the scientific evidence on climate change, the pope says that it "is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods. It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day."

"Its worst impact will probably be felt by developing countries in coming decades," he writes. Less developed communities tend to depend more on the earth for their sustenance, he says, noting that there are already populations who have been forced to migrate from their homes because of effects of climate change.

"Sadly, there is widespread indifference to such suffering, which is even now taking place throughout our world," the pope states. "Our lack of response to these tragedies involving our brothers and sisters points to the loss of that sense of responsibility for our fellow men and women upon which all civil society is founded."

Francis also clearly identifies a right to water: "Access to safe drinkable water is a basic and universal human right, since it is essential to human survival of and, as such, is a condition for the exercise of other human rights."

On the issue of biodiversity, he is likewise clear: "Because of us, thousands of species will no longer give glory to God by their very existence, nor convey their message to us. We have no such right."
Criticizing how some cities have been built in ways that waste resources, the pope says that "many cities are huge, inefficient structures, excessively wasteful of energy and water."

"We were not meant to be inundated by cement, asphalt, glass and metal, and deprived of physical contact with nature," he writes.

Francis also sharply laments how the poorest have been left out of decision-making power in environmental debates. Decision-makers, he states, "being located in affluent urban areas, are far removed from the poor, with little direct contact with their problems."

"Today ... we have to realize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor," he writes.

Francis fiercely rejects arguments made by the United Nations and other international agencies that population growth should be limited to curtail use of resources.

"To blame population growth instead of an extreme and selective consumerism on the part of some, is one way of refusing to face the issues," the pope writes. "It is an attempt to legitimize the present model of distribution, where a minority believes that it has the right to consume in a way which can never be universalized, since the planet could not even contain the waste products of such consumption."

Francis says issues of inequity can no longer be addressed at the individual level.

"Inequity affects not only individuals but entire countries; it compels us to consider contemplate an ethics of international relations," the pope writes. "A true 'ecological debt' exists, particularly between the global north and south, connected to commercial imbalances with effects on the environment, and the disproportionate use of natural resources by certain countries over long periods of time."
Outlining what he calls the "weak responses" of global leaders to the environmental crisis, Francis states:
The problem is that we still lack the culture needed to confront this crisis. We lack leadership capable of striking out on new paths and meeting the needs of the present with concern for all and without prejudice towards coming generations. The establishment of a legal framework which can set clear boundaries and ensure the protection of ecosystems has become indispensable, before the new power structures based on the techno-economic paradigm overwhelm not only our politics but also freedom and justice.
It is remarkable how weak international political responses have been. The failure of global summits on the environment make plain that our politics are subject to technology and finance. There are too many special interests, and economic interests easily end up trumping the common good and manipulating information so that their own plans will not be affected.
Reinterpreting human dominance, private property

Stepping back to evaluate how Christian teaching has impacted humanity's relationship with the earth, Francis forcefully rejects any interpretation of Scriptures that would find men and women as "dominators" over nature.

Human life, the pope writes, is grounded by three relationships -- those between God, neighbor and earth. "We are not God," he states. "The earth was here before us and it has been given to us."
Addressing interpretations of the Genesis stories that give full license to humans to be domineering and destructive, the pope states: "This is not a correct interpretation of the Bible as understood by the Church. Although it is true that we Christians have at times incorrectly interpreted the Scriptures, nowadays we must forcefully reject the notion that our being created in God's image and given dominion over the earth justifies absolute domination over other creatures."

He says, "In our time, the Church does not simply state that other creatures are completely subordinated to the good of human beings, as if they have no worth in themselves and can be treated as we wish. The German bishops have taught that, where other creatures are concerned, 'we can speak of the priority of being over that of being useful.' "

Francis also poetically writes of Christian understandings of why God created the universe, saying, "The world came about as the result of a decision, not from chaos or chance, and this exalts it all the more."

