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A Sober Reflection on Laudato si

 

an Encyclical Defective in Authority

 

Encyclical Laudato si

 

We are “Totally Faithful to the Sacred Deposit of Faith (Depositum Fidei) entrusted to the Holy See in Rome” that existed in perpetuity from Saint Peter. This is the Deposit of the Faith for nearly 2000 years, and Christ promised that the gates of Hell will not prevail against the Church built upon Saint Peter. We cannot exist outside the Body of Christ of whom Christ Himself is the Head (1Corinthians 2.12, 12.27; Colossians 1.18, etc.). To all authentic Church teaching embodied in the Deposit of Faith we are unalterably faithful.

Sadly, not all the popes of Holy Mother the Church have been holy; indeed, Pope Honorius was anathematized in 680 Anno Domini, condemned as a heretic and excommunicated — forty years after his death! We need only look at the Borgia Pope Alexander VI of such ignominy. In more modern times we have whom we believe to be the much mistaken Pope John XXIII who convened the Second Vatican Council and whose prescient last words, reportedly, were: “Stop the Council!” 1

We now find current popes canonizing virtually all their immediate predecessors — which appears scandalous (yes, we understand that God alone knows) and, in his present and defective encyclical, Laudato si we find our present Holy Father, Pope Francis, issuing encyclicals on the environment and economics!

We do not consider these issues to be within either Francis's competency or divinely invested power, nor are we able to reconcile them with the Petrine Office which has been entrusted to him, except very broadly and only tangentially. When Christ said to Saint Peter, Feed my sheep. (Saint John 21.17) We do not believe He had in mind "the tragic effects of environmental degradation on the lives of the world’s poorest" (Laudato si, 13) or "the intimate relationship between the poor and the fragility of the planet" (16). Yes, as Saint James is clear (St. James 2.16), we have a very real individual responsibility for providing for those in need.

But it is imperative to understand that Christ also recognized a greater and more pressing need still:

Amen, amen I say to you, you seek me, not because you have seen miracles, but because you did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for that which endureth unto life everlasting, which the Son of man will give you. (Saint John 6.26-28). It was in this regard that Christ told Saint Peter to Feed My sheep.  It was a spiritual command … not an economic mandate.
 

Laudato si (interestingly, one of the very few papal encyclicals not written in Latin ...)

If the Pope pontificates on economics we must ask ourselves, can an economist pontificate on the Papacy?

Of course not”, you say, The province of expertise embodied in an economist does not qualify him as a theologian. It's not his job description. He may have opinions on the matter but that is all they are: opinions.” By the same reasoning, neither can a pope pontificate on economics. It's not his job description. His job description is spiritual: proclaiming the Gospel, retaining the Deposit of the Faith, leading the Church faithfully in the ways of Christ, and saving souls. In fact, his Master very clearly states, to avoid all confusion, that His Kingdom is not of this world. (Regnum Meum non est de hoc mundo. (Saint John 18.36)

An economist's job description, on the other hand, is explicitly temporal and material: to research and analyze economic issues; it precisely pertains to the world, matter, money, and financial assets. Pope Francis, by contrast, has an individual right, as do all men, to an opinion on economic issues — but even as Pontiff he possesses no authority in them since he has no credentials for them.

To better understand the incongruity, let us ask: Would you go to Warren Buffet for spiritual advice on moral matters?” And, conversely, “Would you go the pope for economic advice concerning your retirement options?” Really? It is a matter of competency and invested authority. Would you attend a seminar featuring Warren Buffett on the topic of “saving your soul and going to Heaven”? Would you go to one featuring Pope Francis on “efficiently organizing your work strategy and finances”? You would cock your head in bewilderment and politely decline both. Say it is not so! Or do we have a deal for you on ocean-front property in Nebraska!


Until the pontificate of Francis we, as Catholics, had two holy Mothers:

  • Our Holy Mother the Church
     

  • Our Holy Mother, Mary
     

  • ... and now ... to our incredulity, a third  — “our holy Mother Earth”...?


