Lovin’ me some Jesus. Jonathan Butler brings it.
So, Pope Francis has written a soon-to-be-released encyclical on the environment.
Long before we got this close to actually reading the document itself, we’ve been treated to histrionics and “instructions” to the Holy Father to mind his own pontifical business.
Rush Limbaugh took time away from counting his money to come out against the encyclical he had not read. Predictably, he based his thinking on his own greed-is-good theology. Now, he’s running his jaws, flapping about a “leaked” version of the encyclical, which, for all we know, a Vatican janitor pulled out of the trash. Of course, Mr Limbaugh repeats his slanders about the pope being a “Marxist” while he’s doing this.
Presidential candidate Rick Santorum chimed in a few weeks ago, instructing Pope Francis to “back off” talking about climate change. His logic? The Church should steer away from scientific questions. According to Fox News, an unnamed blogger at First Things “accused the pope of promoting ‘theologized propaganda’ on conservation — a post the journal’s editor later disavowed.”
According to WMAL, the GOP is on the verge of doing battle with Pope Francis over climate change. USA Today has written an article stating what is obvious to anyone who understands politics: The opposition to this encyclical is about money.
In the meantime, environmentalists and liberals are tuning up for their happy dance. I have no doubt that their interpretations of the upcoming encyclical will be as self-serving and inaccurate as those of Mr Limbaugh, et al.
Every pope in recent memory has spoken out about the environment. Every pope in recent memory has taken a strong stand against the evils of corporatism, which is organized greed wedded to government power. Why is Pope Francis any different?
The answer to that is as obvious as the answer to why corporatists oppose him with such venom: People are listening to this pope. They’re paying attention to what he says. For the first time in a long time, ordinary people see the Church as accessible. Pope Francis is a father figure to billions of people who never listened to the Church before.
He has shifted the Church away from the appearance of partisan alliances and given it the old-time Gospel outlook of a Church that is beholden to no political party or faction. That is exactly as it should be. The Church should have one Master, one Lord, and that is Jesus Christ.
Contrary to what the nay-sayers are yapping about, Pope Francis is entirely within his purview when he addresses the environment. Human beings were explicitly told from the beginning that we have “dominion” over this earth. We were commanded to care for it as good husbandmen, to lead it to be fruitful and to bring forth its goodness for all humanity, for all time.
Corporatism is the antithesis of this. Corporatism is evil, and like all evil, it only destroys. Corporatism rapes the environment. Corporatism cuts down the rainforests, and plunders the wealth of the ground, all the while displacing people, shutting them into economic slavery and destroying both their hope and their future. Corporatism destroys life on a global scale; wiping out whole species of beings like mowing down grass.
Of course corporatism’s well-paid mouthpieces fear this pope and his message. Of course, they are enraged by the very thought of this upcoming encyclical.
All this presents the American bishops with an unsettling conundrum, one that, like most of their problems, is at least partly of their own making.
America’s Catholic bishops sit on shaky thrones. Their prophetic voice has been chipped and scarred by the clergy sex abuse scandal. Their authority and ability to teach is compromised by the refusal of priests in the parish to carry the message on critical issues such as the sanctity of marriage.
The bishops were forced to reach over the heads of their priests and go directly to the people in the pews in the matter of the HHS Mandate. It is to the everlasting credit of the pew-sitters that they found loyalty and support there in this critical fight for religious freedom.
Now, with this encyclical, they have to go in y0ur face with their most loyal followers. The civil religion, which worships at the altars of the R and the D, is divided cleanly along party lines. The Ds support abortion, backed the HHS Mandate and have fallen over backwards into gay marriage. The Rs have become the only home that faithful Catholics feel they have in the political sphere.
Given that the level of teaching at many of our parishes tends toward a Hallmark card Christianity that no longer addresses the lived reality of many of those in the pews, serious Catholics have been taking more and more of their “teaching” on theological matters from the Republican Party.
This was frankly encouraged by the original founders of the religious right such as Jerry Falwell. Rev Falwell, and most of his fellows, imposed their own political beliefs on the Gospels. They did this even when those political beliefs ran counter to what the Gospels themselves plainly said.
As a result, the religious right deified corporatism. The Catholic Church did not join in with this heresy. But the bishops and the parish priests did not oppose it in the kind of clear language that is necessary to teach the people in the pews. They failed, at a critical juncture, to effectively teach the constant teachings of the Church. These teachings go back in a straight line, from one pope to the next, for hundreds of years. But the people in the pews never got the message.
This created a vacuum where there should have been legitimate Christian teaching. This vacuum left the people in the pews to make up their own theology. Over time, they were seduced by the civil religion of party politics. Faithful Catholics in the pews came to substitute the civil religion for Christianity in matters concerning economics. They exchanged the teachings of right-wing corporatists for the constant teaching of the Church in economic matters.
