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The New Encyclical: Laudato Si

Note: This is a brief account and quick commentary on a legitimately obtained, final version of both the Italian and English versions of the encyclical released by the Vatican. In order to observe embargo rules, it could not appear before 6 AM Eastern Time this morning. We’ll be doing more extensive and intensive work on this subject in future days and weeks, but for now a slightly longer column of description and analysis to get us started. I’ll be on EWTN “The World Over” this evening at  8 PM, along with my colleagues Fr. Gerald Murray and Raymond Arroyo, to offer some further comment. – RR 

Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si, was, even before its publication this week, being drawn into the usual partisan divisions. Unfortunate, for multiple reasons, not least because what may be getting lost in sheer controversy is the most important, beautiful, even inspiring dimension of his text, his heartfelt vision of nature as divine Creation: “The entire material universe speaks of Gods love, his boundless affection for us. Soil, water, mountains: everything is, as it were, a caress of God.” [84]

That’s the kind of thing popes – particularly this pope – do best. Their views on science, politics, economics, ecology have some practical value, but their greatest gifts lie in the realm of ultimate values.

In that vein, Francis early confronts a distorted philosophical attitude in our culture since the time of Francis Bacon, who remarked that we should “put nature on the rack. . .for the relief of man’s estate.” Not a very Christian – or even humane – way of thinking about our fellow creatures. Descartes gave us essentially the same: we should become “masters and possessors” of nature. But we are neither. We are stewards, and the only person who can properly be said to “possess” nature is the Creator Himself.

That is the deep vision that animates the pope’s thinking about current environmental issues: if we wish to be wise in pursuit of what is good for our “human ecology,” we need to be concerned about our proper relationship to all creatures and the totality of creation. Genesis, unlike otherworldly religions, affirmed the goodness of the physical world from the outset (and that world’s importance in helping us to know the Creator), even as it denied nature is itself divine.

Secular environmentalists and journalists will ignore it, but the Holy Father emphasizes at several points that an integral part of this vision is that abortion, coercive means of population control, experimentation on embryos, and other offenses against the sanctity of life are part of the very same callous stance towards the natural world that the environmentalists deplore.

That’s a fresh and original point, to be sure, but we can be certain that the main media attention will be focused elsewhere because, it has to be said, when he comes to discussing specific questions – climate change in particular – the Holy Father follows what may fairly be called some of the more extreme environmental views.

One of the presenters at the press conference today in Rome was John Schellnhuber, an atheist German, who has said America must reduce its CO2 emissions to 0 by 2020 (an impossibility), and that we need to reduce global population to the earth’s “carrying capacity” of under 1 billion (which would require outrages against humanity). Francis probably doesn’t countenance that, but he takes it as settled – and urgent – that catastrophic climate change is now underway and the nations of the world, singly and together, need to take drastic steps to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.

His recommendations include everything from vast reorganization of the global economic order and stringent international agreements on greenhouse gas emissions, to everyday matters such as restricting the spread of air conditioners and adopting a more ascetic lifestyle by people around the world.

What you think of these proposed solutions will depend a great deal on what you think overall of the climate change question. A recent Pew poll found that American Catholics are divided on climate, mostly by identification with political parties: 64 percent of American Catholic Democrats think global warning is a “very serious problem” but only 24 percent of Catholic Republicans agree. Among Catholic Independents, it’s about 50-50.

A lot of journalists have been wondering in the run-up to the encyclical’s release whether it will affect our politics, particularly the 2016 elections. Most people have already settled such questions in their minds and it’s a good bet that the encyclical is unlikely to change them.

Pope-Francis-writing

Some Democrats have taunted Republicans for becoming “cafeteria Catholics” on the environment. But this is a red herring. When the Church prohibits abortion, it’s enunciating an absolute moral principle. When a pope criticizes the use of air conditioners or of mercury in gold mining (Francis does both) we are very much in the realm of prudential judgments. And even his larger proposals about global reforms have to operate in a world where efforts to balance differing national interests and outright human needs have made straightforward moral judgments and compromises on international agreements all but impossible.

And Genesis notwithstanding, a little theological idealization appears in the text. Nature as God created it – not as we have sometimes imagined he created it – is not a simple harmony and was never in “balance” as it is often portrayed in ecological texts (and Francis affirms).

Nature shows what one scientist has demonstrated are “discordant harmonies.” We know that earthquakes, tsunamis, plagues, droughts, vast volcanic eruptions, ice ages, rapid climate changes, etc. were all built into our planet’s structure long before human beings ever existed. And continue. Indeed, the existence of “natural” evils has been an argument non-believers often point to as evidence that the world is not the creation of a “good” God.

This mystery of “natural” evil gets little attention in the encyclical, and therefore leads to a somewhat skewed reading of human activity. Far from always being a matter of greed, the development of human technology and even modern industries – unlovely as they sometimes were and are – first sought to deal with remedying scarcity, mitigating the harshness of nature, and meeting basic human needs.

No one now doubts that, left unchecked or unrefined, earlier forms of industry, which we could not anticipate would affect the whole world, cannot continue without doing great harm to nature and the human race. But climate and other ecological problems have arisen not solely from the evil in man, but also from our efforts to deal with nature.

One consequence of taking an idealized view of nature is that it makes it more difficult to address the plight of the global poor, who have been a central concern of all recent popes. Laudato Si rightly points out our obligations to those poor around the globe who would be most severely harmed if significant climate change occurs: peoples living in low-lying areas vulnerable to sea-level rises, those whose water supplies may be disrupted by drier climates or desertification, etc. The whole world would, of course, have moral responsibilities towards protecting and rescuing them.

But the encyclical relatively ignores the much large group of poor, at least 2 ½ billion people on several continents, who simply need development, meaning primarily clean water, electricity, and stable governments that will allow them to improve their lot and deal with whatever nature – or climate change – may throw at them.

There’s much moral denunciation of “finance” and “technology” in the encyclical, much less appreciation of how the efficiencies of markets (properly regulated) and globalization, combined with technical innovation and the entrepreneurial spread of its use, have already lifted hundreds of millions around the world out of age-old misery. And will continue to do so.

Catholic social thought has a tendency to denounce “capitalism” as if all business activity were merely about some pure “logic of markets,” short-term financial gains, and above all greed. Conscientious business people will rightly feel that the one or two paragraphs in the encyclical that concede some value to economic activity may be lost among pages and pages of broad-brush criticism. The world needs many more such conscientious men and women in the economic sphere, both for the sake of the poor and for the environment.

It’s no surprise that the Holy Father has found no complete solution for environmental questions, since no one else has either. But he may have done something even better. Woven into the text is a spirituality of Creation drawn from Romano Guardini, St. JPII, Benedict XVI, and others, that leads us towards a better way to engage the questions – and to live our lives more fully in this world. That alone is already a great contribution to our human ecology.

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Robert Royal

Robert Royal

Robert Royal is editor-in-chief of The Catholic Thing, and president of the Faith & Reason Institute in Washington, D.C. His most recent book is A Deeper Vision: The Catholic Intellectual Tradition in the Twentieth Century, published by Ignatius Press. The God That Did Not Fail: How Religion Built and Sustains the West, is now available in paperback from Encounter Books.

