Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Laudato Si — “Subsidiarity is Vital” — Part IX

July 26th, 2015, Promulgated by Diane Harris

The Principle of Subsidiarity

The Catholic Church strongly embraces the Principle of Subsidiarity in its social teaching. The Catechism of the Catholic Church in paragraphs 1883 through 1885 regarding subsidiarity is excerpted as follows:

1883: “…. Excessive intervention by the state can threaten personal freedom and initiative.  The teaching of the Church has elaborated the principle of subsidiarity, according to which ‘a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to co-ordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good.'”

1884:  “….The way God acts in governing the world, which bears witness to such great regard for human freedom, should inspire the wisdom of those who govern human communities.  They should behave as ministers of divine providence.”

1885:  “The principle of subidiarity is opposed to all forms of collectivism. It sets limits for state intervention.  It aims at harmonizing the relationships between individuals and societies.  It tends toward the establishment of true international order.”

Lip Service to Subsidiarity

Unfortunately, in my perception, Pope Francis gives a bit of lip service to the principle of subsidiarity but then proceeds to seriously violate the principle in repeated appeals to solving the world’s environmental and ecology ‘problems’ at a secular level of the highest order.  The word “subsidiarity” only occurs twice in the 40,000+ word Encyclical:

“Underlying the principle of the common good is respect for the human person as such, endowed with basic and inalienable rights ordered to his or her integral development.  It has also to do with the overall welfare of society and the development of a variety of intermediate groups, applying the principle of subsidiarity. Outstanding among those groups is the family as the basic cell of society.  Finally the common good calls for social peace, the stability and security provided by a certain order which cannot be achieved without particular concern for distributive justice; whenever this is violated, violence always ensues.  Society as a whole, and the state in particular, are obliged to defend and promote the common good.” (#157)

“What happens with politics?  Let us keep in mind the principle of subsidiarity which grants freedom to develop the capabilities present at every level of society, while also demanding a greater sense of responsibility for the common good from those who wield greater power.  Today, it is the case that some economic sectors exercise more power than states themselves.  But economics without politics cannot be justified, since this would make it impossible to favour other ways of handling the various aspects of the present crisis.  The mindset which leaves no room for sincere concern for the environment is the same mindset which lacks concern for the inclusion of the most vulnerable members of society.  For “the current model, with its emphasis on success and self-reliance, does not appear to favour an investment in efforts to help the slow, the weak or the less talented to find opportunities in life.'”  (#196)  The quote with which the prior excerpt ends is by Pope Francis quoting himself in the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelium Gaudium, November 24, 2013.

Losing the Sense of Subsidiarity

Quotations from Laudato Si seem to shift away from the Principle of Subsidiarity, and rarely return to justify recommended actions even as a test related to subsidiarity. Rather, the conclusions appear to advocate placing key world decisions in the hands of a type of centralized planning committee.  It should be noted that paragraph #195 ends with the assertion:  “An instrumental way of reasoning, which provides a purely static analysis of realities in the service of present needs, is at work whether resources are allocated by the market or by state central planning.”  (#195).  Once again the language confounds, but seems to be asserting that free market factors or central planning, so common to socialistic states, are equivalent on their relevant bases. (This is of course not true; there is no comparison between the exercise of God-given free will, and slavery to dictatorship no matter how seemingly benevolent.) Thematic to this encyclical (which will be expanded in later Parts) is a sense that much of humanity is not to be trusted with its free will regarding the environment. We should remember that even when we misuse or abuse the environment God Himself is not stepping in to reverse our actions; He gives free will to us and it has its price!)  Perhaps there is more need to trust each other in these matters than to institute centralized human control? See CCC 1884 above.

So, there is no evidence or proof given to justify the assertion of equivalency between resources allocated by the market (and human will) vs. central planning.   But it is in this context that we can view the numerous assertions in Laudato Si that decisions of world wide import should be handled at a level which supersedes the rights of sovereign nations and de facto ignores subsidiarity.  For most people in western cultures, valuing freedom and self determination, such assertions likely appear socialistic.  And, as mentioned above, the Catechism is clear in Paragraph 1885: “The principle of subsidiarity is opposed to all forms of collectivism.”

In Part X of this series, many of the Collectivist and Socialistic quotes from Laudato Si will be reported.  But first it is important to consider how Church teaching stands on the shoulders of prior magisterial pronouncements.

Magisterial Teaching of Subsidiarity

Previously in Part II it was mentioned that all the quotes in Laudato Si would be taken at face value as being the words of Pope Francis, without attempting to dissect the quote and its context and prior references.  So far, that has been true. But arriving at this section on subsidiarity, which is an essential underpinning of a global teaching on environmentalism, pollution, alleged climate change and imposing of penalties, it is absolutely necessary to first revisit the basis for the teaching, especially since Pope Francis uses quotes by other papal sources to justify or support his own teaching.  We must remember that Popes do not simply pop up unconnected to all prior history but, rather, they are the custodians of all prior magisterial teaching. Thus, when I did read the following reference in Laudato Si (#175), it did not ring true to me regarding either the Catechism paragraph 1885, or Pope Benedict’s own words in the Ratzinger Report (see Part X).  Hence, I put aside, for this particular instance, the prior determination to simply accept all quotes at face value as belonging to Pope Francis (no matter who is cited.)  In this case, with a teaching expected to stand on the shoulders of prior papal teaching, it is vital to confirm what Pope Benedict is reported to have said.  My own interpretation does not support that conclusion of Laudato Si.

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On Park Avenue, a Picture of the Catholic Church Divided

July 25th, 2015, Promulgated by Bernie

From the National Review

by Nicholas Frankovich
iweb cons-in-our-saviour-church
Two opposing interpretations of the Second Vatican Council divide the Catholic Church. This divide is more complex than the casual observer tends to appreciate. Within the complex divide, however, is a clear, simple divide: the familiar quarrel between the Ancients and the Moderns. Each of the two parties is marked by a definite taste in liturgy, music, architecture, and art.
The Eucharist being “the source and summit of the Christian life,” it should come as no surprise that the central object of disagreement between the Catholic Ancients and the Catholic Moderns is the Mass. In the Roman rite, it can be celebrated according to the old missal or the new missal, and each one elicits from each camp an equal but opposite reaction. Here the quarrel reaches high heat. It then radiates across the full spectrum of Catholic culture.
Architectural design, for example, is often felt to signal an Ancient or a Modern bias in both doctrine and praxis. So is…

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Eternal Rest — Fr. Joe Lanzalaco

July 25th, 2015, Promulgated by Diane Harris

B9318212589Z.1_20150724190929_000_GIDBELBQ7.1-0         St. John Fisher mourns death of

                   Rev. Joseph Lanzalaco


Help to Defund Planned Parenthood

July 24th, 2015, Promulgated by Hopefull

According to the Daily Signal, relying on data from the Heritage Foundation, here are the 38 companies that directly fund Planned Parenthood.  It isn’t just up to the government to defund PP; it’s up to us too.  Are there at least two on the list we could IMMEDIATELY STOP doing business with? (It doesn’t ‘count’ as much if we are not already doing business with the company, as our withdrawal of business won’t be felt.)  If possible, let’s also let them KNOW WHY we aren’t doing business with them.  Print the list and take it on shopping trips.  Also, we can add to the list the names of companies or brands owned by the company shown; e.g. Clorox owns not just the bleach and cleaning products, but also Brita, Burts Bees,  Formula 409, Glad, Hidden Valley, Liquid-Plumr, Pine-Sol,  Tilex, S.O.S., and Fresh Step, Scoop Away and Ever Clean cat litters, and other brands.