Now they are hardened in this heresy. And the bishops stand hapless, unable to figure out how to set things right.
At the same time, “progressive” churches did their part by bastardizing the Gospels on issues life, marriage, gender identity and the sexualizing of women and children. Left and right, they both cut their religion to suit their politics. The political heresy reigned.
Nobody in the religious sphere, other than the popes themselves, was teaching the whole Gospel of Christ.
Now, after decades of this, we are reaping the whirlwind.
Part of the damage of that whirlwind is that the American bishops are now faced with teaching an encyclical in parishes where the most faithful of the parishioners have drunk so deeply of the Republican Kool-Aid that they actually place more trust in the likes of Rush Limbaugh than they do the Vicar of Christ. These are people who are dying for leadership. They want to be led. They’ve settled on following the teachings of their political party rather than the teachings of their Church.
I haven’t read the encyclical Pope Francis has written on the environment. But I do not doubt that it is based on the simple fact that humanity’s dominion over creation is a responsibility, and not just an opportunity for destructive exploitation by the few to the detriment of everyone else.
Pope Francis is Peter. Think carefully before you follow the R or the D instead of the Church created by Christ the Lord.
As for the American bishops, my heart goes out to them. They are in such a mess, and they don’t appear, most of them, to be up to the task in front of them.
One thing I know: We don’t need institutionalized “company” men, at this time. We need men of God.
From The New York Times:
… With Francis expected to make the case that climate change, unchecked development and overconsumption are exacerbating the suffering of the poor, advocates for the environment and the poor are thrilled.
But the leaders of the Catholic Church in the United States may be harder to win over. At the spring meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops here last week, bishops from around the country said they were withholding their enthusiasm until they saw the document on Thursday.
Some said they were wary about getting the church enmeshed in the debate over climate change, a contentious issue in the United States. They also expressed concern about allying with environmentalists, some of whom promote population control as a remedy, since the church sees abortion and contraception as great evils.
Some bishops said they had received hate mail from Catholics skeptical of climate change. That has added to the bishops’ hesitation and confusion on the topic.
This just a note to readers.
Somebody in the Vatican “leaked” a copy of Pope Francis’ encyclical on the climate a few days early. First, of all, shame on them. Second, I’m not going to bother to read or write about this bootlegged version of the encyclical.
Here are my reasons:
1. It’s a bootlegged version. Somebody got their grubby little hands on a copy of something, which might be a rough draft or might be something else. No one knows. All we know for certain is that somebody took something that wasn’t theirs and fed it into the maws of the internet. I don’t know their motives, and I don’t care. This leaked document could be anything.
2. My time is valuable. And so is yours. I’ll read the real encyclical when it comes out and write about it at length. It will take me a while, because I write opinions, and opinions — at least mine — don’t form instantaneously. I need to think things through. What I won’t do is waste my time read a who-knows-what-it-is bootlegged version.
3. I don’t really like playing fool for whoever did this. There are times when leaked documents are a public service. Government documents which are being withheld to keep the people from knowing the truth are an example. However, this encyclical is going to be officially released in full in a matter of hours. There are no good reasons for leaking this document and I can’t think of any good reasons to bother with this faux version. The real thing is right around the corner.
I guess that’s enough said. I’ll wait and see what the encyclical says when I read what I know is the actual encyclical.
In the mean time, stay cool, folks. And don’t play fool for whoever did this.
Pope Francis has accepted the resignations of two more American bishops because the bishops were charged with sex abuse cover-ups.
The pope accepted the resignation of Bishop Robert Finn in April after Bishop Finn was convicted of a charge of failure to report child abuse.
Now, he has accepted the resignations of Archbishop John Nienstadt and deputy bishop Lee Anthony Piche of St Paul Minnesota. Both bishops offered their resignations under canon law, which allows bishops to resign due to illness or other “grave” reasons.
From The Independent:
Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of two bishops in the US who face charges of failing to protect children from a paedophile priest.
Prosecutors in Minnesota had charged the Archdiocese of St Paul and Minneapolis over an alleged sex abuse cover-up, accusing them of “turning a blind eye” despite repeated allegations against a priest who was later convicted of molesting two boys.
The Archbishop of St Paul, John Nienstadt, and a deputy bishop, Lee Anthony Piche, offered the Pope their resignations under a code of canon law which lets them step down due to illness or a “grave” reason leaving them unfit for office.
Evidently, the greatest danger to an elderly person in Belgium is their doctor, a fact that shouldn’t surprise anyone.
If you give people the legal right to commit murder, they will commit murder. What’s more, people who enjoy committing murder will be drawn to the profession which is allowed to kill without legal consequence.
We have become a society which only grants a basic right to life to those who are able to go into court and defend their lives themselves. Now, we are becoming a society in which even this opportunity to fight for your life in court is being removed.
