Posts tagged with: Pope Francis

The pontificate of Pope Francis has inspired a great deal of discussion and analysis from the very beginning, and the discussion has only grown with the releases of Evangelii Gaudium and Laudeto Si’, his pastoral letter and first encyclical, respectively. Often that discussion becomes heated, and even angry, as various political or social factions attempt to claim Pope Francis as an advocate for their cause. From time to time it’s helpful to step back and have a calm, rational discussion about the Pope, and there are few more qualified to engage in such a discussion than Al Kresta and Acton Institue Director of Research Samuel Gregg. Sam joined Al on Ave Maria Radio’s Kresta In The Afternoon on Tuesday to provide some context and analysis for Pope Francis’ visit to the United States, and also provides some solid guidelines on what types of issues faithful catholics must assent to church teaching on, and other types of issues that allow for a wide range of prudential debate.

It’s our pleasure to share this interview with you via the audio player below.


The Vatican Information Service reported on last week’s address by Pope Francis to the collected environment ministers of the European Union. In his remarks, the Pope reiterated the environmental concerns expressed in his encyclical, Laudato Si:

This morning, before the Wednesday general audience, the Pope received the environment ministers of the European Union who will soon face two important events: the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals and the COP 21 in Paris. Francis remarked that their mission is increasingly important since the environment is a ‘collective good, a patrimony for all humanity, and the responsibility of each one of us – a responsibility that can only be transversal and which requires effective collaboration within the entire international community.’…

‘In the encyclical Laudato si’ I spoke about our ecological debt, especially between the North and the South, linked to commercial imbalances with consequences in the environmental sphere, such as the disproportionate use of natural resources historically made by some countries. We must honour that debt. These latter are required to contribute to settling the debt by offering a good example, substantially limiting their consumption of non-renewable energy, contributing resources to countries in need to promote policies and programmes of sustainable development, adopting suitable systems for managing forests, transport and refuse, and facing the serious problem of food waste, promoting a circular model for the economy and encouraging new attitudes and lifestyles.’

This, much like the assessments making up the bulk of Laudato Si, present a largely unwarranted, pessimistic view of our environment. In the words of Sgt. Hulka (played by Warren Oates) in Stripes, “Lighten up, Francis.” While, admittedly, much work still needs to be done to protect our environment and reverse decades and sometimes centuries of neglect (a significant share of devastation wrought more from poverty than industrial activity), much has been improved since the environmental movement began 50 years ago. (more…)

Acton President Rev. Robert A. Sirico is in Washington, D.C. to participate in the papal visit to the US; tomorrow he will be attending the Pope’s address to the US Congress. In the meantime, he’s being called upon to comment on Pope Francis’ trip and the challenges the Pope will offer to both sides of the political debate in the United States. Below, you can view Sirico’s interview on Bloomberg TV from this morning. And stay tuned to the PowerBlog for more updates on Acton experts being tapped for commentary on the Pope’s visit.

francisgmo62815“Defending capitalism on practical grounds is easy,” writes economist Donald Boudreaux at the Mercatus Center. “It is history’s greatest force for raising the living standards of the masses.”

What’s more difficult, it seems, is understanding its moral logic, spiritual implications, and which of each is or isn’t inherent to private ownership and economic exchange.

At what level, for instance, is freely buying a gallon of milk at a freely agreed-to price from a freely employed worker at an independent grocery store an act of sin, idolatry, and exploitation? Such basic transactions are, after all, the bread and butter of a system built on free enterprise and open exchange (i.e. capitalism). From here, it gets more complicated, of course, and even that basic starting point can surely involve corrupt actors and action.

Yet even Pope Francis, discernor of the discerning, seems to struggle in locating Point A of that basic logic, even when railing against its banner. I tend to presume that basic milk purchases are not, in fact, his actual target. But then he continues and without qualification, railing against markets at large and ripping at plenty of positives that dangle well outside the deserving injustices of cronyist corporatism.

