Saturday, June 20, 2015


The Deacon's Bench has put together a sound collage of commentary on Pope Francis' new encyclical. I would highly recommend that everyone read the actual document and for God's sake don't read the secular press's take on it from anyone be it FOX, CNN or the like.

Laudato Si seems destined to go down as a major turning point, the moment when environmentalism claimed pride of place on a par with the dignity of human life and economic justice as a cornerstone of Catholic social teaching. It also immediately makes the Catholic Church arguably the leading moral voice in the press to combat global warming and the consequences of climate change. In truth, however, none of that should be any surprise to those familiar with official Catholic teaching on the environment as it’s evolved over the last half-century.
Pope Francis is first and foremost a pastor who, like his predecessor St. John Paul II, wants to lift up for our reflection what the Polish pontiff called “the nobility of the human vocation to participate responsibly in God’s creative plan.” And that is the starting point for all serious Christian reflection about the natural world: God’s ongoing creativity, which sustains the world God brought into being and in which we, by the grace and favor of God, participate. Thus Laudato Si’ discusses at some length various aspects of humanity’s responsibility for the natural world, locating that responsibility within the conviction that Pope Francis shares with the Psalmist: “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made” (Psalm 33:6).
Austin Iverleigh:
In what will almost certainly come to be seen as a landmark in papal social encyclicals, Pope Francis has called for a radical conversion of hearts, minds and lifestyles in order to avert disaster on a global scale brought about by frenetic consumption and industrialization. In the 190-page Laudato Si’ (“Praise Be to You”), he urges humanity to seek a way back through “integral ecology,” a new way of thinking that articulates a persons’ three-way connectedness: with God, with others, and with the earth.
Fr. Raymond de Souza:
Laudato Si (The Care for Our Common Home) is more than an ecological encyclical. Pope Francis has given the Church and the world a document that addresses the full range of Catholic social teaching on economics, politics, culture, employment, technology, migration, poverty, peace, architecture, urban planning, education, human rights and the environment. 
Tim Stanley:
Pope Francis says/writes something visionary about faith and the media spins it into communism. In the case of the encyclical Laudato Si, it is alleged that he has written a green manifesto for the creation of a socialist order. It is nothing of the sort. It is orthodox in its Catholicism while radical in its ideas. It is unblemished by partisan politics. Laudato Si is a gift to humanity.
Fr. Robert Sirico: 
Let’s cut to the chase: Much of what is in Pope Francis’ encyclical on environmental stewardship, Laudato Si’, poses a major challenge for free-market advocates, those of us who believe that capitalism is a powerful force for caring for the earth and lifting people out of poverty. But one of the most welcome lines is a call for honest, respectful discussion.
As a Catholic moral theologian, I feel a bit like a child on Christmas morning. While I know that most of you were not setting your alarms for the 5am Vatican press conference, we have all been anxiously awaiting Pope Francis’s “environmental encyclical.” And, let me just say – you will not be disappointed. The Holy Father has delivered an amazing tour de force in a jam packed 100+ (!) pages. Pope Francis invites us to work together, challenges us to take a long hard look in the mirror at our relationship to the earth, and reminds us the Lord hears the cries of the earth and the cries of the poor, and so much we.
The earth is perfect; if we are to live in harmony with it, we too must be perfect, as Christ Jesus urged us: be perfect, as my Father is perfect. Then we will be Holy, and our outreach to God might finally bring us nearer — lifting the hand of Adam ever-so-slightly forward, toward the All-Holy. We know that for the Incarnation to form, a pristine vessel was needed to contain and bring forth the All-Purity. Laudato Si is an admonishment away from all of our sin, all of our hatreds, all of our conceits, all of our pridefulness, all of our greed, all of our lust and gluttony, all of our self-indulgent wrath, toward what is holy, good and pure. It is an invitation toward Incarnation.


Unknown said...