Belgian doctors are killing people without informing either them or their families. The docs just decide who to murder, and then they murder them. There’s no room in that equation for legal challenges and courtroom appeals for a stay of execution. Belgium has evidently given its doctors the legal right to kill at will, with no corresponding right to protest on the part of their victims or their victim’s families.
It’s the Final Solution in a white coat.
From The Daily Mail:
Thousands of elderly people have been killed by their own GPs without ever asking to die under Belgium’s euthanasia laws, an academic report said yesterday.
It said that around one in every 60 deaths of a patient under GP care involves someone who has not requested euthanasia.
Half of the patients killed without giving their consent were over the age of 80, the study found, and two thirds of them were in hospital and were not suffering from a terminal disease such as cancer.
In about four out of five of the cases, the death was not discussed with patients subjected to ‘involuntary euthanasia’ because they were either in a coma, they were diagnosed with dementia, or because doctors decided it would not be in their best interests to discuss the matter with them.
Very often doctors would not inform the families of plans to lethally inject a relation because they considered it a medical decision to be made by themselves alone, the report published by the Journal of Medical Ethics said.
Getting rid of gender difference is the problem, not the solution … We must do much more in favor of women if we want to give more strength to the reciprocity between mean and women. It’s necessary, in fact, not only that women be heard more, but that their voices have real weight, an authority recognized in society and in the Church.
Pope Francis, speaking on Gender Theory.
Pope Francis, spoke to the bishops of the Caribbean, and he did what popes must do. He spoke out against a destructive ideology that attacks the dignity and value of human beings. The ideology in question is the trendiest of them all right now: Gender Theory.
“The sacrament of marriage … must be defended,” the Pope said. He urged the bishops to “emphasize family pastoral ministry.”
The Holy Father encouraged the bishops to avoid “wasting energy in divisions and clashes” … and to also avoid wasting their “real passion for the Kingdom of God” on these things.
He emphasized that “the Church is not tied to any political system so that it may always safeguard the transcendence of the human person.”
Just the same, I think it’s important to emphasize these teachings, for the simple reason that they are being so successfully challenged in today’s world.
Pope Francis said that gender theory is a problem because it attacks human dignity and human value.
He also said — and this is something I have written about a lot — that the Church is not (or should not be) tied to any political system. I think that applies to people and their political parties as well. I see the political heresy as a serious problem for Christian witness and authenticity here in America.
In addition, he emphasized the dignity of women and the need for women’s voices to be heard in the Church. All I can say to that is Amen.
There is nothing new in Pope Francis’ statements. He’s made all of them before, and I trust that, given the world in which we live, he will have to make them many times again.
The question for bishops everywhere is how they will lead their priests in teaching, preaching and living out what the Pope is giving them. The work of the Church is to empower the laity so that the laity can convert the world, one person at a time.
There is a rubber meets the road point between parish priests and their parishioners that has to work if the Church is going to be the Church. It is a function of the trickle-down teaching that goes Pope, to bishop, to priest, to us; and from us to the world.
Only the laity lives in the world and intersects with the heart of the world at 2 billion points of light.
The Holy Spirit has sent us a holy Pope for these times. I pray for an army of holy bishops and holy priests to follow through on what he is teaching them by teaching us in turn.
From Vatican News:
The sacrament of marriage is one of the Latin American people’s most important treasures, the Pope says, and it must be defended. He urges them to emphasize family pastoral ministry in order to counter “serious social problems” such as “the difficult economic situation, migration, domestic violence” and “unemployment, drug trafficking and corruption.”
No to gender ideology, protecting the complementarity between men and women
The complementarity between a man and a woman is being questioned by the so-called gender ideology in the name of a freer and more just society, the Pope observes. In fact, he warns, the differences between men and women are not a question of “opposition or subordination but rather of communion and generation… always in the image and likeness of God.” Without mutual giving- he adds – neither can have an in-depth understanding of the other.
Bishops are united to face the country’s problems
The Pope invites the Church leaders not simply to pray but also to reach out in friendship and “fraternal aid” to address the many serious problems facing Puerto Rico. And, he warns them against “wasting energy in divisions and clashes.” “The more intense the communion…the more it favors the mission,” he says.
Pope Francis encourages the bishops to distance themselves from any ideologies or political trends that can “waste their time and a real passion for the Kingdom of God.” Because of its mission, he points out, the Church is not tied to any political system so that it may always safeguard the transcendence of the human person.
The Shroud of Turin is a mystery that hasn’t been solved. If you find the Shroud intriguing, there’s a new app to tell you about it.
Today the Church is a Church of martyrs, so many heroic witnesses. May we learn from their courage.
Our call as Christians is to convert the world. Witness to your love of Christ with your life, your words and your actions.