  1. Adobe
  2. American Cancer Society
  3. American Express
  4. AT&T
  5. Avon
  6. Bank of America
  7. Bath & Body Works
  8. Ben & Jerry’s
  9. Clorox
  10. Converse
  11. Deutsche Bank
  12. Dockers
  13. Energizer
  14. Expedia
  15. ExxonMobil
  16. Fannie Mae
  17. Groupon
  18. Intuit
  19. Johnson & Johnson
  20. La Senza
  21. Levi Strauss
  22. Liberty Mutual
  23. Macy’s
  24. March of Dimes
  25. Microsoft
  26. Morgan Stanley
  27. Nike
  28. Oracle
  29. PepsiCo
  30. Pfizer
  31. Progressive
  32. Starbucks
  33. Susan G. Komen
  34. Tostitos
  35. Unilever
  36. United Way
  37. Verizon
  38. Wells Fargo

Laudato Si — “Sustainability” — Part VIII

July 22nd, 2015, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Code Words and the U. N.

There is a code word that the United Nations and its liberal affiliates and supporters use to justify abortion in particular.  One of the participants (rumored to even be a contributor) to Pope Francis’ environmental Encyclical has been reported to believe that the earth cannot “sustain” the 7 billion people who inhabit it at present.  It is that concept of “sustainability” and a determination to ‘play God’ which leads to contraception, abortion, euthanasia, curtailing medical treatment for the elderly and promotion of same-sex unions, which of course are not expected to give rise to big families, or perhaps not to any families at all.

War, diseases like Ebola (where did it go? was it just a test case for global spread?), and plague all have their part in finding solutions such as advocated by Hitler as the ‘final solution.’ Such are the kinds of factors which have brought pressure on the Vatican from the U.N., involving charges of ‘torture’ for refusing to accept same-sex unions. Such are the kinds of financial pressures governments like the U.S. brings on the sovereign nations of Africa to force them to support abortion and same-sex unions.  Such are the kinds of pressures for which Canada and the U.S. seek to seize public education, to grow children who are blind to evil so that there will be no turning back.  Sustainability of the earth becomes the argument, or at least a code word for the argument. It is a profound lack of trust in the God Who created humankind, and said: “Go forth and multiply.”  If successful, it will dwarf the Holocaust.  The stakes are enormous; it is about souls, not environmental pollution.

Make no mistake, the code word of “sustainability” is  sprinkled throughout Laudato Si, not overtly challenging our Faith today, but only death-rattling sabers in the closet.  It would be very difficult to say this word is only accidentally the same as the U. N. code word, although we have no way of knowing if the text was supplied by others and naively accepted.

The Influence of International Conferences and Organizations on a Catholic Encyclical

If you don’t know about the U.N.’s sustainability goals, a primer can be found at:  and and

Of concern in the Encyclical is footnote #18 which references Global Responsibility and Ecological Sustainability,” closing remarks from the Halki Summit I, Istanbul June 2012. We are presented with no explanation or credible argument why such theories outside the Catholic Church should form a basis to teach on “sustainability.” Without one’s having received any explanation, it would appear from the Encyclical that Pope Francis and its other authors, if any (unidentified), seem to have bought into  the U.N. agenda, wholesale.

One can also read the 26 page Rio report referenced in Laudato Si (dated 2010 but covering through conferences in 2012!) Even a quick perusal shows similar language and mindsets to Laudato Si.  It seems inappropriate to have an Encyclical of the Catholic Church depend on so much secular and pseudo-government propaganda.  Here is the link:   .

“The Earth Charter” formulated in The Hague in 2000 is another one of the documents behind the Encyclical and referenced in it.  More info is here:  The related quote is: “Let ours be a time remembered for the awakening of a new reverence for life, the firm resolve to achieve sustainability, the quickening of the struggle for justice and peace, and the joyful celebration of life.”  (#207) 

One gets the impression with these document references that Laudato Si is not leading the way but rather is following the One World route long plotted and lobbied.

Let us further develop this “sustainability” thread through the following Encyclical quotes:

“The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change.” (#13)  

“… the goals of this rapid and constant change are not necessarily geared to the common good or to integral and sustainable human development.” (#18)

“…some can only propose a reduction in the birth rate …. developing countries face forms of international pressure which make economic assistance contingent on certain policies of ‘reproductive health’…  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….” (#50)  So far, perhaps so good in identifying issues, but then Pope Francis misses a major opportunity in this paragraph to condemn the practices he recounted, pressure on Africa in particular and policies like China’s “one child” program.  One has to ask WHY he would introduce the subject and then miss the opportunity to teach, in an encyclical explicitly said to be targeted to the world. Instead of expounding on the morality of such issues, the author attacks waste in wealthier countries, a U.N. priority agenda item, which seeks ways to extricate funds from wealthier countries to support the U.N.’s efforts!

“There are regions now at high risk and, aside from all doomsday predictions, the present world system is certainly unsustainable from a number of points of view.”  (#61)

“…when we speak of “sustainable use” consideration must always be given to each ecosystem’s regenerative ability in its different areas and aspects.”  (#140)  However, continuing to read, we note there is no prescription to change what is railed against.  This will be expanded in a further part of the analysis regarding the potential role of socialism and/or Marxism as a solution, though not specifically named.

“We can no longer speak of sustainable development apart from intergenerational solidarity….[which is] not optional but rather a basic question of justice, since the world we  have received also belongs to those who will follow us.” (#159)  This is the lead-in section to the shocking language reported earlier regarding how we leave the planet being the “ultimate meaning of our earthly sojourn.”

“The 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro … proclaimed that ‘human beings are at the centre of concerns for sustainable development.”  This statement is ambiguous as it can mean both the reduction in number of human beings or reduction of their reproduction, almost always through immoral practices, or it can simply mean it will take human beings to fix global problems. Generally, it is not useful to recount the ambiguous, except in cases where the ambiguous could be a deliberate cover for that which cannot be morally articulated.

“…we need to grow in the conviction that a decrease in the pace of production and consumption can at times give rise to another form of progress and development….  Efforts to promote a sustainable use of natural resources are not a waste of money …., but rather an investment capable of providing other economic benefits in the medium term….”  (#191)  In the very general words which follow, there is no suggestion as to how consumption can be decreased without getting rid of people!  Or by strongly contracepting future generations.