"When nature is viewed solely as a source of profit and gain, this has serious consequences for society," the pope writes later. "This vision of 'might is right' has engendered immense inequality, injustice and acts of violence against the majority of humanity, since resources end up in the hands of the first comer or the most powerful: the winner takes all. Completely at odds with this model are the ideals of harmony, justice, fraternity and peace as proposed by Jesus."

Francis proposes that what is needed is a new "universal communion" among all.
We should be particularly indignant at the enormous inequalities in our midst, whereby we continue to tolerate some considering themselves more worthy than others. We fail to see that some are mired in desperate and degrading poverty, with no way out, while others have not the faintest idea of what to do with their possessions, vainly showing off their supposed superiority and leaving behind them so much waste which, if it were the case everywhere, would destroy the planet. In practice, we continue to tolerate that some consider themselves more human than others, as if they had been born with greater rights.
Francis also says that it has become a common agreement that the earth is "essentially a shared inheritance" of all, and that, therefore, rights to private property are not absolute.

"The Christian tradition has never recognized the right to private property as absolute or inviolable, and has stressed the social purpose of all forms of private property," the pope writes.

"The natural environment is a collective good, the patrimony of all humanity and the responsibility of everyone," he continues later. "If we make something our own, it is only to administer it for the good of all."

Calling for global, local actions

Launching into a larger section that tries to examine the "human roots" of the current environmental crisis, Francis calls on societies to recognize the possible dangers of some technologies, such as nuclear energy and biotechnology.

The pope also strongly speaks against abortion: "Since everything is interrelated, concern for the protection of nature is also incompatible with the justification of abortion. How can we genuinely teach the importance of concern for other vulnerable beings, however troublesome or inconvenient they may be, if we fail to protect a human embryo, even when its presence is uncomfortable and creates difficulties?"

After developing thoughts on what he calls "integral ecology," Francis asks: "What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?"
"It is no longer enough ... simply to state that we should be concerned for future generations," he writes. "We need to see that what is at stake is our own dignity."

"Doomsday predictions can no longer be met with irony or disdain," he says. "We may well be leaving to coming generations debris, desolation and filth. The pace of consumption, waste and environmental change has so stretched the planet's capacity that our contemporary lifestyle, unsustainable as it is, can only precipitate catastrophes."

Providing what he calls some "lines of approach and action," Francis calls for a new global consensus on environmental issues that chooses renewable and sustainable forms of energy, food, and use of nature.

The pope also calls for immediate replacement of fossil fuels.

"We know that technology based on the use of highly polluting fossil fuels -- especially coal, but also oil and, to a lesser degree, gas -- needs to be progressively replaced without delay," he writes.

Lamenting that advances against climate change have been "regrettably few," the pope says that reducing greenhouse gas emissions "requires honesty, courage and responsibility, above all on the part of those countries which are more powerful and pollute the most."

"International negotiations cannot make significant progress due to positions taken by countries which place their national interests above the global common good," he states. "Those who will have to suffer the consequences of what we are trying to hide will not forget this failure of conscience and responsibility."

He continues, "We believers cannot fail to ask God for a positive outcome to the present discussions, so that future generations will not have to suffer the effects of our ill-advised delays."

Francis criticizes schemes that would create marketplaces where countries or companies could sell and buy credits to regulate their outputs of gas, known commonly as the "carbon credit" system.

"The strategy of buying and selling 'carbon credits' can lead to a new form of speculation which would not help reduce the emission of polluting gases worldwide," he writes. "This system seems to provide a quick and easy solution, under the guise of a certain commitment to the environment, but in no way does it allow for the radical change which present circumstances require. Rather, it may simply become a ploy which permits maintaining the excessive consumption of some countries and sectors."

Tying together ecological devastation with poverty, Francis says, "The same mindset which stands in the way of making radical decisions to reverse the trend of global warming also stands in the way of achieving the goal of eliminating poverty. A more responsible overall approach is needed to deal with both problems: the reduction of pollution and the development of poorer countries and regions."

