Papal encyclical did not settle scientific questions, says former Vatican official [CWN]

Pope Francis did not intend to settle any scientific questions in Laudato Si’, according to an Italian bishop who helped draft the encyclical.Bishop Mario Toso of Faenza-Modigliana …

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Of course not. The science is already settled, or as scientists put it, “robust,” with evidence from many different sources and many studies converging.

But it is good the Pope addressed this settled issue in such a strong way, and wasn’t afraid of the CC denialist machine and all their clout and all their faithful followers.

#irony

What Laudato Si’ does address is the moral question of the misue of the techniques of science, technology and the scientific method in the present cultural paradigm. And the Jesuit priest that is Pope Francis well knows of what he teaches.

Hi,

Sorry if this is not the best post to ask the following question, but I didn’t know where else to ask in the recent thread.

Some conservative Catholics online seem to, literally, detest the encyclical. (Coincidentally, they didn’t seem to have a favorable opinion of the pope or post-conciliar movement either.)

Who’s right?

Can a pope really be a heretic that is espousing left-wing values to usher in population control and a one world government to police the environment?

  1. I’m not a fan of the encyclical. It has some good points, but I feel it needlessly jumps into the global warming political argument. The portions on that are not infallible and can never be infallible, so we need not worry once this whole scam/myth is shown to be false. (This won’t stop those who will attack the Church over papal infallibility, and they will use this encyclical to attack the Church. Catholics will have to respond charitably that those portions of the encyclical were never infallible).

  2. Yes, a Pope could be a heretic who spouts leftist values. The Holy Spirit only protects the Church from teaching error on faith and morals in the official capacity of the Pope’s office. So his personal opinions are not infallible. We’ve had bad popes in the past, and yet none of them ever declared something that the whole Church must believe that was error. None of them changed Church teaching.

  3. As to your question on one world govt and other issues, I’m not sure where the Pope stands. I lean towards giving him the benefit of the doubt and believe he is being given bad info, and is way too trusting of some horrific people who claim to love the poor. I don’t believe he will formally call for a one world govt, and I of course know the Holy Spirit will prevent him from teaching formal error.

Pope Francis is not very different from the previous 2 popes – it’s just that he speaks more clearly what they’ve already said re global warming, the environment, and how bad our current global economic system is for the poor and dispossessed; after all they are Popes of the entire Church, including the poor and dispossessed, not just of rich Americans, and they are concerned about all peoples of the world, not just the well-off. So if some Catholics think ill of Pope Francis, then they are also thinking ill of BXVI and JPII. It basically boils down to not liking what the Church and Jesus teach.

In my thinking Catholics who are against accepting AGW and their responsibility re environmental issues are not really “pro-life.” If it is other people doing bad, like having abortions, etc, they are really into condemning them, but if it is themselves who might be doing wrong & harming others, then they take the Cain approach and deny it or the Adam approach and blame-shift. They also figure since they themselves cannot be wrong, the Pope must be wrong and perhaps even bad.

It’s called “human nature” and can be found on the so-called right and on the left :slight_smile:

As Catholics, we are called to act according to grace and not according to nature. More easily said than done, despite all the grace and gifts we’ve been given.

The papal encyclical Laudato Si does not espouse political values, and it most certainly does not argue for either population control or one-world government. The encyclical concerns the moral obligation of Catholics–and indeed of all humanity–to accept responsibility for the environment and for the damage that humans have unquestionably done to it. This is in accordance with traditional Catholic social teaching.

It is no doubt true that some “conservative” Catholics have expressed reservations about the encyclical, but they seem not to realize that whether or not one accepts the science behind AGW is not the issue. What is relevant is the moral obligation of Catholics to assent to the magisterial teachings of the encyclical concerning human responsibility for the environment and the way irresponsible environmental damage has been destructive to both nature and human nature, which have come to be viewed as objects for manipulation and exploitation. Those who seem to believe the issue is primarily the science of AGW likely have not understood the encyclical or have not read it at all.

It would be very difficult if not impossible to maintain that pollution of the air, water, and soil of the earth and the decimation of natural areas have not occurred, that humans are not responsible for it, and that this activity has not adversely affected many millions of innocent people. For some this truth is likely uncomfortable, and they would prefer to have others believe (and might themselves believe) the issue is political. It is not. It is a moral one.