The foregoing paragraph seems to be somewhat disjointed with what follows:   “…talk of sustainable growth usually becomes a way of distracting attention and offering excuses.  It absorbs the language and values of ecology into the categories of finance and technocracy, and the social and environmental responsibility of businesses often gets reduced to a series of marketing and image-enhancing measures.”  (#194)  

The conflict between those two final quotes may be a proxy for “sustainability” is whatever the U.N. or self-appointed committees and organizations say it is, when they define or redefine.  From that viewpoint it is about power, in a different form. leading to socialistic overtones.

But from so much that has been written, it appears that support of the U.N. “sustainability” arguments seem to ultimately put Catholics in a spiritually untenable bind.  The language  rests uncomfortably side-by-side with inconsistent or unacceptable implications such as:

  • If we really accepted the concept of unsustainability, which is unproven like global warming and climate change, how do we protect against the creep toward a “lesser of two evils” argument?
  • Is aiding U.N. objectives regarding environment and pollution also abetting their immoral strategies?
  • Since the most crucial resource of a human being is time, a totally non-renewable resource, where and how do the activities demanded by saluting the ‘sustainablilty flag’ impinge on our greater spiritual duties?

The reader can see that language and vocabulary are being picked and chosen very carefully in both U.N. quotes and in the Encyclical to avoid too obvious a statement of incompatibility between goals.  But what is especially disappointing is that, given the ear of the world, there  is no  taking ‘head-on’ the refutation of the evil being foisted through the programs of the U.N. and other aligned organizations.


Laudato Si — Truth is not the Enemy — Part VII

July 21st, 2015, Promulgated by Diane Harris

NOTE:  The prior post listed as Part VI –“Truth Matters in Theology and Science” was too long and has now been split into Parts VI and VII.  Part VI still deals with consensus as undermining Truth. This new Part VII is the second half of the prior post, now entitled “Truth is not the Enemy,” and it deals with how an impaired approach to Truth can lead to hostility toward and abandonment of Truth itself.   Part VI originally posted is now Parts VI and VII.  Other than minor typo corrections, the content is the same.  Thank you for your patience!

Chapter 3 of Laudato Si is a diatribe against science and technology, innocuously titled: “The human roots of the ecological crisis.

One hardly knows, as either a scientist or a logician, how to answer what appears to be a hostility and a diatribe against science and technology, and the heart of the experimental method for which Catholic Church leaders and best thinkers, over centuries, accelerated development and breakthroughs.  Are we now to abandon the methodology so supported by those leaders in order to slow down to nth world progress? It seems that might be the point:

“The basic problem…is the way that humanity has taken up technology and its development according to an undifferentiated and one-dimensional paradigm …[which] exalts the concept of a subject who, using logical and rational procedures, progressively approaches and gains control over an external object.  This subject makes every effort to establish the scientific and experimental methods, which in itself is already a technique of possession, mastery and transformation….as if the subject were to find itself in the presence of something formless, completely open to manipulation.” (#106) (Second emphasis mine.)  I simply wrote the very unscientific word “YIKES!” in the margin, when I perceived an almost total lack of respect for even the fundamentals of the scientific and technological, throwing out the value of centuries of the scientific method as if it were the cause of people going astray!  We have been warned.  Continuing to see technology blamed, we read:

“…many problems of today’s world stem from the tendency… to make the method and aims of science and technology an epistemological paradigm which shapes the lives of individuals and the workings of society.  The effects of imposing this model on reality as a whole, human and social, are seen in the deterioration of the environment, but this is just one sign of a reductionism which affects every aspect of human and social life.  We have to accept that technological products are not neutral….”  (#107)  And, so, under this papacy, science and technology seem to have become an enemy.  Whether that is because Pope Francis hates it or fears it or is completely baffled by it, is still unknown.  Absent from most all this writing is even a head nod to the scientific breakthroughs in the medical arena, for example.  Further, in his condemnation of the throwaway culture (let us hope science isn’t becoming one of the throwaways) there is not even an acknowledgement that disposables have been key to infection control.

“The technological paradigm has become so dominant that it would be difficult to do without its resources and even more difficult to utilize them without being dominated by their internal logic…. Technology tends to absorb everything into its ironclad logic, and those who are surrounded with technology  ‘know full well that it moves forward in the final analysis neither for profit nor for the well-being of the human race,’ that ‘in the most radical sense of the term power is its motive – a lordship over all.’…our capacity for making decisions, a more genuine freedom and the space for each one’s alternative creativity are diminished.” (#108)  Space for my “alternative creativity?”

In spite of this apparent aversion to science and technology, Pope Francis seems more than willing to appropriate it for global warming and climate control arguments, even though those are unproven.  Moreover, the Encyclical reads like science and technology have a Darth Vader or HAL type of existence, independent themselves.  The only independence that matters for science is TRUTH, and that is in short supply. Today, one cannot wish a disease to go away on its own, or deliver water without relatively high pressure aqueducts and treatment systems, or communicate globally without satellites and high speed devices.  The evil is not in these, but in those of unformed conscience, abusers, exploiters, not in those technologies themselves.

Pope Francis writes further:

“Nor are there genuine ethical horizons to which one can appeal.” (#110)  I thought the Catholic Church was supposed to provide this role, even at the risk of unpopularity, and do so with persistence, not simply to mimic the words of other world powers.  If that is a function of Church, then merely condemning the tools of progress is a failure.  In retrospect, on reading and rereading this particular subject matter, I realize this section is a large part of the “downer” experience of reading this Encyclical, and not because science and technology are being condemned, but they are seen as the enemy BECAUSE, in my opinion, of what the Church has failed to do.  Nowhere in this Encyclical have I been able to detect even a nod to the Greatest Commandment.  Nowhere have I read of the effort and commitment to form and care for souls obedient to Christ’s teaching.  Nowhere have I read in these words that the Lord’s burden is light and He will lift ours if we but turn to Him, or gratitude for exercising the gifts He has given us.  It is the dullness and aching of a world not turned to Christ. The readers have a right to look for some hope.  There is, in this Encyclical, a serious lack of fault-finding with how churches have implemented and witnessed to Christ’s teaching.  (And I have read NOTHING of Pope Francis’ resolutions about changes he intends to make in the Vatican, travel, communications, Synod trappings, his own life and diet and teachings, etc.)

Have Science and Technology outpaced human kind?  No, the human race and its human teachers have fallen short of keeping up with Truth, and witnessing to the Word, which  cannot be hidden.  The answers are to be found in the soul, not in the gene, the byte or the atom.  Interestingly, Pope Francis calls for a “bold cultural revolution” (#114) which is reminiscent of the Communist use of young people to enforce Mao’s beliefs, to destroy what was good, to create a bleak landscape.  A cultural revolution it was called.  Google it.  And its damages persisted for many years.  Perhaps the words in the Encyclical are simply a slip of the tongue, but the following words are similar to what was said about art, theater, writing and culture during the reign of the Red Guard.

Stop the World, I want to get off?

