Bill McKibben’s New York Review of Books essay on Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si, has prompted two previous posts by your author (here and here). Working through the review has helped identify McKibben’s affinity for liberation theology and his outlandish claim that Pope Francis shares this affinity.

In the The Wall Street Journal, Lord Lawson, former Great Britain Secretary of State for Energy, Chancellor of the Exchequer and current chairman of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, reviews Ronald Bailey’s most recent work, The End of Doom. Lawson favorably compares Bailey’s book to Matt Ridley’s The Rational Optimist (high praise indeed). Much of the material Lawson recounts in his review directly refutes McKibben and, to a lesser extent, Pope Francis. The world, according to Bailey, Ridley and Lawson, and contrary to McKibben, is a much better place for the poor than it was a half-decade ago – largely attributable to technological advancements and the midwife who made it possible: capitalism.

Ronald Bailey begs to differ. As his book demonstrates, a careful examination of the evidence shows that, at least in material terms (which is not unimportant, particularly for the world’s poor), life is getting better. The overriding reason for this, according to Mr. Bailey, is continuing technological progress, facilitated—and this is crucial—by the global triumph of market capitalism.

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Blog author: jcarter
Friday, July 31, 2015
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Pharmacy owners cannot cite religion to deny medicine -U.S. appeals court
Dan Levine, Reuters

Throughout human history, people of all cultures have sought freedom. Some have emphasized inner spiritual or emotional freedom, and others freedom from external restraints, such as slavery or political freedom.

Why Congress Won’t Defund Planned Parenthood
Dustin Siggins, The Federalist

Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, takes money for baby body parts, but stopping this atrocity, let alone taxpayer funding for it, will take more than the proposals at hand.

Human trafficking: The lives bought and sold
BBC

Millions of men, women and children around the world are currently victims of human trafficking – bought and sold as commodities into prostitution and forced labour.

Chinese Communists Losing the War Against Christianity
The American Interest

Communists in China increasingly realize that the war against religion as such is a losing proposition, and are now looking to support “indigenous” Chinese religions and traditions—Confucianism, Buddhism, Chinese folk religions—against both Christianity and Islam, seen as dangerous imports with potentially destabilizing effects, and “new religions” like the cult of Falun Gong.

360_vatican_bankPope Francis hasn’t been shy about showing his disdain for capitalism and. During his recent trip to Latin America, for example, the pontiff said the the unfettered capitalism is “the dung of the devil.”

Like many others, I’ve complained that the pope is presenting a distorted, incomplete, and naive view of capitalism. But to his credit, Francis has vowed to consider these reactions before his trip the U.S. this September. “I heard that there were some criticisms from the United States. I must begin studying these criticisms, no?” he said. “Then we shall dialogue about them.”

That dialogue is welcome, though most people aren’t expecting a radical shift in Pope Francis’s views of economics. But what if they did change? What if not only the pope but also the entire Catholic Church embraced free enterprise and free markets?

It may seem unlikely, but it wasn’t that long ago the Catholic Church took the side of repressive and authoritarian regimes over religious liberty. That changed largely because of the United States showed how religious benefited Christians. As Judge John Noonan has observed, “the Declaration on Religious Freedom would not have come into existence without the American contribution and the experiment that began with Madison.”

At Mirror of Justice, Greg Sisk argues that just as the Catholic Church discovered the virtues of religious liberty, eventually the church will appreciate the charisma of democratic capitalism:
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On Tuesday, I dealt with approximately the first third of Bill McKibben’s New York Review of Books’ essay on Pope Francis’ Laudato Si encyclical. Today, I review the middle third, which includes McKibben’s alarming defense of liberation theology and his claim that this discredited ideology is embraced by Pope Francis.

McKibben continues to read into Laudato Si things that simply aren’t there. For example, he depicts oil companies as inherently rapacious when compared to native peoples.

Even more striking, in this regard, is his steadfast defense of “indigenous communities and their cultural traditions. They are not merely one minority among others, but should be the principal dialogue partners, especially when large projects affecting their land are proposed,” because for them land “is a sacred space with which they need to interact if they are to maintain their identity and values.” Compare that attitude with, say, the oil companies now destroying aboriginal land in order to mine Canada’s tar sands.

Never mind that the First Nation people who lived in the bituminous-rich area of what is now Alberta, Canada, found plentiful use for the oil sands McKibben disparages. And well before white settlers. Then this:

But the pope is just as radical, given current reality, when he insists on beauty over ugliness.

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Today, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) called for supporting just wage public policies. While the religious leaders genuinely concern for the poor, they display a deep lack of understanding of basic economic principles, namely the law of supply and demand. Supply and demand directly determines the price (wages) of labor. A price higher than the market price leads not to higher wages, but higher unemployment. Read this article for a more detailed discussion of the ill-effects of minimum wage laws.

Blog author: dpahman
Thursday, July 30, 2015
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Earlier this month, the eminent historian Owen Chadwick passed away. Chadwick’s immense scholarly accomplishments included Acton and History, his study of our namesake here at the Acton Institute. John Morrill wrote a wonderful reflection for The Guardian on Chadwick’s life, character, and accomplishments at the time. From the article:

His last two books were A History of the Popes 1830-1914 (1998) and The Early Reformation on the Continent (2002). Throughout his career, he also published brilliant short essays, normally developed from public lectures. He wrote memorably about Lancelot Andrewes, bishop and principal translator of the King James Bible; Izaak Walton (The Fisherman and his God, 1984); the Oxford movement, the forerunner of Anglo-Catholicism; the historian Lord Acton, a real hero to him; the young Gladstone and Italy; and Newman and the idea of the university.