  • Manfred

    This year is the fiftieth anniversart of the end of Vatican II and what a proof Francis has given us of a church open to the world. Ban Ki Moon, Jeffrey Sachs, John Schellenberger, each strongly pro-abortion, gave statements in the Vatican meetings leading up to this encyclical.
    Schellenberger has said, check me, that the ideal world population would be one billion people. The present population is seven billion. He has just been appointed to a Vartican position.
    The Pope has stepped into the full glare of the world’s attention. He will have to defend this
    encyclical from people who have spent their lives studying and working in this field. He will not be allowed any glib responses. He willhave to answer intelligent people asking very specific stratements and demanding answers.

    • Kathy

      Schellenberger has been given a Vatican position? Can you give me a little more information about this – this is horrifying!

      • Robert Royal

        No, this is not precisely true. He was one of the three presenters of the encyclical at the official press conference. As far as I know, he occupies no position in the Vatican

        • Donald Stacy

          Robert why was this man a part of the official press conference? Why would the Pope keep such company when presenting an encyclical?

          • Robert Royal

            That’s a good question for which I have no good answer. It may be that the pope wanted one non-believer present as a “dialogue” partner. Why it had to be this rather extreme man is puzzling.

          • kathleen

            If you haven’t already, please read Voice of the Family’s response to this puzzling decision by our Holy Father to have such a man present at the press conference today. Does it give scandal?

          • Therese

            I am as puzzled, perplexed and upset as the rest of you. I asked a friend (orthodox nun) if she could help me put Pope Francis in the proper perspective. She told me to read Malachi Martin’s book, “The Jesuits” for a full background story of where this pope is coming from. WHAT AN EYE-OPENER! All of the disconnects of the past 40 years, including my years as a student at a Jesuit college in the 70’s, are now connected.
            However, I rest assured that God is still in charge. St. Ignatius was living in times equally tumultuous and difficult – and the Church grew stronger as her members addressed the problems.

          • kathleen

            God is in charge. I believe that with all my heart.
            The Holy Spirit will protect the Church. We must keep up our prayers for the Church and for our Holy Father.

        • RainingAgain

          One of three presenters out of that population of seven billion speaks for itself, regardless of official position. Has anyone asked this person how he would arrive at a world population of one billion?

  • Michael Randolph

    Earthquakes, tsunamis, plagues, droughts, vast volcanic eruptions, ice ages, rapid climate changes, etc. were **not** built into our planet’s structure long before human beings ever existed. These “natural” evils come as a consequence of sin, and therefore came **after** human beings existed.

    • lwhite

      Why no one but you recognized this error?

      I believe Mr. Royal should have pointed out this out.

  • Michael Dowd

    Thank you Robert Royal. Your words calmed me down for few moments. But the words of Pope Francis on not benign. They are fighting words. They are political words. They are divisive words. But more important many of them are untrue or unproven words. When our dear Pope says “The entire material universe speaks of God’s love, his boundless affection for us. Soil, water, mountains: everything is, as it were, a caress of God.” [84] we are all most receptive and appreciative. When he advises solutions for the problems he identifies he steps into a sea of controversy.

    My bottom is that ‘Laudato Si’ is that it is essentially a political document and will only serve to further ‘make a mess’ of the climate change question, as Pope Francis advises Catholics to do about religious issues.

    Pope Francis is a strange man, a confusing man. I wish he would focus on the mission of God which he is assigned: sin and salvation. Everyone agrees there is evidence for sin in this world which is not the case with “climate change”.

  • RainingAgain

    The Holy Father would do well to remember that we have never fed so many. Arguably, the increase in living standards of much of the world since the fall of the USSR represents capitalism’s finest achievement. We interfere with this process at our peril.

  • RufusChoate

    When you write that “Francis probably doesn’t countenance that” in reference to John Schellnhuber’s demands for the mass murder of 7 billion people you inadvertently displayed Bergoglio’s amoral calculus in accepting this rubbish.

    To even allow such a morally depraved non-entity in the Vatican let alone to give a talk without hanging him from a lamppost as an enemy of humanity is a concession to evil that I would find unacceptable in anyone but more so the Pope.

    • RainingAgain

      It’s the equivalent of appointing Satan as Vatican spokesman for world population issues. It’s hard to comprehend how Pope Francis can condemn abortion and contraception while simultaneously sharing a stage with an advocate of reducing world population by six sevenths. I find it hard to believe Pope Francis is heretical and have bent over backwards to give him the benefit of the doubt-now the best I can come up with is that he is not too bright. Somebody must ask Pope Francis if he agrees that one billion is enough and how we should reach that target.

  • Although the effects of human activity on the environment remain unclear, humanity could do some spring cleaning, so debating the merits of the science should not sway anyone away from some attempts at reform. Most western countries seem to be on the right track through public recycling programs and the creation of more fuel efficient vehicles. This progress should continue in other aspects of life: more energy-efficient technology, cleaner energy methods (not just solar panels, but nuclear power and natural gas), and helping developing countries modernize methods of agriculture, manufacturing, and administration. Although most leftists would love to institute mass social planning and punitive taxation to combat urban sprawl and mass consumerism, doing so would only reverse the gains made in other environmental initiatives. Innovation and free choice should compel society to adopt a greener way of life, not regulation and mandates. We can make suburbs cleaner and self-sufficient; we cannot make them go away.

    it’s unfortunate that Pope Francis sides with the leftist approach. This might give him a populist appeal, but also antagonizes groups who can help the situation, as Royal comments. All people should cherish this earth and the beauties of nature, but they should also cherish the human individual as well. Environmentalism should start from the individual, then spread outward into communities and institutions. Instead of scaring people with an imminent environmental apocalypse, religious leaders should inspire them with effective strategies and lofty goals of cleaner air, uncluttered streets, and a purer life. Cleanliness is next to godliness. Government interventions and propaganda are ineffective, and more importantly, ungodly.

  • berniethomas

    This shouldn’t be said: One of the presenters at the press conference today in Rome was John Schellnhuber, an atheist German, who has said America must reduce its CO2 emissions to 0 by 2020 (an impossibility), and that we need to reduce global population to the earth’s “carrying capacity” of under 1 billion (which would require outrages against humanity). Francis probably doesn’t countenance that, but he takes it as settled – and urgent – that catastrophic climate change is now underway and the nations of the world, singly and together, need to take drastic steps to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.

    Surely Pope Francis doesn’t countenance reducing the earth’s carrying capacity to under 1 billion.

    • berniethomas

      And now it is clear he wouldn’t agree with Schellnhuber: “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”. Yet “while it is true that an unequal distribution of the population and of available resources creates obstacles to development and a sustainable use of the environment, it must nonetheless be recognized that demographic growth is fully compatible with an integral and shared development”.[28] To blame population growth instead of extreme and selective consumerism on the part of some, is one way of refusing to face the issues.” (LS, 50)

      • Howard Kainz

        These statements at least give some attention to the overpopulation myth, and the contraceptive mentality.

      • RainingAgain

        Your point makes little difference. The whole encyclical will be contaminated by the media as endorsing Schellnhuber. The Pope might as well have advocated contraception and abortion. Sip with the Devil with a very long spoon.

  • Manfred

    CORRECTION: In my earlier comment I referred to “John Schellenberger”. I was referring, of course, to Hans Joachim Schellnhuber of the Potsdam Conference.
    Thank you for your patience.

    • jeannebodine

      And, yes, he HAS been appointed to a Vatican position despite being a radical promoter of the theory of man-made climate change, an atheist and an advocate of population control. Press release from June 17, 2015 states he was appointed as a member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

      • Robert Royal

        Jeanne, this is quite disturbing, but it’s not exactly a Vatican post. There are many such academies and they’re more like a group of consultants than employees.