Finally, perhaps, we catch a glimpse that Pope Francis would like the developed world to slow down, perhaps to let other economies “catch up.” He seems to want to turn back the clock and give the nth  world time to catch up! The dilemma is how to even have a rational conversation on the subject.  But we should note these words carefully:

“Nobody is suggesting a return to the Stone Age, but we do need to slow down and look at reality in a different way.” (#114)

“How can a society plan and protect its future amid constantly developing technological innovations?” (#177)

“But we need to grow in the conviction that a decrease in the pace of production and consumption can at times give rise to another form of progress and development.” (#191)

“…given the insatiable and irresponsible growth produced over many decades, we need also to think of containing growth by setting some reasonable limits and even retracing our steps before it is too late.”  (#193)

“…the time has come to accept decreased growth in some parts of the world, in order to provide resource for other places to experience healthy growth.” (#193)

How can one not wonder if there isn’t some coveting going on globally?

Global warming then, and alleged climate change, might become an effective hammer to use for another agenda, for which Truth seems unimportant.  Rallying world action (even if unharnessed or in the wrong direction) may be seen as at least moving, readying for a leader to take control.

There is another point which seems to be a disconnect with how researchers really work.  Pope Francis writes:  “…it is essential to give researchers their due role, to facilitate their interaction, and to ensure broad academic freedom.” (#140).  It is interesting how most any researcher trying to argue against global warming or climate change can hardly feel they are assured “broad academic freedom” or that they have any chance of securing adequate funding for their programs.  One also has to be careful to allow researchers to develop their appropriate roles and not be like Big Brother peering over their shoulders.  “Facilitate” sounds a lot like “control.”

“…since the effects of climate change will be felt for a long time to come, even if stringent measures are taken now, some countries … will require resources….”  (#170)

This is an interesting conclusion, without details.  Regarding so-called “climate change” — we don’t know if it is real, how its caused, or what is its likely trajectory. but there is a sureness that it will be “felt for a long time to come”.  On the other hand, an almost throwaway sentence earlier, in paragraph #168, points out something which I don’t believe has received much attention:  “Thanks to the Vienna Convention for the protection of the ozone layer and its implementation through the Montreal Protocol and amendments, the layer’s thinning seems to have entered a phase of resolution.” (No references). Who knew that what was so often reported as a damaged ozone layer, expected to persist for centuries, is being resolved?  Why don’t we know that, and does it indicate a resiliency in nature that some don’t want to admit?  Does it bode well for resolving global warming, if it exists now?  And are the claims of persisting “for a long time to come” grossly exaggerated for the sense of pushing program implementation?

Perhaps it is best to close this Part VII on the note with which we opened Part VI:  “Honesty and truth are needed in scientific and political discussions.” (#183)  Too bad we haven’t seen that with respect to the unscientific seizure of global warming and climate change rhetoric.


Same-Sex Marriage and Heresy

July 20th, 2015, Promulgated by Bernie


The Importance of Anthropology
by Ryan T. Anderson

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, many people have been wondering what do we do now. In my just-released book, Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom, I argue that the pro-marriage movement should take its cue from pro-lifers after Roe v. Wade. At The Federalist earlier this week, I highlighted three practical tactics:

1. We must call the court’s ruling in Obergefell what it is: judicial activism.
2. We must protect our freedom to speak and live according to the truth about marriage.
3. We must redouble our efforts to make the case for it in the public square…

…The tribulations that marked the twentieth century and continue into the twenty-first—totalitarianism, genocide, abortion, and the sexual ideology that has battered the family and redefined marriage—have sprung from a faulty humanism. I don’t mean to equate each of these human tragedies with the others, but they all spring from faulty anthropology, a misunderstanding of the nature of…

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Laudato Si — Truth Matters in Theology & Science — Part VI

July 19th, 2015, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Truth Matters!  And, in all matters, TRUTH!

Unfortunately that statement doesn’t seem to apply to global warming or climate change, in politics, government, academia, social conversation or, now apparently, in Encyclicals. I do admit, having somewhat of a science background myself, it is a particularly irritating situation.  I’ve already posted  my position  on global warming on Cleansing Fire, so I won’t belabor it, except to add that if science does not pursue truth, then it isn’t science.  Therefore, I find it especially troubling to have the Pope setting forth, as truth, an alleged “consensus” of scientists and even giving his reason for settling for less than Truth.

Lack of Truth leads to bad judgment, and leaves little room to reverse judgment.  We need look no further than Christ’s standing before Pilate to see the abuse and error which open up when one ignores the abyss of lies and innuendo, especially to please an audience. The expectations of the audience become part of the pressure not to recant.  The famous passage is in the Gospel of John, 18:37-38, when Pilate speaks to Christ:  “Pilate said to Him, ‘So you are a king?’  Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears My voice.’  Pilate said to Him, ‘What is truth?  After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again, and told them, ‘I find no crime in Him.’”  Then, as we know, Pilate sent Jesus to the Cross.  It is one thing to know the Truth, it is another to witness to Truth (which cannot be compromised without alienating our relationship to HIM — the Person, Truth.)

Yes, Truth matters.  In the Gospel of John we have 21 verses using the word ‘truth’ – overwhelmingly referring to Jesus.  We also have 21 verses using the word ‘love’ and 16 verses using the word ‘light’ – all favorite words of the Evangelist.  (There are 5 verses using the word ‘poor.’)

Rio and a model for accepting half-truths

There is a section of Pope Francis’ Encyclical which I find especially disturbing regarding commitment to Truth. For all his avowal of a global warming reality, Pope Francis lets slip in paragraph #186 his compromise argument.  It is worth reading in its entirety:

The Rio Declaration of 1992 states that “where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a pretext for postponing cost-effective measures which prevent environmental degradation.  This precautionary principle makes it possible to protect those who are most vulnerable and whose ability to defend their interests and to assemble incontrovertible evidence is limited.  If objective information suggests that serious and irreversible damage may result, a project should be halted or modified, even in the absence of indisputable proof.  Here the burden of proof is effectively reversed, since in such cases objective and conclusive demonstrations will have to be brought forward to demonstrate that the proposed activity will not cause serious harm to the environment or to those who inhabit it.” (#186)  It is troubling that the words from a conference in Rio held 23 years ago should be a standard against which to justify a major macroeconomic project related to unproven global warming and climate control allegations, a project which, once undertaken, will be difficult to ever stop and will burden all sectors of society, including the poor.  But the issue isn’t about making judgments on less than full information, but rather avowing the “truth” of global warming and climate change, which lacks proof but anecdotally drives public opinion, which is not science.  To be clearer, it is one thing to evaluate an invasive project in the environment (dam building, fracking, harvesting nearly extinct species) and require it present the dangers and  safety issues with which it would be associated.  It is far different to make a world-wide pronouncement, invading rights of individuals and sovereign states, using up enormous financial resources, without proof of its necessity.

Of course it is quite reasonable that proponents of a project should have to justify the safety of a project before undertaking it.  This is not just a theoretical issue; closer to home, we have the issue of fracking, with sincere people on both sides of the issue.  Pope Francis states well the concerns of many regarding fracking, especially in the Finger Lakes Region, when he writes:  “…some questions must have higher priority…water is an indispensable and scarce resource, and a fundamental right which conditions the exercise of other human rights.  This indisputable fact overrides any other assessment of environmental impact on a region.” (#185)

I wish Pope Francis had done more to mitigate the risk that his aligning with global warmers will come back to bite the credibility of the Catholic Church.  Again, I think of the error of Pope Urban VIII’s pursuing geocentrism, obviously without sufficient evidence to have done so, and we’ve been hearing about it ever since.