Pope Francis, in his encyclical, Laudato si, insists that we:

  • Love the land as Mother earth
     

  • Make alliance with Mother Earth
     

  • This sister [Earth] now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods which God has endowed her with. We have come to see ourselves as her lord and masters, entitled to plunder her at will. The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the soil, in the water, in the air, and in all forms of life.”
     

  • “We human beings are united as brothers and sisters on a wonderful pilgrimage, woven together by the love God has for each of his creatures and which also unites us in fond affection with brother sun, sister moon, brother river and mother earth.”
     

  • “One thing is certain: we can no longer turn our backs on reality, on our brothers and sisters, on Mother Earth.” (speech at the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador)
     

Yes, Saint Francis of Assisi wrote the beautiful Canticle of the Sun from which Pope Francis selectively draws in this encyclical  — but he egregiously neglects (with most “progressive” bishops and clerics, to say nothing of the stultified laity) to mention even once Saint Francis’s stern admonition in closing that same Canticle:

“Woe to those who die in mortal sin!
Happy those she finds doing Your most holy will.
The second death can do no harm to them.”

 

Pope Francis, on the other hand,  absurdly asserts that ,to commit a crime against the natural world is a sin against ourselves and a sin against God”

It is worthwhile noting that he is quoting — ecumenically of course — “His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew” (On Earth as in Heaven: Ecological Vision and Initiatives of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew) the worldwide leader of the Orthodox Churches — which are not in communion with Rome. Prior to the Second Vatican Council, popes quoted from Christ, His Apostles and His Saints within the Catholic Church.)


Let us be Clear: One Cannot Sin against “Mother Earth”

It is a blasphemous notion. We cannot sin against “Mother Earth” any more than we can sin against a stone: it is not a person created in imago Dei, and it certainly is not a deity, except in pagan religions, New Age Theology, and Wicca — and, it would appear, the present papacy.

How far Saint Francis’s spiritual vision is  ... from Pope Francis’s economic vision: With great urgency, he insists that The system of production and distribution of food must be radically rethought. (We do not know what school of theology this derives from; very likely Jesuit in origin, for the Jesuits, once so fiercely loyal to the Church and the papacy are now, by and large, today’s modern apostates within the Post-Modern Church that Pope Francis appears intent on constructing, even as he “deconstructs” the Church of the Ages). The Holy Father is not aptly named, after all. “Francis: re-build my Church, which as you can see is falling into ruin.” Thus Christ spoke to Francis of Assisi in 1206. He did not direct Francis to reform feudal economics.

If much of this is reminiscent of New Age thought and the culture of the 60's, we are at least inclined to wonder at the correspondence, yes?

We pray for Pope Francis, that God lead him and guide him in His ways — and not the ways of the world, for we have greater authority to which to appeal than “His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.”  As Catholics we have the unimpeachable witness and admonishment of two:

  • Saint John: Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (1 St. John 2.15)
     

  • Saint Paul: The world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. (Gal. 6.14)


In our humble — and perhaps even mistaken opinion — the last truly holy and absolutely faithful Pontiff was Pope Pius X (the veritable bane of the liberal and “progressive” mind-set that permeates our Post-Modern Church) . We do not assert that the Seat of Peter expired after his death. We are not Sedevacantists. Whether or not it has been heroically Catholic in the last 50 years is, in our opinion, very questionable. The Church has suffered much and terribly as a consequence of Vatican II. But just as Pope Pius X sat upon the Cathedra that Honorius and Alexander stained, another Pope of heroic Catholic sanctity may await us and restore what had been — once again, in our opinion — illicitly deprived of us. In that sense we are, indeed, Faithful to the Sacred Deposit of Faith entrusted to the Holy see in Rome when it is exercised as such in conspectu Dei, and in complete continuity and agreement with that 2000 year Deposit of Faith — which is susceptible to being (illicitly) ignored or prescinded from to the ends of man, but from which no one can deprive Catholics, and which none can abolish.

Remember the admonition of Saint Paul to Saint Timothy: For there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears: And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables. ( 2 Tim. 4:3-4)

May we humbly ask that you pray for us, and for all who contend against the deceits of the devil. "For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and power, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places. (Eph. 6.11-12)

_______________________

1 http://www.ewtn.com/v/experts/showmessage.asp?number=296979

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