Category: Vatican

Vatican PopeIn anticipation of the new papal encyclical on the environment (reportedly due out this month, and titled Laudato si’ [Praised Be You]), the press is seeking a way to make sense out of information “floating around” concerning the contents of the encyclical. At this point, no one really knows what the encyclical will say, although there are educated guesses. (See Fr. Robert Sirico’s discussion on the encyclical here.)

Peter Smith at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette did a “round-up” of various Vatican watchers, officials and teachers, asking for opinions on this environmental encyclical. Included in this group was Kishore Jayabalan, director of Istituto Acton (Acton’s Rome office.) Jayabalan told Smith that:

… he hopes the pope emphasizes “our freedom and responsibility in caring for God’s creation” and the poor. (more…)

Blog author: bwalker
Monday, June 1, 2015
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In the spirit of PowerLinks, we’ll be adding a regular roundup on news concerning Pope Francis’ forthcoming encyclical on the environment and, more broadly, religious witness on environmental stewardship outside the Roman Catholic Church. This may be a daily PowerBlog feature, or you may see it less frequently depending on the volume of news and commentary on the subject. If you haven’t got to it yet, make sure you watch Rev. Robert A. Sirico’s excellent commentary on the encyclical, which was posted on Friday. We welcome your comments and please feel free to add links we may have missed. We’re looking for a robust exchange. That means we don’t necessarily need to agree with your position. But please keep the conversation civil and refrain from personal attacks.

Pope’s environmental encyclical to be titled ‘Laudato Sii’ (Praised Be You)
Elise Harris, Catholic News Agency

Taken from St. Francis of Assisi’s “Canticle of the Sun” prayer praising God for creation, the likely name of the Pope’s upcoming encyclical was informally announced just weeks before its anticipated publication.

The upcoming “environment” encyclical, “human ecology”, and the everlasting pains of Hell
Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, Fr. Z’s Blog

Some say that the Pope’s next encyclical – on the “environment” – will be called “Laudato sii“. Some say that that’s Latin. No. It isn’t. It’s the 13th Umbrian which St. Francis of Assisi would have known and in which he penned his Canticle of the Sun.

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Oceans of ink have already been spilled in the media coverage of Pope Francis’ new encyclical on the environment — and it hasn’t even been released yet. In this reflection, Rev. Robert A. Sirico draws on Catholic social teaching to provide a helpful framework for understanding environmental stewardship. While we wait to find out what’s actually in the new encyclical, expected to be published in June, Acton’s president and co-founder sees a consistent thread of thinking on environmental stewardship that draws on Scripture, core Church teachings and the work of predecessors Benedict XVI and John Paul II. Rev. Sirico’s video commentary is below.

We’ve had an amazing collection of speakers participating in the 2015 Acton Lecture Series, and today we’re pleased to be able to share the video of one of the highlights of the series: George Weigel’s discussion of ten essential things to know about Pope Francis, which he delivered on May 6th.

Weigel is Distinguished Senior Fellow and William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D. C. An eminent Catholic theologian, he’s the author of numerous books, most famously Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II; he’s also a columnist, commentator, and regular guest on radio and TV to discuss Catholic issues. There are few who are better qualified to examine the always surprising and sometimes controversial papacy of Pope Francis.

We present the video of Weigel’s lecture below, and after the jump I’ve included a recent edition of Radio Free Acton, which features a discussion between Weigel, Acton Institute President Rev. Robert A. Sirico, and our Director of Research Samuel Gregg.

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rice paddyThe Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace, the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organizations and the World Women’s Alliance for Life and Family are currently meeting in Rome to discuss the role of women and global sustainable development. Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace, told Vatican News that he considered 2015 to be a crucial year for this issue. With the U.N. Millenium Development goals expiring this year, and new Sustainable Development goals to be set for September, Turkson believes now is the time to discuss – in the context of faith – the role of women in these goals.

Conference organizer Flaminia Giovanelli, Under-Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, says women have much to contribute to the achievement of every goal on the list. (more…)

benedict newspaperWe are five months into 2015, and life is still unjust. People are still ignorant and hurting each other. All the things we hope and pray for – peace, love, faith, understanding – still seem unattainable.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger) has spent his life thinking, theologically, about these things. In today’s Crisis Magazine, author James Day examines Ratzinger’s writings and teachings regarding “the source of mankind’s pervading unhappiness and alienation from each other and God.”

Ratzinger has seen in his lifetime a world transformed from celebrating widespread Catholic feast days in the “years of Our Lord,” Annis Domini—A.D.—to the artificial designation of the relativistic Common Era, and with it, an abandonment of things divine and a lowering of standards so much so we dare not contemplate forgiveness, reconciliation, and a new way. This transformation has been a disaster for both the possibility of real change and recognizing the impact of Benedict’s place in culture’s wake. James V. Schall’s reflection written the week of the pope’s abdication continues to hold true today: “Anyone who is not aware of the intellectual caliber of Benedict simply reveals his own incompetence or incomprehension.”