Truth or consensus?

Truth does not depend on consensus, and it is a shame to see Pope Francis even using such a justification.  We remember the important words of Venerable Fulton J. Sheen: “The truth is the truth even if nobody believes it, and error is error even if everyone believes it.  But since Pope Francis hasn’t argued “private revelation” it seems fair to read the Encyclical at face value.  And part of the “face” that is shown is an introductory comment in paragraph #15:  “I will begin by briefly reviewing several aspects of the present ecological crisis, with the aim of drawing on the results of the best scientific research available today, letting them touch us deeply and provide a concrete foundation for the ethical and spiritual itinerary that follows.”  Pope Francis says it clearly:  “The best scientific research available today.”  Unfortunately, it may be the “best” but it is not nearly good enough!  A bad foundation is worse than no foundation; i.e. it is better to not know something, than to ‘know’ an untruth.

Here are further quotes from Laudato Si in support of the unproven hypotheses of global warming (now called climate changes, as some places were getting embarrassingly cool.)  It is still not clear if  “climate change” means it might change so prevent it, or it has already changed, so change it back.  It seems to me it often means “just do something!”  Perhaps it means whatever the speaker means it to mean?  (The reason for notation of  “no references” in this following section is because of the disputes associated with so many conclusions, one would expect at least one source of the conclusion to have been given.

“A very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system.” (#23)  No references.

“…this warming has been accompanied by a constant rise in the sea level and, it would appear, by an increase of extreme weather events, even if a scientifically determinable cause cannot be assigned to each particular phenomenon.” (#23)  No references.

“It is true that there are other factors (such as volcanic activity, variations in the earth’s orbit and axis, the solar cycle), yet a number of scientific studies indicate that most global warming in recent decades is due to the great concentration of greenhouse gases… released mainly as a result of human activity.  (#23)  No references.

“Climate change is a global problem with grave implications…. Its worst impact will probably be felt by developing countries in coming decades.”  (#25)  “Probably?”  What kind of definitive conclusion is that, to launch global actions which are challenged by other experts?

“There has been a tragic rise in the number of migrants seeking to flee from the growing poverty caused by environmental degradation.”  (#25)  No references.  (Should clarify volume of migrants vs. causes of migration; e.g.  What percentage is due to religious persecution?)

NOTE:  The prior post listed as Part VI –“Truth Matters in Theology and Science” was too long and has now been split into Parts VI and VII.  This Part VI still deals with consensus as undermining Truth. A new Part VII is the second half of the prior post, now entitled “Truth is not the Enemy,” and it deals with how an impaired approach to Truth can lead to hostility toward and abandonment of Truth itself.   The Part VI originally posted is now Parts VI and VII.  Other than minor typo corrections, the content is the same.  Thank you for your patience!



Laudato Si — Do we see any Syncretism? — Part V

July 17th, 2015, Promulgated by Diane Harris

This Laudato Si — Part V commentary, begins with a definition:

“Syncretism:  the amalgamation or attempted amalgamation of different religions, cultures, or schools of thought.”

The authentic Catholic Church proceeds very carefully to avoid syncretism, which leads to a dilution or misrepresentation of our Faith.  For example, in Haiti there has been a long standing problem of some laity trying to inculcate voodoo practices into the Mass and other liturgies, and that is not allowed.  However, in Africa, where dancing at Church services is historic practice, accommodations are made to allow for that joyful expression to continue on the part of attendees, such as in their bringing forth their offerings, but not to become Liturgy itself.  When culture, e.g. North American, tries to graft on legitimate parts of another culture, and transform bonafide, joyful processional dancing into liturgical dance in the aisles of a Cathedral, even if it didn’t violate Faith teachings, it would still look just plain silly!

Syncretism is far more serious than just looking silly.  Without having any experience in differentiating what is liturgically acceptable and what is not,  it is still possible to point out what is disturbing in Laudato Si; i.e. that which evokes an aura of juxtaposing what is holy language serving the worship of God to what is common, secular, and materialistic,  serving the environment or the social agenda.  In a sense, use of words which we have come to know belong to our Catholic Faith are destabilized when used almost as “selling points” to push a separate agenda.

Although it is impossible to read Pope Francis’ intentions regarding his word choices, which convey or at least stir thoughts of syncretism, nevertheless it is possible and necessary to identify the text, and to caution that the such statements not be blithely accepted as elevating the created to an inappropriate dignity.  Here are examples; the problematic language is bolded.  Please note that this is not the same as saying something is true or untrue.  Rather, it only questions framing these issues using terms of religion in a way different from the catechism, scripture or canon law.  Confusion in faith causes risk to souls.

Some phrases are carefully attributed to other writers, even Saint John Paul II, and in original contexts, which I cannot assess; but Pope Francis’ use and repeated use make those also his own words.  Here are some quotes which raise questions of syncretism:

“…global ecological conversion.” (#5)

“…the need for each of us to repent of the ways we have harmed the planet…” (#8)

“…acknowledge our sins against creation…” (#8)

“…to commit a crime against the natural world is a sin against ourselves …” (#8)

“As Christians, we are also called “to accept the world as a sacrament of communion….” (#9)

“…We learn to see ourselves in relation to all other creatures: “I express myself in expressing the world; in my effort to decipher the sacredness of the world, I explore my own.'”  (#85)

“A sense of deep communion with the rest of nature cannot be real if our hearts lack tenderness, compassion and concern ….” (#91)

“We human beings are united as brothers and sisters on a wonderful pilgrimage….” (#92)

Covenant between Humanity and the Environment” (#209)

“Ecologic(al) Conversion” (#216 to 221)

“The ecological conversion needed to bring about lasting change is also a community conversion.” (#219)

“… splendid universal communion …” (#220)

“… an ecological conversion can inspire us to greater creativity and enthusiasm in resolving the world’s problems and in offering ourselves to God ‘as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable.’” (#220) (Reference is to Romans 12:1 – It seems fair here to note that Romans continues with “ …which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”  The excerpt by Pope Francis does not seem to support the spiritual worship intent  and context of these verses of the Letter to the Romans.

“We … understand our superiority … as a different capacity which, in its turn, entails a serious responsibility stemming from our faith.” (#220) – A very tenuous leap at best, since our difference from other creatures is intrinsic; i. e. we are made in the image and likeness of God.