The papal encyclical Laudato Si does not espouse political values, and it most certainly does not argue for either population control or one-world government. The encyclical concerns the moral obligation of Catholics–and indeed of all humanity–to accept responsibility for the environment and for the damage that humans have unquestionably done to it. This is in accordance with traditional Catholic social teaching.

It is true that some “conservative” Catholics have expressed reservations about the encyclical, but at least in some instances they seem not to realize that whether or not one accepts the science behind AGW is not the issue. What is relevant is the moral obligation of Catholics to assent to the magisterial teachings of the encyclical concerning human responsibility for the environment and the way irresponsible environmental damage has been destructive to both nature and human nature, which have come to be viewed as objects for manipulation and exploitation. Those who seem to believe the issue is primarily the science of AGW likely have not understood the encyclical or have not read it at all.

It would be very difficult if not impossible to maintain that pollution of the air, water, and soil of the earth and the decimation of natural areas have not occurred, that humans are not responsible for it, and that this activity has not adversely affected many millions of innocent people. For some this truth is likely uncomfortable, and they would prefer to have others believe (and might themselves believe) the issue is political. It is not. It is a moral one.

But how can Catholics who have been faithful Catholics for decades (and some in religious orders) just ignore it and even speak against it publicly/online? It seems to go against the “We are Catholic, we are one in faith and morals” thing…

It seems that anything “liberals” support is evil because of guilt by association.

I sort of think the “conservatives” of our time are way out on a fringe historically speaking, and they tend to conflate this warped conservatism with Catholicism.

I was reared a Protestant in a staunch Republican family (small business oriented). I’ve always been an environmentalist and into such issues. And anti-abortion.

The two best environmental presidents in the U.S. were Republican – Teddy Roosevelt and Richard Nixon.

A good portion of the conservatives, tea-partiers, and Republicans of today (including Catholic conservatives) are exceedingly pro-death and destructionist in their anti-environmental stance. I really have a very hard time understanding how they can even brush off their own progeny. I just don’t understand them at all. It is showing up in their efforts to deflect the Pope’s Encyclical…such as saying “paper encyclical did not settle scientific questions.”

Nonsense. The Encyclical made it clear we are to accept environmental science, even if we are not sure or have doubts, and do the needful. Prudence requires us to do as much.

The point of the Bishop (who is supposed to have been a primary contributor/author of the encyclical), it seems to me, is that scientific questions are not matters of faith/morals. Therefore, Catholics can legitimately debate those questions, disagree about them and change their views on them. One side of the debate is no more “Catholic” than the other.

Dan

Bishop Toso is reported as saying Pope Francis "did not intend to settle any scientific questions in Laudato Si’. The article further notes that Bishop Toso emphasized that “the focus of the encyclical was on moral rather than scientific questions.” That ought to be clear enough, but it seems for some it will remain beyond reach.

In the U.S. at least, there is no doubt that there has been a commingling of politics and religion, as we see for instance on the so-called Religious Right. But Pope Francis, a Jesuit priest and bishop in Argentina during the politically tumultuous 60’s and 70’s, is well aware of the dangers of becoming entangled in politics. The encyclical is a moral teaching.

Though I don’t have the reference handy, Pope Francis has spoken of the serious mistake of viewing philosophy and theology through an ideological prism. When this occurs, discourse is often futile, for ideologies have their own internal logic and are typically immune to external reasoning. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, including the encyclical itself as well as those comments from a bishop who was instrumental in preparing the first draft of the encyclical, it should come as no surprise that some conservative voices will continue to insist that the encyclical, despite its magisterial teaching concerning nature and the environment, concerns only scientific questions and thus can be ignored.

You’re creating a strawman argument of the conservative view. You beautifully knock it down and claim victory. I wonder if you can actually argue against the conservative viewpoint.

The conservative view is that the encyclical, when it speaks about pollution and taking care of the environment, is correct and Catholics must take care of creation. When it speaks about AGW, it is venturing into scientific opinion, and as such, can be disagreed with.

When the encyclical speaks on AGW, it is the Pope’s opinion. It is not doctrine, nor is it faith and morals. As such, Catholics are free to disagree with the Pope’s opinion about AGW.

Socialism IS evil. Inherently so. It has even been condemned by the Church. When people associate with it, or promote it, then it should rightly be called out.

