From the blog, All Passing Things
It took me a couple of days to find the time to get through it all, but I finally finished reading Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato Si. It is admirable for one thing, the persistence of a man intent on shutting out the sounds, images and statistics related to the people that he represents being murdered with the most depraved barbarity throughout the world. Focusing instead on such evil acts as air conditioning….and stuff.
As Catholics, those who are being strung up nooses in Arab streets, nailed to crosses and stoned like St. Stephen, deserve better than to hear their Holy Father devote 200 pages…200 pages to a bunch of daffodils rather than to their souls and to their mortal selves. The lost children of Western Catholicism deserve a Pope who implores them to forgive the clergy for the crimes of the past and return to the Church in all her majesty. Even the murderers of ISIS, the degenerates who abort children and the slaves to the body who support state sanctioned same-sex ‘marriage’ need a Pope who will put the possibility of them changing their ways and entering heaven first.
The Papacy is making headlines, but never before has the Pope been so impotent and irrelevant whilst appearing under the guise of being at the very heart of society’s ills and fortunes. When we think of Pope Benedict XVI driving the politically correct brigade insane with his condemnation of Islam at Regensburg or Pope Leo XIII staring Freemasonry straight in the face with several confrontational and much needed encyclicals, we think of a Pope who actually got the world thinking, reflecting on its allegiance to forces which were opposed to the will of God. This encyclical does none of that.
Luadato Si speaks about the world, about God, in exactly the same tone of voice as do the atheists, agnostics and apathetic. The secular term Judaeo-Christian is used. Earth is referred to as ‘mother’ and ‘sister’. The sun is our ‘brother’ , as is the river. Wild associations are made, human trafficking can only be stopped by addressing climate change.
The Pope has approached a spiritual problem, greed ensuring the systematic manipulation and destruction of ecological environments beyond that which is necessary to production and survival, from the guise of a humanist viewpoint. God and the collective souls of humanity which he created and entrusted the world unto are no longer in possession of dominion over the lesser species, but we are all one beating pile of lettuce or cabbage or mice, equally blissful in our ignorance of anything other than the fact that we exist, and feed and move. Francis has failed, intentionally it seems, to affirm that the biggest obstacle to unfettered capitalism and economically justified abuse of the environment is the dignity of man as a result of him having been afforded a soul by God.
There are those who will point to elements of orthodoxy, the mentioning of Blessed Charles de Foucauld and St. Thomas Aquinas (though no mention of a Pope before John XXIII). But, Pope Francis does not mention these because he wants to convert the eco-extremists of the secular world to the Catholic faith. Rather, Francis wants to say to those who are Catholic, let us focus instead on vague and unreasonable demands on the individual that in reality can only be achieved by the governments of China, India and the USA, due to their high volume of population and industry. Francis is even explicit in saying that the Catholic faith does not provide the impetus to save the earth from its human inhabitants, rather we need to adapt some semi-pagan pseudo religious ‘spirituality’.
“I would like to offer Christians a few suggestions for an ecological spirituality grounded in the convictions of our faith, since the teachings of the Gospel have direct consequences for our way of thinking, feeling and living. More than in ideas or concepts as such, I am interested in how such a spirituality can motivate us to a more passionate concern for the protection of our world. A commitment this lofty cannot be sustained by doctrine alone, without a spirituality capable of inspiring us, without an “interior impulse which encourages, motivates, nourishes and gives meaning to our individual and communal activity”.
When the history of this awful epoch in the Church is written, we’ll remember that when the blood of the martyrs began to spill, the Pope was more concerned with the blood of the animals. He quoted Muslims, used the term Judaeo-Christian and rather than talk about crimes against humanity for their own sake, equated them with abusing the environment, as though that was the standard by which such things as murder, human trafficking and abortion should be judged.
While Benedict called for a reform of the United Nations in Caritas in veritate, due to its unmitigated and undemocratic spread of ideologies related to the richest nations (namely, abortion) Francis here chillingly calls for a true world political authority. Imagine that, the solution to a singular mentality aimed at self-service is to have a singular authority.
For the record, to pick three of the holy figures mentioned in the encyclical as models of thoughtfulness to the environment.
St. Therese de Lisieux was 24 years old when she died a painful death to tuberculosis and other ailments, during which the great saint suffered much agony and despair before finally triumphing in faith.
St. Francis of Assisi walked through fire to prove his faith and died with the wounds of stigmata afflicting his mortal body.
Blessed Charles de Foucauld died in the African desert, after a life devoted to helping the poor and misplaced. He was brutally murdered on his own by a gang of aggressive proto-Islamist Muslims.
That is why we commemorate them. If Francis wants to create people who treat the world around them with its due care and honour, he should focus first on saving souls and creating saints. The secular humanist approach is bound not only to fail, but to offer a serious dent in the Church’s quest for respectability of a sort that seems to be afforded only to the Dali Lama. As Bishop of Rome, Francis wants to assume a role not unlike the Archbishop of Canterbury, where the erstwhile friend of the environment occasionally makes headlines for lambasting the vague notion of ‘consumerism’ without attacking its cause.
Yes, the environment needs to be taken care of. Yes, we need [to take measures to avoid] the extinction and the abhorrent mistreatment of animals. But if Francis is only concerned with the body and not the soul, as he appears to be, he will never cure these ills. Man must be taught to love God before he can love himself, he must be taught to love himself before he can love the world around him.
Perhaps the Pope’s intentions were pure, but by very nature of his choice to write about this rather than the fact that the Church has lost half of its adherents the world over, he has seriously undermined any good that he could have done with it.
In contrast to this tragicomedy, here are the brilliant words of Pope Leo XIII, simple and true, from the encyclical Rerum Novarum. Brief as they are, they remind us that we should not despair, certainly not over things like air conditioning.
“God has not created us for the perishable and transitory things of earth, but for things heavenly and everlasting; He has given us this world as a place of exile, and not as our abiding place.”
As the Pope’s beloved St. Therese informed us, the world is thy ship and not thy home.