The Encyclical…

The Encyclical… June 18, 2015

…is here.

And the Right Wing Noise Machine is coming completely unglued. Greg Gutfeld lies to the consumers of Fox agitprop that the Pope is “in bed with Malthus” (um, no. He praises Humanae Vitae and condemns “neo-Malthusianism”) and declares him the Most Dangerous Man on the Planet.

Meanwhile, Michael Savage, the Right’s Monster from the Id, makes FOX look like the Summa as he goes off on a totally unhinged rant about Francis being the servant of Antichrist.

And Rush Limbaugh helpfully instructs the faithful that Francis is a Commie.

How this declaration of war against the Church by Movement Conservatism will play out is anybody’s guess at present. There are many promising signs that people outside the Bubble of the Right are willing to treat the encyclical seriously by, you know, reading it before commenting on it, much less condemning it and it author as evils from the infernal regions.

On the other hand, there is petulance like this within the Church too:

“Perhaps we can pay as much attention to the sections on markets and environment, as the catholic Left pays to Humanae vitae.”

This is, make no mistake, not Fr. Z making fun of leftist dissent. This is Fr. Z making fun of the encyclical and instructing his readers that they have complete permission to ignore and dissent from it in exactly the same way lefties ignore and dissent from Humanae Vitae. And his comboxers instantly get the message. “Great! Let’s do that” is the very first response. followed by many similar sentiments. Interestingly, that remark, nor the many like it signaling contempt for the encyclical and denouncing the Holy Father as an embarrassment receives not a word of rebuke. But those who clearly understand what is, in fact, being said, receive lots of angry “Get a sense of humor” rebukes from Fr. Z.

That said, there will also be lots of intelligent engagement too, I am confident. And there will be lots more back and forth about the encyclical. So on the whole, I have a hopeful sense that a paradigm shift is in the wind and that Catholics who are overly invested in both left and right wing narratives may finally be figuring out that the integrated whole that is the Church’s teaching may in fact make a lot more sense than the shreds and patches of Church teaching that are hastily patched on to our insane party politics. Looking forward to reading it.

Oh, by the way, somebody asked, “Haven’t you been expressing quite heavy skepticism about those scientists for some years now? A certain religious fanaticism in their advocacy was the provocation, among others, as I recall.”

I have always expressed ignorance of the science for the very good reason that I am not a scientist. I have always granted the premise that there is climate change for the very good reason that change is what climate does. Beyond that, I have always left the matter in the hands of experts to hash out because what do I know? What has always interested me, and interests me here, is how the whole debate is conducted in the popular culture using the language of faith–by both sides. The screams of heresy now being emitted by the Francis-haters completely comport with that phenomenon. He has betrayed the True Faith–and that Faith is Movement Conservatism.

Part of my reason for wanting to hear what the pope has to say is that, unlike legions of combox inquisitors and self-appointed media bishops, the pope actually understands the language of faith and where it leaves off and the language of science begins. But above all, what I want to see how it lays out the *whole* of the Church’s teaching, not just the sound bites that ideologues will fight about.

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