“… sublime fraternity with all creation.” (#221)

“Care for nature is part of a lifestyle which includes the capacity for living together and communion.” (#228)

“When we feel that God is calling us to intervene with others in these social dynamics, we should realize that this too is part of our spirituality, which is an exercise of charity and, as such, matures and sanctifies us.”  (#231)

“… community actions, when they express self-giving love, can also become intense spiritual experiences.” (#232)

Sacramental Signs and the Celebration of Rest” (#233)


Pope Francis’ choice to quote a Muslim Sufi Mystic

At this point, Pope Francis introduces text from the spiritual writer Ali al-Khawas, with a number of direct quotes.  A quick visit to Wikipedia (always subject to revision) states the following:  “In 2015 he [al-Khawas] was cited by the Roman Catholic Pope Francis in his encyclical Laudato si’ on the topic of ecology.  Francis writes that humanity can ‘discover God in all things.’ ”  Pope Francis actually writes: “The ideal is not only to pass from the exterior to the interior to discover the action of God in the soul, but also to discover God in all things.

He credits al-Khawas for the concept of nature’s “‘mystical meaning,’  to be found in a leaf, in a mountain trail, in a dewdrop, in a poor person’s face.” In footnote 159, Pope Francis writes: “The spiritual writer Ali al-Khawas stresses from his own experience the need not to put too much distance between the creatures of the world and the interior experience of God. As he puts it: ‘Prejudice should not have us criticize those who seek ecstasy in music or poetry. There is a subtle mystery in each of the movements and sounds of this world. The initiate will capture what is being said when the wind blows, the trees sway, water flows, flies buzz, doors creak, birds sing, or in the sound of strings or flutes, the sighs of the sick, the groans of the afflicted…’” (#233)

Why does the Pope choose a 9th century Muslim Sufi poet and mystic for the key message in this section?   [St. Bonaventure and St. John of the Cross are next quoted].  Is bringing Sufism into proximity to the two saints, secondarily mentioned, any risk of Syncretism?  While contemplative prayer is open to those who have received such a gift from God, we should remember that those great saints were well grounded in Catholicism before, during and after their experiences.  There would seem to be little basis to analogizing or combining their experiences with cultures which do not accept Christ, for the sake of an environmental encyclical.

The TIME story is here:


The remaining quotes in the Encyclical which at least tread somewhat near to syncretism, are:

“The Sacraments are a privileged way in which nature is taken up by God to become a means of mediating supernatural life.  Through our worship of God, we are invited to embrace the world on a different plane [sic].” (#235)

Speaking of the Eucharist, Pope Francis writes of Christ: “He comes not from above but from within….The Eucharist …embraces and penetrates all creation….” [I thought He came from above.  John 3:31.] (#236)

“The Eucharist is also a source of light and motivation for our concerns for the environment, directing us to be stewards of all creation.” (#236)  The Church has finely honed and passed on to us the specific and accurate language surrounding the Eucharist.  While we should continue to speak of that miracle in praise and thanksgiving, great care should be taken not to introduce “alternative” ways of speaking which can easily cause confusion, and thus denigration.  Clarity belongs to the Holy Spirit.

“And so the day of rest, centred [sic] on the Eucharist, sheds it [sic] light on the whole week, and motivates us to greater concern for nature and the poor.” (#237)

“…the challenge of trying to read reality in a Trinitarian key.” (#239)

“The human person grows more, matures more and is sanctified more to the extent that he or she enters into relationships to live in communion with God, with others and with all creatures.  In this way, they make their own that trinitarian dynamism which God imprinted in them when they were created.  Everything is interconnected, and this invites us to develop a spirituality of that global solidarity which flows from the mystery of the Trinity.” (#240)  

“…crucified poor” (#241)



There is very little additional commentary to be made regarding syncretism.  The quotes stand for themselves, so most of them have been included.  One cannot speculate on Pope Francis’ motives in using so many words which have a particular meaning in Catholicism. We can only note the effect, which I personally find disturbing. It seems to leave too much room open for incoherent or dissident interpretations, troubling the unity mark of the Church, and opening yet another door to facilitate One World Religion.

However, I cannot say that this institutes or anoints Syncretism – only that if Syncretism were to be introduced under the guise of religious leadership in a transition from environmentalism to pantheistic worship, it might look somewhat similar.  And, let us remember St. Paul’s words (Galatians 4: 8-9): “Formerly, when you did not know God, you were in bondage to beings that by nature are no gods: but now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and beggarly elemental spirits, whose slaves you want to be once more?”


Progressive Catholic Authoritarianism

July 16th, 2015, Promulgated by Bernie

An Enduring Problem
by George Weigel


Back in the day (the late 1960s or thereabouts), Fr. Andrew Greeley—the model of an old-fashioned liberal Catholic—accused Fr. Daniel Berrigan (the beau ideal of post-conciliar Catholic radicalism) of harboring an authoritarian streak in his politics. By which Greeley meant that, were Berrigan and his radical friends to achieve power, their aggressive sense of moral superiority would lead them to put Greeley and his liberal friends in jail. It was classic Greeley hyperbole, but like some of Andy’s polemics, there was a grain of truth in it.

The Sixties Catholic radicalism that shaped what is now self-styled “progressive” Catholicism did have a pronounced authoritarian streak in it, despite its disdain for traditional forms of authority (including Church authority). So as old-fashioned Catholic liberalism morphed into today’s “progressive” Catholicism, forms of authoritarian bullying, shaming, and…

Read More…



July 15th, 2015, Promulgated by Ben Anderson


JOB PURPOSE: The Director of this office assists the Bishop of the Diocese of Rochester in fulfilling the Diocese’s catechetical and educational mission. Primary ministerial foci include areas such as evangelization, parish catechesis, catechesis in Catholic schools, campus ministry, youth ministry, young adult ministry, sacramental catechesis including RCIA, marriage preparation and Pre Cana.

see more here.

see all job opportunities here.


Prayer for vocations night planned in Elmira

July 15th, 2015, Promulgated by Ben Anderson Prayer for vocations night planned in Elmira

A Diocese of Rochester priest and four seminarians are organizing a service at St. Casimir’s Church, 1000 Davis St., in Elmira at 7 p.m. Thursday to pray for vocations.

Read the rest here.


Laudato Si – Pantheistic Worship Path to One World Religion – Part IV

July 15th, 2015, Promulgated by Diane Harris

It is absolutely necessary to open this section with a statement that I neither believe Pope Francis is a Pantheist, nor that he has a hidden agenda to cooperate with global forces which are undermining true religion and pushing toward One World Religion.  However, I am of the opinion that such global forces are willingly taking advantage of the Teaching Office of the Church, and using Pope Francis’s sincerity, influence and prestige on their own chessboard.  And in that realm of earthly powers, sadly it appears that our Pope is more of a pawn than a king.  (In a future section, the question of ‘infallibility or not’ will be considered.)

The direct quotes from Laudato Si in this Part IV excerpt the threat and the momentum which are building for pantheistic ‘religion,’ already using the Encyclical as testimony. These quick glimpses of at least the language, if not also the practice, seem to be of a faith tinged with a pantheistic view.  It is a stretching of meaning which could be viewed as poetry but only in a limited sense, and not, it seems, in a document so lacking otherwise in the poetic.  Waiting for the next glimpse of Pope Francis’s own view, peering at us through the paragraphs, is a bit like catching the next quick appearance of the director in Alfred Hitchcock movies.  The following language (framed often as quotes, including Pope Francis’s own) is not offered as comprehensive, but just as examples that need far more explanation than is given in the Encyclical:

“It is our humble conviction that the divine and the human meet in the slightest detail in the seamless garment of God’s creation, in the last speck of dust of our planet.” (#9)

“Because of us, thousands of species will no longer give glory to God by their very existence, nor convey their message to us.  We have no such right.”  (#33)  Isn’t it debatable whether or not, in the rights which God gave to us, we did receive the right to make bad or stupid decisions?