I'm going with one of the responses on FrZ's poll about the encyclical:

'I don't have time for this foolishness, so I don't expect to read any of it.'

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

You're in good company, that's exactly what the "me generation" of the 1960's said about Humanae Vitae--we're all alike after all in the vein of the "spirit" of Vatican II. That will unite the two extremes in the Church!

Angry Augustinian said...

Well, the good news is that most people are ignoring it, including Congress and Governors. I did see a polar bear reading it and spewing his coke laughing...

Angry Augustinian said...

This encyclical does nothing to build the Faith or address the real theological issues affecting our nation and the world. It focuses upon the earthly, and it is theologically presumptuous because it suggests that human initiative can fix a fallen world and trump original sin. It is,therefore, Pelagian. I believe it is revealing that the Pope chooses this as his major issue when unbelief and the dilution of the Church's moral stance on issues affecting people's salvation is the real theological issue. Someone said that most people live as if there is no God…this includes most Christians. I remember one of your better homilies from several years ago, Fr, when you suggested that most people are not true followers of Jesus Christ, but merely admirers of Him. That had some real punch, and I remember a good discussion following from it among some of us in Coffee and Conversation. This is the REAL issue and I hope the Pope, at some point, will write an encyclical addressing this.

Unknown said...

In my defence, Father, Patriarch Bartholomew has been very serious about the environment. I don't disagree that we have a responsibility to act sensibly when it comes to the environment. Unfortunately, it's not Western nations that need to be told. It's nations like China, India, Brazil, (maybe) Russia, and other devil-may-care nations that need to follow suit. Unfortunately, we can't really force them.

Actually, we could, but uh, I don't want to be the one in office when it comes time to make that decision.

Supertradmum said...

Well, those who do not like it have not read many other encyclicals going back over 100 years on the Church's view of social and economic issues. I have written on my small blog, and in comments, that this encyclical is beautiful and in keeping with the long teachings of the Church.

The heresy of Americanism is rearing its ugly head, and the long, Calvinistic individualism and love of prosperity, as well as a skewed view of capitalism, makes many Catholics miss the message.

Sad, the people are not Catholic first, as I was taught to be and Americans with their political ideologies messed up, second.

The Church is against, solidly, socialism, but the poor have not been treated with real compassion by individual Catholics who still judge, and simply do not care about our brothers and sisters in the world, like the Garbage Children.

John Nolan said...

I don't think that John Allen Jr or Austen Iverleigh (both sides of the same transatlantic liberal coin) are particularly sound. The former wrote a particularly prejudiced biography of Cardinal Ratzinger and had the cheek to have it republished when Ratzinger became pope, despite the fact that in the meantime he had back-tracked on some of his worst judgements. The latter is simply a mouthpiece for the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, or at least the more liberal element of it.

Anyway, I have better things to do than comment on a 40,000-word treatise which I have no intention of reading. I have to act as cantor for a schola to sing the Mass for Pentecost 4 tomorrow, so am absorbed in the Liber Usualis. But then I'm a self-absorbed promethean neo-pelagian according to Francesco in paragraph 94 of Evangelii Gaudium, another diffuse, verbose and ambiguous document.

Angry Augustinian said...

OMG, the Church against socialism? This is another place where practice contradicts dogma…more of this to come. The encyclical is a socialist, anti-capitalist manifesto, reeking of Third World political cynicism. There is a great article in the National Review explaining what is misguided about the encyclical.

George said...

Fr. Robert Sirico:
"Let’s cut to the chase: Much of what is in Pope Francis’ encyclical on environmental stewardship, Laudato Si’, poses a major challenge for free-market advocates, those of us who believe that capitalism is a powerful force for caring for the earth and lifting people out of poverty." - Which Father Sirico who founded the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty does. He founded the Institute because of homilies he heard in seminary that insulted business people and " alienated good people who were working and attempting to participate in the Christian mission ". I don't know if this was in the Protestant or Catholic seminary since he is a former Pentecostal preacher

Elizabeth Scalia:
The earth is perfect; if we are to live in harmony with it, we too must be perfect, as Christ Jesus urged us"

>Christ did urge us to be perfect, but it is not the same perfect as the Earth being "perfect",and while our relationship with the earth should be derive from our belief in Christ and His teachings, it is on a whole different level.

