Tuesday, June 23, 2015


This is from the wonderful Sandro Magister, of the great blog, Chiesa, the one who gave the world first Laudato Si and lost his journalistic credentials with the Vatican over it.

The Other Francis: The One Who Preaches Chastity Before Marriage

Even the encyclical “Laudato si’” has been read in a selective way, ignoring the uncomfortable passages on “reproductive health” and sexual differences. An analysis of a blackout that is falsifying the image of this pontificate

by Sandro Magister

ROME, June 23, 2015 - The encyclical “Laudato si’” has had a resonance on a worldwide scale that has been enormous but also highly selective.

The overall presentation of the encyclical is that of a “comprehensive”. And in fact in its almost two hundred pages there is a little of everything, from the ultimate destiny of the universe to the little things of everyday life.

But precisely this encyclopedic exuberance, all-encompassing rather than self-contained, has led many to cherry-pick from the text only that which is closest to their own expectations.

One interesting revelation on the genesis of the encyclical has been made by the bishop who worked more than anyone else on its composition: Mario Tosi, currently the head of the diocese of Faenza but until last January the secretary of the pontifical council for justice and peace.

He said in an interview with the Swiss vaticanista Giuseppe Rusconi:

“The encyclical, as it is presented to us today, shows a face different from that of the first draft, which was to include a long introduction of a theological, liturgical, sacramental, and spiritual character. If the initial configuration had remained, the encyclical would have been addressed more immediately to the Catholic world. Pope Francis, instead, preferred to change this configuration, moving the theological part to the middle and end, as he also did with the parts concerning spirituality and education. In this way he restructured the material made available to him, arranging it according to a method of analysis and discernment that implies a consideration of the situation, an evaluation and a prefiguration of practical guidelines for working on a solution of the problems. He thus wanted to involve the largest possible number of readers, including nonbelievers, in a thought process that to a large extent can be shared in by all.”

Another interesting observation has come from an economist who contributed to the composition not of this encyclical but of the “Caritas in Veritate” of Benedict XVI, former IOR president Ettore Gotti Tedeschi.

In an interview with “la Repubblica” and a commentary in “Il Foglio,” he has said that the profound meaning of the encyclical can be grasped only when to “Praised may you be” is added “my Lord.” Because the ultimate cause of the behavior that leads to environmental degradation “is sin, the loss of God,” while the proximate cause “is the exaggerated consumerism induced in order to compensate for the collapse of the birth rate in Western countries.” Of this proximate cause, he added, “I have found no satisfying explanations in the encyclical, probably because I read it in a hurry.”

If one reads “Laudato si’” with patience, in fact, one passage that coincides with the ideas of Gotti Tedeschi is there, in paragraph 50:

“Instead of resolving the problems of the poor and thinking of how the world can be different, some can only propose a reduction in the birth rate. At times, developing countries face forms of international pressure which make economic assistance contingent on certain policies of ‘reproductive health’… To blame population growth instead of extreme and selective consumerism on the part of some, is one way of refusing to face the issues.”

But this passage has been ignored by almost all the world’s media.

And the same neglect has fallen upon other passages of the encyclical in which Pope Francis condemns abortion, in paragraph 120, experimentation on embryos, in paragraph 136, the cancellation of sexual differences, in paragraph 155.

It must be said, however, that the almost universal disregard of these passages cannot be imputed to their slight prominence in the overflowing totality of “Laudato Si’.”

Because so far the same silence has also punished all the other position statements of Pope Francis on these topics.

The proof is that the only big controversy of global dimensions that recently erupted over such a matter was centered not on the pope but on his secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin.

It was the controversy ignited by his succinct judgment on the ‘yes’ victory in the Irish referendum on homosexual marriage: “A defeat of humanity.”

It was Tuesday, May 26, and Cardinal Parolin had been in audience with the pope the evening before, when the result of the referendum was leading all of the news broadcasts. That Parolin’s judgment was the same as the pope’s was beyond all doubt. “Word for word,” Fr. Federico Lombardi confirmed.