“… humanity has disappointed God’s expectations.” (#61)

“The entire material universe speaks of God’s love, his boundless affection for us.  Soil, water, mountains: everything is … a caress of God.” (#85)

“To sense each creature singing the hymn of its existence is to live joyfully in God’s love and hope…. This contemplation of creation allows us to discover in each thing a teaching which God wishes to hand on to us, since for the believer to contemplate creation is to hear a message, to listen to a paradoxical and silent voice.” (#85)

“I express myself in expressing the world; in my efforts to decipher the sacredness of the world, I explore my own.”  (#85)

“Every act of cruelty towards any creature is ‘contrary to human dignity.’”  (#92 — A missed opportunity to witness against abortion.)

“Everything is related, and we human beings are united as brothers and sisters on a wonderful pilgrimage, woven together by the love God has for each of his creatures and also which unites us in fond affection with brother sun, sister moon, brother river and mother earth.”  (#92 – also shows lack of prioritization; i.e. “everything is important.”)

“…each creature reflects something of God and has a message to convey to us, and the security that Christ has taken unto himself this material world and now, risen, is intimately present to each being, surrounding it with his affection and penetrating it with his light.”  (#221)

“Inner peace is closely related to care for ecology ….” (#225)

“In order to make society more human, more worthy of the human person, love in social life – political, economic and cultural –must be given renewed value, becoming the constant and highest norm for all activity.”  (#231)

“When we feel that God is calling us to intervene with others in these social dynamics, we should realize that this too is part of our spirituality, which is an exercise of charity and, as such, matures and sanctifies us.” (#231 – one can see syncretistic language peeking through, which is covered later in Part V.)

Are we to take these foreboding clouds on the horizon seriously? Read the rest of this entry »


Laudato Si — Pantheistic Overtones? or Not? — Part III

July 12th, 2015, Promulgated by Diane Harris

It is the big and underlying question: “Is Environmentalism the Road to creating ‘One World Religion?’”  And is Syncretism the Portal through which it will pass?  The achievement of “World Peace” has often been equated, at least implicitly, as humans’ embracing a single religion, hence valuing the same things and despising the same things, so that no differences exist which divide people or lead to wars.

The impossibility of achieving such a goal of world peace was made clear by Christ:  “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not alarmed; for this must take place, but the end is not yet.”  (Matt 24:6). But even such divine statement does not dissuade some proponents from pursuing a fantasy of behavior modification to unite the world in a Utopian Theology, appearing over the ages under different forms, and in more recent times as Communism, Socialism, Aryanism, Racism, Liberationism, Capitalism, and dozens of other ‘isms’ and now, seemingly at least in some aspects, Environmentalism.  Of all the human-created ideologies, over thousands of years, there is perhaps none so dangerous to individual souls as environmentalism morphed into pantheism leading to selected worship of parts of the environment (The Old Testament is rife with examples).  And there is no Xtreme Environmentalism so dangerous as that which is foisted by religious leaders as de facto “religion.”  Pantheism (that God is ‘in’ everything, or God ‘is’ everything), easily is transformed to worship of any and all that is claimed to be the presence of God, i.e. idolatry, all under the name of ‘tolerance’.  But make no mistake, ‘One World Religion’ means no religion at all.

Discussion Plan

  1. Today’s post will deal just with the first part, the claim that God is (or is ‘in’) every aspect of the natural world, and whether or not a Neo-Pantheism is emerging.
  2. The next post will deal with the idolatrous aspect, by which the Chosen People so offended their God, repeatedly, in the high groves and even in the temple recesses.
  3. A further post will deal with Syncretism, i.e. appending aspects of “environmental religion” to true religion.
  4. A future post will look at the supposition of global warming (climate change) as the cover excuse under which we are urged forward onto a potentially dangerous, allegedly urgent path, i.e. driving the human community to act, and to act now, at the expense of much else that is truly needed for the good of souls.
  5. Other posts will address the sustainability content of the Encyclical, and conclusions about tone, infallibility and related matters.

It will be necessary to refer more to Sacred Scripture than Laudato Si did, not to presume to teach but to show points of discomfort with a number of the propositions offered in Laudato Si, or to provide a framework for further consideration.  I was shocked at how quickly and thoroughly the Encyclical supported such spurious and grossly unproven theories as climate change, and was reminded of Pope Urban VIII’s enthusiastic embrace of geocentrism, much to the eventual shame and embarrassment of the Catholic Church (more in a later post.)  One might even ask if Laudato Si isn’t, in its own evangelism, a new kind of geocentrism.

The physical world was created to serve humans, not humans to serve the environment

The history of mankind, as recorded in Sacred Scripture and in the fragments of the earth’s own archeological record, provides relevant exegesis.  In Genesis 1:26, God proclaims:  “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”  Note that nothing else, in whole or in part, is referred to as being in God’s image, thus setting the priority of humans over the rest of creation.  In Genesis 2:19-20, before the fall of the first parents, Adam is invited to exercise his precedence over the animals by naming them, an act of ownership.  Then, in Genesis Chapter 9: 2-3, Noah is given full stewardship of creation with a few specific conditions, (in sequence, just before he is given the right to exercise capital punishment.)  “The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every bird of the air, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea; into your hand they are delivered.  Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; and as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.”  And, so, all of nature is owned, named, and used, yet with alienation, which flows in consequence from the injured relationship between its Creator and His People, between His People and each other, and between the human race and the rest of creation.

Several statements from Pope Francis in Laudato Si raise some discomfort Read the rest of this entry »


Laudato Si — Overview — Part II

July 9th, 2015, Promulgated by Diane Harris


In preparing to read Pope Francis’s Encyclical, Laudato Si, I had made a list of 10 questions under which the content would be considered (Part I of this series).  I have read the entire Encyclical, in its British English translation; obviously, any discussion will be affected by the limitations of the translator, who is not identified, and therefore we are without a “track record” against which to evaluate the likely accuracy of the translation, not only in content but also in tone.  But we have seen the disastrous track record for the Synod translations, so who would be surprised to find the same?  There are certain statements which would benefit from comparison to the Italian and Spanish content and there would be benefits from reading the footnote references too; however, for the sake of disclaimer, regarding this particular commentary, neither has been done.

Furthermore, although many articles keep appearing in print and on line, regarding various commenters’ reactions to the Encyclical, reading those articles was deferred (and remains deferred) until after completing this writing series, so as to keep to an independent review.  Of necessity, therefore, the insights of others are not being considered, but should be consulted for a reader’s broader view.  Not citing others’ comments on the encyclical neither supports nor opposes those comments through deliberate silence.  An encyclical deserves not only a thorough reading and digestion before commenting, but also some prayer for guidance.  I hope I have done enough of both.