"toward what is holy, good and pure. It is an invitation toward Incarnation."

>No, Elizabeth, it is not an invitation to us toward Incarnation. What is in the Encyclical might as you say, help to lead us "away from all of our sin, all of our hatreds, all of our conceits, all of our pridefulness, all of our greed, all of our lust and gluttony, all of our self-indulgent wrath ', it is not an invitation toward Incarnation.

( the comments by Ms Scalia do not represent one of her better moments).

Militia Immaculata said...

AA, how can you make the comments you've made, e.g. that the encyclical is "socialist," "does nothing to build the faith," etc. when you apparently haven't even read it except for what the secular media tells you it says?

Anonymous said...

Militia - He makes his comments with the intention of doing harm to the Faith, that's how.

Victor said...

There is nothing wrong in this encyclical, not even the comment about air conditioners. When I was in Florida I could not believe how people lived there, including I am sure Mr. Jeb Bush, whom the African Cardinal Turkson severely criticized yesterday. You live in your air conditioned house go into your air conditioned car, go into an air conditioned store, and never experience the natural environment where you live. And when you, do the temperature difference is so great that you can't stand it. People lived for thousand of years without air conditioning until the middle of the last century. Why don't Americans investigate natural air conditioning through architectural engineering that has been used for centuries in the hot places in the world?
Now some commenters are blaming everybody else for polluting the world except them selves after raping and pillaging the earth for centuries to become materially wealthy. It is very easy for wealthy North Americans to turn around and point the fingers at others because you can afford cleaner alternatives. America is the biggest consumer of the world's resources. Maybe that is the problem. Are Americans willing to lower their standard of living to help the poor of the world to achieve a better world in general? Do Americans need 10 lane highways and 4,000 lbs of metal on wheels for one person to go to church on Sundays?
And others are labeling socialism as a dirty word. The Church is against the "socialism" that the communists aspired to, where the atheistic state owns all property. Have they considered what the "USSR" meant? That is the Marxist "socialism"n that the Church is against. There is something called Christian socialism, where the role of the state is to sincerely help people when they cannot help themselves according to the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. The state is good at doing some things. Supertradmum above mentioned the heresy of Americanism. That heresy has been deeply ingrained in American Catholism for some time it seems.

Militia Immaculata said...

Anonymous --

Prove that Pope Francis intends to do harm to the faith. How do you know that? Aren't you aware that rash judgment is sinful, at times gravely so?

Angry Augustinian said...

You do not have to read very far or very much to understand what is going on. I'm not the only one, dozens of blogs and forums are drawing the same conclusions, and some pretty knowledgeable people are, as well. Oh, Vic, show me where Jesus of Nazareth talks about "Christian Socialism" and says that the state is to help people when they cannot help themselves…oh, wait, I remember, that is in the gospel of Barak. I suggest you move to an under-developed country somewhere so that you will feel less guilty and will be happier.

Angry Augustinian said...

Militia, I think he was falling about me. He needs to work on antecedents and you need to understand contexts.

Angry Augustinian said...

Many of us have to have 4000 lbs of steel to go to Mass on Sundays because there are so few properly celebrated Masses available that we have to drive miles to find one that is celebrated with dignity and reverence.

Lowering our standard of living will not help the poor in other countries. We dump more money into Third World cess pools than any nation and look at them. Their governments are corrupt and the money goes for Mercedes, Rolexes, and mistresses for the rulers. We are just plain stupid to keep doing it. It is because of Capitalism that many of these countries are as well off as they are.