The pope suggests that countries and people conserve energy, modify their material consumption to limit waste, protect endangered species, diversify agriculture, and invest in rural infrastructure and sustainable farming.

"Once more, we need to reject a magical conception of the market, which would suggest that problems can be solved simply by an increase in the profits of companies or individuals," Francis states. "Is it realistic to hope that those who are obsessed with maximizing profits will stop to reflect on the environmental damage which they will leave behind for future generations?"

Ending the letter with a call for a new lifestyle and an ecological conversion, Francis says, "No system can completely suppress our openness to what is good, true and beautiful, or our God-given ability to respond to his grace at work deep in our hearts. I appeal to everyone throughout the world not to forget this dignity which is ours. No one has the right to take it from us."

The encyclical is dated May 24, the Catholic feast of Pentecost. It concludes with two prayers: "A prayer for our earth" and "A Christian prayer in union with creation."

At the beginning of the text, the pope also reflects on the choice of his papal name, saying St. Francis "helps us to see that an integral ecology calls for openness to categories which transcend the language of mathematics and biology, and take us to the heart of what it is to be human."

"Just as happens when we fall in love with someone, whenever [St. Francis] would gaze at the sun, the moon or the smallest of animals, he burst into song, drawing all other creatures into his praise," the pope writes.

"His response to the world around him was so much more than intellectual appreciation or economic calculus, for to him each and every creature was a sister united to him by bonds of affection."

Joshua J. McElwee is NCR Vatican correspondent.


Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

5) Discussions about ecology can be grounded in the Bible and church tradition.

Wisely, Pope Francis begins the encyclical not with a reflection on Scripture and tradition (the two pillars of Catholic teaching), which might tempt nonbelievers to set aside the letter, but with an overview of the crisis—including issues of water, biodiversity and so on. Only in Chapter Two does he turn towards “The Gospel of Creation,” in which he leads readers, step by step, through the call to care for creation that extends as far back as the Book of Genesis, when humankind was called to “till and keep” the earth. But we have done, to summarize his approach, too much tilling and not enough keeping. In a masterful overview, Pope Francis traces the theme of love for creation through both the Old and New Testaments. He reminds us, for example, that God, in Jesus Christ, became not only human, but part of the natural world. Moreover, Jesus himself appreciated the natural world, as is evident in the Gospel passages in which he praises creation. The insights of the saints are also recalled, most especially St. Francis of Assisi, the spiritual lodestar of the document. In addition to helping nonbelievers understand the Scripture and the church’s traditions, he explicitly tries to inspire believers to care for nature and the environment.

-America Magazine

James said...

It's good to see the bit about private property, although no doubt some commentators will denounce this as evidence of Pope Francis's communism. It's not, of course: it's a call for us to be less selfish with the resources we've acquired.

I passed three homeless people on the way to work today, and have the good fortune to own a house with two spare bedrooms. It's not rocket science for me to see that I'm behaving selfishly with my private property. But translating that thought into action is the hard part.

John Nolan said...

I won't be reading it. At 40,000 words it is too long and from the summary says nothing new. He should have had a word with Cardinal Pell before signing up to the anthropogenic climate change agenda.

It will not be welcomed by progressive opinion since they hold as an article of faith that the Church's opposition to contraception and abortion is the cause of most of the world's problems.

Victor said...


Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Although not explicitly enunciated, the core of the Church's teaching on care for the earth and of this encyclical is natural law, where the law of God (contained explicitly in Scripture and Tradition) is to be found and not just by the Church or religious people, but ALL people.

In terms of tilling the earth, southerners learned long ago that an ecology of the land was necessary for their very survival. Out of ignorance they kept planting the cash crop cotton which depletes the soil of vital nutrients until they couldn't plant any more or have an abundant crop. It wasn't until a stewardship of the land was learned and implemented that of rotating crop planting that this crisis was overcome.

Thank God the southerners did the right thing with the land and the land recovered!

Lefebvrian said...