      • NOYB

        I was very glad to read that the Pope did not endorse population reduction, eugenics, or anything of the sort.

  • mrstones4u

    My wife and I are staunch Catholics and we both love our faith. I am in my 60’s and have never felt to isolated from any pope as this one, he scares both of us.

    • Kathy

      You and your wife are not alone, my friend.

      • Diane

        None of you are alone!

    • Alicia

      Because he is the pope, I feel guilty for not trusting him and always try to give him the benefit of the doubt, but he makes it very difficult. The truth is he scares me too and I am afraid for the church.
      There are probably many more like us and Kathy.
      Let’s pray for him.

      • Thomas J. Hennigan

        These are not matter of faith and morals, at least not very directly and papal infallibility is an extremely restrictive charism. It would be nice if the pope were better informed and there were a better system of vetting such documents so that he would avoid coming out with some statements which may consider mistaken, but they are based on false sciecnce so that he and others in the Vatican have been taken in by this.
        Relax, the Church is about to go down the tube due to some things a pope says which turn out to be mistaken.

    • NOYB

      Us too. Very scared. I don’t want to see an all-powerful global communistic government regulating every aspect of human consumption. Dystopian nightmare.

    • RufusChoate

      It is far more common that the patient and faithful Catholic feel exactly as you do while the Heterodox rejoice.

      That this fact alone doesn’t concern Bishops is demonstrable of how corrupt they are. The people they wish to appeal to most would cut their throats on a whim.

      • Covetous of your place in Christ’s Church, are you?

        There is room in our Church, and thank God for Bishops who have open and merciful hearts!

        • RufusChoate

          You do understand the difference between Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy, don’t you? Being Covetous of one’s place in the faith is about as absurd as believing the pustulous wart on the back side of New Jersey is “The Place”.

          It isn’t an issue of having corrupt and disloyal Bishops claiming being open and merciful when it is simple matter of their own corruption and cowardice.

    • thomasaugie

      Nothing to fear. If he is dangerous the Holy Spirit can take him out. I think this encyclical was his ticket into the U.N. and if the media and the politicians think they can use him by quoting him out of context as they do, they are going to find that Pope Francis will use their disengenuous acceptance of him to slam their population control objectives pushed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in U.N. What is more capitalist and technology induced than that abortion funding group aimed at the developing world?!

  • gaeliclass

    AT the very heart of the Pope’s Encyclical LS – has to be ‘man’.

    Nature/caos/mankind/consumption/greed/ are all tied together!

    If man’s heart is not of God, everything around him/her (whether big or small) will be chaotic– God is Love, God is Order, God is not chaos, but sin came into the world through disobedience to God by Adam and Eve who wanted to be ‘like God’…

    Mankind (men and women) are rebelling against God in an unthinkable way –
    this should have been emphasized much more in the document. It was touched on.

    The rebellion against God’s moral laws are at an all time high! – This should have been discussed much more in L.S. I believe.

    Abortion is tied to contraception – contraception should have been mentioned, it was not.
    Why? We know contraception leads to abortion! We know denying life in the sexual act, is denying also God. Blessed Mother Teresa made this abundantly clear … She said, ‘.any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love but to use violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.” So lets follow this line of thought re nature (and the mess it is in)… At least one billion babies have been aborted globally (this is not counting the chemical abortions and all else..); the sick and the elderly are now being killed ‘mercilessly’ (although they are told ‘this is mercy killing’)… Men and women have chosen ‘to kill in the womb’– for many reasons. Men and women today have chosen to change their sex… ‘ men have chosen to go against God and lie with men, women likewise’..–
    And need i go on…..
    Are we all so truly surprised about what is happening in nature! No way — If our hearts and bodies are corrupt – so will our lives and the way we handle things – whether it is our own little front yard (and what we put on it… ) or how long I leave my a/c on — or how long I leave my engine running… etc etc. etc..–
    This I believe is what should have been emphasized much more —
    not even big multi nationals (although yes they are greedy for the most part like the banks and insurance companies = greed drives them).. –
    What I believe SL needed to drive home much more is that only when we convert our hearts back to God and live the Gospel – only then does everything around us find its rightful place.
    Man is above nature – and The Lord did say that– and we are but we will misuse nature if we ourselves have lost our relationship with God.

    L.S. had to be written first of all for Catholics not for the entire world. The Pope is the Pope of we Catholics and therefore an encyclical must be written from a Catholic Doctrinal/Faith viewpoint.

    One last thing – is it also possible that nature is rebelling because of the number of God’s children (men and women) who are being ‘aborted in the womb’– Is that just a possibilty – because those little babies all need to go somewhere!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Just a few thoughts but I believe important ones….

    • lwhite

      Unlike the Vicar of Christ, you laid out the very essence of the problem. That “if our hearts and bodies are corrupt-so will our lives and the way we handle things..”
      You also made a good point that the encyclical should have been addressed to and for Catholics. I believe it was not for one important reason-Pope Francis isn’t interested in shepherding the Catholic flock with sound doctrine but in being the “people’s (of the world)” pope. He has not shown any honor in this most holy and sacred office as the voice of Christ.

  • Fr Kloster

    One pithy question I love to ask the global warming/climate change people (btw, they conveniently changed the label…ah the inconsistency of it all). How did we ever come out of the Ice Age? I suppose it couldn’t have possibly been considered global warming since it is not convenient to their argument that smacks, in my estimation, as a dash for cash by those who stand to gain financially.

    • lwhite

      Fr. Kloster, you know it is much, much more than greed. You know that the current hysteria that the planet is being totally destroyed by man is simply this age’s response to the reality that man has not only rejected God and lives under the diabolical influences of the principalities and powers and the rulers of the world who are the soldiers of Satan. Every age has its own hysteria as man refuses to recognize God as Creator and Just Judge and lives in unrepentant sin.
      It is sin that has polluted the earth so the way to turn back the pollution of the earth is for human beings to turn away from polluting their souls.

      • Fr Kloster

        Very astute observation. The global warming/climate change advocates aren’t really interested in spiritual analyses. I do agree with you that the real pollution in our earthly realm is how filthy souls have become (I do not thereby exonerate myself). A collective clean up spiritually is really the answer. Wasting time on “global warming” only leads to hand wrenching and not much else concretely helpful. Thank you for your addendum to my post.

  • hopemore5

    I continue to wonder if anyone is aware that about 800 AD there was a massive “global warming” phenomenon over the known world at that time. The warming was so severe that almost no ice formed in Europe. There was massive crop failure, animals died and millions of people also died of starvation. Since rivers did not freeze, the Vikings were able to sail up the Seine and attack Paris. And all this happened before there was any possibility of civilization causing the warming. The changes in the environment have been going on since the earth was formed and it is only today with the pride and arrogance of modern humans that they think they could cause it and even more implausibly that they can change it by their actions. Of course, if you’ve thrown God out, somebody has to take care of things! (sarcasm) What is really behind all this? I think the endless effort to establish a world government that will be run by elite liberals and control every aspect of human life. Then the “utopia” will arrive and there will be no climate change, no poverty, no freedom and most importantly no need for a God and a Heaven.

    • Thomas J. Hennigan

      These facts are well known. I have read them in various places and heard them presented in youtub videos. In fact, the Vikings cultivated grain in Greenland in those days. In the past 13 yeaas what we have is global cooling. Its all a hoax, a scam by the extreme left which controls the UN and also the U.S.government which is the principle source of funing for global warming studies. No surprise that some scientists take the money and give the governmnt the results it would like to get, especially a government run by the likes of Obama. For all we know we might be at the beginning of a new Ice Age.

