The Roman Curia faces more scrutiny after the release of two new books in Italy based on leaked documents from the Vatican that appear to reveal inappropriate use of church funds. France 24 turned to Kishore Jayabalan, director of Istituto Acton in Rome, for his analysis of the situation. Below, we’ve posted a portion of his appearance on France 24; the full panel discussion took up most of a broadcast hour. The full exchange is available on France 24’s website in two parts: Click here for part 1 and click here for part 2.
While it has been pointed out repeatedly by your writer and others in this space that Pope Francis’ Laudato Si contains much to recommend it for the beauty, compassion and depth of spirituality contained within, there remains much that is problematic. For example, there’s this:
At the same time we can note the rise of a false or superficial ecology which bolsters complacency and a cheerful recklessness. As often occurs in periods of deep crisis which require bold decisions, we are tempted to think that what is happening is not entirely clear. Superficially, apart from a few obvious signs of pollution and deterioration, things do not look that serious, and the planet could continue as it is for some time. Such evasiveness serves as a license to carrying on with our present lifestyles and models of production and consumption. This is the way human beings contrive to feed their self-destructive vices: trying not to see them, trying not to acknowledge them, delaying the important decisions and pretending that nothing will happen.
All this is consistent with Pope Francis’ warning that fossil fuels are contributing to climate change, but what he should be advocating for is energy abundance rather than this:
There is an urgent need to develop policies so that, in the next few years, the emission of carbon dioxide and other highly polluting gasses can be drastically reduced, for example, substituting for fossil fuels and developing sources of renewable energy.
Yet, how does the Pope reconcile his call for reduction of fossil-fuel use with his call for cleaner water and increased green space in the following quotes?
Here’s Pope Francis on water:
At Boston College, Turkson maps ‘Laudato Si’’ path to Paris climate agreement
Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter
If Laudato Si’ offered a light on the path to a Paris climate agreement, the U.S. ought to be the one carrying the lantern, said the pope’s chief encyclical envoy Monday at Boston College.
Why a Popular Pope Is Willing to Be Unpopular
John Izzo, Huffington Post Canada
What most Americans and Canadians really should do is read the Pope’s encyclical. Rather than a political tirade, what they would discover is a thoughtful, measured and powerful homily on the dysfunctional and unsustainable relationship human beings have with the very planet that gave us life. From loss of biodiversity to the dire state of the oceans, the gross inequality that permeates the planet and yes, climate change, he calls us to consider the place we play in the creation whether or not we believe it be God created or a cosmic shot of good luck.
Levin: Pope Francis and Obama ‘Speak Down To Us’
“Despite Pope Francis’ progressive stance on climate change and economic equity, he has taken a back seat when it comes to reproductive health and women’s rights”, said Alexander Sanger, board member of the worldwide Planned Parenthood Federation for the Western Hemisphere Region, in a statement Friday. Timing, as they say, is everything.
“God, or Nothing!”: Exclusive Interview with Cardinal Robert Sarah
Diane Montagna, Aleteia
If the Pope speaks about the economy or politics, it is not his field of expertise. He can offer his vision or opinion, but it’s not dogma. He can err. But what he says about Christ, about the Sacraments, about the faith must be considered as sure. If he speaks about the environment, the climate, the economy, immigrants, etc., he is working from information that may be correct, or mistaken, but [in these cases] he is speaking as Obama speaks, or another president. It doesn’t mean that what he says on the economy is dogma, something we need to follow. It’s an opinion.
Catholic school’s dilemma: Pope Francis vs oil dollars
Hailey Lee, CNBC
As Pope Francis advances his call to action against climate change and dependence on fossil fuels, some in the flock are faced with a dilemma. Many U.S. Catholic churches and institutions lease land out to oil and gas companies—and make good money doing it. County documents reveal that dioceses in Texas and Oklahoma have signed 235 leases in oil and gas since 2010, according to Reuters. The pope made a formal call to action in June, saying, “There is an urgent need to develop policies so that, in the next few years, the emission of carbon dioxide and other highly polluting gases can be drastically reduced, for example, substituting for fossil fuels and developing sources of renewable energy.”
