Sunday, June 21, 2015

My thoughts on Laudato Si

I have about as much zeal to read it as I could be lured to the sound of Nero's fiddle as Rome is burning to the ground.

Our friend Fr. Z tried to find something positive to say. But I couldn't agree more with Oakes Spalding who said he could find 10 things in Mein Kampf* or Stalin's memoirs that he liked. 

But the person who nailed it for me is Fr. George Rutler. Below is his commentary in its entirety but the last paragraph says everything there is to say about this encyclical and this papacy.

As vicars of that Logos, popes speak infallibly only on faith and morals. They also have the prophetic duty to correct anyone who,
for the propagation of their particular interests, imputes virtual infallibility to papal commentary on physical science while ignoring genuinely infallible teaching on contraception, abortion and marriage and the mysteries of the Lord of the Universe.

I wish I could say he is ignoring his duty to teach infallible teaching on contraception, abortion, marriage and the mysteries of Our Lord but the situation is more serious as he seems to be going out of his way to throw heresies and heretics at 2000 years of teaching the tools for salvation. I don't have a lot of stamina to delve into his personal theories about the threats to dirt and leaves.

He is using heretics to lure tens of thousands into clapping fornication. The sound of Nero's fiddle is deafening to me in Laudato Si.

Fr. Rutler's weekly is below. A Hail Mary on Father's Day to this great priest and physician of the soul.

A museum curator showed me a contemporary copy of the papal bull Inter Caetera by which Pope Alexander VI divided the world between Spain and Portugal with a meridian. While not without effect, it was generally ignored. John Henry Newman’s letter to the Duke of Norfolk lists popes who were mistaken in certain policies: St. Victor, Liberius, Gregory XIII, Paul IV, Sixtus V, and St. Peter himself when St. Paul “withstood” him.

Pope Urban VIII and his advisers, in the misunderstood Galileo case, inadequately distinguished the duties of prophecy and politics, and of theological and physical science. St. John Paul II said that “this led them unduly to transpose into the realm of the doctrine of the faith, a question which in fact pertained to scientific investigation.” Father Stanley Jaki, a physicist, cautioned me against using the “Big Bang” as theological evidence for creation. On a loftier level, the physicist Father Georges Lemaître likewise restrained Pope Pius XII from conflating the parallel accounts of the universe.

Father Lemaître pioneered the “First Atomic Moment”—contradicting the prevailing thesis of a cosmological constant, or “static infinite” universe. Sir Fred Hoyle mocked it as the “Big Bang” but the term now has lost its condescension. Lemaître told the pope: “As far as I can see, such a theory remains entirely outside any metaphysical or religious question . . . It is consonant with Isaiah speaking of the hidden God, hidden even in the beginning of the universe.” It was like the counsel of Cardinal Baronius: the Scriptures teach us how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go.

Pope Francis’ encyclical on the ecology of the earth is adventurously laden with promise and peril. It can raise consciousness of humans as stewards of creation. To prevent the disdain of more informed scientists generations from now, however, papal teaching must be safeguarded from attempts to exploit it as an endorsement of one scientific theory over another concerning anthropogenic causes of climate change. It is not incumbent upon a Catholic to believe, like Rex Mottram in Brideshead Revisited, that a pope can predict the weather. As a layman in these matters, all I know about climate change is that I have to pay for heating a very big church with an unpredictable apparatus. This is God’s house, but he sends me the utility bills.

The first pope, from his fishing days, had enough hydrometeorology to know that he could not walk on water. Then the eternal Logos told him to do it, and he did, until he mixed up the sciences of heaven and earth and began to sink. As vicars of that Logos, popes speak infallibly only on faith and morals. They also have the prophetic duty to correct anyone who, for the propagation of their particular interests, imputes virtual infallibility to papal commentary on physical science while ignoring genuinely infallible teaching on contraception, abortion and marriage and the mysteries of the Lord of the Universe.


Michael Dowd said...

Fr. Rutner is terrific--always terrific because says what is true in a timely way and an elegant way.

The best thing I have read on the unfortunate encyclical was written by Chris Jackson in 'The Remnant.

JB said...

I think Charles Dickens described a character who was always extremely concerned with the poverty of people 10,000 miles away, but ignored those closest to her. I can't recall the character's name.