  • jim

    Written opinion is one thing. Publicly embracing atheists, pro-aborts and the like to endorse and sell the written opinion is quite another. The phrase, “who am I to judge?” continues to haunt. For shame.

  • Fulton J. Waterloo

    Three big errors in Mr. Royals piece. First, he talks about the need for 2 1/2 billion people to receive the benefits of development. Fair enough, but he confuses “development” with energy consumption. For example, my lifestyle is very developed, but I use HALF of the energy of the average American, who I believe probably has less “quality of life” than I do. Second, any lifting out of poverty of some percentage of the worlds’ poor has been more than offset by the HUGE bonanza received by the wealthy via globalization. Mexico actually has more disparity of wealth than it did BEFORE NAFTA; and Mexican workers are paid $1.80-$3.40 an hour to build $52,000 Lincolns. Does Mr. Royal talk about these “effects” of globalization? Of course not. Finally, this writer believes that Mr. Royal is naive in believing that capitalism has a moral component. The idea, after all, was that each individual, in the pursuit of his own selfish interest, would “magically” and inadvertently contribute to the common good. But if this does NOT happen, where is the the regulating ideology, unless it be some form of moral reasoning which lies outside of capitalism itself? In short, Mr. Royals piece is yet another example of the “Catholic Thing” REALLY being “Evangelical Protestant Republican” Thing pretending to be Catholic…reference Rick Santorum, and unfortunately, even Jeb Bush…

    • Robert Royal

      Mr. “Waterloo”: Do you know me? You seem to attribute a lot of opinions to me that I don’t recognize as mine. I think it’s you who are confusing me with Bush, Santorum, etc. who I think are disgracefully ignorant and partisan on complicated ecological questions.

      • Tim

        Well said. I believe Fulton has had his folly, and his Waterloo. 🙂

    • RainingAgain

      How much would these Mexicans be making if there were no Lincolns? Capitalism per se is not the problem. Perhaps there are not enough capitalists. Still, the problem is not that there are too many of us, Mexicans, Americans, Irish or whatever. Unfortunately, the Pope doesn’t seem to think so. He seems to believe that there are too many looking for their piece of the pie. I hope I am wrong about this.

      • You are wrong about this.. the Pope defends life, and fervently endeavors to reveal this Truth to the far left. This goal was revealed to us by Evangelii Gaudium, but a lot of us missed the point.

    • Amatorem Veritatis

      Three big errors in your politicized misrepresentation of the article.

      1. Royal makes no point whatsoever concerning the relationship between development and energy. You choose to raise it as a straw man argument, and also to arrogantly preen about your supposedly more efficient carbon footprint. Of course, you simply assert with no proof… and more importantly, who cares about your superior carbon footprint or your superior quality of life? Regardless of just how superior your quality of life might be in relation to us “average Americans”, you owe it to development (by others) which BTW utilized significant amounts energy consumption. Duh!

      2. You then infer another unsubstantiated progressive Catholic trope, that all economic, social and technological development is a zero sum game. You seem to be arguing the absurd notion that you would rather have hundreds of millions of people continue to live their lives in a condition of “noble savagery” because you can’t stand the idea that others might have profited from the process of their emancipation from squalor. Your copy of Das Capital must be very dog eared by now.

      3.Your third misrepresentation of the article is that Royal imputes a moral character to capitalism. Generally, I find that it is only neo-pagan (neo-gnostic?) progressives who insist on the anthropomorphism of material entities such as the earth, or assign moral virtues to metaphysical constructs such as economic systems. Morality is a purely human, and personal reflection of God’s inherent nature, and a by product of our creation in Their Image and Likeness. As such, neither capitalism or communism (or other intermediate variations) have a moral component. They are by their nature, amoral systems in which human behaviors impute moral or immoral actions. History has proven without any reasonable doubt that capitalism, to paraphrase the Winston Churchill quote, is indeed the worst form of economic governance, except for all other forms that have been tried. Free market capitalism does a much better job of buffering the effects of man’s fundamentally sinful nature than any other economic system. Why? Because it is in maximum harmony with God’s greatest gift to mankind after creation itself, which is free will.

      In short, your piece is yet another example of neo-progressive, politically motivated propaganda, pretending to be Catholic orthodoxy. Reference Nancy Pelosi, and unfortunately even Joe Biden.

    • Indeed, capitalism has never had a moral underpinning, only a penchant for forcing through material efficiency, and crushing beautiful cultures in the process. So yes, we must take care not to force our consumer ethic, of issuing jobs to poor but then forcing them to pay back ever higher costs through taxes, needless technologies (replacing problems caused by earlier technologies), and mass-produced goods destroying local self-reliance… e.g. forced, indentured labor… as we ourselves suffer!

      On the other hand, advanced nations need to give freely in order to advance basic medicine and sanitation for these 2.5 billion.

  • SD

    Robert Royal, Thank-you for writing. And the slaughtering of GOD’s children within and outside the womb continues, rampant anti-Christianity continues and Church closings continue. Surely, this Encyclical will help.
    Politics and Holiness are incompatible. GOD BLESS.

  • lwhite

    Point 1: The Bible says that God gave man dominion over the earth.

    Point 2: Descartes view that we should become “masters and possessor’s of nature” is exactly what the pro-abortionists, population controllers, embryonic stem cell experimenters, homosexuals, atheists, the well funded and paid scientific and research organizations, and pharmaceutical companies, leftwing politicians and millionaire/billionaires, and radical environmentalist’s have spent billions of dollars to try to do. Their purpose is to remake man into their own image and gain total control over both human life and nature.

    Point 3: Although Pope Francis gives lip service to “the entire material universe speaks of God’s love…” and his stated views on abortion and population control (never mentioned much, if at all, in any other context), the article gives away his true views which are those of extreme environmentalism. Why would he appoint the atheist proponent of population control and avowed hater of humanity to the Pontifical Academy of Science if he didn’t want his evil opinions given some weight?

    Point 4: “The mystery of natural evil gets little attention in the encyclical” because Pope Francis doesn’t seem to ever talk about evil or sin for that matter. In Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical “Misericors Dei Filius”, he simply stated a truth that I doubt Pope Francis believes that “the neglect in which Christian virtues are held is the main cause of the evils that threaten society.” I would add that it is SIN, unrecognized (willfully) and unrepentant sin, that causes this neglect of virtues and raises all of the vices to a diabolic virtue. No, no, no! Evil is too negative a concept for modern man to accept.
    The reality is Pope Francis’s vision is a one world government, one world religion where “love” and “mercy” reign but without acknowledging the one, true God, Creator of Heaven and Earth and of man so that it is man himself who is the divine.

    Point 5: It is the disordered constitution of society that one would think a Vicar of Christ would address if this catastrophe of man-made global warming is real. Societies that are not ordered with the understanding that it is God who is the Supreme Authority and Judge, and it is through Him that civil government was established, will fail. They fail in their duty to God and thus fail in their duties to man.

  • I don’t know whether global warming is in fact happening; I am even less certain as to whether it is anthropgenic in any significant degree; I am quite sure that I fear the effects of government-driven human activities to try and counter it.

    jj

  • icowrich

    “When the Church prohibits abortion, it’s enunciating an absolute moral principle.”

    Not exactly. The moral principle is that one should not kill another person. The scientific question of when a foetus becomes a person is addressed as well as the moral question of what to do with said person. There are Catholics of conscience who agree with the moral question of Humanae Vitae, but demur on the scientific question. For instance, one might think that science has proven there to be no brain stem at a certain stage of development, and therefore, scientifically, this is not yet a human in any meaningful sense of the term.

