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Confusing the sciences of Heaven and Earth June 18, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, Basics, disaster, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, Papa, pr stunts, scandals, secularism, shocking, Society, technology, the return, the struggle for the Church.

Always very erudite, very prudent analysis from Fr. George Rutler on the almighty eco-encyclical:

…….the papal bull  Inter Caetera by which Pope Alexander VI in 1493 divided the world between Castile and Portugal with a specified meridian. While it was not without effect, its neglect of specific degrees, and obliviousness to the immensity of the globe,  led John II of Portugal to shelve it and, in France, Francis mocked it:  “Show me Adam’s will.”  The pope was Aragonese and, while suspected of prejudice by the Portuguese, was trying his best to establish some order in a world as novel as outer space.  Prescinding from the complexities of his personal household, this was the one notorious miscalculation in a pontificate of remarkably successful undertakings in matters religious and not political.  In his letter to the Duke of Norfolk, John Henry Newman lists other popes who were mistaken in certain policies: St. Victor, Liberius, Gregory XIII, Paul IV, Sixtus V, and St Peter himself when St. Paul “withstood” him. [Certainly.  And you can read other great Church figures criticizing, sometimes obliquely, sometimes vociferously, actions of other pontiffs passed]

Pope Francis’ encyclical on the ecology of the earth is adventurously laden with promise and peril. It can raise consciousness of humans as stewards of creation.  However, there is a double danger in using it as an economic text or scientific thesis. One of the pope’s close advisors, the hortatory Cardinal Maradiaga of Honduras said with ill-tempered diction: “The ideology surrounding environmental issues is too tied to a capitalism that doesn’t want to stop ruining the environment because they don’t want to give up their profits.” [Because we all know, Cardinal, that socialist countries never ruin theirs.  I’m sorry, this is naught but extreme progressive political bias, the capitalist system, whatever its faults, has shown itself to be far better stewards of the environment than socialism.There are still vast tracts of the former Soviet Union where essentially nothing lives due to rampant toxicity]From the empirical side, to prevent the disdain of more informed scientists generations from now, papal teaching must be safeguarded from attempts to exploit it as an endorsement of one hypothesis over another concerning anthropogenic causes of climate change.[I made the same point yesterday.  Once climate change is refuted, the papacy will forever be saddled with an official encyclical that proclaims its the very truth.  Same with evolution and any other highly argued scientific issue, for the Church to weigh in on one side or the other is fraught with tremendous dangers.  200 years from now, if there be a world left, critics will lambaste the hidebound, superstitious papacy for believing such scientific balderdash, never mentioning that the entire progressive spectrum did, as well]It is not incumbent upon a Catholic to believe, like Rex Mottram in Brideshead Revisited, that a pope can perfectly predict the weather. As a layman in these matters, all I know about climate change is that I have to pay for heating a very big church with an unpredictable apparatus. This is God’s house, but he sends me the ConEd utility bills.

It is noteworthy that Pope Francis would have included in an encyclical, instead of lesser teaching forms such as an apostolic constitution or motu proprio, subjects that still pertain to unsettled science (and to speak of a “consensus” allows that there is not yet a defined absolute).[I hate this. No science is ever really settled.  Newtonian physics was once the gold standard, then Einstein came along and seemed to demonstrate there were situations where the Newtonian model broke down.  Now a lot of Einstein’s grand theories are under assault.  Science is awesome in many respects, but when it becomes a substitute for religion with dogmatic beliefs that must be held, it’s no longer science, but authoritarian politics masquerading as science] The Second Vatican Council, as does Pope Francis, makes clear that there is no claim to infallibility in such teaching. The Council (Lumen Gentium, n.25) does say that even the “ordinary Magisterium” is worthy of a “religious submission of intellect and will” but such condign assent is not clearly defined.  It does not help when a prominent university professor of solid Catholic commitments says that in the encyclical “we are about to hear the voice of Peter.”  That voice may be better heard when, following the advice of the encyclical (n.55) people turn down their air conditioners.  One awaits the official Latin text to learn its neologism for “condizione d’aria.”  While the Holy Father has spoken eloquently about the present genocide of Christians in the Middle East, those who calculate priorities would have hoped for an encyclical about this fierce persecution, surpassing that of the emperor Decius.  Pictures of martyrs being beheaded, gingerly filed away by the media, give the impression that their last concern on earth was not climate fluctuations.

Saint Peter, from his fishing days, had enough hydrometeorology to know that he could not walk on water. Then the eternal Logos told him to do it, and he did, until he mixed up the sciences of heaven and earth and began to sink. As vicars of that Logos, popes speak infallibly only on faith and morals. They also have the prophetic duty to correct anyone who, for the propagation of their particular interests, imputes virtual infallibility to papal commentary on physical science while ignoring genuinely infallible teaching on contraception, abortion and marriage and the mysteries of the Lord of the Universe.  At this moment, we have the paradoxical situation in which an animated, and even frenzied, secular chorus hails papal teaching as infallible, almost as if it could divide the world, provided it does NOT involve faith or morals.

Exactly. The same progressives hailing Pope Francis as a great hero and this encyclical as the final word of Catholic Doctrine would be the first to utterly reject as having ANY authority over them all the preceding papal documents and statements not so conducive to their political interests.  The simple fact of the matter is, when it comes to matters outside his charism, the Pope has no more authority than you or I.  I’m certain there are elements of Laudato Si where he does speak with authority, but there are at least as many if not more where he does not.

And that is the enormous tragedy not only of this document but of so many post-conciliar papal acts, and the Council itself, the mixing of the dogmatic and the arguable, the authoritative and the mere opinion, all jumbled up and with little specifying which is which. All this is horribly confusing for souls, who are tempted to throw out the whole mess for the sake of some precious clarity.

Which prompts some of the best formed souls to wonder if all this is not intentional, if this is not the diabolical confusion of modernism being formalized as a constitutive element of the Magisterium – how can one proclaim the Church has the Truth when so much confusion reigns?  Is that perhaps not the desired end result of all this?

I cannot pretend to know the answers to these existential questions with any certainty.  All I do know is that what once was no longer is, and what is now would have been sternly, and rightly, condemned way back when.


1. Baseballmom - June 19, 2015

“the mixing of the dogmatic and the arguable, the authoritative and the mere opinion, all jumbled up and with little specifying which is which.”
BING! Precisely the problem. Catholics still tell me that I am committing a sin and embracing intrinsic evil when I express support for Capital Punishment…. “But JP2 said……!!!!!”
Yeah…. Whatevs….

TG - June 19, 2015

That’s how I feel – “whatever”. I’m not about to read that modernist encyclical. I’ll let others read it for me. I read somewhere that encyclicals in the past were easy to understand by a lay person. So far I’ve been too lazy to read one.

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