Hey, you live in the US…at the top of the economic and technological food chain. Deal with it...

Jusadbellum said...

The Pope is writing to the WHOLE WORLD and condemns the political and financial leaders for polluting the world and abusing the poor.

Now....who are the world's leaders and what are their political ideology?

Almost ALL governments on earth are SOCIALIST/LEFTIST and the global banks are decidedly not conservative/right wing. So the inescapable conclusion must be that the tree the Pope is barking up is not 'right-wing, conservative, tea-partier, acton-institute Catholic capitalism".

We, the above right-wing coalition are the solution, not the problem since we don't rule the world and haven't been responsible for it's environmental and moral collapse.

This is a call to arms and a call for 'dialogue' (which is more about us giving the worldly powers the terms of their surrender than terms of our surrender.

Ours is the intellectual and moral highground while theirs is the raw political and financial power. We'll see who 'wins'.

Angry Augustinian said...

Vic, let's see…I guess you rent because owning property is elitist and deprives others of use of the land, you live in a sub-standard area of town because too do otherwise would be insensitive to the "poor," you surely walk or ride a bike everywhere…an old bike or a Wal Mart one because to spend money at a bike shop for a good one would be capitalist, I am sure you do not have AC, your clothes must certainly come from Goodwill because new ones are made in China and Thailand where labor conditions are deplorable, I hope you do not shower more than once or twice a week because being clean is a luxury of capitalist nations and it uses unnecessary water (but, there is hope for you because all those glaciers are melting and you will have more water to use), I know you eat at soup kitchens or other public venues because going to the grocery store is elitist and, besides, Kroger is air-conditioned, you cannot possibly own a gun because it is your duty as a Christian to allow yourself to be killed by those less fortunate than you so they can take and use your stuff for themselves…you seem well-educated (if naive) but, do you realize how much your education cost…money that could have been sent to the Red Cross or Unicef to buy bullets and weapons….er, stuff for Third World poor? Surely you do not own a TV, and you are sinning now by using your computer which probably cost a thousand bucks or so…well, maybe you are at Starbucks or some internet shop but, then, coffee is picked by the poor who are underpaid and abused in those Third World countries. Life is tough.

Angry Augustinian said...

In my post to Militia above, it should read he was "talking" to me. This dumb spell check is awful.

Christoph Rebner said...

Scientific consensus contradicts the actual Vicar of Christ

Anonymous 2 said...

I am still reading the encyclical and hope to finish it before the end of the weekend. Clearly I am not open-minded enough, unlike some people who have commented on this thread. They are so open-minded the encyclical falls straight through without stopping. Presumably there is nothing there to catch it.

Unknown said...

Victor, if you're going to direct a comment at me, you should mention my name.

You say Now some commenters are blaming everybody else for polluting the world except them selves after raping and pillaging the earth for centuries to become materially wealthy.

Funny thing... I haven't been alive for centuries. Only 20 years. And, I'm not 'materially wealthy'. I own a teapot and tea cup, a rosary, an icon of Christ, a Breviary, a dip pen and ink, and a tea strainer. I also own a weeks worth of clothing. You could literally fit everything I own into one bag. The tin-roof house I live in (hey... here we go) doesn't have AC, and since we're farming folk, we grow our food.

Do you grow your own food? Do you have AC? Could your life fit into a bag?

Either you live a similarly spartan lifestyle, or you don't. If not, it's not my problem is it? I have zero power to force such a lifestyle upon others.

(And, PS, I'm not Catholic, so terms like 'the heresy of Americanism' don't mean anything to me.)

Unknown said...


What I hate about attitudes like Victor's is that people just like him/her (we never who is a male or female these days) tell me that I'm wrong for wanting more from life than waking up every day to pick cotton and vegetables in the hot GA sun. Apparently, I should just accept that my state in life is good, and because other people have it worse than I do, I should never want anything more than to work from sun up to sun down in a hot climate.