But in the narrative on Pope Francis that continues to dominate the media, there must be no place for such judgments. They are taboo. The indelible mark of the pontificate must continue to be: “Who am I to judge?”

And this in spite of the uninterrupted stream of severe papal judgments on abortion, divorce, homosexuality, contraception, all in perfect continuity with the previous magisterium of the Church.

Perhaps what facilitates the media blackout on these judgments of the pope is in part the care with which he times his position statements to avoid coinciding with big political events, like a referendum or a vote on a law, or with a big social mobilization, like a march of “Manif pur tous” in Paris or the imposing “Family Day” in Rome on June 20.

On events of these kinds Francis is silent, or nearly so. To say out loud what is closest to his heart he chooses other moments, more distant from the pressure of events.

And in fact on the referendum in Ireland, as has been seen, the one to speak was not he but his secretary of state, against whom - and not against the pope - the criticism was then focused.

This website has already published two collections of all the statements of Pope Francis on abortion, divorce, contraception, homosexuality, from the end of October of 2014 - the end of the first session of the synod on the family - to May 11 of this year. And there were 39 statements in all:

> Vatican Diary / The two-step of the Argentine pope (17.3.2015)

> The Closed Door of Pope Francis (11.5.2015)


Anonymous said...

I read some comments on the encyclical from Catholic groups which raise some concerns:

"Our friends at Voice of the Family released a powerful statement on the Pope's new encyclical. Here is an excerpt: "ROME, 18th June 2015: The international coalition Voice of the Family is deeply concerned by the omission from the encyclical letter Laudato Si of a reaffirmation of the Church’s teaching against contraception and on procreation as the primary end of the sexual act.

"The encyclical, published this morning, contains the welcome assertions that “concern for the protection of nature is also incompatible with the justification of abortion” (No. 120) and “that demographic growth is fully compatible with an integral and shared development” (No. 50).

"However the omission of any reference to Church teaching on the use of contraception leaves Catholics ill-prepared to resist the international population control agenda.


"Patrick Buckley, UN lobbyist for the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), noted that “The encyclical calls for increased international environmental action in paragraphs 173-175, while neglecting to prepare Catholics for what such action will undoubtedly involve: renewed attempts to further impose contraception and abortion on the developing world.”


"John-Henry Westen, co-founder of Voice of the Family and editor-in-chief of LifeSiteNews commented “Professor Schellnhuber is an advocate of the establishment of a supreme global government that would have the power to take action to resolve the perceived environmental crisis, which in his view requires population reduction. In this context the references in the encyclical to the need for a ‘world political authority’, which should have the power to ‘sanction’, is deeply troubling.”

REMNANT COMMENT: Let’s cut to the chase: Those Catholics who are defending this encyclical are at least inadvertently endorsing the United Nations’ diabolic population control agenda, and, whether they realize it or not, they are making common cause with advocates of the international revolution against God and family. The encyclical's perfunctory and weak-kneed pro-life nod changes nothing. "


Supertradmum said...

I have managed to come out against one world government and UN plans and still find beauty in the other parts of the encyclical. Too many people are simply not reading the whole thing.

In my take, over 25 posts of commentary on my blog specifically on this encyclical, one can look as most of the parts and see that what the Pope is asking for is more simplicity of life than law--conversion of the heart is a big theme in his encyclical.

Of course, and I was one of the first to write about OWG many years ago, we Catholics need not give up national or state sovereignty. But, as Catholics, especially in America live for the most part as if there were not brothers and sisters suffering in this world from the lack of clean water or food, the Pope sees the need for laws.

Laws only exist when persons do not bother to take personal responsibility for simplicity of life.

Square, Uncool Catholic said...

I strongly resent your use of the inflammatory, "despise" regarding the feelings and opinions of those of us who are not big Pope Francis fans. Many of us are simply disappointed or wish he would be more prudent and careful in his speech. This article doesn't surprise me at all. It's more of his consistent inconsistence. Far left ideology one day, traditional morality the next, Sometimes both in the same sentence!

I used to think that "love" was an overused word, but I am convoked that "hate" is just as overused. Any act of resistance or disagreement with the homosexual agenda, affirmative action or radical eco-activism is automatically labeled as "hate".