    So it is with Laudato Si.

    • TomD

      Science does not definitively provide answers to moral questions. The Church teaches that life begins at conception and what “science has proven” regarding the brain stem or stages of development does not negate the distinctness of each human life from the moment of conception. This is what the Church teaches and it is an absolute moral principle.

      From the moment of conception, we are fully human in the truly meaningful sense of the term.

    • Jason G. Hull

      I would like to see the Catholic theology that separates the idea of a uniquely identified living human organism determined through the presence of human DNA and metabolization from that of a “person” based on any grounds, let alone the absence of a brain stem during the natural part of human development where a brain stem is not supposed to be.

      Every unique living human entity is a person. To say otherwise is a denial of human dignity.

    • Thomas J. Hennigan

      The fruit of human conception is human and no amount of talk abot brain stem and other such can deny that.

    • ThirstforTruth

      Catholics of conscience believe that God infuses the human fetus with a soul at conception. Therefore, your point about a brain stem present or not present is mute. Humans do not
      stop developing at birth, not by a long shot, yet are recognized as human. A fertilized human egg is a developing human and has full human rights….or should. The Church prohibits abortion based upon the command that forbids killing another person. A foetus
      is a human person in the eyes of the Church and most people agree today, given sonograms.

      • icowrich

        But that’s not a matter of faith or morals. It’s a matter of the status of the foetus, which is an observable phenomenon. If you want to stick to the authorities of the Church on this matter, then you can’t get more authoritative than St. Thomas Aquinas, both a saint and a doctor of the Church. Some consider him THE Doctor of the Church. He considered the ensoulment of a foetus (the quickening) to occur between 40 and 80 days into a pregnancy.

        So, that’s what the Church held for centuries based on the authority of faith and knowledge alone. More than 300 years later, Pope Gregory XIV made the same distinction in Sedes Apostolica, declaring that special penalties for abortion should only be applied only if an “animated foetus is involved.” Then, suddenly, in in the 20th century (culminating with Humanae Vitae in 1968), the Church changes its opinion to ensoulment at conception. Why is this? Did the eternal truths of faith and morals change?

        No. Of course not. Science changed. We could see, through a variety of means (including ultrasound, x-rays, etc), that the foetus is constantly in motion from conception. There is no 40-80 day quickening, as the medieval Church had assumed. So, working backward from that, it becomes quite obvious that something so changeable as the status of a foetus isn’t Revealed Truth (because Revealed Truth isn’t fungible). It is, in fact, in the realm of science. Paul VI revised his opinion of that status based on science. The Church’s moral theory remained unchanged, but the foetal status was new.

        • Rusty

          Nonsense. When science can establish the existence of souls, rather than faith, then the humanity of a foetus may be the proper subject of scientific inquiry. Until then, we have faith alone to confirm that life is life, and that the foetus is a human life from the moment of conception.

          • icowrich

            You must not have read what I said, then. I didn’t say ensoulment was scientific. I said the fact that science on the ground made new discoveries about the physical nature of foetuses is what caused the Church to change its mind about the quickening.

            The assumption had been that no foetus ever moves prior to some point at 40-80 days into the pregnancy. The medieval evidence of this was that the mother started to feel it kick. We now know that it isn’t true, that THAT is why the Church changed its teachings. The eternal principle was the same, but the science changed. And that new scientific understanding, while not being about souls as far as scientists were concerned, caused theologians to reconsider ensoulment.

            Now, perhaps you may think the Church was right all along, and ensoulment doesn’t happen until 40-80 days in. That’s your right. But if you allow for the fact that scientific assumptions that precede the application of spiritual judgment change (IOW, situations change), then you can join the late 20th century Church and become fully pro-life.

          • Rusty

            Not sure I agree that the Church “changed its mind” on quickening. From what I have read, there were numerous positions expressed by numerous different people, and that the matter did not have any previous consensus around quickening.

          • icowrich

            Aquinas, the Doctor of the Church, and Pope Gregory XIV’s own encyclical made the quickening the standard. Now, you could say they were wrong on faith and morals or you could just say that the science wasn’t in yet. Which is it?

            Now, even if I were to agree with you that the Church kept shifting, if it were a matter of faith and morals, there could still only be one position. Yet the Church’s position, by your own narrative, morphed back and forth over time. What changed? The eternal principles of the Church or scientific knowledge?

          • Rusty

            Perhaps it is just me, and perhaps I have indeed misread you, but I am having trouble following your argument.

            My original comment was based on the implications of your reference to quickening as a scientific indicator (my term, not yours) of the humanity of a foetus. It was not my intention to enter a debate over the details of the Church’s understanding of quickening over time, as I have only a rudimentary understanding of that subject area. The concept of quickening is a poor indicator for attempting to understand when a foetus acquired a soul – it is a very shaky proxy for something that cannot be scientifically determined.

            I certainly agree with you that scientific understanding of phenomena changes – it is axiomatic, since scientific inquiry is based on doubt, and there are no facts that can be accepted as immutable in science, since they are only considered to be “not-yet-disproved”.

            My original comment was intended to rebut the idea that faith and morals are subject to scientific inquiry. Since even scientists will admit that there is no such thing as “settled science”, only theories that remain perpetually subject to being disproved, it seems to me that scientific opinion is just that – opinion, albeit opinion based on a particular method of inquiry.

    • Eric

      “There are Catholics of conscience who agree with the moral question of Humanae Vitae, but demur on the scientific question.”
      Mmmmmmm, what a yummy red flag. It’d be delicious with a side of “spirit of Vatican II”.

  • Manfred

    A reassurimg note: Please remember that God has full knowledge of all that is occurring today. This papacy is the natural development of ideas brought to Vat. II by dissident cardinals, bishops and their periti (advisor/theologians). Aggiornamento!!! Open the windows and let the world know we have nothing to fear from it. This papacy was always what these men envisioned. Remember, he was second behind Benedict in 2005, and elected when Benedict caved to”the wolves”.
    AsI point edout earlier, this is the fiftieth anniversary of the closing of Vatican II. It has taken the heterodox/heretics fifty years but they accomplished it: Liturgical changes, admitted failure to teach Catholicism for the same fifty years, sodomites in seminaries, both faculty and students, we finally have the sinister figure from the book which Francis always speaks of:
    The Lord of the World.
    Conversion and prayer are the only remedies we have as we are struggling with Satan who is the prince of this world. His minions have controlled the Church for decades.

  • Thomas J. Hennigan

    Whether there is real global warming or not and whether it is due to human activity and whether anything needs or even can be done about it is a matter for science produce the real objective data by measuring them and it has nothing to do with a Pew poll on what Catholics or anyone else thinkg about. If Pew did a poll about the intricacies of rocket science, it is likely that practically nobody would have much of a clue about it, and why should they? Scientists have to establish the facts by measuring the climate, by studying what has happened with climate in previous eras etc. All that work has been done and is being done, but unfortunatley ideology and the environmentalist pseudo-religion led by the UN panel on the matter has cooked the data and fooled the Pope as well as many others. Fortunatley very many of the most competent anad serious climate scientists are absolutley opposed to the global warming/climate change scam/hoax. As for the increase of CO2 supposedly due to human activity, there is no proff of it, besides what is the problem? After all without CO2 we couldn’t live nor could there be any plants in the world. In fact, there are advantages to its slight increase as there will be more green plants, which is good for everyone. As for a possible increase in average temperatures of 1 degree celsius in a century, what of it? Nothing shoul be done and Pope has bought into the catastrophic scenario proposed by disgraced Al Gore, who has consistently refused to debate the issue with those who disagree with his scare tactics. Ironically, what Francis proposed would cause tremendous damage to the poor of the Third World whom he loves so much.