The Pope prefers to argue not that capitalism “has its faults” or “demands a virtuous society,” but rather that it is a “new tyranny,” one that followed the ills of communism, but filled the void with something just as tragic. (more…)

Acton Institute President Rev. Robert A. Sirico joined host Laura Ingraham on The Laura Ingraham Show while stuck in Washington, D.C. traffic resulting from the arrival of Pope Francis in the city. They discussed the the optics of the Pope’s arrival at the White House, his comments there, and what to expect as the Pope addresses Congress tomorrow morning.

We’ve posted the audio of the interview below; our thanks to The Laura Ingraham Show for the kind permission to share this audio with you.

Blog author: bwalker
Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Toward a better understanding of religion and global affairs
John Kerry, The National Catholic Review

In June, Pope Francis’ historic encyclical “Laudato Si’” helped advocate for global measures to combat climate change. Religious advocacy groups have long raised awareness about famine and human rights violations abroad; Buddhist nuns in Nepal play a crucial role in natural disaster recovery efforts; and religious organizations have been essential to providing humanitarian support to Syrian refugees.

Pope Francis’ Arrival in the U.S. Is a Low-Key Prelude to Pageantry
Peter Baker, Azam Ahmed and Jim Yardley, The New York Times

Even as Newsweek asked on its cover, “Is the Pope Catholic?” Francis rejected the notion that he is an anticapitalist leftist not committed enough to church teachings. “I have never said anything that is not in the social doctrine of the church,” he said, alluding to provocative speeches on the excesses of capitalism. “Maybe some things sounded slightly leftish, but that would be the wrong interpretation.”

House Democrats Ask Pope Francis To Address Ways To Combat Climate Change

“Pope Francis, we hope you will address climate chante, and talk about how it especially hurts lower-income communities andthe most vulnerable among us:” Rep. Jan Schakowsky, IL 9th District.


Blog author: bwalker
Tuesday, September 22, 2015

America Exclusive: Vice President Biden on Pope Francis, Faith and Public Life

He made it clear, it is not the papacy’s role to be the scientist-­in­-chief and/or the political arbiter. But what he talked about are basic fundamental assertions. Look, the way I read it, and I read it, is it was an invitation, almost a demand, that a dialogue begin internationally, to deal with what is the single most consequential problem and issue facing humanity right now. And so the fact that he talked about — I mean even our department of defense has written long papers several years ago talking about what a danger to national security failing to deal with this is. Sea levels rise another foot, you’ve got tens of millions of people being displaced. You think there is a migration problem in Syria, watch what happens when hundreds of millions of people in South Asia are displaced trying to find new territory to live. Look what’s happened with Darfur. Darfur is all about climate change. It’s about arable land being evaporated, figuratively and literally, and warring over land. So I think it’s a total misrepresentation of the pope’s encyclical tosay it’s a political document. It’s a human document.

The left has its pope
Thomas Sowell, WND

In 1900, only 3 percent of American homes had electric lights but more than 99 percent had them before the end of the century. Infant mortality rates were 165 per thousand in 1900 and 7 per thousand by 1997. By 2001, most Americans living below the official poverty line had central air conditioning, a motor vehicle, cable television with multiple TV sets and other amenities.A scholar specializing in the study of Latin America said that the official poverty level in the United States is the upper middle class in Mexico. The much criticized market economy of the United States has done far more for the poor than the ideology of the left. Pope Francis’ own native Argentina was once among the leading economies of the world, before it was ruined by the kind of ideological notions he is now promoting around the world.

On visit to U.S., pope will find a church in transition
Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times

The Roman Catholic Church that Pope Francis will encounter on his first visit to the United States is being buffeted by immense change, and it is struggling — with integrating a new generation of immigrants, with conflicts over buildings and resources, with recruiting priests and with retaining congregants. The denomination is still the largest in the United States, but its power base is shifting.

