Posts tagged with: christian theology

jerusalemReligious liberty and economic freedom in the heart of … Israel? In September, the foundational message of the Acton Institute was featured at “Judaism, Christianity, and the West: Building and Preserving the Institutions of Freedom,” a conference that brought together Jewish and Christian scholars in Jerusalem.

One featured speaker was Professor Daniel Mark, an Orthodox Jew and an assistant professor of political science at Villanova University, Pennsylvania’s oldest Catholic university. Mark is also a visiting fellow in the Department of Politics at Princeton University. His lecture argued that the Jewish community needs to restore and promote religious freedoms based on the centrality of Jewish obligations, or “commandments.” Mark stressed the difference between “obligations” and personal “rights.”

The Torah doesn’t have a word for “rights,” Mark tells Judaism instead thinks in terms of obligations.

“We can defend the idea of [religious] rights by defending the idea of obligations. The reason we have to respect people’s rights to religious freedoms is because we have to respect their rights to religious obligations,” he says.

Mark explains that hypothetically, “If the government were to make one’s religious practices illegal, they would in actuality be withholding your obligations, not your rights or preferences.”


Blog author: bwalker
Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Brave Cardinal Pell challenges Pope Francis’s dogma on climate change
Damian Thompson, The Spectator

‘The Church has got no mandate from the Lord to pronounce on scientific matters.’ In that one sentence, Cardinal Pell puts his finger on what is wrong with Laudato Si‘, Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment. In that document, Francis waded into an argument about climate change and took sides. Moreover, he gave the impression that he was speaking for all Catholics when he did so; and, if by any chance he wasn’t, errant faithful should fall into line.

Pell criticizes the “Laudato Si'” encyclical
Andrea Nornielli, Vatican Insider

The British daily reminds readers that in the past, Pell “has been criticised for being a climate change sceptic”. However, straight after making those statements, which may have given the impression that the Australian cardinal was distancing himself from the contents of Francis’ encyclical, he acknowledged that the “Laudato Si’” was “very well received” and the Pope had “beautifully set out our obligations to future generations and our obligations to the environment”.

Catholics can respectfully disagree with Pope Francis on economics
Fr. John Zuhlsdorg, Fr. Z’s Blog

One can be a devout Catholic and disagree thoughtfully and respectfully with Francis’ economic-political outlook. Moral and ethical conclusions about the actual functioning of domestic economies, international banking, and global largely fall in the realm of prudential judgment. [Exactly.] Should American investors buy foreign bonds? Should corporations build factories in poor countries? Should governments sign free-trade agreements with neighboring states? All of that is up for free discussion and debate.


Blog author: bwalker
Friday, July 10, 2015

The Pope tries to keep a diplomatic face as he receives a gift from the Bolivian president… a crucifix featuring Jesus nailed to the Communist symbol of a hammer and sickle
Flora Drury, The Daily Mail

As crucifixes go, the one with Jesus nailed to the Communist symbol handed to Pope Francis during his meeting with the Bolivian President was unusual at best, blasphemous at worse. But the Pope did his very best to keep his face neutral as he was handed the gift by Evo Morales during a trip to the country on Wednesday. But the hammer and sickle crucifix wasn’t just an example of bad taste: in fact, the gift was a politically-charged offering in a country which has been trying to separate itself from the church.

Unbridled capitalism is the ‘dung of the devil’, says Pope Francis

Pope Francis has urged the downtrodden to change the world economic order, denouncing a “new colonialism” by agencies that impose austerity programs and calling for the poor to have the “sacred rights” of labor, lodging and land. In one of the longest, most passionate and sweeping speeches of his pontificate, the Argentine-born pope used his visit to Bolivia to ask forgiveness for the sins committed by the Roman Catholic church in its treatment of native Americans during what he called the “so-called conquest of America”.

Jerry Brown will visit Vatican for climate change talks with Pope Francis
David Siders, The Sacramento Bee

Gov. Jerry Brown, a longtime champion of environmental causes and a one-time seminarian, will travel to Vatican City this month to meet with Pope Francis and attend a gathering of local officials on climate change and human trafficking. The trip, announced Thursday, comes as Brown intensifies efforts to coalesce support for carbon reduction policies ahead of global climate talks in Paris in December. He warned government officials at a climate summit in Toronto on Wednesday that the world is heading toward “total unsustainability and ecological collapse” if it fails to reduce emissions.

A thoughtful conversation about the Pope’s Encyclical
Joel Makower, GreenBiz

Contrary to this conventional opinion, the Encyclical’s influence is limited by several important factors. First, it was published too late to affect policy decisions of the most influential national climate negotiators. Many areas of agreement have already been achieved, and delegates will be guided by more tangible and secular national and economic interests as they attempt to resolve the remaining issues.


