POLL: My plans for Pope Francis’ new encyclical ‘Laudato si”

A reader sent some questions for a poll.   Let’s see what the reaction is.

Yes, I know there are other possible answers, but choose the best here and then use the combox to explain.

Registered, approved users my post comments.

What I will do, for a few hours at least, is just let the comments pile up in the queue, so that you can post your thoughts without other people jumping in (or on you).

UPDATE: Apparently, my switching on the moderation queue didn’t work (I was working from my phone.  Oh well!  Too late now!

My plans for the encyclical 'Laudato si''

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Supertradmum says:

    May I say that as a commentator who has read all the encyclicals on this list over the years, and several in the last few months again, that I feel that many readers do not understand some aspects of the Church’s teaching on economics, social issues, and society?

    I am very concerned that Americanism, the great heresy of this land, has clouded the minds of some who have not actually understood or studied the works on this list, including some by our beloved Benedict, Pope Emeritus, who is in many of the footnotes, as is St. John Paul II of this new encyclical. Barring the two paragraphs on global warming, (and I have not finished reading it yet) the ideas are consistent with several other popes.


  2. Andrew says:

    I am surprised how many people are ready to form strong opinions about a 200 page document within hours of its publication, and in some cases, even before it was published. Why not just wait a few weeks to give everyone enough time to read it and absorb it? At the pace most people read papal documents, right now, we should be asking questions about “Spe Salvi”.

  3. wmeyer says:

    Andrew, the same thought has been bothering me. I have no other comment to offer, as I have not yet made my way through the document.

  4. Supertradmum says:

    I am slowly going through it and am very impressed. Some sections are sublime, to be honest. Like this section I am studying now…


    96. Jesus took up the biblical faith in God the Creator, emphasizing a fundamental truth: God is Father (cf. Mt 11:25). In talking with his disciples, Jesus would invite them to recognize the paternal relationship God has with all his creatures. With moving tenderness he would remind them that each one of them is important in God’s eyes: “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God” (Lk 12:6). “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them” (Mt 6:26).

    97. The Lord was able to invite others to be attentive to the beauty that there is in the world because he himself was in constant touch with nature, lending it an attention full of fondness and wonder. As he made his way throughout the land, he often stopped to contemplate the beauty sown by his Father, and invited his disciples to perceive a divine message in things: “Lift up your eyes, and see how the fields are already white for harvest” (Jn 4:35). “The kingdom of God is like a grain of mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all seeds, but once it has grown, it is the greatest of plants” (Mt 13:31-32).

    98. Jesus lived in full harmony with creation, and others were amazed: “What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?” (Mt 8:27). His appearance was not that of an ascetic set apart from the world, nor of an enemy to the pleasant things of life. Of himself he said: “The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard!’” (Mt 11:19). He was far removed from philosophies which despised the body, matter and the things of the world. Such unhealthy dualisms, nonetheless, left a mark on certain Christian thinkers in the course of history and disfigured the Gospel. Jesus worked with his hands, in daily contact with the matter created by God, to which he gave form by his craftsmanship. It is striking that most of his life was dedicated to this task in a simple life which awakened no admiration at all: “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary?” (Mk 6:3). In this way he sanctified human labour and endowed it with a special significance for our development. As Saint John Paul II taught, “by enduring the toil of work in union with Christ crucified for us, man in a way collaborates with the Son of God for the redemption of humanity”.[79]

    99. In the Christian understanding of the world, the destiny of all creation is bound up with the mystery of Christ, present from the beginning: “All things have been created though him and for him” (Col 1:16).[80] The prologue of the Gospel of John (1:1-18) reveals Christ’s creative work as the Divine Word (Logos). But then, unexpectedly, the prologue goes on to say that this same Word “became flesh” (Jn 1:14). One Person of the Trinity entered into the created cosmos, throwing in his lot with it, even to the cross. From the beginning of the world, but particularly through the incarnation, the mystery of Christ is at work in a hidden manner in the natural world as a whole, without thereby impinging on its autonomy.

