Posts tagged with: pope

Acton Institute President Rev. Robert A. Sirico was interviewed recently for a story on WHYY FM in Philadelphia discussing the Pope’s upcoming trip to the city, and focusing on the impact of his encyclical Laudato Si’ within the Catholic Church. Sirico points out that while the Pope is correct to urge Christians to be responsible stewards of God’s creation, the inclusion of specific policy proposals on climate may prove to be unwise in the long run.

You can listen to the full interview via the audio player below.

Blog author: bwalker
Monday, August 10, 2015

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew receives interfaith environmental honor
Ecumenical Patriarchate

Bartholomew said he was “pleased to learn of the very recent Clean Power Plan of President Obama, which is a significant step in the right direction for the United States of America and which is already approved by the U. N.”

Pope designates Sept. 1 as World Day of Prayer for Care of Creation
Cindy Wooden, National Catholic Reporter

Like their Orthodox brothers and sisters, Catholics formally will mark Sept. 1 as the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, Pope Francis has decided.The day of prayer, the pope said, will give individuals and communities an opportunity to implore God’s help in protecting creation and an opportunity to ask God’s forgiveness “for sins committed against the world in which we live.”

Should we heed the pope’s climate change message? Yes
Michael E. Kraft, Arizona Daily Sun

Pope Francis argues that markets often fail to bring out the best in us, and he is right about that. Yet moral injunctions alone cannot move societies toward a low-carbon future.

Should we heed the pope’s climate change message? No
Catherine Snow, Arizona Daily Sun

These are challenging times for some faithful Catholics such as me. Because, while I have utmost respect and love for our popular, approachable pontiff, I believe he has been sadly misinformed about climate change, as evidenced in his encyclical on the environment released in June.



Bill McKibben

I recently enjoyed a brief back-and-forth with co-founder Bill McKibben in which he claimed that I accused him of lacking religious faith. That most assuredly was not the case. I told him so, but also stood by my initial assertion that he and other environmental activists are cherry-picking Pope Francis’ Laudato Si for religious and moral firepower on climate-change while ignoring those elements that are core Roman Catholic teachings with which they disagree.

Let’s look at Mr. McKibben’s religious background, shall we? In his essay, “Doing the Math: The Scale of Global Warming and the Urgency of Self-Restraint” (in Sacred Commerce, Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 2014) he expresses his religion thusly:

 The highest I ever rose in the ecclesial hierarchy was a Sunday school teacher at our backwoods Methodist church. It’s such a small church that the only qualification for being a Sunday school teacher is if on Christmas Eve you can take a dish towel and turn a third grader into a Palestinian shepherd for the pageant. So that’s the degree of my theological qualification. On the other hand, these are questions that I have thought about and written about a good deal.


Today at the Library of Law & Liberty, I examine Pope Francis’s recent speech in Bolivia, in which he calls for “an economy where human beings, in harmony with nature, structure the entire system of production and distribution in such a way that the abilities and needs of each individual find suitable expression in social life.”

I have no objection to that, but what he seems to miss is that the very policies he criticizes all characterize those countries in the world that most closely resemble his goal. I write,

So what stands in the way, according to the pontiff?—“corporations, loan agencies, certain ‘free trade’ treaties, and the imposition of measures of ‘austerity’ which always tighten the belt of workers and the poor.” Really?

Business, credit, trade, and fiscal responsibility are marks of healthy economies, not the problem, popular as it may be to denounce them. Indeed, these are also marks of economies that effectively care for “Mother Earth,” whose plight the Pope claims “the most important [task] facing us today.” That’s right, more important than the plight of the poor, to His Holiness, is the plight of trees, water, and lower animals.

That moral confusion aside, is there any way we could study what policies correlate with the Pope’s laudable goals? As it turns out, there is. The United Nations Human Development Index (HDI) ranks countries based upon an aggregate rating of economic growth, care for the environment, and health and living conditions—precisely the measures the Pope seems to care most about. Yet of the top 20 countries on the most recent HDI ranking, 18 also rank as “free” or “mostly free” on the most recent Heritage Index of Economic Freedom.

Read my full article, “Show Me the Way to Poverty,” here.

Blog author: bwalker
Thursday, June 4, 2015

President of Vatican Academy Attacks Climate Change Skeptic
Austin Ruse, Breitbart

In a rare display of diplomatic indecorum, Margaret Archer, the president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, has lashed out at the author of a recent essay, accusing him of hate speech and moral depravity for questioning the Academy’s position on climate change.

Pope’s Encyclical on Ecology to Be Released June 18
Deborah Castellano Lubov, Zenit

“To avoid confusion over the date of publication of the long-awaited encyclical of Pope Francis, the confirmed date of publication will be next Thursday, June 18, 2015,” the statement noted, adding, “Next week further details about the encylical will be made public in the daily bulletin of the Holy See.”

Investing Like Exxon
Jeff Siegel, Energy & Capital

It’s not as if the more than 1 billion Catholics in the world are going to stop driving their cars just because the Pope is railing against climate change.