And yet... it's almost always people who've never had to do it—not because they want to—but because they have no other choice at the moment. I guess it's easy to talk about living a third world lifestyle when you get to make that choice, because you can always decide it's not worth it and go back to having a first-world way of life.

John Nolan said...

Am I the only one to think that Elizabeth Scalia writes pious-sounding twaddle? 'An invitation toward Incarnation' - what on earth is she on about? We're all incarnate, nicht wahr? The Incarnation (the Word made flesh) has already happened.

Angry Augustinian said...

Yeah, Scalia says the earth is perfect. Has she read the Bible lately?

Anonymous Boy said...

For those of you following the reaction to the pope's encyclical and the history of popes mixing into politics, I recommend this fascinating article, which describes how American conservatives reacted to Pope John XXIII's "Mater and Magistrat."

Much of this sound and fury will sound familiar. Here's the "boom" line: "One lesson from the Mater et Magistra contretemps is that almost all Catholics are cafeteria Catholics."

"(William F.) Buckley’s feud with the Catholic left came to a boil when Pope John XXIII released the encyclical Mater et Magistra (Mother and Teacher) in 1961, which reaffirmed the church’s support for government welfare programs and coupled them with calls to fight poverty in the Third World and end colonialism. The anti-imperialism of Mater et Magistra was particularly repellent to National Review conservatives, who thought that European domination of Africa, the Middle East, and Asia was essential for fending off communism.

In an angry editorial, National Review described Mater et Magistra as a “venture in triviality.” The magazine also published a joking note saying “Going the rounds in Catholic conservative circles, ‘Mater Si, Magistra no.’” (The joke was first made by Garry Wills, who was playing off a slogan of the Cuban Revolution: “Cuba si, Yanqui no.”)

Catholic liberals responded in kind. America described the National Review editorial as “slanderous” and the Reverend William J. Smith characterized Buckley as a “hypercritical pigmy.”

Buckley turned to his learned friend Garry Wills to work out a more theoretically satisfying response to liberal Catholics. A former seminarian, Wills tried to resolve the argument by writing a pioneering scholarly treatise on the nature of encyclicals, titled Politics and Catholic Freedom (1964). In this book, Wills argued that encyclicals are merely advisory, and not binding on specific policies.

The Mater et Magistra dispute led to many ironic consequences. In defending National Review’s capitalist Catholicism, Buckley and Wills had provided a rationale for social liberals to ignore church teachings on sexual matters, which was especially pertinent after the Vatican released the encyclical Humanae Vitae (1968), reiterating opposition to birth control and abortion. Wills himself moved to the left in the late 1960s, breaking with Buckley over the Vietnam War and civil rights. About the core issue of the Mater et Magistra debate, Wills argued in his 1979 book Confessions of a Conservative that “[t]here is something about laissez-faire individualism that is historically at odds with Catholic tradition—but this is a matter not reachable by papal fiat or by those who challenge the sincerity of their fellow believer’s religion.”

By the late 1960s, as Wills also noted, the two sides had flipped, with “‘liberals’ now denouncing encyclicals rather than using encyclicals to denounce others, ‘conservatives’ sticking with the Pope even when he had issued his disastrous encyclical on contraceptives.” One lesson from the Mater et Magistra contretemps is that almost all Catholics are cafeteria Catholics.

Anonymous Boy said...

That article doesn't mention it, but the conservatives' reaction was much the same to XXIII's "Pacem en Terris," written in 1963 after the Cuban missile crisis, which called for an end to the arms race and a ban on nuclear weapons and asked nations to agree on disarmament.

I'm assuming that no Catholic politician was ever denied Communion for flouting "Pacem in Terris."

Unknown said...

John Nolan,

My eyes glazed over when I saw that... like... what?

John Nolan said...

