Friday, June 19, 2015

"No Catholic is free to dissent from the teaching of Laudato Si’"

Fr. Ashley Beck, "No Catholic is free to dissent from the teaching of Laudato Si’" (Catholic Herald, June 19, 2015), is quite clear about what he thinks of dissent, at least, if a little less clear about what, exactly, this encyclical teaches that makes it uniquely important just now. Surely it's more than: "Look up from your phones and encounter each other"

Fr. Beck identifies the encyclical as falling "in the tradition of papal encyclicals, beginning with Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum in 1891, right up to Benedict XVI’s last encyclical from 2009, Caritas in Veritate ...." That's good company.

He writes:
This encyclical, deep and astute in so many ways, is not a work about the environment, or economics, or political theory – rather, it is theology... papal social encyclicals like Laudato Si' are part of the ordinary Magisterium of the Church....

What this means is that while the Church does allow for divergent viewpoints on some issues (Laudato Si’ 61), we are simply not free to dissent from the teaching of this encyclical, any more than we are free to dissent from Catholic teaching about other moral issues.
Curiously (or maybe not so curiously, considering the times), while Fr. Beck says that this encyclical is "deep and astute," he nowhere says what the encyclical's teaching is. He doesn't even try. Which makes me wonder whether he even knows for sure. Could he summarize its message in 25 words?

Which, in turn, makes me wonder why he is so eager to prevent "dissent" from the encyclical's teaching that he emblazons that prohibition across the top of his article as its headline.

Does this remind you just a little of the tenacity with which some Catholics insist that one must give full assent to the "teachings of Vatican II" (which was not a dogmatic council), and yet those same Catholics would usually be hard pressed to define what uniquely-important doctrines are given expression by the Council that were not clearly resident in previous Sacred Tradition? Is "ecumenism" a doctrine? Is "ecological conversion"? What do they mean?

Bit wait, there's also this: Danny Wiser, "Obama calls for world leaders to heed Pope Francis's message" (Catholic Herald, June 19, 2015). Wiser writes: "The US president hails the Pope's intervention as 'clear and powerful'." Maybe he can tell us what it means. Why, do you think, is he so giddy about this encyclical?


Then there's this question: regardless of whether Mr. Obama knows what Pope Francis means by his encyclical, Mr. Obama apparently has good reason for affirming what it means to him; and is there a shred of doubt in anyone's mind that this meaning is amicable or even benign vis-a-vis the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ? What larger purpose do you think Mr. Obama wants this encyclical to serve; and how does that purpose compare and/or contrast to the purpose Pope Francis has in mind?

I'm reminded of two elderly church ladies who came out of a Methodist church where they had just finished hearing Paul Tillich preach. "Wasn't it beautiful," exlaimed the one. "Yes, but what did it mean?" asked the other. And they smiled at one another and made their way home.

Yes, I've read the encyclical. I'm sure if we asked every person (like Hans Joachim Schellnhuber) who apparently had a hand in writing the document, we'd get quite different accounts as to its meaning. I should like to hear Cardinal Gerhard Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, offer a summary of what it means, so I may know what I'm assenting to, beyond all the traditional Catholic doctrines that are already in the Church's deposit of Faith.


14 comments:








JM

said...

The emperor's new clothes, entirely. Pathetic.





Chris

said...

When the Archbishop of San Francisco says that Catholic schools should be Catholic, Speaker Pelosi et al get upset. Why should we be pleased when The Honorable Barack H. Obama praises a papal encyclical?





Raider Fan

said...

Mr. Ferrara - The Remnant - must then be a heretic :) Be sure to read his worthy response to this product of the Pope.

Raider Fan has no intention of reading this thing once he saw how the Pope began by misrepresenting Saint Francis.

Our Pope and Our Cross is an embarrassment to the Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church and he routinely causes scandal.





Raider Fan

said...

The Canticle of Brother Sun


Most High, all powerful, good Lord,
Yours are the praises, the glory, the honor,
and all blessing.