Why Rick Santorum doesn’t want Pope Francis talking about climate change
Jessica Mendoza, The Christian Science Monitor

“It is not the business of the church to stray from the field of faith and morals and wander into the playground that is science,” Christopher Monckton, a devout Catholic who has long played a lead role in the climate skeptic movement and an advisor to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, said at the conference. “Stand back and listen to both sides. And do not take sides in politics.”

Blog author: bwalker
Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Cardinal Turkson: together for stewardship of creation
Cardinal Peter K.A. Turkson, Vatican Radio

Despite the generation of great wealth, we find starkly rising disparities – vast numbers of people excluded and discarded, their dignity trampled upon. As global society increasingly defines itself by consumerist and monetary values, the privileged in turn become increasingly numb to the cries of the poor.

Pope Francis endorses climate action petition
Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter

“He was very supportive,” Tomás Insua, a Buenos Aires, Argentina, native and co-founder of the group, said in an email. “[Pope Francis] even joked that we were competing against his encyclical before it was published.”

Martin Weitzman on Climate Change
Russ Roberts, Library of Economics and Liberty

Is climate change the ultimate Black Swan? Martin Weitzman of Harvard University and co-author of Climate Shock talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the risks of climate change.

Rick Santorum On Pope Francis’ Letter On Climate Change: ‘Leave The Science To The Scientists’
Dom Giordano, CBS Philly

“The Church has gotten it wrong a few times on science, and I think we’re probably better off leaving science to the scientists and focus on what we’re really good on, which is theology and morality.”

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.

Meeting with world faith leaders at the Vatican, December 2014

Meeting with world faith leaders at the Vatican, December 2014

The Pontifical Science Academies has created a website to both educate and fight human trafficking. (Pontifical Academies are academic honor societies that work under the direction of the Holy See and the bishop of Rome, the Pope.)

The new website,, is one outcome of Pope Francis’ ecumenical Global Freedom Network held last year. This meeting included a joint declaration against trafficking, signed by Pope Francis and leaders of different faith communities. The website, #EndSlavery, will include Catholic and Anglican resources, according to Vatican News. The homepage features this statement from Pope Francis:

I urgently appeal to all men and women of good will, and all those near or far, including the highest levels of civil institutions, who witness the scourge of contemporary slavery, not to become accomplices to this evil, not to turn away from the sufferings of our brothers and sisters, our fellow human beings, who are deprived of their freedom and dignity. Instead, may we have the courage to touch the suffering flesh of Christ, revealed in the faces of those countless persons whom he calls “the least of these my brethren” (Mt 25:40, 45).

Visit #EndSlavery here.

Blog author: dpahman
Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Today at Ethika Politika, I examine the longstanding claim of the Roman Catholic Church that the universal character of the common good in our present era necessitates a world political authority. The problem, I argue, lies in the tradition’s too closely identifying the good of political communities with the common good.

The recently canonized Pope John XXIII, for example, states that “[p]ublic authority” is “the means of promoting the common good in civil society” (Pacem in Terris, 136, emphasis mine). And Pope Benedict XVI continued the call made by John XXIII for a “world political authority” in Caritas in Veritate, specifically recommending that the U.N. be “vested with the effective power to ensure security for all, regard for justice, and respect for rights” (57, emphasis mine). The problem with the U.N., to the popes, is that it is not powerful enough.

In response, I write,

I would worry about a U.N. or any other global political authority endowed with such great power and means. If nation states have failed to ensure the global common good, as the pope admits, why should we expect a global government to be free from error in this regard? The only difference would be that the mistakes of such politicians would necessarily have global consequences. I like my U.N. nearly ineffective and mostly powerless, thank you very much. If anything, to ensure subsidiarity, the larger the political authority, the less power and means it should have. (more…)

In USA Today comes this story from the Associated Press:

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis on Wednesday permanently removed a German bishop from his Limburg diocese after his 31 million-euro ($43-million) new residence complex caused an uproar among the faithful.

Francis had temporarily expelled Monsignor Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst from Limburg in October pending a church inquiry.

At the center of the controversy was the price tag for the construction of a new bishop’s residence complex and related renovations. Tebartz-van Elst defended the expenditures, saying the bill was actually for 10 projects and there were additional costs because the buildings were under historical protection.

But in a country where Martin Luther launched the Reformation five centuries ago in response to what he said were excesses and abuses within the church, the outcry was enormous. The perceived lack of financial transparency also struck a chord since a church tax in Germany brings in billions a year to the German church.

The Vatican said Wednesday that the inquiry into the renovation found that Tebartz-van Elst could no longer exercise his ministry in Limburg and that Francis had accepted his resignation, which was originally offered Oct. 20.

Back in October, I was part of a panel of guests on the BBC program World Have Your Say, discussing the question, “Should Religious Leaders Live a Modest Life?” The springboard for the conversation was the scandal surrounding Monsignor Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst.

At the Boston Globe yesterday, John Allen sees this as a potential sign of a social gospel alliance between Pope Francis and President Obama, whose first meeting is today: (more…)