Looking at the citations, as expected, one finds no obvious reference to the pre-Vatican II Magisterium, with the oldest citation being to a 1967 document of Paul VI. There are numerous citations to St. Thomas. Of course, the new Catechism figures prominently, as does The Social Compendium.

Unfortunately, there is a positive reference to the work of Teillard de Chardin.

The document is very long, which is quite unfortunate. Considering its length, it does not have many footnotes, though. Perhaps less than one per page on average. That is interesting to me.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

YIKES: This is where I think we can disagree with a diagnosis of the pope which in fact trivializes and important point he is making and turns many of us off, especially those of us living in the south, where today in Macon, it may reach 102 degrees and markets that are air-conditioned may well save the lives of poor people who will go to these to stay cool since they don't have air conditioners in their homes:

"People may well have a growing ecological sensitivity but it has not succeeded in changing their harmful habits of consumption which, rather than decreasing, appear to be growing all the more. A simple example is the increasing use and power of air-conditioning. The markets, which immediately benefit from sales, stimulate ever greater demand. An outsider looking at our world would be amazed at such behaviour, which at times appears self-destructive."

The air conditioning metaphor will not assist Pope Francis at all, especially here in Macon, Georgia!

Angry Augustinian said...

It is not the wealthy nations that are trashing the planet, just like it is not the wealthy people in this country who are trashing neighborhoods and cities. The hypocrisy here is astounding. This is so bad that my only further response to it is silence.

MR said...

My take is that this turned out relatively well. It will do some collateral damage by giving the progressives political capital, but only in the short term. The important thing is that there is nothing permanently damaging from a doctrinal or theological perspective. Given the potential alternatives, I'll take it.

Mark said...

The Encyclical (I'm in the early stages of reading the document) has so far uplifted me and confirmed my belief that His Holiness' Encyclical would offer Traditional Catholic teachings.

The only "uh-oh" thing that I've read so far in regard to the Encyclical is Pope Francis' comment in regard to air-conditioning. The air-conditioning reference is...well...baffling and has left me a bit

But I welcome the Encyclical and hope to make it's teachings my own.

Here is the many Catholics will heed the Encyclical? How can they heed the Encyclical when they won't read the Encyclical?

We know that "nobody" reads Papal Encyclicals. Few laymen, speaking relatively, have ever read an Encyclical. "Nobody" reads a Church document of massive length...and the Encyclical is of massive length.

In addition to that, at least throughout the West, some 80 to 90 percent of Catholics refuse each week to assist at Mass. The Church means little to them.

For example, in the United States, among the 20 percent or so who assist regularly at Sunday Mass, the majority of Catholics favor artificial birth control, abortion, homosexual "marriage", stem cell research...and so forth.

The horrific reality is that the majority of Mass-going Catholics support the Culture of Death.

To that heart-breaking reality we must add the 80 percent of Catholics who have little contact (aside from Easter and Christmas) with the Church. Therefore, how many Catholics will heed Pope Francis' Encyclical?

The Encyclical is simply the defense and promotion of Catholic Teaching...Catholic Social Teaching...The Culture of Life.

I am not being pessimistic. I welcome the Encyclical. I plan to make it my own...well, that air-conditioning thing. (Seriously, we keep the thermostat at home set to 80 degrees Farenheit.)

I simply wonder as to why the majority of Catholics will follow the course delineated by the Encyclical when the majority of Catholics reject the Culture of Life.

I again welcome the Encyclical. But the above is why it's imperative that Pope Francis promote liturgical reform (imbue the Novus Ordo with Holy (liturgical) Tradition) and the TLM.

After all, it is via liturgy that Catholics learn truly to think and act in Catholic fashion. It is via the Sacred Mysteries that people are attracted each week (or daily) to a parish.

Pope Francis must work to return millions of millions of lapsed Catholics to the Church. He must restore the Church to Her former holy glory and power when She had the ability to convert millions of people...even Jesus Christ.

