Paul Kengor, professor of political science at Grove City College, wrote an article published on Crisis Magazine‘s website today demonstrating that although the secular left has championed Laudato Si’, the text goes beyond environmental issues to show the pope’s deep commitment to family and marriage.

The secular left, of course, loves this encyclical. As I write, the farthest reaches of the left, People’s World, house organ of Communist Party USA, has two articles singing atheistic hosannas to the bishop of Rome. This has become common at People’s World. The successor to the Soviet-directed Daily Worker is a vigorous champion of this pope. There truly has never been a pope that communists have embraced like Pope Francis. Believe me, I research this, I know. …

That brings me to the reason I’m writing today. I write with encouragement to faithful Catholics who understand that the elephant in the global living room right now—especially in the West—is not carbon emissions or fossil fuels but family and marriage. And in that area, here’s the crucial point: this pope has been superb and seems to be growing steadily stronger. It is the main issue, the issue of our time, and it’s the main issue for this pope.

Read the full text of Kengor’s article here.

In The Morning Sun, a Central Michigan newspaper, frequent PowerBlog contributor Bruce Walker discusses the connection between the Charleston shootings and the recent papal encyclical:

The Charleston shooting rampage is a terrible reminder that very real evil manifests itself in this world, presumably performed in the name of all that is malevolent. The sickness that devalues innocent human lives over something as arbitrary as pigmentation to the point the violent taking of those lives somehow makes sense can be only credited to something demonic, a force that would’ve most likely wrought evil outcomes even without legally purchased firearms or Confederate flags.

The real tragedy of Charleston, of course, was the loss of lives, but a (far) smaller tragedy was the lost opportunity to fully discuss Laudato Si the following day. True, much ink had been spilled and pixels disbursed about the first papal encyclical to embrace human-caused climate change as fact from the moment a previous draft was leaked earlier in the week. Analysis of the final copy, however, had to wait until later – pushed back for many journalists and thought leaders because of the Charleston massacre, as well the slog of reading such a lengthy and often tedious encyclical.

Read the full post “On Charleston and Climate Change” at The Morning Sun.

Samuel Gregg, director of research at the Acton Institute, recently wrote for The Federalist that the overreach by the Pope into a wide range of environmental issues plagues the text of the encyclical:

Neither the pope nor the teaching authority he exercises is required to comment on every imaginable subject discussed in the public square, whether it is air-conditioning’s environmental impact, contemporary threats to plankton, the effect of synthetic agrotoxins on birds, or how dams affect animal migration (and, yes, all four are discussed in “Laudato Si”). The same goes for Catholic bishops. They’re under no obligation as bishops to articulate an opinion—let alone formal teachings—on every conceivable public policy issue.

One reason for this is that the Catholic Church itself teaches there is considerable room for legitimate disagreement among Catholics about the vast majority of political and economic questions (the legal treatment of matters like abortion and euthanasia being two of the better-known notable exceptions). But a second reason is that the primary responsibility for addressing most social, economic, and political matters belongs, as affirmed by Vatican II in its decree on the laity “Apostolicam Actuositatem,” to lay Catholics: not popes, bishops, priests, or members of religious orders.

Read the full post “A Roundtable on Laudato Si” at The Federalist.

Kishore Jayabalan, director of Istituto Acton in Rome, appeared on EWTN News Nightly last week to talk about the environmental encyclical and the pope’s emphasis on personal virtue and Christian stewardship.

On Thursday, Jayabalan commented that the poor will actually be hurt if people consume less, highlighting the need to connect sound economics to poverty alleviation plans:

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Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, June 25, 2015
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Would You Ever Pay a Bribe?
Amy Medina

Would you ever pay a bribe? If you’re like most westerners, you’ve never really had to think about it. You’ve probably never been asked for one. The temptation has never been there. It’s a non-issue. Consider yourself blessed.

Business concerns stall minimum wage vote by L.A. County board
Abby Sewell, Jean Merl, and Sarah Parvini L.A. Times

The campaign to push Los Angeles County to significantly raise the minimum wage suffered an unexpected setback Tuesday, with a key county supervisor demanding a postponement to address complaints from small-business owners.

Schools Fear Impact of Gay Marriage Ruling on Tax Status
Laurie Goodstein and Adam Liptak , New York Times

Conservative religious schools all over the country forbid same-sex relationships, from dating to couples living in married-student housing, and they fear they will soon be forced to make a wrenching choice. If the Supreme Court this month finds a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, the schools say they will either have to abandon their policies that prohibit gay relationships or eventually risk losing their tax-exempt status.

Conservatives Really Do Have a Heart: Arthur Brooks’ Solutions for America
Jamie Jackson, The Daily Signal

Arthur Brooks was a liberal bohemian musician studying economics when he embarked on a journey that led him to conservatism. He realized, for instance, conservatives had more sufficient answers to solving America’s poverty problem, one of the many issues he writes about in a new book, “The Conservative Heart.”

privateproperty_issue“The Fifth Amendment applies to personal property as well as real property,” wrote Justice Roberts in a Supreme Court ruling handed down earlier this week. “The Government has a categorical duty to pay just compensation when it takes your car, just as when it takes your home.”