Reconstructionists Set Yom Kippur Climate Change Service for Pope’s Visit

The services Tuesday night and Wednesday “will follow the traditional rituals with a focus on atonement for damage to the environment,” Rabbi Mordechai Liebling, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College’s director of social justice organizing program and one of the leaders of the Yom Kippur services, said in a statement.


Acton Institute External Relations Officer Peter Johnson wrote recently at The Federalist that “If Francis can imagine a way to affirm my generation’s devotion to the marginalized while delivering a stern warning against the sort of degenerate sentimentality and paternalism that advocating for the poor can engender, then I think Francis could have an astounding impact here.” He’s been called upon a number of times now to share his thoughts on this topic on a variety of podcasts, and we’d like to highlight a couple of interviews here.

First of all, Peter appeared on the Larry Conners USA program to discuss his article; the interview is available in full below.

Peter also made an appearance on the Cam & Co. podcast on NRA News, which you can listen to below.

Blog author: bwalker
Monday, September 21, 2015

bob dylanWhen it comes to addressing the latest hit-piece in Rolling Stone regarding the Acton Institute, Rev. Robert Sirico is front and center, top of the charts, so to speak. I’d like to take a whack at it, myself, if readers will indulge me.

“Pope Francis’ American Crusade” appears in the same magazine (in)famously trumpeting liberal causes for nearly 50 years, and the very same publication with a boss worth more than $700 million, earned primarily from a magazine that applauds the conspicuous lifestyles of thuggish actors and “musicians;” and the same magazine that has celebrated unabashed materialism while bashing capitalism since its inception. The very same magazine that could be accused of white, American capitalist imperialism for ripping off its very name from the titles of famous songs by Muddy Waters (a black man) and Bob Dylan (Jewish and Minnesotan) as well as a British rock group.

It seems the article’s author – one Mark Binelli – succumbs to the tried-and-true tactic employed by the magazine’s editorial contributors since time immemorial, which is to quote anyone regardless credibility or integrity if they support the Rolling Stone writer’s agenda. For example, famed scofflaw Rep. Charles Rangel is quoted: “People can distort the Bible any way they want to, but when you have science and religion on the same side of a question, there’s no place for fundamentalists to go. You speak against the pope at your own risk.” Apparently, according to Binelli, readers should consider Rangel a martyr because he “says he has had invitations to speak at Catholic high school graduations rescinded by local religious leaders, apparently because of his pro-choice views.” (more…)

Blog author: bwalker
Monday, September 21, 2015

Pope Francis Should Stop Washing His Robes
Joy Pullman, The Federalist

I’m not sure who Pope Francis’s religious advisors are, but it seems they’ve forgotten the Gospel isn’t directly aimed at helping the poor or averting supposed environmental disasters. The Gospel is centrally about saving our eternal souls, about addressing spiritual—not material—poverty. Yes, the material world is broken because of sin, and it will be restored after the Last Day, but that’s an effect, and not the focus of scripture. What’s primary is our souls, not our pocketbooks.

If Pope Francis Wants to Help the Poor, He Should Embrace Capitalism
Stephanie Slade, Reason

But it’s not just that I fear the pope is weakening public support for the economic freedom that increases standards of living while minimizing poverty. It’s also that when Pope Francis slanders the “magical” thinking of people who trust markets more than government, he’s reinforcing the already widespread idea that libertarianism and religion aren’t compatible. As a churchgoing, Christ-loving Catholic, I feel duty-bound to push back against that notion. It’s not the case that Rome demands fidelity on matters of economic policy—or that everything a pope teaches must be accepted by the faithful as correct.

Pope Francis’ fact-free flamboyance
George Will, The Washington Post

Supporters of Francis have bought newspaper and broadcast advertisements to disseminate some of his woolly sentiments that have the intellectual tone of fortune cookies. One example: “People occasionally forgive, but nature never does.” The Vatican’s majesty does not disguise the vacuity of this. Is Francis intimating that environmental damage is irreversible? He neglects what technology has accomplished regarding London’s air (see Page 1 of Dickens’s “Bleak House”) and other matters.