Acton Institute Co-Founder and President Rev. Robert A. Sirico made an appearance on America’s News Headquarters on Fox News Channel this afternoon to discuss the impact of Pope Francis’ new encyclical, and to share his thoughts as part of the discussion the Pope has called upon us all to participate in on the state of the environment. You can view his Father’s Day appearance using the video player below.
Jordan Ballor, editor of the Journal of Markets and Morality, joined host Austin Hill on Faith Radio’s Austin Hill in the Morning show on Friday morning to discuss Pope Francis’ new encyclical, Laudato Si’, and its impact in the broader Christian world beyond the Roman Catholic Church. You can listen to the interview via the audio player below.
Today’s Washington Examiner has a piece that says “conservatives” are slamming Laudato Si’, the new papal encyclical released yesterday. “Slam” may be too strong a word; though there is plenty of vigorous discussion regarding the encyclical.
Acton’s director of research Samuel Gregg is quoted in the Washington Examiner piece, and while he is clearly concerned about portions of the encyclical, he does not “slam” this work either.
It tends to characterize free markets as unregulated, which is simply untrue. It also seems to blame markets for so many social ills which may perhaps in the case of developing countries reflect that they don’t have free markets,” Samuel Gregg … told the Washington Examiner.
Gregg said some of the rebukes of the free market system stem from the pope’s Argentine upbringing. He noted the government and religion are more intertwined in Latin America, where states often operate robust social spending programs with an eye toward alleviating poverty. Detractors of such policies have noted the systems prevent foreign investment and trade while awarding handouts to cement political patronage.
The entire piece is available here.
Who could have predicted, six months ago, what the encyclical
Laudato Si’, would hold in store? Seems like Jennifer Roback Morse could.
In a January 2015 piece for The Daily Caller, Morse made some predictions that turned out to be spot on.
I do not know what he is going to say. Neither, dear reader, does anyone else you are likely to read. However, I can tell you two things that he will certainly not say. And those two unsaid things have the potential to speak volumes, if only we will listen.
He will certainly not say that overpopulation is the cause of any environmental problem. This old trope will be completely absent from the Holy Father’s document.
He will certainly not say that contraception, abortion or sterilization, voluntary or involuntary, are necessary components of any comprehensive solutions to environmental problems.
Samuel Gregg, Acton’s director of research, writes in The American Spectator today about Laudato Si’, Pope Francis’ encyclical which addresses environmental issues. Gregg says that part of the encyclical’s intent is to add to the global discussion regarding the environment and to the climate change debate. However, Gregg believes that the encyclical, rather than enlightening, is muddying the waters.
To be sure, there is much about today’s global economy that merits criticism. The encyclical rightly underscores the problem of bailing out banks at everyone else’s expense (189). Does anyone doubt that, if the world faces another series of major bank failures, governments will behave in exactly the same way, thereby reinforcing the moral hazard problem that’s at the root of so much of the financial sector’s on-going dysfunctionality? The encyclical also suggests, correctly, that despite the events of 2008, there has been a major failure to reform the world’s financial systems (189). Likewise the pope’s tough words for those who regard population growth as somehow damaging the environment and impeding economic development are spot-on (50).
Nonetheless, many conceptual problems and questionable empirical claims characterize the encyclical’s vision of contemporary economic life. In terms of environmental degradation, Laudato Si’ appears oblivious to the fact that the twentieth century’s worst economically driven pollution occurred as a result of centrally-planned state-industrialization schemes in former Communist nations. Anyone who’s visited Eastern Europe or the former USSR and witnessed the often-devastated landscape will quickly attest to the validity of that insight.
Kishore Jayabalan, director of the Acton Insitute’s Rome office – Istituto Acton – has issued the following statement today regarding Pope Francis’s much-awaited enviromental encyclical Laudato Si’. Among other things, Jayabalan notes: “[Francis] seems to blame markets, over-consumption and especially finance, rather than human sin, for all our environmental problems.”
Pope Francis’ new encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si, is generating discussion across the web. For a round-up of responses and reactions from Acton, see Acton Speaks on the Environment.
There’s plenty left to explore, respond, and reflect on, but in the meantime, it’s worth noting an interesting parallel with another great Catholic thinker (as passed along by a friend of mine).
The beginning of the environmental encyclical leads off with the following statement about Earth being our “sister”:
LAUDATO SI’, mi’ Signore” – “Praise be to you, my Lord”. In the words of this beautiful canticle, Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us. “Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with coloured flowers and herbs”. This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her.
Laudato Si (Praised Be You) Released Today
After much anticipation and some trepidation, Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si, was published today. Today’s EcoLinks focuses on key quotes, summaries and public reactions.
Key excerpts from a draft of Pope Francis’ new encyclical on the environment
David Gibson and Rosie Scammell, The Washington Post
“I am aware that some people strongly refute the idea of a Creator on political or intellectual grounds, or consider it irrelevant. … However, science and religion, which offer different approaches to reality, can enter into an intense and productive dialogue with each other.” (ThinkProgress)
Pope delivers strong message on climate change
Samuel Gregg, a Catholic who serves as director of research for the Acton Institute, a conservative ecumenical think tank that advocates for a free market, took exception to the pope’s economic premises, saying that Pope Francis has “significant blind spots” with regard to market economies. “When you read through the text, you find the free market, and finance in particular, is identified more or less as responsible for many environmental problems,” Dr Gregg said. “It’s almost a subterranean theme of the encyclical …In many respects it’s a caricature of market economies.”
Sister Earth. The “Green” Encyclical of Pope Francis
Sandro Magister, Chiesa Expresso Online
Pages selected from the letter “Laudato si’” addressed by the pope to “every person living on this planet.” In parentheses, the numbers of the paragraphs from which the passages were taken.
Guidance Map for Pope Francis’ Encyclical ‘Laudato Si’
Edward Pentin, National Catholic Register
This text is a useful guide for an initial reading of the Encyclical. It will help you to grasp the overall development and identify the basic themes. The first two pages are an overview of Laudato si’ (literally “Be praised” or better, “Praise be to you”). Then for each of the six chapters, there is a one-page summary which gives the argument or main points and some key passages.
Acton University 2015 is about to get underway at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and our friend Al Kresta has already taken up residence on the gallery overlook level for his week of Kresta in the Afternoon remote broadcasts. His first guest from Acton University was our own Kishore Jayabalan, director of Istituto Acton in Rome, who sat down for a twenty minute discussion of Pope Francis, Laudeto Si, and the compatibility of capitalism with Christianity. The full interview is available via the audio player below.
A draft of Laudato Sii is circulating and causing an uproar. This document seems to align with climate scientists, arguing that “the bulk of global warming is caused by human activity.” However, this draft may not be the final encyclical, Rev. Federico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman, said that it is merely a “intermediate version” and not the final encyclical.
Whether or not this is the final language and content that will be in the upcoming encyclical on the environment, much of the dialogue starting on Thursday (when the encyclical is officially released) will be on if anything in the draft has been changed and if it has, why. The Washington Post asked Acton’s Director of Research, Samuel Gregg to comment:
“If this is indeed not the final text, as the Holy See’s press office is stating, then much of the attention will be on differences between the draft text and the actual encyclical. That will fuel ultimately unprovable speculation on why the things that were changed were altered, thereby potentially distracting from the messages of the final text,” he said.