Anonymous Boy

In the twelfth century popes tried to ban the crossbow, an arms-control initiative which was doomed to failure. Eisenhower was arguably more 'conservative' than Kennedy but it was the latter who exploited a non-existent 'missile gap' to ratchet up the arms race. In any case, one doesn't base national security on papal encyclicals. John XXIII was no more an expert on nuclear strategy than is Francis on climate change.

Angry Augustinian said...

The Pope threw some words at the ceiling
Something about earthly healing.
When asked why he did,
He said to be rid,
Of a strange anti-capitalist feeling.

Angry Augustinian said...

I posted above that the Pope said that anyone who works for a defense industry is "not a Christian." Does he even understand the implications of what he is saying…that poor Joey Canipelli, high school educated and trying to support a wife and several kids, who gets a job as a clerk or warehouse worker in a Raytheon plant, is going to Hell because he works in a defense plant? I guess all those Americans who worked in defense plants during WW II are in Hell as well. Now, do not give me this BS about "oh, that is not what he meant…" It is the theological implications of what he, the Pope, said..who should damn well know better. I am completely disgusted with this man who, like Pater Ignotus, serves mainly as a reminder that Donatus was wrong.

Anonymous said...

Well, the Pope and the One for whom he acts as Vicar are not disgusted with you.

Now, Martha, who do you think has chosen the better part?

Angry Augustinian said...

Anonymous, how do you know they are not disgusted with me? You sound like a protestant universalist preacher. And, what has the story of Mary and Martha got to do with the Pope saying everybody in the defense industry is not a Christian? Sounds like you need to reference some of the teachings on false prophets instead.

Anonymous said...

How do I know? The Pope doesn't know you exist. And the Lord is not disgusted with anyone, even those who offend Him through their words and actions.

Angry Augustinian said...

Anonymous (are you the woman anonymous or the man acting like a woman anonymous?) You are correct about the Pope not knowing I exist…which is fine with me. Regarding your statement that God does not get disgusted with anyone, you might want to re-read the OT (heck, just read Amos) and check out Jesus in the Temple with the money changers. Oh, Matt. 24 is also pretty cool.

Anonymous said...

Hey,Augustinian, you might want to re-read the NEW Testament. The LORD is not disgusted with anyone - prostitutes, tax collectors, lepers, etc. The LORD embraces them, consoles them, and, as he does to you, challenges them to turn away from their sins and be faithful to the Gospel.

Angry Augustinian said...

The NT is full of God's disgust with man and his sins. "Disgust" might not be the right word….righteous wrath may be better. You sound like one of those modernist Christians with a Jesus who "…leads men without sin, into a kingdom without judgement, through a Christ without a cross." Also, you write as if you believe the NT cancels out the OT. Wrong again. Anyway, ain't got time for your theological education.

Anonymous said...

And the Pope's very poor choice of words is also influencing some of the priests' sermons. We have one priest talking about obese Catholics carrying the baggage of racism and that they will die, be judged and end in hell - offending some larger parishioners who were there for Mass; another priest offended people who were late for Mass by talking about latecomers who were slovenly, slobbish, slatterns, etc, etc; another sermon where people were told by the same priest that Catholics who were uncharitable might look like Catholics, might wear Catholic things but in reality they weren't Catholic. This very same priest having given a sermon the week before that we should tolerate things, even if they are wrong, for the sake of unity. Interestingly, this priest is Argentinian and a priest of the Opus Dei, so that speaks volumes I suppose. I honestly feel that the Church and the priesthood is being pulled down into the mire by this type of language. I would be interested to know if other people have heard these types of sermons recently.

However, one never hears mention by these priests of people living in adultery, having abortions, etc, which the Church teaches are the things that cry out to God for vengence.

I have never heard such sermons before only since this papacy and what Pope Francis has had to say about priests, nuns, lay people, etc, which are summed up in the Little Book of Insults - an astounding array of very bad descriptors. Certainly I cannot remember any Popes using the kind of language we have heard over the past two years.


Unknown said...

I love Isaiah 1.