Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church


Laudato Sì & Half-a-Dialogue; improbable validation

April 18th, 2020, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Once upon a 2015

Five years ago, in spring 2015, most of us knew that Pope Francis was working on an “environmental” encyclical. I tried to write to him and beseech him not to go in the rumored direction of elevating the environment above its Creator, or to incur the risk of ‘bad science’ as Urban VIII did in defending the earth as the center of the universe. Rather, my desire was that he would confront the true evils in the world, abortion, same sex lifestyle, and the emerging threat of euthanasia, that he would focus on the good of souls, and leave science to the scientists. Although I tried to put everything into a letter to Pope Francis, it became too unwieldy in that format, so I just waited to see what would actually be issued.

On June 18, 2015 the encyclical “Laudato Sì” was published, and I began immediately to read it, becoming more and more horrified at the content, from a moral point of view but also from the perspective that all good science must be based on truth. The call to my becoming involved was agitated by what I was reading. Briefly I considered stepping away from Cleansing Fire in order to spend full time on refutation of so much in the encyclical; but, by praying about it, I began to sense that CF was part of the answer. So I started writing, and publishing 16 chapters on this CF website. Those 16 ‘first-draft’ chapters became core to the book which eventually ensued, re-written, being about half the content of the ultimate book, “Half a Dialogue.” So I really could say: “You read it here first,” although much was revised in the book (but not on CF, which remains the testimony to having created a book in full view, page by page.)


Considering the Challenge

It is quite difficult to determine at first when something is one’s own ego in taking on such a project, i.e. a 200+ page book, vs. acknowledging that one is actually answering a call, i.e. a personal call, but nonetheless a call. I learned a few things in the process. A few years earlier, a good priest had counseled me on a similar subject. I was actively trying to save my parish from being closed for illicit and untruthful reasons, a true betrayal of parishioners, but I had the dilemma: “Do I say the Lord is calling me to do this” and be seen as divisive; i.e. “Who does she think SHE is?” or do I say “It is my own idea” and avoid the ‘stigma’ of implying special inspiration? I leaned toward the second choice as being the easiest; but the question wasn’t out of my mouth before that dear priest said: “When you believe it comes from God, ALWAYS say so.” And so I did, and so I will, and so I do.


Writing a book mentioning idolatry?

My decision to write a book, especially arguing against much that a Pope had written, was made easier by his strong invitation to “dialogue,” “debate,” and “discuss” – a total of 43 separate invitations within Laudato Sì. It was a most convincing argument, even to conservative church men, and to canon and civil lawyers, from whom I sought advice. But I think I had an intuitive sense that Pope Francis would not respond in kind; the title “Half a Dialogue” was born of such awareness.

It is also a fair question whether or not I ever had any ‘validation’ that the call to write such a response to a papal encyclical did indeed come from ‘higher up.’ And the answer is a surprising ’yes.’ But that did not happen until Fall of 2019. Here’s how it all came about:

Twenty four days after studying the encyclical published June 18th, I posted what was then, and would essentially become, Chapter III, about idolatry, pantheism, and one world religion. If you were to type in “idolatry” to the search bar on CF, you would bring up several chapters and similar content in those first on-line drafts. If anything, the content was expanded when re-written into the book, which reads:

It is the big and underlying question: “Is Environmentalism the road to creating ‘One World Religion’; with Pantheism and syncretism the portals through which it will pass? The achievement of ‘world peace’ has often been equated, at least implicitly, to 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.” (Matthew 24:6)

Of all the human-created ideologies, over millennia, there is perhaps none so dangerous to individual souls as environmentalism morphed into Pantheism, leading to selected worship of parts of nature [often through human sacrifice]. In essence, the magnificent beauty of God’s creation can be used to undermine worship of Him.

The Old Testament is rife with illustration. And there is no ‘Xtreme Environmentalism’ so dangerous as that which is foisted by religious leaders as de facto ‘religion.’ Pantheism … is easily transformed to worship of anything and everything that is claimed to be the presence of God….

What followed these words in the book was a theoretical 5-step process of transforming environmentalism through the supposition of climate change, and pressuring the human community to act purposefully into step #5, human death for the sake of sustainability of the environment.

One thing which delayed writing the book was that the Encyclical was unindexed. After the first very close and careful reading, I realized how ‘stream of consciousness’ the encyclical was, and how I would have to create the index myself, to be able to deal with whole subjects, rather than with Pope Francis’ communications structure, as related subjects jumped up in various chapters, and needed to be “collected” into an index.


Two Realizations

Two realizations have come to me since publishing. In the first place, as I wrote those words and concepts, I was continually chiding myself: “Idolatry? Come on, Diane. It’s a Catholic encyclical, and idolatry is as far away from Church Teaching and practice as it could possibly be!” But, quite frankly, the words just kept pouring into me and out on the keyboard. “Idolatry? Why am I even writing about idolatry?” But I couldn’t stop so I decided to just write it and, before going to press, I would delete what I needed to delete. But, it turned out, I did not delete much text at all, and especially not about idolatry. I was somewhat swept up in not delaying, in publishing the work I felt called to do, as soon as possible, even as a birthday present to the Lord. The first copies came off the press on Christmas Eve, 2015.

The second realization I had, much later, was that some of the people (actually, mostly priests and seminarians it seemed) who said they really wanted a copy of the book but lost momentum early on, in part because my seeing Pope Francis’ encyclical as laying the groundwork for an idolatry discussion seemed to them, I think,  just a ‘bridge too far.’  When pachamama showed up in the Vatican Gardens in October 2019, and even recovered from its toss into the Tiber to preside in at least two churches (pre and post its soaking), I had the shocking realization that what I’d felt compelled to write had turned out to be truth and reality less than five years later. For me, that is validation of the direction in which the Holy Spirit led me, and I don’t need validation from others. But I am still stunned, and joyful at being used for such a purpose.


Waiting for COVID-19?

This post is the first time I’ve shared some of these details. I’ve never felt obligated to push copies of the book on anybody. I felt called to write, not to promote. But I also shouldn’t keep the work hidden. So at the bottom of CF’s right hand column is a postage stamp sized picture of the cover of the book. Clicking it will take you to the site. I wanted to add more articles which have emerged criticizing the whole “climate change” theory, but I haven’t had time to do so yet; that is why I’d delayed to this point.

Nevertheless, COVID-19 and what I see as the very strong possibility that the virus is a punishment for idolatry or abortion or both, since abortion too is rooted in ‘saving the planet,’ urges me now to do more. I believe COVID-19 is at least a warning if not already a punishment and more, convincing me not to delay further in sharing my experience of having disagreed with a Pope.  In early 2016 I did send a book to the head of every US Diocese, to key members of the Vatican, and offered copies to each Canadian bishop. And I received some beautiful acknowledgements. One of the first and treasured is from Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, and also from certain Vatican Cardinals, and even from some US bishops.  A year later I received acknowledgement from the Vatican Secretary of State on behalf of Pope Francis’ having received the book.


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