    How is it that the CDF doen’t have some serious consultors who know something about this matter and could not prevent the Pope from hijacking his own encyclical? Instead of discussing the positive contribution he has made on the matter of ecology, he has in fact, shot himself in the foot due to the posistion taken on the supposed global warming/climate change issue. The positive contribution he makes will be forgotten and the encyclical will only be discussed on this issue.

    His positions on Islam are also mistaken, so in my opinion the Vatican needs to consult those who really know about such issues so that the Pope won’t get “egg all over his face” by making statements which turn out to be mistaken.

  • Steve1038

    My mother has two “mechanical” heart valves and we run the air conditioner (A/C) earlier and more than some because the humidity in the Northeast does a number on here congestive heart failure and other cardiac conditions. But, isn’t she just the perfect target for population controllers – a disabled elder using up the world’s resources. Just let someone try to take away her A/C and they’ll get a very prudential punch in the mouth. (Mr. Royal – saw you on EWTN – great job!)

  • grump

    Francis weighing in on “climate change” is like Richard Dawkins talking theology. The Pope, while no doubt well-intentioned, should stick to spiritual matters. True science refutes claims of so-called “global warming.”

  • BFB

    I would regard myself as wholly orthodox with regard to the Faith but differ from most of the contributors here by being European and having my perspectives shaped by that. However I also have some experience of the USA from visits and having a daughter who went to Unversity there.

    The characterisations of European economies culture political and other institutions found her tend to be caricatures of a much more nuanced and complex set of realities. I understand that what is meant by socialism differs here from there as do many other definitions. There is no regime in the EU which is far left from our perspective though some regimes may be regarded as such from a U.S. set of cultural mores.

    There seems to be a theme that anthropogenic climate change is a far left scheme to foster the coming of a world government and for the Holy Father to become involved in that argument is somehow either to demean his position or step into areas beyond his responsibilities.

    However it is the case that a preponderance of scientific opinion believes that anthropogenic climate change is happening.
    The expectations are that initial global warming would case my are of the world to become wetter and colder as the ice caps melt and the Gulf Strea is endangered. Also more extreme weather events are anticipated. these seem to be occurring. Not only that but conditions in Africa are such that refugee numbers are greatly increasin

    These matters are profound in their implications and the ⬅️9⃣
    Pope must comment on them. Their economic effects are an important element in the responses necessary to allow human dignity to be preserved and flourish.

    There is some merit in looking at our dominion over the earth as a type of tenancy rather than stewardship and that can give perspectives which add to the discussion.

    I would declare here that my background is in economics of the land supplemented by a masters degree in theology. That skews my understanding.

    John Paul II said that we all are pilgrims and met walk the road together which is apposite in these troubling times

    • John Leach

      BFB you used the word “anticipated” and that is the Achilles heel of the whole issue that denounces any claim of scientific “evidence” – it is all based on computer modelling – the whole house of cards is made of predictions. True science is based on observations not expectations.
      Pope Francis falls into the same trap echoing dire warnings of sea rises and uncontrolled heat – that’s all the others offer so why not get on the wagon without wheels I suppose.
      The little ice age that lasted 580 years caused by a maunder period of the sun ended around the time of the industrial revolution (19th Century) and since then there has been a degree of warming – otherwise we would still be in that Ice Age – this warming has not yet reached the level prior to that Ice Age so we may have a little to go before the earth is stabilized.

    • ThirstforTruth

      “However it is the case that a preponderance of scientific opinion believes that anthropogenic climate change is happening”.
      Please give solid evidence of this besides computer models that really show us nothing
      but theoretical possibilities. This really is the crux of the problem. Many are acting ( including the Holy Father) as if this is settled science. It is not. It is apparent to many that most of what environmentalists suggest is happening is not conclusive science but rather a convenient falsification by the socialist left to implement their agenda. Just look at who supports which “side” and you find it is all political palaver for the most part. The Pope it would appear has been duped into the wrong side of truth and being take advantage of by the Schellnhubers of the movement. If not, we have to conclude that our Argentinian Pope is a socialist at heart, which will send the Church further into schism than already exists.

      • Bridget

        The means to correct so-called climate change will undoubtedly hurt the poor more than the environment itself ever could. The increasing cost of fuel is strangling low-income rural families. One of the world’s solutions is to tax fuel more and produce less of it, making it more difficult to purchase. The wealthy won’t suffer any cold or inconvenience because of this. The pain will be endured by those who struggle to make ends meet and live ascetic lives by necessity.

  • James

    Doing Morning Prayer today the lament of the Jews held captive in all that heat in Babylon came to mind, sitting by the polluted waters with their harps hanging on the leafless limbs above, forced to sing a song of Zion for their abusive male captors. How many of us feel this agony during the current captivity we are enduring, not only on the civil level, but the ecclesiastical? Yes, yesterday’s encyclical has good points to make – one would imagine 180 pages would provide that opportunity. A broken clock is right twice a day.
    But yet again we are privileged to receive another left-wing tome of false science sandwiched between pious platitudes which, if employed by the “trads” (an vile term often found amongst “Crux” commenters – and indeed they are a crux) would be found to
    be “pious nonsense” (a term favored by a priest I had in high school in the council’s wake, now married and a retired social worker).
    It is, to be sure, a 180 page glass hammer.
    Think of all the felled trees required to disperse its contents in multiple
    languages across the planet. All that oily ink. The agony of it all…
    How much longer, O Lord?

  • Diane

    What is happening to the earth is natural occurrences, not different than ever before, with or without humans. It is all part of God’s plan and God will take care of it in His time. We should be good stewards of the earth, but that does not mean not having AC. There are many, many people young and old who would die without it. Is that how the climate changers want to lower the population?

  • Anne

    Bob Royal is absolutely one of the most elegant yet trenchant writers in the entire Catholic blogosphere.

  • Arthur Conway

    “There’s much moral denunciation of “finance” and “technology” in the
    encyclical, much less appreciation of how the efficiencies of markets
    (properly regulated) and globalization, combined with technical
    innovation and the entrepreneurial spread of its use, have already
    lifted hundreds of millions around the world out of age-old misery. And
    will continue to do so.”

    The above serves as an excellent example of what might be termed Catholics ignorance of Catholic teaching. The absence of Logic necessary for the above to be true was once the domain of the non-catholic. In order for anyone to accept the quoted text one must deny, or reject, the moral fundimentals of Rerum Novarum AND the basic Dogma that humans are flawed.

    Money, in Catholic moral terms, is the currency used to replace the talents, skill and time given by a person. When a person is paid they are paid for their time first, then their skill. Pehaps the business term might be more apt here, added value. Thus, if the work provided adds no value to a product that worker is paid only for time. Any employee who does not add value requires at least five actual skilled workers to support him/her.

    The idea that a world market is moral, is contrary to Catholic Moral Theology, it is always about how the individual deals with others. In short, the current system delineated in the quote is immoral, has always been immoral under Catholic Theology, and any defense of it indicates a need for education in our faith.