How can that be accomplished, at least throughout the West, when the Roman Liturgy is in shambles...when bishops wreckovate parishes and construct very ugly, uninspiring "worship spaces"?

His Holiness Pope Francis must now focus upon liturgy as powerfully as he has focused upon the environment.

Father, I thank you should you publish my lengthy post. If not, then I understand.

Either way, thank you and peace to you and all.

Mark Thomas

Angry Augustinian said...

Fr, next Easter, you can be really theologically hip if, instead of calling it foot washing you call it "removing carbon footprints." Just think of being on the cutting edge of Catholic theology like that.

John Nolan said...

Like Evangelii Gaudium (2013) it is over-long, rambling and imprecise. The aforementioned document is STILL without a definitive Latin text (hardly surprising since even Reggie Foster would be hard pressed to render its ambiguities in a precise language). Not that most papal encyclicals have added much to the sum total of human knowledge but at least they had the advantage of brevity.

The subject is one that numerous bores have written on so one wonders why Francis (not Pope Francis as the header to the document makes clear) needed to add his two cents' worth.

It's written in Italian so one assumes that it is directed primarily at the Italian clergy rather than the universal Church.

I think that Francis has his heart in the right place but is out of his depth. He will not be the first or the last pope to find himself in this position. Curial reform as a priority? It's been kicked into the long grass and one suspects that Francis, like many weak men, will tend to rely on a small coterie of advisers which will alienate the Curia and leave him vulnerable to criticism when one of his confidants is shown to have feet of clay. Danneels? Baldisseri? Forte? Kasper? The rollcall says it all and simply highlights his weakness.

Sad but true.

Mark said...

The following is from Rorate Caeli blog, June 3, 2014 A.D., during which New Catholic praised Pope Francis as a Traditional Catholic Pope in regard to the Church's Social Teaching:

Posted by New Catholic at 6/03/2014 08:45:00 PM

"I would like to start quoting Michael Sean Winters’s recent article in NCR:

"Last week, the Holy Father addressed leaders of United Nations who called on him in Rome. He gave a short talk, which included these words calling for ‘the legitimate redistribution of economic benefits by the State.’

"Here comes Father Zuhlsdorf, who runs a popular conservative blog. ‘I wonder how many people are still listening to him seriously on this issue,’ opines Reverend Father.

"Not content to take a swipe at the Pope, he goes after a few cardinals, adding, ‘I suspect other people might have the same reaction that I have when hearing/reading this stuff. It comes across as naive, out of step with history. Has any nation successfully dealt with poverty through redistribution? I don't think so. Moreover, who would supervise this process of global redistribution? Angels? EU bureaucrats? The UN? Card. Rodriguez Maradiaga? Card. Kasper?’.”

Rorate Caeli continued with New Catholic's commentary...

"Once again, the Traditional Catholic voice went unheeded.

"Very few indeed have been making the case, a case that is true, that the positions stated by Pope Francis on economic and social matters are much closer to the Traditional Catholic position on the economy and the State than not.

"Indeed, it can be said unhesitatingly that this is one area in which the Pope will find mostly allies in Traditional Catholics.

"They know by heart, also as victims of injustice (including within the Church), that the doctrine of the Church regarding people, society and economic relations, and individuals faced with government, is one which privileges "justice" as its foundational aspect."
"We would like to reinforce what we posted just a few days ago: social concerns, in theory and in practice, cannot be left by Traditionalists as an unoccupied field to the ecclesiastical "leftwing", to the unbelieving liberals.

"By criticizing the current Pope when he indeed defends positions kept by his predecessors on Social Doctrine (admittedly, Pope Francis often fills such defense with unexpected idiosyncrasies, but not essential deviations), "Conservatives" bring themselves to an untenable position.

"The traditional Catholic Social Doctrine is ours, it is wholly traditional, and it is our responsibility to defend it, to put it into practice in our communities (including with specific actions for the benefit of the most derelict in society), and also to defend His Holiness in those cases in which he makes its defense in the current economic environment."


