Monday, June 22, 2015

First Things' R.R. Reno compares Laudato Si' to Pius IX's Syllabus of Errors

Don't you LOVE being Catholic?!!

R.R. Reno, "The Return of Catholic Anti-Modernism" (First Things, June 18, 2015), begins his essay thus:
Commentators are sure to make the false claim that Pope Francis has aligned the Church with modern science. They’ll say this because he endorses climate change. But that’s a superficial reading of Laudato Si. In this encyclical, Francis expresses strikingly anti-scientific, anti-technological, and anti-progressive sentiments. In fact, this is perhaps the most anti-modern encyclical since the Syllabus of Errors, Pius IX’s haughty 1864 dismissal of the conceits of the modern era.
At which point you may be wondering, as I, whether Reno is writing entirely tongue-in-cheek, or whether he's serious. Well, read to the end, and I think you'll see.


Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

Mr. Reno sure has an interesting take - one that others had prior to him taking it (John Medaille) - but to compare this to that?

Well, just look at this part of the syllabus for it condemns what has long been routine papal praxis




15. Every man is free to embrace and profess that religion which, guided by the light of reason, he shall consider true. -- Allocution "Maxima quidem," June 9, 1862; Damnatio "Multiplices inter," June 10, 1851.

16. Man may, in the observance of any religion whatever, find the way of eternal salvation, and arrive at eternal salvation. -- Encyclical "Qui pluribus," Nov. 9, 1846.

17. Good hope at least is to be entertained of the eternal salvation of all those who are not at all in the true Church of Christ. -- Encyclical "Quanto conficiamur," Aug. 10, 1863, etc.

18. Protestantism is nothing more than another form of the same true Christian religion, in which form it is given to please God equally as in the Catholic Church. -- Encyclical "Noscitis," Dec. 8, 1849.

Pertinacious Papist said...

Raider F.,

I agree. Not only do many fans of the Action Institute's Fr. Sirico today easily dismiss as misguided and erroneous earlier repeatedly-affirmed papal teaching on such matters as the "living wage" and "just prices" and "usurgy," etc., but present-day Catholics seem comfortably with glibly discarding earlier papal teaching on the errors of modernism and, in fact, think modernism is a pretty good thing, as long as its served up lubricated with ample Bud Lite.

Christopher Blosser said...

Q: Actually reading what the Acton Institute has to say on "just wage", do you find anything you would explicitly disagree with in the questions they are posing or their analysis of the topic?

Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

Dear Christopher. Raider Fan doesn't know you but a name like Christopher already presages a fine man.

O,and it is also the name of my son; and, as an obvious aside, we both very much love your Father.

That aside, Acton Institute not only has questionable origins as it is funded by Midwestern Calvinists who can not be counted on to present, let us say, the fulness of Catholic Social Doctrine.

"Culture Wars" magazine has long been in the forefront of trying to educate Catholics about Catholic Social Doctrine but the vast majority of Catholics take their cues from men like Thomas Woods and Father Siricio whose status as a priest bears witness to the perverse laxity of seminary life (admissions, education, life etc) these past fifty years.

Here are just a few links to what has helped Raider Fan sort out Catholic Fact from Calvinist-funded fog.

Christopher Blosser said...

Incidentally, I come from Dutch-Reformed and Mennonite stock myself, and Dr. Philip Blosser and sons also have the luxury of being smeared by CultureWars as being beholden to the Jewish-neocon cabal:

Pertinacious Papist said...

Heh. Chris, nothing like our carrying out our education in public, eh? I think it would be hard for any half-aware Catholic convert to deny that his views on the Faith and its implication have "evolved," to borrow a term abundantly abused by the POTUS.

Reading the articles you've linked from the Acton Institute pages, I can say that I believe both authors are dead-on correct in their critique of the minimum-wage political football, and the USCCB writers seem to be addressing issues somewhat above their "pay grade," to borrow another term abundantly abused by the POTUS.

On the other hand, if the USCCB writers are stuck in a blind-sighted American leftist rut in their defense of raising the minimum wage, their position at least superficially recalls some of the important statements of perennial Catholic social teaching amply voiced in the Pian encyclicals of the last two centuries; and the Acton Institute writers strike me as no less stuck in a blind-sighted American rightist rut in their assumptions about a "free market" (I realize they didn't develop that concept in these pieces, but I've read enough of their literature to know where many of them stand, echoing the Austro-Libertarian notions about "fair wages" and "fair prices" in terms of "whatever the market will bear").

A position that accords with the tradition of Catholic social teaching, will not be an easy one to carve out in today's political economy, precisely because free market economists see the economy as something governed by entirely amoral "market forces." Such a position is hard for a Catholic to maintain in good conscience, despite the fact that there are many (like Robert Novak and Fr. Sirico, and even Tridentine Mass traditionalists, like Thomas Woods, Lew Rockwell, Jeffrey Tucker, and others) who try to do so. They try, like Mr. Thies, to enlist the teachings of John Paul II and others in defense of red-blooded American capitalism, but without the necessary qualifications that even John Paul II made.

One thing that would help the discussions, it seems to me, is a more careful definition of terms like "capitalism," "free market," etc.

Another thing that would help is the realization that a truly Catholic solution to economic problems is incapable of being imposed from the top down in a pluralistic democracy. The only way in which it can make any headway is at the local level in small community efforts, which is where most of the successes have been found from the English undertakings under Fr. Vincent McNabb to more recent ventures. It centers on families and family values, essentially. (Maybe Alasdair MacIntyre is right about the only meaningful level on which "politics" can be engaged anymore being, not on the national level (where we are but cyphers), but on the local level.)

Christopher Blosser said...

"Another thing that would help is the realization that a truly Catholic solution to economic problems is incapable of being imposed from the top down in a pluralistic democracy. The only way in which it can make any headway is at the local level in small community efforts"

A statement that any member of the Acton institute would agree with.

Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

Dear Christopher. Raider Fan was unaware of what Mr. Herron wrote about your family but because that is beside the point -the claim that "Culture Wars" is in the forefront of teaching Catholics about Catholic economics - there seems nothing to be gained by linking to it.

Just in observations, community efforts are of little use when an economic system allows its biggest players to move jobs away from the local community and relocate them to, say, Mexico.

Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

Raider Fan had no idea that he was essentially taking a stick to a hornet's nest by linking to "Culture Wars" so he will just bow out of this particular thread by referencing a criticism of The Acton Institute by another man