Mark said...

"REMNANT COMMENT: Let’s cut to the chase: The encyclical's perfunctory and weak-kneed pro-life nod changes nothing."

Really? Should Father allow me to post the following lengthy article, I would have to do so in two parts.

Part 1 of 2

Pope Francis blasts abortion, population control in new encyclical

By Elise Harris

Vatican City, Jun 18, 2015 / 04:05 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In his new encyclical on the environment, Pope Francis slams attacks against human life such as abortion, embryonic experimentation and population control – saying that respect for creation and human dignity go hand in hand.

The Pope explained that “a sense of deep communion with the rest of nature cannot be real if our hearts lack tenderness, compassion and concern for our fellow human beings.”

“At times we see an obsession with denying any pre-eminence to the human person; more zeal is shown in protecting other species than in defending the dignity which all human beings share in equal measure,” he said.

The Pope's encyclical “Laudato Si,” meaning “Praise be to You,” was published Thursday, June 18.

While the 184-page encyclical wades into controversial topics such as climate change, it also aggressively argues that it is not possible to effectively care for the environment without first working to defend human life.

It is “clearly inconsistent” to combat the trafficking of endangered species while remaining indifferent toward the trafficking of persons, to the poor and to the decision of many “to destroy another human being deemed unwanted,” the Pope stated.

To have this attitude, he said, “compromises the very meaning of our struggle for the sake of the environment.”

Francis also highlighted that concern for the protection of nature is “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?” he asked.

Once the ability to welcome a new life is lost on the part of individuals and society, other forms of acceptance also “wither away,” he said, warning against a “culture of relativism” that sees an absence of any objective truth outside of our own immediate wants and needs.

The Pope also addressed the highly-debated topic of population control, a proposed solution to problems stemming from poverty and maintaining a sustainable consumption of the earth’s resources.

“Instead of resolving the problems of the poor and thinking of how the world can be different, some can only propose a reduction in the birth rate,” Francis lamented.

He denounced the fact that developing countries often receive pressure from international organizations who make economic assistance “contingent on certain policies of 'reproductive health.'”

Even though an unequal distribution of population and available resources presents obstacles to development and environmental sustainability, “it must nonetheless be recognized that demographic growth is fully compatible with an integral and shared development,” he stressed.

Mark Thomas

Mark said...

"REMNANT COMMENT: Let’s cut to the chase: The encyclical's perfunctory and weak-kneed pro-life nod changes nothing."

Part 2 of 2

Pope Francis blasts abortion, population control in new encyclical

By Elise Harris

"To blame a growing population for these problems rather than the “extreme and selective consumerism on the part of some, is one way of refusing to face the issues.”

Such scapegoating “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,” the Pope said, calling for an end to food waste.

Francis also rejected some ecological movements’ discontinuity in calling for limitations to be placed on environmental scientific research, while at the same time failing to apply the same principals to human life.

As an example, he noted that within science, there is “a tendency to justify transgressing all boundaries when experimentation is carried out on living human embryos.”

“We forget that the inalienable worth of a human being transcends his or her degree of development,” he said, adding that once technology disregards ethical principles, “it ends up considering any practice whatsoever as licit.”

“When we fail to acknowledge as part of reality the worth of a poor person, a human embryo, a person with disabilities – to offer just a few examples – it becomes difficult to hear the cry of nature itself; everything is connected.”

Once the human being seeks absolute dominion, the foundations of our life “begin to crumble,” the Pope said, so that instead of cooperating with God, man puts himself in God’s place “and thus ends up provoking a rebellion on the part of nature.”

In the encyclical, Pope Francis also spoke of the importance of accepting and caring for one’s body, since it is through the body that man relates to the environment and to other living things.

He cautioned against seeking to exercise “absolute power” over our bodies as if they were something that we own, saying that “man too has a nature that he must respect and that he cannot manipulate at will.”

Accepting and caring for our bodies in their truest nature is essential for human ecology, he said, and stressed that this acceptance includes “valuing one’s own body in its femininity or masculinity.”