This encyclical is like that. Rampant apostasy from the Church, abortion on demand and "gay" "marriage", pornography everywhere one looks, and this pope gives us an impossibly verbose document on "climate change," also known as "weather."

It would be funny it it weren't so sad. I hate to say this but it is true: almost every woman I meet of a certain age has had an abortion. John Paul II extended arms of mercy to these wounded souls. Francis just kind of ignores it.

breathnach said...


Mrs. Jellyby is the character from Dicken's Bleak House that you aptly cite.

Anonymous said...

These excerpts are gold worth reading, and belie a purely materialist read of this letter:

From #77
Creation is of the order of love. God’s love is the fundamental moving force in all created things: “For you love all things that exist, and de¬test none of the things that you have made; for you would not have made anything if you had hated it” (Wis 11:24). Every creature is thus the object of the Father’s tenderness, who gives it its place in the world. Even the fleeting life of the least of beings is the object of his love, and in its few seconds of existence, God enfolds it with his affection.

From #83
The ultimate destiny of the universe is in the fullness of God, which has already been at¬tained by the risen Christ, the measure of the maturity of all things. . . . The ultimate purpose of other creatures is not to be found in us. Rather, all crea¬tures are moving forward with us and through us towards a common point of arrival, which is God, in that transcendent fullness where the ris¬en Christ embraces and illumines all things. Hu¬man beings, endowed with intelligence and love, and drawn by the fullness of Christ, are called to lead all creatures back to their Creator.

From #90
This is not to put all living beings on the same level nor to deprive human beings of their unique worth and the tremendous responsibili¬ty it entails. Nor does it imply a divinization of the earth which would prevent us from work¬ing on it and protecting it in its fragility. Such notions would end up creating new imbalances which would deflect us from the reality which challenges us.

From #93
Whether believers or not, we are agreed today that the earth is essentially a shared inher¬itance, whose fruits are meant to benefit every¬one. For believers, this becomes a question of fidelity to the Creator, since God created the world for everyone. Hence every ecological ap¬proach needs to incorporate a social perspective which takes into account the fundamental rights of the poor and the underprivileged. The principle of the subordination of private property to the universal destination of goods, and thus the right of everyone to their use, is a golden rule of social conduct and “the first principle of the whole ethical and social order”.

In the Christian understanding of the world, the destiny of all creation is bound up with the mystery of Christ, present from the beginning: “All things have been created though him and for him” (Col 1:16). The prologue of the Gospel of John (1:1-18) reveals Christ’s creative work as the Divine Word (Logos). But then, unexpectedly, the prologue goes on to say that this same Word “became flesh” (Jn 1:14). One Person of the Trinity entered into the created cosmos, throwing in his lot with it, even to the cross. From the beginning of the world, but particularly through the incarnation, the mystery of Christ is at work in a hidden manner in the natural world as a whole, without thereby impinging on its autonomy.


Anonymous said...


Love, overflowing with small gestures of mutual care, is also civic and political, and
build a better world. Love for society and com¬mitment to the common good are outstanding expressions of a charity which affects not only relationships between individuals but also “mac¬ro-relationships, social, economic and political ones”. That is why the Church set before the world the ideal of a “civilization of love”. So¬cial love is the key to authentic development: “In order to make society more human, more worthy of the human person, love in social life – polit¬ical, economic and cultural – must be given re¬newed value, becoming the constant and highest norm for all activity”. . . . When we feel that God is calling us to intervene with others in these social dynam¬ics, we should realize that this too is part of our spirituality, which is an exercise of charity and, as such, matures and *sanctifies us.* [emphasis added]

From #233
Saint Bonaven¬ture teaches us that “contemplation deepens the more we feel the working of God’s grace within our hearts, and the better we learn to encounter God in creatures outside ourselves”.

From #234
Saint John of the Cross taught that all the goodness present in the realities and experiences of this world “is present in God eminently and infinitely, or more properly, in each of these sublime realities is God”. This is not because the finite things of this world are really divine, but because the mystic experiences the intimate connection between God and all beings, and thus feels that “all things are God”.