  5. Thom says:

    How can any conscientious Catholic refuse to read a Papal encyclical based on what somebody else tells them about it?

    Let Peter be heard!

  6. JoAnna says:

    “This religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra; that is, it must be shown in such a way that his supreme magisterium is acknowledged with reverence, the judgments made by him are sincerely adhered to, according to his manifest mind and will. His mind and will in the matter may be known either from the character of the documents, from his frequent repetition of the same doctrine, or from his manner of speaking.” (Lumen Gentium, #25)

  7. magistercaesar says:

    I plan on reading it…once I finish my homework.

  8. Hmmmm … my plans for Laudato si??? How about we host a barbeque in my backyard, with a charcoal fired grill, and we use copies of the encyclical as disposable placemats and kindle!

    I’m just trying to have a laugh here. In truth I will not be doing this. In all seriousness I picked this: I don’t regard all the Pope’s views in these areas as morally compelling, but I plan to read it all for interest and information. (26%, 89 Votes)

    Why? Plain and simple. The morals and faith items, he’s the Pope and he’s infallible. Even if he’s not doing pure dogma and theology, we can trust the Petrine office. So far based on the reviews and commentary, a lot of those portions are “nuggets” of good information, especially human ecology and the principle of life. Now, when he talks about the air conditioners and free market stuff, no. I’m just gonna take it with a grain of salt, because he doesn’t have absolute authority there and he relied on experts obviously, some with questionable motivations and ideologies.

    Seriously, people just have to have common sense and basic faith knowledge in approaching these things with a modicum of logic. Not like the Radicals Misrepresenting Traditionalists who are slogging Pope Francis.

  9. acardnal says:

    Supertradmum, Fr. Z already posted that video on June 15!


  10. Persistant says:

    I’ll try to read it this summer, but I already have a large pile of books including some encyclicals waiting to be read, so it’ll wait for a while.

  11. Supertradmum says:

    oopsie. missed it…thanks–

  12. Supertradmum says:

    acardnal, my oppsie note was for you…a priest just sent it to me…lol

  13. acardnal says:

    You should hang your head in shame for not reading every post of Fr. Z’s thoroughly. ;=)

  14. Supertradmum says:

    acardnal….sniff, wail, penance…..

  15. Auggie says:

    “Jesus lived in full harmony with creation.”
    Perhaps this is a poor translation?
    Our Lord is King of Creation, of course, and I’d like to see that emphasized far beyond the image of a nature-mystic member of a barbershop quartet.
    Seriously, folks, Our Lord cursed the fig tree. He didn’t hug it.

  16. benedetta says:

    I was encouraged reading it mostly because it was better than what I was expecting given the things I have read not just from msm but from the Catholic blogosfero more generally, not here on this blog but in other places, given the way people sounded about it, condemnatory or celebratory before even reading, I just felt that whatever it would be just couldn’t be good under that sort of portent.

    But to be honest the screaming headlines “Pope jumps on climate change bandwagon” etc do not square with the text, yes? I mean to know that, you do have to actually read the thing first. The wording is quite careful.

    For my own part as I was reading that very careful language that basically said this is what science is saying as of now on this…sort of…I was in my mind considering some havoc wrought when the Supreme Court in our country decided something that changed generations forever, for ill, by very assuredly basing a penumbra of rights upon the science as then presented. Whole family lineages now wiped out in the blink of an eye and in carelessness, with every abortion sold or purchased or negotiated, or advocated, politicized, deal breaking, lobbied for…based on a science that is now grossly out of date and can be viewed as primitive by comparison with the knowledge of prenatal life and existence which science has now and continuing to analyze. Yet, even still we have the weird walking around fiction of people, real people, actual legislative type people, political people often, or people whose bankbooks are tied to it in one way or another, claiming that what is actually happening is “a blob of tissue”.