Morrill continues,

His writing was marked by short sentences: no modern writer employed so few subordinate clauses. He had a penchant for one-sentence paragraphs. His writing was always crisp and vivid, as notably in the single-word chapter titles of his final book. The brusqueness of his judgments often startles – as when he comments how the motor accident in which Ramsey’s father’s actions led to the death of his mother was to traumatise the future archbishop of Canterbury: “The resulting turmoil, mental and emotional, ruined (the word is not too strong) his preparation to be a priest and blotted out his memory of Cuddesdon [College, Oxford].”
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What is memorable about Chadwick’s writing is its pleasing economy and uncluttered clarity of articulation. He wrote as he spoke: to read him is to hear him.

Resquiescat in pace. May he rest in peace. And may he continue to be heard well beyond our time.

Read the full article at The Guardian here.

Blog author: bwalker
Thursday, July 30, 2015
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Archbishop, EPA administrator write joint op-ed on climate change
Catholic World News

Archbishop Blase Cupich of Chicago has joined Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy in writing an op-ed article entitled “We have a moral obligation on climate change.” “The fight against climate change isn’t a sprint — it’s a marathon,” they wrote in the Chicago Sun-Times. “But with continued leadership and committed action from the archdiocese, from Chicago, and from congregations and communities across America, we can turn the challenge of climate change into an opportunity to build a cleaner, healthier, more prosperous future.”

The Pope as Trophy-Chaplain to the Democratic Party
George Weigel, National Review

Moreover, none of these co-signers of the “Dear Colleague” memo inviting signatures on the letter to the pope has lifted a finger to help the Catholic Church in the United States in its battle against the HHS contraceptive/abortifacient mandate in the implementation of Obamacare. Thanks to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, that now puts each of the solons in what one might have imagined, once upon a time, to be the unenviable position of supporting a bullying Obama administration in its efforts to drive the Little Sisters of the Poor out of business. All of the signatories to the “Dear Colleague” have also busily promoted the Democrats’ “War on Women” narrative, which is essentially anti-Catholic. And one may reasonably assume that none of them is going to be of any help in probing Planned Parenthood’s trafficking in the body parts of very small people.

Pope Francis Demands “Fully Borne” Cost of Pollution (Carbon Price)To Prevent “Millions Of Premature Deaths”
Dr. Gideon Polya, CounterCurrents

Pope Francis, quoting Pope Benedict XVI, essentially advocates Carbon Pricing in Section 195 of his 2015 encyclical “Laudato si”: “”Yet only when the economic and social costs of using up shared environmental resources are recognized with transparency and fully borne by those who incur them, not by other peoples or future generations,” can those [economic] actions be considered ethical”

ECM launches Pope’s Encyclical, Tuesday
Prince Henderson, Episcopal Conference of Malawi

The Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) will on Tuesday next week launch the Encyclical on climate change as written by the Holy Father, Pope Francis, ECM Secretary General, Rev. Fr. Henry Saindi has confirmed. In a statement released by ECM, the conference comprising the eight dioceses subdivided in the two ecclesiastical provinces of the Archdiocese of Blantyre and the Archdiocese of Lilongwe will launch the Pope’s Encyclical at Capital Hotel starting from 18:00hrs to 21:00hrs.

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courtesy of CNN

courtesy of CNN

Human trafficking victims get moved frequently. It’s one way their traffickers can keep control over them – the victims often have no idea where they are. They can be transported by bus, train, 18-wheelers, and planes. Could you spot a victim? More importantly, would you know what to do?

CNN’s Freedom Project has the on-going mission to end modern day slavery. They’ve given a list travelers can look for.

1. The person traveling is poorly dressed. (Now, I realize, given the state of our national dress code, which seems to be pajama bottoms and a hoodie, this might be a tough one.) The clothes the person is wearing may be too large or too small. The clothes may be completely “out-of-sync” with their destination: too warm or too cold. A young person may be dressed very provocatively. (more…)

Camille Paglia

Camille Paglia

No one can call Camille Paglia an easy person to pidgeon-hole. She’s a feminist, but refers to herself as a dissident one. She’s a professor, an author, a critic. In the late 1990s, she began writing a regular column for Salon (she continues to contribute, but not regularly.) She once said she would not be unhappy if her entire career were to be judged by this sentence she wrote: “God is man’s greatest idea.

Suffice it to say that she cannot be pidgeon-holed, but she loves to ruffle feathers. (more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, July 30, 2015
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Catholic Social Work And The Right To Religious Freedom
Frances Robinson, First Things

The social work field has become a battleground where strong convictions are unwelcome if they conflict with the profession’s ruling assumptions. In the past, opportunities to work in a faith-based agency gave religiously believing social workers a way to begin their career in a safe and professionally respected environment.

Skipping church? Facial recognition software could be tracking you
Sarah Pulliam Bailey, Washington Post

Could Big Brother be coming to a church near you? One software company is now providing churches with facial recognition software to better track who shows up at their worship services.

The Equality Act: Bad Policy that Poses Great Harms
Andrew T. Walker, Public Discourse

If passed, the Equality Act would empower the government to discriminate against those who do not accept a sexually permissive understanding of human nature that denies sexual complementarity.

What are the Alternatives to the Biblical View of Freedom?
Art Lindsley, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

Throughout human history, people of all cultures have sought freedom. Some have emphasized inner spiritual or emotional freedom, and others freedom from external restraints, such as slavery or political freedom.