  • Mary Magdelene

    I am catholic and I have a problem with this encyclical. Global warming has not been proven to be true, and in fact, the” scientists” who first pushed this theory were proven to be frauds. I recognize that there is climate change taking place, but I don’t believe it is from man, but rather the natural cycles of the earth and the sun. I do agree with his views on overdevelopment. That phenomena has destroyed (in my opinion) some of the most beautiful places in America, in the northeast where I am from, at least, and certainly in California, which is such a beautiful state. I don’t think that the rich countries have kept the poor down. A case in point, Haiti. We have dumped millions and millions of dollars into that country since their earthquake, and they are just as corrupt, impoverished and poor as ever. And then there was NAFTA, which was supposed to help countries like Mexico, which is in such dire straits that the Pope is having priests exorcise that country, and since one fourth of mexico now lives in America, he should send priests to exorcise our country as well. Finally, when he comes to the point that he likes to sell the most, that of redistribution of wealth, he has lost me. He sounds like a liberation theology priest. I hate communism, and it has ALWAYS proven to be a failure in every country where it was put into place. I’m sorry but I miss Pope Benedict. I am a conservative and while I respect Pope Francis and his office, i don’t agree with much of what he says.

    • SlipperCity

      I am a conservative and have a problem with the encyclical also, for the same reasons that Mary states; that global warming has not been proven to be true, scientists still disagree with this theory, AND NOTHING was said in the encyclical about the corrupt rulers, dictators, and armies who steal from very generous donors and countries attempting to help the poor people of their countries.
      Let us not forget that billions of dollars have been given by the United States and other countries, only to have those monies disappear into the pockets of the corrupt. I, for one, will not give one thin dime to any charity because of this. Charity begins at home!
      With respect to the socialist thinking that income should be redistributed, I say bunk to that. In this world there are “savers” and there are “spenders.” If the government and the church forces the “savers” to give all of their money away to the “spenders,” you can be certain that the “spenders” will spend everything that we (and they) have. When the next round of need rolls around we will ALL be poor. Then….. where will you all get the money to rescue the whole world. We in the United States have spent $23 trillion in the past 50 years attempting to resolve the poverty issue and GUESS WHAT? We have more poor people and people on the dole than every before. Everyone is on the dole and looks for a handout.
      The Pope should discontinue his association with Al Gore and his ilk and stick with Popeing. This whole thing is enough to turn me away from the Catholic religion.

      • Mary Magdelene

        Slipper, thank you. Also, after WWII from1945 on for the next 20 years our money rebuilt not only our enemies’ nations but all of Europe as well. What country in the history of man has ever done that? And i don’t mind that so much although a lot of them don’t appreciate it. I hate that we send money to countries who down right HATE us, and as you said corrupt dictators who only enrich themselves, while their people starve. HOW IS THAT AMERICA’S FAULT???? Sorry, but this encyclical has me steamed.

      • lwhite

        The Catholic religion, founded upon the Truths of Christ, can never change. Do not let the personal opinions of man influence your duty and responsibility to know, love and serve God, found wholly and only in the one, holy, apostolic and Catholic Church.

        • Mary Magdelene

          Does that mean that he may not disagree with the Pope on this issue? This is not an ex cathedra mandate, but the man’s personal opinion.

          • lwhite

            Of course one can disagree with the Pope on this issue. I certainly do. My point was the only thing that really matters is the Truth and our responsibility lies in it. Personal opinions, even expressed by a pope, should never lead us away from loving and serving God.

  • lwhite

    Pope John XXIII laid out the truth in his encyclical “On Truth, Unity and Peace, In a Spirit of Charity” (Ad Petri Cathedram-June 29, 1959) when he wrote:

    “All the evils which poison men and nations and trouble so many hearts have a single cause and a single source: ignorance of the truth and at times, even more than ignorance, a contempt for truth and a reckless rejection of it. Thus arise all manner of errors, which enter the recesses of men’s hearts and the bloodstream of human society as would a plague. These errors turn everything upside down: they menace individuals and society itself.”

    The answer to all of the problems of mankind is not a global institution of designed coercion and punishment for those who won’t submit to the religion of scientism, but the evangelization of the hearts of all men through the Truth who is Jesus Christ, and bring them into the bosom of the one, true Catholic Church, where their hearts and minds conform to all Truth.

    Is there anything in this encyclical, written to the whole world, that makes this plea to men’s hearts, damaged by all manner of errors, that only the Truth of Jesus Christ and the conforming of man’s heart to his Sacred Heart is the answer and the only possible way to do this is to enter into the one Church which He instituted, the fountain of all Truth?

    • James

      The best one can see about “Laudato Si” is that in 180 pages it supports the maxim “Cleanliness is next to Godliness.” Let us each keep our stalls clean, and get back to the conversion of heart, which will doubtlessly master all these perceived catastrophes. Who can dispute that? Perhaps a pontificate that is famous for calling us all to “…make a mess!” The conundrum of this pontificate leaves me cold.

  • lwhite

    As Pope Francis clearly agrees that the planet is on the road to extinction unless man stops using coal, oil and gas NOW, I’m sure we will see an immediate world-wide news release informing us that he and the princes of the Church will now dress in sackcloth and the whole of Vatican City will stop using all modes of transportation except their feet or bicycles. I’m sure he will also announce that he will no longer fly around the world in his jumbo jet. The directive must also be made that under no circumstances will any Church facility of any kind, including all parish buildings, be allowed the use of coal, gas, or oil and a necessary supply of candles will forthwith be transported by foot or bicycle to each Church facility for use until all can be equipped with renewal energy sources.

  • SlipperCity

    It is interesting to see that many of us Catholics do NOT agree with this Pope and his Climate Control nonsense. Where was the Church during WWII when they turned a blind eye to the plight of the poor people who were sent to extermination camps, and when we desperately wanted (and needed) a re-thinking of the Church’s birth control policy? What they say about birth control is nonsense; and what have they gotten as a result of their refusal to modify their approach? A huge number of abortions. If they had listened to reason and accepted various birth control methods, they wouldn’t be faced with all of these problems.
    And now the Pope weighs in on munitions manufacturing? How does he reconcile the Swiss Guard arsenal that he benefits from, with his criticism of munitions manufacturing. Typical of the “Do as I say, not what I do” mentality. Where would the Pope be without the arsenal at his disposal. Does he or the Swiss Guard have big rocks they can throw at the bad guys?
    The Pope and Bishops are tone deaf, and what they have created is far worse than if they got “real” in their thinking. Hypocrites, is what the Pope and Bishops are. And now they get involved in the Climate Change debate? Madness!

  • dogged

    When Pope Francis visits New York City late this summer, may we switch off the AC wherever he is staying?

  • Mary Magdelene

    Stop worrying about the speck in my eye, and be concerned about the beam that is in yours. I am a devout traditional conservative catholic, but I don’t have to agree on the pope’s view on global warming. Have a blessed day.

    • Facile1

      Thank you for your blessing.

      I also read encyclicals as a guide to an examination of conscience.

      So when was the last time you did this?

      • Mary Magdelene

        I read Pope Benedict’s encyclical while I was in RCIA class. He is brilliant. I’m not especially thrilled with Pope Francis because he has marxist tendencies and I don’t believe in global warming-as being man made at least. Further, I am a CONSERVATIONIST, not a militant marxist environmentalist. Also, I didn’t go through all that time in RCIA to convert to walk away now. And I must tell you that I am a traditional Latin Rite Catholic, which I assume you are not. But Priests come and priests go. Same goes with popes. I pray that we will get a pope who is more heavenly minded and does not identify with an atheistic and godless secular ideology.