You might be thinking, “Was that ever in doubt?” The answer is apparently yes—at least it was by the federal government since the time of FDR’s New Deal.

During the New Deal era, Congress gave the USDA the authority to take raisins, along with many other crops, from farmers without compensation and keep them in a government-controlled “reserve” to prevent them from being sold in U.S. markets. But while many of the other reserves faded away, the government has continued to take raisins from farmers—and claims it’s allowed to do so for because the taking benefits the farmer.

The raisins are given to the Raisin Administrative Committee, a California-based organization made up of industry representatives, which is allowed to sell off some of those reserve raisins to pay its own expenses and to promote raisins overseas. Many raisin farmers were fine with this price-fixing cartel. But one farmer refused to go along.
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Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
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acton-commentary-blogimage“With the Greek welfare state on the skids, the Church has stepped up,” says Dylan Pahman in this week’s Acton Commentary. Many Orthodox parishes have ministries to help those hit by the economic crisis, still struggling six years later.

With negotiations between Greece and its “troika” creditors dragging out like a soap opera with no ending, the economic indicators aren’t providing much cause for optimism. According to Standard & Poor, as of 2014 Greece’s GDP has shrunk to 75% what it was in 2009. The country’s current debt-to-GDP ratio, The Economist reports, “after two bail-outs stands at 180% of GDP.”

Dimosthenis Kouskoukis, a Ph.D. candidate researching the finances of the Orthodox Church in Greece, the established church in this nation, estimated that the number of people fed daily by parish soup kitchens and other ministries has increased from approximately 6,000 in 2009 to 16,000 as of 2014.

In Thessaloniki, the St. George parish has become not only a soup kitchen, but a job service and all around private aid society.

The full text of the essay can be found here. Subscribe to the free, weekly Acton News & Commentary and other publications here.

Fr. Michael Butler offers insight on the recent encyclical from an Orthodox Christian perspective at Acton University 2015:

Blog author: bwalker
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
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The problem with Pope Francis’ encyclical is that nature is nasty: Spengler
David P. Goldman, Spengler

The trouble with natural theology (the notion that nature itself points us to an understanding of the divine) is that nature herself is a nasty piece of work. When St. Francis of Assisi and his namesake, the reigning Pope, laud nature as “mother” and “sister,” they open a can of theological worms. Nature is no sister of mine. Christians like to view things in terms of teleology–their ultimate goal–and the teleology of the world we know is to be destroyed in a fireball.

What Do We Do When the Pope Gets It Wrong?
John Zmirak, The Stream

No less a defender of Catholic truth than Barack Obama has made it clear: Pope Francis threw “the full moral authority of his position” behind the need to abandon fossil fuels, junk our unjust and exploitative free market system, and massively redistribute wealth via globalist institutions. These heroic measures are essential to save the earth and cushion the impact of switching to solar, thermal or hamster-treadmill power for poor countries worldwide.

Pope Francis vs. Wall Street
Katrina vanden Heuvel, The Washington Post

For Pope Francis, the market and the economy must be bound by rules that serve “basic and inalienable rights.” At the center of these is work: “We were created with a vocation to work.” Work is the setting for “rich personal growth . . . creativity, planning for the future, developing our talents, living out our values . . . giving glory to God.” Therefore, priority should be given to “the goal of access to steady employment for everyone, no matter the limited interests of business and dubious economic reasoning.”

Pope Francis’ climate-change encyclical: If only Galileo could see it
Sarah Mosko, The Los Angeles Times

If successful, this pope’s encyclical will more than make up for the harm the Catholic Church caused in the past by its intransigent denial of the science proving that the Earth is not the center of the universe. Too bad Galileo isn’t here to see the church take the lead this time.

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It’s been a busy week for the Acton Institute, with Pope Francis’ Laudeto Si’ arriving in the middle of our biggest conference event of the year, Acton University. As a result, there is a bounty of media for Acton supporters to enjoy this week. Here’s a review, in case you missed anything.

Let’s start off with Acton University: All four evening keynote speeches are available for your viewing pleasure on our YouTube channel. I’ve embedded the address delivered last Wednesday by Gregory Thornbury, president of The King’s College in New York City, in this post; be sure to check out keynotes from Samuel Gregg, Joel Salatin, and Rev. Robert A. Sirico as well. You might also check out this fine piece put together by Experience GR that looks at the Acton University experience.

We’re busy uploading almost 100 lectures from AU 2015 to our digital download store; mp3 versions of all four evening keynote addresses are available for free.

While Acton University was in full swing, Pope Francis released his encyclical letter Laudato Si’, which has created a wave of commentary not only on the state of the global environment, but also on the proper response of Christians and Roman Catholics in particular to the Pope’s assertions in the encyclical.

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