To the reader: if you are intending to read the Encyclical, may I please suggest you do so before reading this series of posts, so that you too can form your opinion independently?

Footnotes and Framework

There are 246 paragraphs in the Encyclical; all references here and in the next installments will be to those paragraph “#” numbers, not to page numbers.  Many of the footnotes are to Pope Francis’s own encyclicals or to those of his predecessor popes, or to papal ‘catechesis’, or to Bishops’ meetings in various parts of the world.  Those original texts might lead to better understanding the context of the present Encyclical, but it is unnecessary to explicate those materials here, since Pope Francis made each reference his own by using it in his Encyclical, attributing his own interpretation. Since he indicated no disputes with the content he referenced, it is unnecessary to evaluate whether the references actually do or do not support Laudato Si.

In contrast to the footnotes to other papal teachings or footnotes to a variety of hierarchical meetings, there is a virtual dearth of references and footnotes regarding scientific claims, studies or broad allegations; e.g. global warming and climate change are claimed as if they had already been proven.  While consensus or its appearance is claimed, consensus has virtually no value in determining truth.

After several weeks of asking a number of faithful Catholics whether or not they have read the Encyclical, hoping to promote some of the “dialogue” which Pope Francis requested 22x in the text, but with no responses that those asked have actually read the whole Encyclical (most have said “just a few pages” and that they stopped, or seemed unwilling or unable to enter into further discussion), rather than delay it seems appropriate to at least give my personal reactions and opinions, trying to rely always on Canon 212 and the superlative of TRUTH.

My overall reaction to the Encyclical is deep disappointment.

I am disappointed as a Catholic, as an American, and as a person trained in science.  The document reads more like a rambling and haphazard declaration of opinions, almost to the point of aggressive rant, admixed with a few facts, dipped in startling Marxist or socialist ideology (e.g. challenges to private property rights #93), yet with very little that is actionable, from a practical point of view.  That is not a judgment on Pope Francis,  which I am not empowered to do, but only of the fruit of his efforts, which we are always invited to judge. Matthew 7: 16-20 states: “You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? So, every sound tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears evil fruit. A sound tree cannot bear evil fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will know them by their fruits.”

An Encyclical should, above all, have the care of souls in mind. Read the rest of this entry »


SJBS/Chesterton – A la Carte Course Offerings for Middle and High School Students

July 9th, 2015, Promulgated by Ben Anderson


Announcing A la Carte Course Offerings for
Middle and High School Students


Chesterton Academy of Rochester is pleased to announce course offerings for students grade 6 and up. Choose from a variety of courses taught by experienced teachers to complement your homeschool curriculum.

For a catalog of courses and information on how to register, click: A la Carte course offerings.

For a catalog of courses and information on how to register,
click here: A la Carte course offerings.


Nelson Baker: A Forgotten Hero – Pittsford Community Library Wednesday, Jul. 15, 7-8:30pm

July 9th, 2015, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

From the Pittsford Community Library:

Pittsford Community Library
Wednesday, Jul. 15, 7-8:30pm
call –585-249-5481.

Jack Kowiak will look at the remarkable life of Nelson Baker. A native of Buffalo, NY, at the turn of the century Baker ran the largest complex of charitable institutions in the U.S. Registration required. Fisher Meeting Room


Pope Francis threatened with Sanhedrin Trial

July 7th, 2015, Promulgated by Hopefull

In a shocker news release, Israel has announced it will try Pope Francis before the Sanhedrin on September 20th for meddling in the affairs of Israel, if he does not retract some specific language attributed to him.  Stay tuned for more, and see what you think:


Bishop Matano Lecture – Free and Open to the Public

July 6th, 2015, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

From St. Bernard’s facebook page.

2015 Otto A. Shults Lecture

The Most Reverend Salvatore R. Matano

Bishop of Rochester

Spirituality and the Eucharist

Wednesday, August 12, 2015
7:00 PM

St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry
120 French Road
Rochester, NY 14618

Free and open to the public; registration required.

Looks like you can register here.


What’sup, Magisterium?

July 6th, 2015, Promulgated by Diane Harris

In spite of outright avowals from a few parish priests in my past, that they are not part of the Magisterium (Teaching Authority) of the Church, I have and will continue to “beg to differ.”  How else do the Church’s teachings, especially on current matters, reach us if not through the pulpit as homily and/or in parish bulletins? If the people ordained and receiving charisms do not preach, who will?  If the teachings are not prompt and clear, what good can be achieved?

On June 26th, the Supreme Court of the U. S. (SCOTUS) gave a decision rendered by 5 sinners to countermand God’s Word, and which holds threatening ramifications for the future practice of true Christian Faith.  To its credit, the USCCB rendered an immediate statement:


Full Statement:  Regardless of what a narrow majority of the Supreme Court may declare at this moment in history, the nature of the human person and marriage remains unchanged and unchangeable. Just as Roe v. Wade did not settle the question of abortion over forty years ago, Obergefell v. Hodges does not settle the question of marriage today. Neither decision is rooted in the truth, and as a result, both will eventually fail. Today the Court is wrong again. It is profoundly immoral and unjust for the government to declare that two people of the same sex can constitute a marriage.

The unique meaning of marriage as the union of one man and one woman is inscribed in our bodies as male and female. The protection of this meaning is a critical dimension of the “integral ecology” that Pope Francis has called us to promote. Mandating marriage redefinition across the country is a tragic error that harms the common good and most vulnerable among us, especially children. The law has a duty to support every child’s basic right to be raised, where possible, by his or her married mother and father in a stable home.

Jesus Christ, with great love, taught unambiguously that from the beginning marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman. As Catholic bishops, we follow our Lord and will continue to teach and to act according to this truth.

I encourage Catholics to move forward with faith, hope, and love: faith in the unchanging truth about marriage, rooted in the immutable nature of the human person and confirmed by divine revelation; hope that these truths will once again prevail in our society, not only by their logic, but by their great beauty and manifest service to the common good; and love for all our neighbors, even those who hate us or would punish us for our faith and moral convictions.

Lastly, I call upon all people of good will to join us in proclaiming the goodness, truth, and beauty of marriage as rightly understood for millennia, and I ask all in positions of power and authority to respect the God-given freedom to seek, live by, and bear witness to the truth.

We have yet another opportunity to observe and learn  how the magisterial link works into our local parishes.  Please share what is happening in your own parish. I’ve looked at a few bulletins and found nothing. However, kudos to Fr. Stan Kacprzak, pastor of St. Benedict’s (St. Mary Canandaigua and St. Bridget’s Bloomfield), who used half of the front page bulletin text for the following:

So, how is magisterial teaching (bulletin and/or pulpit) working at your church?  Do you have avowal of Church Teaching?  Or just a bulletin filled with upcoming cake sales, golf games and fundraising bbq’s, while 5 sinners voted God out of the way? Please share!

But remember:  “Sometimes you just can’t buy avowal.”