For Heaven’s Sake
Roseann Hernandez, GoodTimes
The transformative power of the pope’s words has begun sinking in around Santa Cruz County, with the announcement that the Progressive Christian Forum will hold an event on Thursday, Oct. 1 to discuss the pope’s words and the message behind them.
While the 2015 papal visit to the United States has wrapped up, the Acton Institute continues to add fresh content to our webpage dedicated to the pope, the environment, the global economy and other issues of note.
Currently, the page features a Fox News video with Acton co-founder Rev. Robert Sirico, discussing the pope’s first U.S. trip, and his speeches and remarks during that visit. In addition, the page highlights Acton expert news analysis, including recent remarks by Samuel Gregg, Acton’s director of research, in the National Catholic Register, and Rev. Sirico’s commentary during the papal visit to the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.
Further, the webpage includes an “Environmental Stewardship In-depth” section. This section currently contains more than three dozen scholarly resources, including material from Jewish, Catholic and Orthodox scholars and a section-by-section guide to the papal encyclical, Laudato Si’.
As we continue to cover these issues, this webpage will be updated; we hope it will be a rich resource of reasoned thought and informative material.
The Energy Election
Joel Kotkin, Real Clear Politics
Blessed by Pope Francis, the drive to wipe out fossil fuels, notes activist Bill McKibben, now has “the wind in its sails.” Setting aside the bizarre alliance of the Roman Catholic Church with secularists such as McKibben, who favor severe limits of family size as an environmental imperative, this is a potentially transformational moment.
Vatican newspaper: analysis of recent Muslim statement on climate change
Catholic World News
Father Damian Howard, an English Jesuit, compares the declaration with Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato Si’ and writes that the declaration’s statement that “our planet has existed for billions of years” is noteworthy because this view is not universally accepted among Muslims.
On Climate Change, Listen to Pope Francis, Not Jeb Bush
John Nichols, The Nation
Before he chose to pursue the priesthood, the future pope trained as a chemical technician. Writers for the National Catholic Reporter reference “his training as a scientist” and point out that the young Jorge Mario Bergoglio “worked as a chemist prior to entering the seminary.”
Professors dialogue about the Pope’s encyclical
Courtney Becker, The Observer
“At the intersection of science and religion, you can’t just jump into any modern document and think that it can be taken entirely at face value,” [David Lodge, professor of biology and director of the Notre Dame Environmental Change Initiative]said. “You want to think about how the scientific community … might react to such a document. The history of the interaction between Christianity and science has been, to say the least, a little fraught on occasion.”
Red-Blue America: What should Americans have learned from Pope Francis?
Ben Boychuk, Duluth News Tribune
Pope Francis isn’t a politician, an economist or a climatologist. He is first and foremost a priest and a pastor of 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide. Americans, Catholic and Protestant alike, forget that too easily.
True, Pope Francis discusses politics, economics and the climate in confounding ways. He really doesn’t understand the way free markets work. He’s listening to some highly misguided people about global warming. And as his visit with Fidel Castro showed, Francis isn’t as outspoken in the face of tyranny as was his predecessor, Saint Pope John Paul II. But Francis is neither anti-American nor a Marxist. Some conservatives sound like fools when they accuse the pontiff of being something he’s not.
College professor will speak about Pope Francis at Wallingford Public Library
Mary Ellen Godin, Record-Journal
Francis has been criticized by those who deny the established science of human-caused climate change. Other critics have denounced the letter as akin to communism and anti-technology. Some conservative Roman Catholics view the encyclical as an interference with secular politics. “He’s not anti-science,” Bourgeois said. “Nobody is proposing we go back to the Stone Age; we can’t treat capital markets and technology as though they are going to solve all of our problems.”