“Liberals” are socialists and socialiism is evil? If that isn’t viewing moral teaching through the prism of ideology, then I don’t know what would be. But yet you say I am the one setting up a “straw man”?

During his time as the Jesuit provincial of Argentina, Pope Francis strongly rejected Marxism, insisting neither it nor any political ideology had a legitimate role in the teachings of the Church.

What teaching of Laudato Si’ is it that you suppose is evil?

I didn’t say anything in Laudato Si was evil. I was talking about liberalism/leftism.

Well, in response to the OP’s comment that, “It seems that anything “liberals” support is evil because of guilt by association”, you replied:

“Socialism IS evil, inherently so. It has been condemned by the Church. When people associate with it, or promote it, then it should rightly be called out.”

Since in your comment you equate “liberals” with socialism, and what the OP had indicated in his comment that “liberals” were supporting was Laudato Si’, the obvious conclusion was that you viewed something in Laudato Si’ as evil. So I thought that was what you meant–i.e., that anything “liberals” supported was evil due to guilt by association.

Socialism is evil. Liberals push socialism. They have grabbed on to a few paragraphs of the encyclical to claim that it supports their evil views.

What is socialism but caring and sharing, making sure no one goes hungry or without health care, etc. The early Christian Church followed that principle, as do convents and monasteries.

I think the encyclical made it quite clear that laissez faire, cut-throat global capitalism that chews up the poor and spits them out as garbage is evil. With the only protection being “buyer beware” and sue Monsanto if you think they caused your cancer bec of all the Agent Orange released into your very poor neighborhood where they produced it (like in Mission, TX); and good luck suing them assuming you have mega-time & mega-money to do so, bec they will sue you right back for $millions claiming it was a frivolous lawsuit. The young man who lived across from the plant, who had 4 kidney transplants and brain surgery finally died last summer, so I guess he’ll never get his $2000 from the lawsuit as a small % of the “lucky” others got.

The gov does have a role in protecting our health and well-being (including environmental protections), in building roads and schools, maintaining infrastructure and enhancing it for the onslaught of climate change effects, such as Katrina and Sandy – tho the U.S. gov is failing miserably at that role. Even the most capitalistic society has elements of socialism.

I think we can all agree that in some ways and contexts capitalism and the supply/demand forces work well, assuming people aren’t being brainwashed into buying heaps of junk.* It is good for people to take responsibility for themselves and others and not fall into infantile dependency on the state (we are really disturbed by our ne’er-do-well relatives that keep hitting us up for cash, for their own sake, of course :)). We want people to be as free as possible to make their own choices and become mature, conscientious adults, as long as they aren’t harming others.

In other cases capitalism does not work well. And in some cases we need government to provide protections, including laws and regulations that prevent companies and others from poisoning us and destroying our climate in which we produce our food and live relatively good and healthy lives.

So it is ridiculous to argue that capitalism is better than socialism or vice versa – both have their place and roles, and both need to pass the “common good” and “individual human dignity” tests.


*from Laudato Si:
203. Since the market tends to promote extreme consumerism in an effort to sell its products, people can easily get caught up in a whirlwind of needless buying and spending. Compulsive consumerism is one example of how the techno-economic paradigm affects individuals. Romano Guardini had already foreseen this: “The gadgets and technics forced upon him by the patterns of machine production and of abstract planning mass man accepts quite simply; they are the forms of life itself. To either a greater or lesser degree mass man is convinced that his conformity is both reasonable and just”.144 That paradigm leads people to believe that they are free as long as they have the supposed freedom to consume. But those really free are the minority who wield economic and financial power…
204. The current global situation engenders a feeling of instability and uncertainty, which in turn becomes “a seedbed for collective selfishness”.145 When people become self-centred and self-enclosed, their greed increases. The emptier a person’s heart is, the more he or she needs things to buy, own and consume. It becomes almost impossible to accept the limits imposed by reality. In this horizon, a genuine sense of the common good also disappears. As these attitudes become more widespread, social norms are respected only to the extent that they do not clash with personal needs. So our concern cannot be limited merely to the threat of extreme weather events, but must also extend to the catastrophic consequences of social unrest. Obsession with a consumerist lifestyle, above all when few people are capable of maintaining it, can only lead to violence and mutual destruction.

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