To You alone, Most High, do they belong,
and no man is worthy to mention Your name.

Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures,
especially through my lord Brother Sun,
who brings the day; and you give light through him.
And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor!
Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.

Praise be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon
and the stars, in heaven you formed them
clear and precious and beautiful.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Wind,
and through the air, cloudy and serene,
and every kind of weather through which
You give sustenance to Your creatures.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Water,
which is very useful and humble and precious and chaste.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
through whom you light the night and he is beautiful
and playful and robust and strong.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Mother Earth,
who sustains us and governs us and who produces
varied fruits with colored flowers and herbs.

Praised be You, my Lord,
through those who give pardon for Your love,
and bear infirmity and tribulation.

Blessed are those who endure in peace
for by You, Most High, they shall be crowned.

Praised be You, my Lord,
through our Sister Bodily Death,
from whom no living man can escape.

Woe to those who die in mortal sin.
Blessed are those whom death will
find in Your most holy willl,
for the second death shall do them no harm.


Praise and bless my Lord,
and give Him thanks
and serve Him with great humility.

AMEN





Son of Ya'Kov

said...

This really isn't hard. Catholics on the political right and left have gone bats**t insane over this Encyclical. The left is treating Pope Francis' endorsing of climate change having a man made cause and His holiness' questionable views on Carbon Dioxide as a pollutant as if it where the equivalent to Pope Pius IX's definition of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady. It is not. It is more like Paul V endorsement of Geocentracism.

The Right OTOH is acting as if the Pope is a traitor to the Faith just because he doesn't hold to their political and scientific views.
They are getting all butt hurt over 2% of an Encyclical and ignoring the other 98%.

Fr. Z came up with a nice little list of themes in the is Enyclicial I will reproduce here.

(1) Creation has a Creator, and is more than just “nature-plus-evolution”:
(2) Human ecology means recognizing and valuing the difference between masculinity and femininity:
(3) Jesus sanctifies human work:
(4) Look up from your phones and encounter each other:
(5) Save the baby humans:
(6) Helping the poor requires more than just handouts:
(7) Overpopulation is not the problem:
(8) True ecology requires true anthropology and respect for human dignity:
(9) Real change requires a change in culture, not just politics:
(10) The Church does not presume to settle scientific questions, and we need an honest and open debate:
(11) Stop with the cynicism, secularism and immorality:

Obviously one can't dissent from any of the above if one is a Faithful Catholic regardless of political views.

BTW full discloser.

I absolutely am a climate skeptic and I believe free market capitalism is better equipped to help the poor than big government. But I don't think I have always agreed with all the Popes on matters of Politics. For example St John Paul II was favorable to the State of Israel where as Paul VI not so much IMHO.

I mostly side with JP2 on that matter. Francis' politics don't work for me either but I see no reason to get hysterical about it.

Besides if the left tries to hit me over the head on climate change I can point to the condemnations of abortion and population control and challenge them to submit to those.





Mark Citadel

said...

I am very concerned about the way this document is actually being presented

http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2015/06/15/catholic-orthodox-christian-and-atheist-to-present-popes-encyclical/

According to this, an atheist scientist will aid in the presentation! What is anyone to take from this? That the Pope takes council from atheists, Christ-haters? What insight on profane science can we trust from the likes of these, who are almost always loathing of the Christian faith? How can anyone be sure their twisting tongues are not plotting to ensnare the believer? This 'scientist' should have no involvement in the unveiling of any document of this nature.





JM

said...

Go read the articles at first things and Ignatius scoop and resist the gag reflex. After Vatican II you'd think we could recognize double talk and watered down modernism for what is. Francis would rather talk pollution than sin and salvation, and thinks he can help save the planet. And we wonder why so many Catholics are not even Christians. This fron the guy who says he is pals with Luis Palau?! Lots does not compute. It is the bigotry of soft expectations to say it is a Latin American thing. Any theologian who can maintain the encyclical is a good thing proves him or herself to be a party line kiss ass or simply a lightweight. It is a disgrace. Plain and simple. Enough of the bogus equivocations already. The pope is a Nancyboy at best in theological terms. He can't define error as truth but he can talk nonsense. He does here.