Blog author: bwalker
Friday, June 19, 2015

Pope Francis’s encyclical on climate change unveiled at Vatican – video

‘Laudato Si’,’ an Overview
Zenit News Agency

At the heart of the Pope’s reflections is the question: “What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?” The answers he suggests call for profound changes to political, economic, cultural and social systems, as well as to our individual lifestyles.

Pope Francis Using Twitter to Bring About Global Dialogue He’s Called for on Climate
Zenit News Agency

Being able to promote the encyclical through Twitter is undoubtedly one of the occasions in which it is “right to rejoice in these [technological] advances and to be excited by the immense possibilities which they continue to open up before us, for ‘science and technology are wonderful products of a God-given human creativity'”

President of US Bishops’ Statement on ‘Laudato Si’
Zenit News Agency

Genuine efforts to true dialogue will require sacrifice and the confronting of good faith disagreements, but let us be encouraged that at “the heart of this world, the Lord of life, who loves us so much, is always present. He does not abandon us…he has united himself definitively to our earth, and his love constantly impels us to find new ways forward” (245). May we help answer Pope Francis’ call in this encyclical, receiving his message and growing in responsibility towards the common home that God has entrusted to us all.

Carbon week: The church of climatism
Nigel Lawson, Financial Post

How is it that much of the Western world, and Europe in particular, has succumbed to the self-harming collective madness that is the climate change orthodoxy? It is difficult to escape the conclusion that climate change orthodoxy has in effect become a substitute religion, attended by all the intolerant zealotry that has so often marred religion in the past, and in some places still does so today.


Blog author: bwalker
Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Leak of Pope’s Encyclical on Climate Change Hints at Tensions in Vatican
Jim Yardley and Elisabetta Povoledo, The New York Times

Who leaked it and why? Was this the work of frustrated conservatives in the Vatican, as some experts have speculated? Does it portend big fights at a pivotal October meeting in which church officials are expected to grapple with homosexuality and divorce? Or is it just a tempest in a teapot?

Jeb Bush calls out Pope Francis on climate change
Anthony Terrell, MSNBC

“I hope I’m not going to get castigated for saying this by my priest back home, but I don’t get economic policy from my bishops or my cardinals or my pope,” Bush said. “And I’d like to see what he says as it relates to climate change and how that connects to these broader, deeper issue before I pass judgment. But I think religion ought to be about making us better as people and less about things that end up getting in the political realm.”

Bush is latest Republican to criticize Pope Francis’ climate encyclical
Joel Connelly, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

The Republican presidential candidate is the latest to criticize Pope Francis. Another Catholic GOP hopeful, ex-Sen. Rick Santorum, has said the church should stay focused on “what we’re really good at, theology and morality.”

Pope Francis’ climate change document aimed at hearts, says Genesis’ Sister Elizabeth Oleksak
Anne-Gerard Flynn,

Sister of Providence Elizabeth Oleksak, former director of Genesis Spiritual Life and Conference Center, believes Pope Francis’ much
anticipated teaching document on climate change will be more pastoral than political.


Blog author: bwalker
Monday, June 15, 2015

Italian magazine publishes leaked version of pope’s eco-encyclical

An Italian magazine on Monday published what it claims to be a leaked copy of Pope Francis’ highly anticipated encyclical on the environment, including papal backing for the idea that human beings are primarily responsible for climate change, but the Vatican warned the document is a draft and should not be considered official.

How the Pope Could Turn U.S. Climate Politics Upside Down
Eric Roston, BloombergBusiness

Pope Francis sees it as an issue intrinsic to morality, social justice, and theology. Papal statements on the environment go back at least to 1971. Pope John Paul II spoke of “human ecology” and the sacred earth throughout his pontificate, from the late ’70s until his death in 2005.

Will the Papal Encyclical Bring the ‘Francis Effect’ to the Climate Debates?
Jim Wallis, Huffington Post

As we have seen with other issues, including women’s rights, gay rights, and poverty, Francis is intent not on upending Catholic Church doctrine but on changing Church emphasis and tone. He seeks to transition the image of the Church from dogmatic and infallible to humble and present in the world’s pain, suffering, and challenges.


On this edition of Radio Free Acton, we’re joined in studio by eminent Catholic scholar George Weigel of the Ethics and Public Policy Center to discuss the pontificate of Pope Francis, his coverage by the global media, and his upcoming trip to the United States. Weigel is joined in studio by Acton’s President and Co-Founder Rev. Robert A. Sirico, and the discussion is moderated by Acton Director of Research Samuel Gregg.

Listen via the audio player below.