        • Facile1

          You seem to be operating on a lot of false assumptions about me. So permit me to make some corrections (even though I do not believe who I am should be pertinent to this discussion.)

          First of all, I believe in the Novus Ordo Mass AND the Latin Rite Mass (just like Pope Francis, Pope Benedict XVI and St. Pope John Paul II.)

          Secondly, my undergraduate degrees are in engineering and my graduate degree is in Mathematics. So I know better than to believe in the pseudo science behind the “global warming” hysteria. And I believe Pope Francis has sufficient background in the sciences not to be mislead also. And by moving from the US to a third-world country, I’ve automatically set a limit on my carbon foot-print (although I do not pretend to be a “CONSERVATIONIST”).

          And lastly, like Pope Francis, I submitted to St. Ignatius de Loyola Consciousness Examen for a full year. And I know RCIA does not teach this skill because I used to teach RCIA.

          So I suggest you learn to do the 3 E’s before assuming the pope is not “heavenly minded” and identifies with “an atheistic and godless secular ideology”; or you will be guilty of ‘bearing false witness’ (as is evident in your assumptions about me.)

          The 3 E’s are the following:

          1. Evaluate the evidence with one’s five senses and human reason (re: St. Thomas Aquinas).

          2. Examine one’s conscience because human senses and human reason are subject to human error and manipulation (re: St. Ignatius de Loyola).

          3. Err on the side of mercy because only GOD can know the TRUTH (re: Jesus Christ).

          But above all, LOVE GOD FIRST. People who cannot LOVE GOD FIRST fall easily victim to lies (especially to the lies they tell themselves.)

          • Mary Magdelene

            Big deal. There are l legions of scientists-real scientists- wo would disagree with you, mr Math degree. My son has a degree in math as well, yet he doesn’t buy into that tripe. What an ego.

          • Facile1

            Your son does not buy into that “tripe” (and if you read my reply carefully, neither do I).

            BTW, that’s Ms Math degree to you.

          • tom bordeau

            I’m not disagreeing with you here mind you but just wondering what your opinion would be as to why , it seems, that EVERYTHING the pope utters appears to be taken out of context. By all evidence, it does seem that the pope states things that the ‘world’ embraces, i.e. the left thinks he’s a socialist etc.

          • Facile1

            Since you asked for an opinion, please keep in mind that this is merely an opinion offered in good faith:

            Most people think in their “mother tongues”. The Pope’s “mother tongue” is Spanish. His audience is 1.2 billion Catholics spread over 195 countries. In the Philippines alone (one of the top five Catholic countries), there are 65+ basic languages and 300 dialects (including English and Spanish). So chances are very good something will get lost in translation.

            I don’t have a problem understanding the Pope. And it may be because my father, who was raised in Spanish, raised me in American English. I also lived for 39 years in upstate NY. But I must confess I do still have problems with American English, especially with the American English from the southern states.

            I hope this helps.

  • Arthur Conway

    Well the term “added value” refers to the skill needed to take a raw material into a finished product. It takes 5 employees who add value to pay for one person in the office. Humans have dignity, not value in the sense of pecuniary worth.

    • Facile1

      Language is a human invention. The TRUTH cannot be invented.

      The term “added value” as in “value-added tax” is an invention.

      But VALUE itself is not of pecuniary worth. But we still pay for a person’s lifetime with fiat currency.

      Actually, I am very much for the “value-added tax” (where the needs of senior citizens, the sick and the poor are met by the VAT.) I personally am against any manner of income tax and non-commercial property taxes.

      But the STATE collects taxes first and appropriates funds collected later. Thus the taxes collected do not reflect the values of the taxpayer. This disconnect between the taxpayer’s value system and the taxes he pays is immoral.

      My idea of taxes is that these should be collected ONLY after everyone has been fed, clothed, and sheltered. All other needs should be funded with the sale of government bonds and fees. But all governments without exception collect taxes from the lowest wage-earner up instead of from the largest income producer down. And the taxes are collected on the principle that the taxpayer owes the STATE their GOD-given lives, their GOD-given liberties, and their GOD-given properties.

      “Jesus said to his Apostles:
      ‘As you go, make this proclamation:
      ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’
      Cure the sick, raise the dead,
      cleanse the lepers, drive out demons.
      Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.”
      Matthew 10:7-8

      Everything begins with a gift from GOD.

      So LOVE GOD FIRST; His Kingdom and His Righteousness; and all will be given as well.

      • Arthur Conway

        I see. In the alternative, language is of God as part of our nature. Added Value is a common term used in business. If I accept your statement on Truth and the one on language then you contradict yourself because in posting to this section you are using the made up instead of relying on Truth.

        Keep warm and well fed.

        • Facile1

          No. You do not see.

          Again we return to Genesis 2:19. “So the LORD God formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the air, and he brought them to the man to see what he would call them; whatever the man called each living creature was then its name.”

          GOD creates. Humans invent. Language is a human invention. The TRUTH cannot be invented.

          I post in a language because it is the nature of a blog. Unlike a court of law or a laboratory, the venue does not allow for the presentation evidence.

          And evidence cannot deny the TRUTH (ie GOD) because GOD created all the evidence. However, the same cannot be said for language or for any human invention. When there is evidence of human intervention, then the possibility of human error and manipulation cannot be excluded from the evaluation of the evidence.

          We can have a discussion only because we extend to each other as a matter of courtesy the benefit of the doubt. Without that initial act of good faith, a discussion in a blog site between us would be impossible.

          However, you clearly reject the notion that “value add” is a human invention (probably invented by a businessman). That is your privilege. I cannot of course accept the term as part of GOD’s creation. So, that does bring our discussion to an abrupt end.

          I live in the tropics. So heat is the problem; not the solution. But thank you just the same for your good wishes.

          LOVE GOD FIRST and go in peace.

      • You tell em, facile1! We are taxed on income BEFORE those basic expenses… the only problem is, their cost including support for all well-paid and technology-laden bureaucracies, now EXCEEDS net income. When you pay your income tax, you are forced into debt yourself!

        • Facile1

          I cannot say it better than your post.

  • >>”we are neither (masters nor possessors of nature). We are stewards, and the only person who can properly be said to “possess” nature is the Creator Himself.”<<

    Indeed, and the article does well to accept the urgency of Francis' exhortations in the encyclical, before moving on to question the possible extreme applications of reducing growth.

    Many in our domesticated comforts forget about the 2.5 billion souls referenced, walking roads to carry water, working rocky soils etc. We long for the simple life and contact with nature, which were removed from us quite a while ago. Surely there is a balance, where we can channel our energies toward the 2.5 billion, and move ourselves back a little closer, to the natural world of our Creator.

  • Guest

    Funny how many traditional Catholics don’t realize how laissez fair economics is just liberalism applied to economics. There’s liberalism applied to politics, religion and economics. While they will reject the first two, the last they will treat as acceptable.

    The idea that economics is valueless or shouldn’t be bothered with moral constrains is also a rejection of the kingship of Christ. He’s king of everything, including our economical life. While Pope Francis seems to be a demagogue and global warming is a lie I think more right leaning Catholics should get familiar with the Church’s social teachings. Common good is not always communism.

    • RobertRoyal

      Guest, you’re punching at caricatures. I know a lot of the people that I think you think you understand. None of them – and not even secular libertarians – believes that economic activities should simply be unregulated. It’s the equivalent of saying that every liberal who advocates some intervention by the state in the economy is a totalitarian. Really, there are a lot of different stopping points between so-called “savage capitalism” and so-called “totalitarianism.” You can find them, if you look.