Charles Martel

said...

What a bunch of disrespectful and sinful schismatics that you are!
Please disassociate yourselves from our Holy Father, Pope Francis, completely.
You may worship Fellay and his ilk. See if they carry the "Keys to the Kingdom" in their pocket.
Good luck with that.
Your comments are disgusting.





Charles

said...

Charley Martel,

What seems to be the problem? Who, exactly, is a schismatic here, and why?

Have you read the Holy Father's encyclical? What does it teach?

Fellay? What does anything here have to do with Fellay?

Why are you so angry? At whom are you so angry?

Why don't you curl up in an easy chair and read (or re-read) the Holy Father's encyclical. Maybe it will quiet your troubled heart.





Charles

said...

Yachov,

So you're saying that one may not dissent from the "themes" identified in the encyclical by Fr. Z, like "look up from your phones ...," but you are willing to dissent from the Holy Father's views on climate change and political economy?

How long should you look up from your phone in your effort to encounter others to avoid qualifying as a dissenter and heretic, do you think?

And why does dissenting from the Holy Father's views on climate change and political economy not land you in the penitentiary with the rest of the schismatics and heretics?





Son of Ya'Kov

said...

Charles,

>So you're saying that one may not dissent from the "themes" identified in the encyclical by Fr. Z, like "look up from your phones ...," but you are willing to dissent from the Holy Father's views on climate change and political economy?

“Dissent” is a term used to rebel against faith and morals in a Catholic context. What faith and morals am I rebelling against in regards to things in the Holy Father’s encyclical which do not cover faith and morals(such as the cause of climate change or what economic policies are good for people?)?

The 13 things listed by Fr. Z are mostly Faith and morals and some good pastoral advice which is non-controversal. I don’t see how a reasonable argument can be made you should always look at your cell phone and always ignore your fellow human beings? Should you look at your cell phone during Mass? Nuff said....

>How long should you look up from your phone in your effort to encounter others to avoid qualifying as a dissenter and heretic, do you think?

That is a very hyper-literlistic mind set you have their charles. Obviously this bit of advice is the modern equivalent of the Priest telling me as a boy back before the Internet to “Turn off the idiot box once in a while and go pray a Rosary or talk to your mom”. It is non-controversal. Plus as some people have noted the Internet is making people into Sociopaths.

http://kernelmag.dailydot.com/yiannopoulos/3359/the-internet-is-turning-us-all-into-sociopaths/

>And why does dissenting from the Holy Father's views on climate change and political economy not land you in the penitentiary with the rest of the schismatics and heretics?

Didn’t the Holy Father say in this very Encyclical the Church does not presume to settle matters of science? Is not the conclusions to what causes climate change a matter of science? Thus logically based on that teaching how am I a dissident for having a different opinion than the so called “scientific majority” on climate change on a science the Church does not presume to be able to settle? Since the Church can’t settle it by nature then by definition it is not a matter of Faith and morals which She can settle in principle.

There is no heresy in going against the scientific majority thought under certain conditions it might not be prudent or reasonable. I owe no such allegiance to the scientific community as I do too the Church. Science is tentative.

How is this hard?





Charles

said...

Yachov,

"How is this hard?"

If it's so easy, why did it take you 415 words to explain and still leave the issue unresolved?

Your tidy distinction between "science" and "doctrine" works pretty well but isn't air-tight. It was a similar distinction that Catholic free-market conservatives (some of them liturgical traditionalists, like Tom Woods and Jeff Tucker) exploited to claim they owed no obedience of assent to earlier papal encyclicals when the addressed issues of economics, like usury, because their papal authors were, they claimed, out of their depth and below their pay grade where they spoke to such issues.

