17 June 2015

Update on reactions to Laudato Si.

I have for some time been writing about how the Right under Francis has been behaving almost exactly like the Left under Benedict.  Today, Fr. Z. not only admits it but prescribes it as a course of action.:

So, here’s an initial approach.

Perhaps we can pay as much attention to the sections on markets and environment, as the catholic Left pays to Humanae vitae.

We will pay as much attention to this as the libs pay to Summorum Pontificum.

So, an admittedly right wing priest is now counseling Catholics to become cafeteria Catholics and pick and choose what they will follow and what they will ignore.  He is teaching them that they may ignore what comes from Rome, after years of claiming that Rome must be obeyed.  And his justification for this is an infantile "They did it first!"

So what if they did it?  Did we not condemn them for doing so?  If it was damnable for them to ignore Humanae Vitae and Summorum Pontificum is it not doubly so for us to now ignore the teachings we dislike, for we, by our own words, know better?  If it was wrong for them then, it is wrong for us now.  If it is not wrong for us to do it now, then we had no leg to stand on for when we condemned them, and we owe them an apology.  Somehow, I do not see one coming.

How can he, or anyone who has followed in his shoes, expect to be heard and listened to or even taken seriously when we have writ our hypocrisy in large for all to see?  If we continue this war amongst ourselves, neither right nor left shall win, and the only one who benefits is our true enemy.


Vox Cantoris said...

The great problem of this encyclical is exactly what you state with regards to Humanae Vitae. If Vox can dissent on Laudato si then who is Vox to uphold Humanae Vitae?

However, here is what we know.

First, we have not read the whole official text yet and once we do, we an make that determination.

Second, and this is more important: The Pope is not infallible if he says the moon is made of creamed cheese or if he says that mankind is responsible for climate change which is an unproven science and full of political and ideological dimensions.

In fact, this is why this whole encyclical, if it moves beyond good stewardship, which is a given, may prove to be a calamity.

If the encyclical says that it is "immoral" to use fossil fuels, that is an error. Just because the Pope says it does not make it so. If it says that should I as an individual or business dump pollutants in the stream poisoning the fish then that is not good stewardship of the earth and it may be sinful. If I poison the air that someone breathes and they die from it, that may be sinful. It also may not be sinful.

Do you see the problem?

Is heating my house with gas or oil sinful? Should I cut down trees instead? Should I let my wife and my little dog freeze instead?

Should we just wipe out 5 billion people as his appointment to the Pontifical Academy for Sciences seems to think?

Where would you like to go Bear? You seem to be stuck in a pile of mush.

You wish to be faithful Catholic but you cannot bring yourself to believe that a Pope, this Pope, might be wrong.

When did papolotry become part of Catholic thinking?

When did we prescribe infallibity upon a mam that he does not have?

Why do we give Protestants credit for being right?

Why do we abuse Vatican I?

Suzanne F. said...

The difference with Humanae Vitae is that the prohibition against contraception is part of the Divine Deposit of Faith.

You can't bind the faithful to any notions about global warming. The moral principles may be binding, the science is not.

Vox Cantoris said...


Vox Cantoris said...


Bear said...


The only relevant part of your comment is the first, the only part that was to the point of this article. I made no comment on the content of Laudato Si for the reason that I have not read Laudato Si. Neither, by your own admission, have you. Everything you say that might be in Laudato Si is exactly that: it might be there, and it might not. I have no interest in arguing with maybes and mights. My days have enough problems. I need not borrow trouble from tomorrow, or next week, or any other time. When we know what is there, we may discuss it then.

Pile of mush? I can easily believe that a Pope may be wrong, being familiar with our history. We have survived far worse men than Francis. However, the Church demands that we place a special respect upon the office:

Among the principal duties of bishops the preaching of the Gospel occupies an eminent place. For bishops are preachers of the faith, who lead new disciples to Christ, and they are authentic teachers, that is, teachers endowed with the authority of Christ, who preach to the people committed to them the faith they must believe and put into practice, and by the light of the Holy Spirit illustrate that faith. They bring forth from the treasury of Revelation new things and old, making it bear fruit and vigilantly warding off any errors that threaten their flock. Bishops, teaching in communion with the Roman Pontiff, are to be respected by all as witnesses to divine and Catholic truth. In matters of faith and morals, the bishops speak in the name of Christ and the faithful are to accept their teaching and adhere to it with a religious assent. This religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra; that is, it must be shown in such a way that his supreme magisterium is acknowledged with reverence, the judgments made by him are sincerely adhered to, according to his manifest mind and will. His mind and will in the matter may be known either from the character of the documents, from his frequent repetition of the same doctrine, or from his manner of speaking. Lumen Gentium 25.

We both know when he is infallible and when he is not. We agree with Protestants when they are right, which they can be, rather in the same manner that a stopped clock is right twice a day. These are all straw arguments, and completely beside my point.

Vox Cantoris said...

Well, tomorrow we shall know.

Bear said...

Exactly. It may be horrible. it may not. Hope for the best, and prepare for the worst.

Murray said...

I was a little taken aback when I read that from Father Z this morning, primarily because faithful Catholics should never feel free to indulge in intellectual dishonesty just because the other side does it. But also because--as Vox and Suzanne point out--there is a vast difference between Humanae Vitae's affirmation of the intrinsic evil of contraception, and Laudato Si's (presumed) tendentious conjectures about highly technical scientific and economic questions.

I'm not wholly on board with Father Z's Acton Institute free-market leanings--there is an evident tension between their libertarian outlook and traditional Church teaching--but overall, if we want to lift people out of poverty and into a healthy, clean environment, markets are an enormously powerful mechanism for achieving this. To the extent that the released version of Laudato Si endorses top-down dirigiste solutions to (perceived) environmental problems, it will be advocating methods that, time and again, have been shown to be tremendously expensive, wasteful, and unreliable.

Likewise, the draft version of LS makes highly contentious claims about the reality of anthropogenic climate change and some of its presumed effects. In Crisis today, William Briggs ("Statistician to the Stars!") identifies several statements in the draft LS that are highly contestable from a scientific and statistical point of view. If these statements make it into the final version, the Holy Father is setting the Church up for potentially ... Galileo-scale embarrassment in the not-too-distant future.

In other words, Catholics who dissent from dubious factual or normative claims in LS are often doing so for measured, rational, and empirically grounded reasons. Moreover, they do so because they share the Holy Father's desire to help the poor, but believe that his approach will actually be counterproductive to that goal. But to the extent that LS contains (e.g.) theological reflections on the relation of Man to Creation, they will strive as faithful Catholics to defer to the Holy Father's authority.

On the other hand, dissidents against Humanae Vitae very often do so because they support the idea that sex should be free of undesirable consequences. It's not quite the same thing.

Vox Cantoris said...

Murray, you have articulated the facts well.