From #235 & 236
The Sacraments are a privileged way in which nature is taken up by God to become a means of mediating supernatural life. . . . Encountering God does not mean fleeing from this world or turning our back on nature. . . . For Christians, all the creatures of the material universe find their true meaning in the incarnate Word, for the Son of God has incorporated in his person part of the material world, planting in it a seed of defini¬tive transformation. “Christianity does not reject matter. Rather, bodiliness is considered in all its value in the liturgical act, whereby the human body is disclosed in its inner nature as a temple of the Holy Spirit and is united with the Lord Jesus, who himself took a body for the world’s salvation”.

It is in the Eucharist that all that has been created finds its greatest exaltation. Grace, which tends to manifest itself tangibly, found unsur¬passable expression when God himself became man and gave himself as food for his creatures. . . . Thus, the Eucharist is also a source of light and motivation for our concerns for the environment, directing us to be stewards of all creation.

(cont'd for the third and final group of excerpts)

Anonymous said...

(final excerpts)
The Father is the ultimate source of everything, the loving and self-communicating foundation of all that exists. The Son, his reflection, through whom all things were created, united himself to this earth when he was formed in the womb of Mary. The Spirit, infinite bond of love, is intimately present at the very heart of the universe, inspiring and bringing new pathways. The world was created by the three Persons acting as a single divine principle, but each one of them performed this common work in accordance with his own personal property. Consequently, “when we contemplate with wonder the universe in all its grandeur and beauty, we must praise the whole Trinity”.

For Christians, believing in one God who is trinitarian communion suggests that the Trinity has left its mark on all creation. Saint Bonaventure went so far as to say that human beings, before sin, were able to see how each creature “testifies that God is three”. The reflection of the Trinity was there to be recognized in nature “when that book was open to man and our eyes had not yet become darkened”. The Franciscan saint teaches us that each creature bears in itself a specifically Trinitarian structure, so real that it could be readily contemplated if only the human gaze were not so partial, dark and fragile. In this way, he points out to us the challenge of trying to read reality in a Trinitarian key.

The divine Persons are subsistent relations, and the world, created according to the divine model, is a web of relationships. Creatures tend towards God, and in turn it is proper to every living being to tend towards other things, so that throughout the universe we can find any number of constant and secretly interwoven relationships. . . . Everything is interconnected, and this invites us to develop a spirituality of that global solidarity which flows from the mystery of the Trinity.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, the passages that you claim are "gems" are canceled by the glaring deficiencies of this encyclical. It seems to me (as I wiggle my long rabbit ears) that the Pope is bending Catholic theology to endorse things it is not intended to endorse.

Fr, Rutler is right, and I thank The Tenth Crusade for calling attention to his post. Knowingly or unwittingly, Francis writes not as "Defender of the Faith," but as a propagandist for the ecology nuts (including the UN, known for its many anti-life positions and actions).

TTC said...

sixlittlerabbits, nicely said!

Some people are not bothered by the screwed up priorities of Church heirarchs or their errors and omissions that inflict terrible damage. They remind me of the Catholics who told victims the pedophiles did some good things.

I'm sure this sounds like a broken record, but..Pope Francis is using heretics to lead people we love into clapping fornication. Don't come around here to tell us about the good things he's saying about the future of the dirt under our feet. You are not interested in understanding the reasons why this encyclical is so offensive to practicing Catholics.

JB said...


"Hu¬man beings, endowed with intelligence and love, and drawn by the fullness of Christ, are called to lead all creatures back to their Creator."

Does that include great white sharks?

The Teilhardism of some of this stuff jumps off the page. His whole "omega point" theory, which was rejected by the Holy See in the 1950s.

TLM said...

Thanks for posting Fr. Rutler's excellent and timely thoughts on the matter. How can anyone not absolutely LOVE Fr. Rutler??!! He is faithful, eloquent, and so absolutely spot on every time.

The ironic, hysterical accusations by those on the left, that we who do not adhere to heterodox musings from babbling prelates are 'Cafeteria Catholics' is amusing. These people, clerics and laity alike are incoherently blinded by the darkness. Talk about 'Diabolical Disorientation'.....ha........'Diabolical Disorientation at it's very finest!

Joe Potillor said...

The 246 paragraph dissertation was a bore, snorefest and painful to read. UN talking points abound.