I just think a term like "dissent" has no business being applied to "themes," which aren't even propositional as such. Not that you're suggesting this, but I've read defensive posts by conservatives (I THINK they're conservatives) insisting that Catholics are not free to "dissent" from the Pope's teaching on things like "ecological conversion." But as PP asked in a post recently, what is that supposed to mean? How can one assent to something which is little more, on the surface, than a trendy trope?





Son of Ya'Kov

said...

Hey charles.

>If it's so easy, why did it take you 415 words to explain and still leave the issue unresolved?

415 words? What does length have to do with it? It’s not Shakespeare. What is so complex about what I wrote? I don’t get it?

>Your tidy distinction between "science" and "doctrine" works pretty well but isn't air-tight.

Only if we leave “science” undefined(theology is a science, Philosophy etc). That God created the Universe from nothing is a dogma. Wither this is because He by divine fiat caused the world to come semi-ready made into existence ten thousand years ago or 12.7 Billion years ago He created a Hawking/Penrose naked Singularity and willed it to “Bang” or He cause a Harte/Hawking State to come into existence & caused it to produce a Wavefuction then observed it to cause it’s collapse and “Bang” the Cosmos into existence are to me matters of Science. The creation Ex Nil is the dogma here and I might say beyond empirical investigation but not philosophical rational investigation. In a like manner I don’t see how the belief climate change might be mostly man caused is in anyway a Dogma or moral principle? I also don’t see where Francis (unlike Paul V with Galileo) put any type of ban on belief in climate change skepticism?

>It was a similar distinction that Catholic free-market conservatives (some of them liturgical traditionalists, like Tom Woods and Jeff Tucker) exploited to claim they owed no obedience of assent to earlier papal encyclicals when the addressed issues of economics, like usury, because their papal authors were, they claimed, out of their depth and below their pay grade where they spoke to such issues.

I don’t know enough nor do I care enough to interject myself into a fight between rival trads over issues like wither or not all forms of Libertarianism are contrary to the Faith (like Mark Shea believes) or what political ideology is “Catholic” & if they line up with earlier papal encyclicals or not. That is an interesting tangent subject that many I am sure would find interesting and important. I however am not one of those people. I am only concerned about Laudato Si.

It seems to me my logic here is solid. The Encyclical itself said the Church does not presume to settle matters of science. The idea climate change is caused by man is a matter of science strongly implied by this very Encyclical. That and unlike with Galileo and Paul V, his Holiness Pope Francis has put no ban on believing in the climate change skeptical position. Ergo by the standards of this very Encyclical I don’t have to believe in man caused climate change even if the Holy Father strongly advocates it.

Now can my reasoning vindicate or condemn Woods & Tucker? I don’t know nor do I care. I don't know enough about it to comment or care. My argument on this specific topic stands.





Son of Ya'Kov

said...

part two

>I just think a term like "dissent" has no business being applied to "themes," which aren't even propositional as such.

I agree it is too strong a use of language. But then again I think Mark Shea was way off calling Libertarianism a heresy. Why? The Church hasn’t called it such. At best it’s a result of his conclusions and private inferences. I need the Church to speak here. this is true even if Libertarianism is found to be un-Catholic.

>Not that you're suggesting this, but I've read defensive posts by conservatives (I THINK they're conservatives) insisting that Catholics are not free to "dissent" from the Pope's teaching on things like "ecological conversion." But as PP asked in a post recently, what is that supposed to mean? How can one assent to something which is little more, on the surface, than a trendy trope?

Whatever it is it is likely referring to moral principles not specific policies. Pope Francis said you shouldn’t abuse the Earth and pollute it and that our materialist consumerist culture that fuels this is a problem. I don’t see how that is wrong? On face value I agree. And I am pro-Capitalist, free markets and for deregulation.

Peace Charles.