His Holiness Pope Francis defends and promotes the very same Social Teaching that he did on June 3, 2014 A.D.

New Catholic, on Rorate Caeli blog, on 6/03/2014 08:45:00 PM, praised Pope Francis as a Traditionalist in regard to the Church's Social Teaching.

Rorate Caeli attacked Father Zuhlsdorf and his conservative ilk as having been at odds with the Church's Social Teaching.

But today, Pope Francis, praised by Rorate Caeli last year as a Traditional Catholic in regard to Social Teaching, is now attacked by Rorate Caeli in regard to his (Pope Francis') Social Teaching.

How is that possible?

Mark Thomas

Christoph Rebner said...

Teilhardism and Christianity are incompatible

Teilhard’s thought is thus hopelessly at odds with Christianity. Christian revelation presupposes certain basic natural facts, such as the existence of objective truth, the spiritual reality of an individual person, the radical difference between spirit and matter, the difference between body and soul, the unalterable objectivity of moral good and evil, freedom of the will, the immortality of the soul, and, of course, the existence of a personal God. Teilhard’s approach to all of these questions reveals an unbridgeable chasm between his theology fiction and Christian revelation.


Angry Augustinian said...

We were laughing at Teilhard back in seminary in the 70's.

George said...

Mark Thomas

In your comment @ 1:29 PM your missing who Pope Francis intended audience is .

As you point out , even most Catholics are not "Catholic". Even if they were,most of the world is made up of Moslems, Hindus and Buddhists. Then you also have your secularists, atheists and assorted Protestants It would not do all that much good to address only Catholics on this issue given that the world is more and more post-Christian. Now, how much the rest of the world will heed this document is another question.


All the following Popes have condemned Socialism, some in the strongest terms (this is also part of Catholic social teaching)

PIUS IX ( Encyclical Nostis et Nobiscum)

LEO XIII (Encyclical Humanum Genus & Encyclical Quod Apostolici Muneris)

An interesting quote from the second encyclical:
“They [socialists, communists, or nihilists] debase the natural union of man and woman, which is held sacred even among barbarous peoples; and its bond, by which the family is chiefly held together, they weaken, or even deliver up to lust."

St PIUS X (Apostolic Letter Notre Charge Apostolique -condemning the socialist movement Le Sillon)

BENEDICT XV (Encyclical Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum)

PIUS XI (Encyclical Quadragesimo Anno) "no one can be at the same time a good Catholic and a true socialist.” (Ibid. N. 120)

PIUS XII ( Discorsi e Radiomessaggi, vol. XIV, p314 & Encyclical Summi Pontificatus)

St JOHN XXIII (Encyclical Mater et Magistra) “No Catholic could subscribe even to moderate socialism.”

PAUL VI (Apostolic Letter Octogesima Adveniens, May 14, 1971, n. 31) "Christians Tend to Idealize Socialism."

George said...

Always have hope

There exists a mutual dependency between man and the physical world he resides in. God created man and He also created the physical world which man inhabits. Plants and animals reside in the world, and man is dependent on these for his sustenance
and continued existence. All human beings share in this mutual dependency. Man is superior to and has dominion over the physical world and plants and animals which reside therein. Man must however, respect the mutual interdependent relationship
between himself and his environment, by recognizing and acknowledging that it was not created by him but is a gift from God. He must also conform his actions in respect to the reality that others also share in that interdependency. Because of this, there exists an obligation which requires man to be a good custodian of what he has inherited from God. God has given man a share in His creative Power and so man has innate abilities given to him by the Beneficent Divinity and he likwise has a need to be useful and productive. So God provides such things as sunlight and rain, but man must plant the seed and till the soil. It is true that things grow without the assistance of man, but farming came via man spurred on by necessity so as to feed an increasing population.