In acknowledging differences, “we can joyfully accept the specific gifts of another man or woman, the work of God the Creator, and find mutual enrichment,” the Pope observed.

An attitude which seeks “to cancel out sexual difference because it no longer knows how to confront it” is unhealthy, he said.

The pontiff also pointed to the important role families play in educating on a true integral human and environmental ecology since they are the place where life is welcomed and protected, and where human growth is developed.

“In the face of the so-called culture of death, the family is the heart of the culture of life,” he said.

Family life is where children first learn how “to show love and respect for life; we are taught the proper use of things, order and cleanliness, respect for the local ecosystem and care for all creatures,” as well as how to be grateful for what they’ve been given and to ask for forgiveness when they’ve caused harm, he explained.

“These simple gestures of heartfelt courtesy help to create a culture of shared life and respect for our surroundings.”


I found it beyond comprehension that the Remnant labeled Pope Francis' very powerful defense of the Culture of Life in Laudato si a "perfunctory and weak-kneed pro-life nod".

Mark Thomas

Lefebvrian said...

Mixing Truth with error? That sounds familiar... where have we been cautioned about that before...?

"In their writings and addresses they seem not unfrequently to advocate doctrines which are contrary one to the other, so that one would be disposed to regard their attitude as double and doubtful. But this is done deliberately and advisedly, and the reason of it is to be found in their opinion as to the mutual separation of science and faith. Thus in their books one finds some things which might well be approved by a Catholic, but on turning over the page one is confronted by other things which might well have been dictated by a rationalist."

Anonymous said...

I don't think anybody here "despises" Pope Francis. I certainly don't. He just doesn't excite me very much and I'm not going to be a cheerleader for him just because he's the pope. Pontificates are such temporary things anyway.

Anonymous 2 said...

Thank you for your thorough presentation, Mark.

Regrettably Remnant’s reaction is not incomprehensible at all. Some people had already made up their minds that they would hate the encyclical before it was even published. This Pope can do no right in the eyes of some who amazingly still call themselves Catholic.

What selective readers of all stripes fail to understand, it seems, is that Pope Francis seeks to cultivate a sensibility towards creation that comprehensively embraces and reflects the Catholic worldview. It seems all of a piece with Francis’s reluctance to endorse an obsessive focus on “small-minded rules” while missing the big picture. The rules are important, of course, but they must be understood in context; otherwise the Church just comes across as just another shrill, scolding moralizer, no different from all the other shrill, scolding religious voices in the public square that are disenchanted and therefore simply moralistic.

Angry Augustinian said...

It really is kind of hysterical to be saying that anyone despises the Pope. Many of us do not trust him and others of us think he is a very bad theologian. I believe he is being used, willingly or unwillingly I do not know, as a tool of the Left. But, no, I do not despise him. He would probably be a hoot to have a beer with…in a Dixie cup, of course.

Православный физик said...

Despise Pope Francis, absolutely not...annoyed by his imprudence when speaking...yes...annoyed when people proclaim every word of HH as some absolute dogma, yep. Surprised about the pro-life positions in the dissertation? nope, not one bit. Supporting the UN in any way shape or form, absolutely not!

Anonymous said...

Despise Pope Francis? Absolutely not. Thoroughly disappointed with his pontificate? So far, mainly, except with one or two small exceptions. I agree with his highlighting the plight of the poor when there is so little done by the world today and much more could be done when we consider food dumping, food wastage and things of that nature.

However, overall, from all his quoted comments - from speaking to atheists on more than one occasion and then saying he had been misquoted (twice!) - Pope Francis does appear to me to be either very naive, a liberal or at least being influenced by liberals. I think that if left unconstrained by the good bishops who have spoken out around the world Pope Francis would maybe loosen up the Church's moral teachings and allow married priests among other things.

I sincerely hope Pope Francis is just receiving some very bad advice but is good intentioned at heart. Despite the report quoted by Mark I don't think it augurs well Pope Francis appointing this man Schellnhuber: However, there seem to be a sufficient number of knowledgeable Catholics speaking up against what is said about climate change in the encyclical and that it is open for discussion - not a closed topic as some here have been proposing. But in many ways it seems to have died a natural death already. I haven't heard any Catholics in my diocese even mention it, apart from a couple of liberal bishops that we have.