    At the end of the day though it is not the science that compels us to make a moral choice. That no one in our Lord’s day could verify the brainwaves and emotional landscape of a developing brain of a child in utero does not really bear upon the correctness from a moral point of view, in terms of getting along with our Creator, ordering a system of beliefs, and interacting in harmony with neighbor, of whether or not it is a good thing to deprive that being of life for any and no reason upon whim and for money…

    It is very weird how the msm faux scans the encyclical for some sort of affirmation of climate change science, and then as to the other points, particularly the points relating to whether the faith has anything to say about how we are to go about ordering our lives on the planet together, just chucks the rest…and not only the msm, in all likelihood our dear coreligionists in name mostly who write dissenting things everywhere with loud trumpets will also mine away for that one nugget, the one that pretends that some of the worst environmental fiascos were not committed by communist or atheist socialist regimes…and then as to the rest, the dignity of children, of neighborhood ecosystems, of the need for human-sustaining culture, and on and on and on and on…the fact is that climate change may be a nugget but it only can be rationally and sensibly comprehended for real people as significant within the context of the whole document and the whole of an orthodox Christianity, and nothing less.

  17. Back pew sitter says:

    I used to read just about everything that came from Rome, but during the past couple of years I’ve found myself disinclined to do so. I haven’t answered the poll as I’m not sure whether I will read the encyclical.

  18. capchoirgirl says:

    Auggie, LOL. Poor fig tree! :)

  19. TomD says:

    I will read it in its entirety soon, after accumulating some commentary to help in the process. It is important to read the encyclical as a means to better understand Pope Francis and those who closely advise him. I do wish it, as with so many Church documents, that it was not so long.

    While much of the text is not binding on Catholics, it provides an opportunity to better understand what is going on “behind the scenes,” and those who influence the Pope. I have tried mightily to keep an open mind regarding Pope Francis and to learn from him, while being skeptical of things that don’t “ring true.”

    If noted left-wingers Jeffrey Sachs and Hans Joachim Schnellnhuber are in the advisory circle of Pope Francis on matters of ecology, however, that is cause for great concern. So many of the warmists are driven by ideology and politics, not by science.

  20. Quanah says:

    I went with option number two. While I don’t think all the Pope’s views regarding things such as global warming are morally compelling, there are some actions that are definitely immoral or moral concerning the relationship between man and the rest of creation. I think we need to allow ourselves to be challenged by what he is saying overall even if we disagree or are not convinced concerning particulars.

  21. Benedict Joseph says:

    Can it be that there are those who cannot understand that after two and a quarter years of … what term can be used? …a mess, coupled with continual blistering disappointment, bewilderment and frankly, scandal, theological scandal that makes the horror of the sexual scandal pale by comparison…are there those who cannot understand why an individual would hesitate to submit their self to yet another bewildering, blistering, scandalous disappointment of the theological kind?
    Obviously I’m not terribly enamored of our present Holy Father, and there is little else that I can’t abide than being mortified for someone for whom I have low expectations. This “event” submerges me in the greatest disappointment for him and for the Church. This was a project developed by persons with an agenda that has little to do with the promotion of the Gospel. History will hold this in contempt. And just like Galileo, it will ignore any mitigating circumstances. Although, on the upside, it might finally bring popular opinion to the knowledge that the “Galileo event” was prompted by a concern for the integrity of the scientific method, while this has embraced pop science in the attempt to achieve credence with a populace addicted to hype.

  22. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    I have a growing collection of encyclical letters including Mortalium animos, Humane Vitae, Veritatis Splendor, Casti Conubii, Transiturus est (which I can’t find, just at the moment). They are teaching letters of the Roman Pontiff, and – on that score – must be taken seriously. My impression of “Laudato Si” is puzzled. It reads less like a teaching letter than a talk presented at a conference. I also have the sense (for the second time) that Pope Francis is not writing for a Catholic audience, i.e., the 99 sheep, but for the 1 lost sheep. I’m only 40 pages into it yet, but I’m making comments on my copy as I go.

  23. tzard says:

    As I’ve done already, I’ve read reviews and snippets from people I trust.