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senior-prom-gameIt’s prom season, the time of year when plenty of high school kids eagerly anticipate an invitation to the year’s biggest formal event. It’s no different for the member organizations of religious shareholder activist groups As You Sow and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility. Both groups have their tuxedos pressed and dresses tailored for this summer’s highly anticipated climate encyclical from Pope Francis, the progressive left’s version of netting either Kate Upton or Ryan Gosling as prom dates.

In the meantime, ICCR and AYS – who, quite frankly, don’t seem to really care what Pope Francis or any of his predecessors have to say about any topic unless it fits progressive dogma – continue their crusade against fossil fuels while they await the Pope’s invitation to the big dance.

It seems both groups wish to hobble corporations in the name of global warming. Just last month, for example, ICCR released its latest paper, “Invested in Change: Faith-Consistent Investing in a Climate-Challenged World.” From the document’s Executive Summary: (more…)

Vatican PopeKishore Jayabalan, Director of Istituto Acton in Rome, evaluates a new book on Pope Francis and the economy. The book, Papa Francesco: Questa Economia Uccide [Pope Francis: This Economy Kills], is written by two Italian journalists known for skirting the ethical standards for Vatican journalists. For that alone, Jayabalan does not hold their work in high esteem. Writing at Crisis Magazine, Jayabalan is curious as to the motives of authors Andrea Tornielli and Giacomo Galeazzi:

As I started reading Papa Francesco: Questa Economia Uccide, I began to wonder why two Italian journalists would set out to write a book defending the economic statements of an Argentine pope against his American conservative critics. What dog do they have in this fight? Or as the pope himself would say, who are they to judge?

Finishing the book, I still had those questions and many more, but I cannot fault the authors for attempting to ride the wave of global popularity Pope Francis is enjoying. It could have been an engaging subject if it were written with any sense of objectivity, journalistic balance, or even willingness to concede that the pope’s economics critics may have a point worth taking seriously. Alas, this is not the case.

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That’s one of the questions that comes to mind when reading Bill McGurn’s op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal. Many free-market advocates, including yours truly, have already expressed concern over what may appear in the papal encyclical due this summer. McGurn concurs but, like a good entrepreneur, also sees an opportunity:

The fears are not without cause. There are many signs that do not augur well, from the muddled section on economics in the pope’s first encyclical [Actually, it was an apostolic exhortation. — K.J.] to his posing for a photo while holding up an anti-fracking T-shirt, to press coverage anticipating he will be to the fight against greenhouse gases what Pope John Paul II was to the fight against Soviet communism.

Even so, the topic is ripe for precisely the kind of corrective a pope has to offer: a reminder that God’s creation is meant to serve man—not man the environment. And its corollary: It is the have-nots who pay the highest price for the statist interventions so beloved of the Church of St. Green.

The term “human ecology” was used by Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI (see my lecture on the topic), not only to speak about trendy environmental issues such as climate change but ones less popular among Western celebrities, especially the importance of marriage and family and the evils of population control. In doing so, the popes showed themselves to be pro-social-justice and pro-life/pro-family at the same time.

It’s possible, however, that the opponents of capitalism will use the occasion to attack economic freedom once again, even if it ultimately hurts the poor. Nothing very human about that kind of ecology.

On Naharnet, a Lebanese news and information site, Acton Research Director Samuel Gregg and Director of Istituto Acton Kishore Jayabalan comment on Pope Francis’s forthcoming environmental encyclical, which the news organization says is planned for release this summer. (Note: The article describes Acton as a “Catholic” think tank but it is, in fact, an ecumenical organization with broad participation from Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox Christians and those of other faith traditions.) Naharnet notes that “a papal encyclical is meant to provide spiritual guidance to the world’s 1.1 billion Roman Catholics, but among advocates of climate action hopes are high that this one will resonate far beyond the church.”

Samuel Gregg, research director of the conservative Michigan-based Catholic think tank, the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty, said he doubts that the pope will weigh in on the science of climate change or on any particular political course of action.

“Individual Catholics—lay people, as well as bishops—have a variety of views on the science of climate change, and as citizens, they’re quite entitled to hold those views,” he said. “It’s not the church’s responsibility, nor does it have the authority to say that Catholics must support this treaty, that treaty, or any treaty. It doesn’t fall into the area of faith and morals. And this is often a distinction not understood outside the Catholic Church, or even by a good number of Catholics themselves.” (more…)