Therein lies the hope for man today. While it is true that mankind has polluted and destroyed and over-consumed certain parts of the earth, and this behavior must be changed, he has also made great progress in creating technology which if further developed holds promise for solving our environmental challenges and sustaining man in his continued existence on the earth. This however is contingent in its success on man repairing his damaged relationship to God, which is necessary above all, and nothing can be as it should and can be, without man tending to this spiritual ecology, and respecting and obeying God in His Holy and Sacred teachings.

Angry Augustinian said...

I fear this marks another step in the Church's politicization and co-option by Socialist/Marxist agenda. Liberation theology, Teilhard, and progressivism are all indifferentist, humanist, and probably immanentist. Salvation is self-realization; resurrection is a new self-awareness, heaven is a Marxist state. Practice will trump doctrine more and more. Just wait and see. Unbelief continues to grow like a fungus in and around the Church.

Angry Augustinian said...

There is a very good article regarding this encyclical in the Catholic newspaper "The Remnant."

Mark said...

Pope Francis in Laudato si:

"The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth. Doomsday predictions can no longer be met with irony or disdain."

I hope that His Holiness will also apply the above to the Vatican II Era liturgical "reform" that smashed the Roman Liturgy into an immense pile of rubble.

The doomsday predictions issued some 45 years ago by Traditional Catholics in regard to the Novus Ordo liturgical reform can no longer be met with irony or disdain.

Mark Thomas

Angry Augustinian said...

Way to go Mark!!

Angry Augustinian said...

The Pope knows nothing about economics. Free markets allow the poor the chance to accumulate wealth by working and owning property. Socialism prevents them from accumulating wealth by pooling it in the hands of a few gov't bureaucrats who decide how it will be distributed. This is what has been going on in this country for a number of years of Democrat ascendancy. This whole thing is an anti-capitalist manifesto designed to promote class warfare and class envy. The Pope has decided, apparently, to become a tool for Marxist political ideology.

Anonymous 2 said...

Quiz: Who said the following and when?

“We must respect the interior laws of creation, of this Earth, to learn these laws and obey them if we want to survive.”

“This obedience to the voice of the Earth is more important for our future happiness ... than the desires of the moment. Our Earth is talking to us and we must listen to it and decipher its message if we want to survive”

Answer may be found on an earlier thread (See “10 Things etc.”)

Angry Augustinian said...

This Pope also says that nations who try to block ILLEGAL immigrants are evil. In other words, if you do not break the law, you are evil.

Lefebvrian said...

Anonymous 2, I think you assume too much when you assume that people have a high opinion of Pope Benedict's papacy just because they are dismayed at Francis's papacy. So I don't know that quoting Benedict really accomplishes much...

Angry Augustinian said...

A Nonnie Mouse II, I had a nice post for you congratulating you on your above post as being a good one, but Fr. did not post it because it compared Francis unfavorably to Benedict. He isn't returning my calls or answering my emails, either, so I guess I am being anathematized. LOL!

A Nonnie Mouse II said...

Jolly Angry:

Thank you for the sentiment, though. Based on his reply to my comment, I expect Lefebvrian had your reply censored because you had a bad case of swollen assumptions.

Lefebvrian said...

No censoring from me. I appreciate free conversation! And I'm glad to see that we can all have a little bit of a light-hearted discussion. A little levity goes a long way in terms of keeping us all civil with each other.

Angry Augustinian said...

I believe progressivism in the Church is a runaway train. Devout Catholics are in for a long haul. I trust God will restore the Church at some point. Christ have mercy. I am beginning to think this blog is a near occasion for sin for me. It is infuriating to watch the Church go the same route as protestantism. I suffered through that and here it is again.

Anonymous 2 said...


I believe a sense of humor is a God-given gift. Indeed, being made in the image and likeness of God, and with a bit of theological license, perhaps we can infer that God Himself has a sense of humor. After all, he made you and me. But as ultimate proof – he also made the Jolly Gene Gnome.

Angry Augustinian said...

God's greatest joke on mankind, for its sins doubtless, was lawyers.