    I would Like to read the whole thing, but it seems too large to digest based on my time at the moment. (I would not assume to just read it like a novel). An aside – who is this encyclical addressed to? The ones of previous pontiffs stated the specific audience, hence I would know if it’s directed to priest and bishops primarily.

    So I’ll read parts as time permits. The issue is which parts…. Oh well, off help my child with something.

  24. Elizabeth D says:

    What JoAnna said (quoting Lumen Gentium). And my impression so far is also what Supertradmum said in the first comment, at 19 June 2015 at 4:33 PM, that it is in continuity and contains some good stuff. I continue to think what I thought before it was released, that in a decade or two it may be more clear whether Pope Francis is right about certain things. I honestly think it is an interesting and potentially fruitful choice to “accompany” contemporary people (Catholic or not) in their concerns and propose a Catholic way of thinking. One thing I noticed while skimming through that highlights how much this is addressed to the general public is that he even explains the Catholic teaching on the uniqueness of man in having intellect, will, responsibility, etc, in a way that is the best adapted to people of today of any that I have seen. This was something I did NOT understand when I came back to the Church and had some objections. Pope Francis’ explanation would have been a lot more helpful than the ones I received. I have yet to sit down and read it through but I can appreciate this document.

  25. Pigeon says:

    I am in between the first two options, but I marked that it requires deference. I don’t think this is an area of absolute obedience, except that we must, in general, care for that which we have dominion over. However, if the pope feels strongly enough to promote it as an encyclical, I should at least read, study, and pray discerningly.

  26. Veritatis Splendor says:

    I am working my way through it. There are a bunch of really good areas, and only a few questionable bits. Chapter two is wonderful. Most of Chapter One is wonderful too. I especially liked the blasting of urban planners who make cities ugly, because that opresses the poor who do not have beauty. That applies to Church architects as well. =D

  27. Mojoron says:

    Number one rule of life: Religious stay out of politics. No exceptions. When a Liberation Theologist remarks on anything, I tend to fall asleep.

  28. Mike says:

    I read it because it doesn’t make sense not to.

    Defer to it? I’ll stick with the Deposit of Faith, which some of the document seems to reflect but from which other parts (e.g., the Teilhard citations) appear to be quite dissonant. Several more readings are probably indicated.

  29. Gail F says:

    I don’t think he’s correct about the science, but from what I’ve seen the point isn’t the science, the point is how we are to live and believe. I plan to read for that reason — I’m pretty sure he knows a lot more about that than I do.

  30. ies0716 says:

    I’ve skimmed it and will eventually read the whole thing. I have no doubt that there is a lot of good, orthodox stuff in the encyclical. I’ve read some of the good passages along with some of the semi-pointless ones (do I really need to go to confession if I forget to turn off some lights?). My biggest beef with it is that the Pope completely fails to understand economics, which really casts all of his recommendations into question. Free-market economics (as messy as it is) has done more to lift people out of poverty than basically every government or UN program ever. Furthermore, western consumption fuels the economy of places like China and India where all of the consumed stuff actually gets made. If a large number of governments and individuals follow the Pope’s recommendations there will likely be more people in poverty, not fewer.

  31. Dave P. says:

    Number one rule of life: Religious stay out of politics. No exceptions. When a Liberation Theologist remarks on anything, I tend to fall asleep.

    So what have you to say about St Thomas a Becket, St. Stanislaus, St. Thomas More, and St. John Paul II?

  32. Gratias says:

    Pater Patrem nisil bonum?
    Ban-Moon and Obama are well pleased with P.P. Francis.

  33. Marc M says:

    “Number one rule of life: Religious stay out of politics. No exceptions. When a Liberation Theologist remarks on anything, I tend to fall asleep.

    So what have you to say about St Thomas a Becket, St. Stanislaus, St. Thomas More, and St. John Paul II?”

    Not to mention that this is the exact response we Christians hear when lobbying against, say, abortion.