I think it is only after the Synod on the Family when we will truly be able to judge whether Pope Francis is liberal or not. His intentions will become crystal clear one way or the other at the synod. Thank God for the bishops who seem to have cut Kasper off at the pass, although there is still a way to go yet and I hope I am not being lulled into a false sense of security.

Vatican Family Synod 2015: Pope Francis' Gay Acceptance Move Challenged By Bishops Conference Document:


Mark said...

Anonymous 2 on June 23, 2015 at 3:39 PM...

Thank you for having read the article that I posted.

Father gets all the credit for having permitted the post to appear on his blog. That was very nice of him.

Great credit goes to Elise Harris (CNA/EWTN News) for the fine article that demonstrated Pope Francis' powerful pro-life focus in his Encyclical Laudato si.

I am just a nobody who cut and pasted Elise Harris' great article to Father McDonald's great blog.

Mark Thomas

Lefebvrian said...

I don't despise Pope Francis either. I think he is doing a stellar job of separating the sheep from the wolves by creating an environment where the heretic prelates and clergy feel comfortable revealing themselves. Hopefully, their current license to say and do as they please will reap rewards in a future papacy when they will be deposed and excommunicated.

I disagree with Jan, though, that "only after the Synod on the Family when we will truly be able to judge whether Pope Francis is liberal or not." If you don't know the answer to that already, I don't see how anything that happens at the Synod could convince you.

The reality is that we are always having our faith tested: Will we follow God or man? This papacy is doing an excellent job in training us to respond to that question correctly. But, I hasten to add, this is nothing new in the history of the papacy -- there's a reason that, up until recently, very few popes were canonized.

Anonymous said...

Lefebvrian, I think that what has been happening during this papacy certainly points to Pope Francis being a liberal but the trouble is he oscillates - one statement for, one statement against. People say he has been misreported and "That is not what he said", etc. But if he clearly comes out and makes a statement in favour of the divorced and civilly remarried receiving communion at the Synod on the Family, then there will be no doubt and no Catholic in conscience could defend him. In that case there would certainly be repercussions for the Church. The synod could well be a watershed for the Church. The bishops have made their stand against any change, so we have to wait and see what position Pope Francis will take and no one will be able to say then that he was misreported.


Lefebvrian said...

Jan, if you read the quote I posted above from Pope St. Pius X, I believe it will explain why it appears at one moment that the pope is "for" and the next "against." And if you find the source of that quote and read it in its entirety, I believe the current situation becomes much clearer.

Unlike those who have the need to "explain away" what the Pope has said and done, I believe that he means what he says and that his actions are in accord with his intent. To do otherwise is unfair to the Pope.

Angry Augustinian said...

The Pope is too clever to do that, Jan and Lefeb. He will simply allow practice to change and be more "inclusive" and "tolerant" of various sins and aberrations. This is the way libs do it. Praxis is a favorite word of the indifferentist, universalist Liberation theologians.

Anonymous said...

Angry Augustinian, you may be right but the problem for the Pope is that the liberals don't want to settle for practice to change, Kasper and his ilk appear to want an official change in the books, just like many of the other mainstream churches dispense communion to the divorced, homosexuals, etc. Of course the Pope would know that if he makes that kind of statement then it would be heretical and he would no doubt be deposed. He may not want to make such a statement so it remains to be seen and, although we can conjecture that the Pope is this, that and the other, there is nothing that can be said but that he has liberal leanings unless he does makes an heretical statement which is clear in its intent. I believe that God will make things clear. Pope Francis himself believes his reign will be short. How does that statement go: "that the tiem will be short for the sake of the elect"?


Angry Augustinian said...

No, Jan, the libs do not want to settle for "practice," but they'll take it, run with it, and change the Church in a very short time. So, instead of altar girls, we'll have Harry and Larry prissing around the Sanctuary.