    Maybe I shouldn’t be, but I’m shocked at the results of this poll so far. The Vicar of Christ writes a letter to all the Christian faithful, and the #1 response on this site is, I won’t read it because “I don’t have time for this foolishness”!?

    If the Pope believes in a particular scientific theory, or economic model, he can be wrong. We all know that. But I get the sense that that’s a couple of paragraphs, out of a couple hundred pages, rooted in Scripture and Tradition, exhorting us to give a damn about this undeserved gift of a beautiful planet we have been given. And pointing out that sometimes the poor get screwed, and we can do better. Is that really offensive to you?

    Of course the Pope’s views deserve deference, even if one disputes a point of opinion. Is absolute purity of agreement on every point a prerequisite for listening to anyone, much less someone in a very legitimate position of teaching authority? Should we toss out the Summa because St. Thomas disputed the Immaculate Conception? Should we ignore Augustine because he thought marriage was a band-aid for our sinfulness rather than a positive good? Should we ignore St. Peter because the earliest Christians apparently lived communally??

    Should we ignore JPII and B16 because they said very similar things?!

    I’ve been striving to avoid internet arguments, but these poll results are scandalous for a conservative Catholic community.

  34. Geoffrey says:

    “I am very concerned that Americanism, the great heresy of this land, has clouded the minds of some…”

    Well said!

    I printed the encyclical and plan to begin reading it this weekend. I want to read the words of the Vicar of Christ without the ideological fog produced by either progressives / traditionalists, liberals / conservatives, Democrats / Republicans. No political faction or party represents Catholic social teaching 100%.

  35. DeGaulle says:

    Father Hunwicke has a very interesting column today, dealing with what he increasingly perceives as the tactics of Pope Francis. Although particularly referring to the upcoming Synod on the Family in which he suspects that our Pope is giving due deference to Kasper et al because, firstly, the heterodox will not be able to claim afterwards that they didn’t get their say and, secondly, because our wily Pope prefers to have his enemies within the tent ****ing out! Such a modus operandi may well apply with respect to such characters as Schellnhuber in the environmental context. One thing is certain, Pope Francis keeps us awake and alert.

  36. A.D. says:

    I voted #1. I, too, am surprised at the poll results so far. We should at least read, with an open mind and willing heart, what the Pope has written.

  37. albizzi says:

    Can anyone who has read that too loooong encyclical help me?
    If there is something worth reading in it concerning Faith or morals, please le me know the exact page number.
    If not, that encyclical doesn’t bind on my Faith and therefore I have no time to waste reading it.
    In my opinion, one’s oul’s salvation is much more important than politics or flawed climate theories.

  38. Imrahil says:

    I chose “require deference”, though I hesitated about perhaps choosing “interest and information”. And of course, I don’t plan to read it all: I have read it. It was not a thorough study, but I do – er – postpone that thorough study until when I should get the time.

    I don’t think the Pope is infallible except when he’s infallible; so, for fallible teachings, there must be a last-resort space for disagreement. Still, when the Pope teaches in ordinary Magisterium, the principal thing at any rate is obedience (and that includes statements on politics), even if that obedience still knows exceptions. Infallible statements, of course, have to be taken in absolute obedience.

    By the way, I first misread “require deference” as “require defence” – and I think especially in an encyclical as popular as this, it may be helpful to know it to know a bit about it for to tell non-Catholics if they bring the topic up. (As I said my quick-read was not a thorough study, but I do think I’m conveniently able to do that now – but, you know, the one-eyed is king among the blind.)

  39. anj says:

    None of the above.

    You left out the option: Intended to read the encyclical, but closed the .pdf about page 38 or so because I got sick of it.

    As someone who does science for a living, I found the pope’s science talk very strange – reading his talk about methane and the mechanicm of the greenhouse effect, etc. It was like a cross between a 6th grade science text and a publication of the UN. This is not why we need the pope.

  40. Mary T says:

    I STRONGLY suggest reading it backward. Seriously — start with Chapter 6, Sections VI, VII, VIII and IX. . Read about the Trinity, Mary and Joseph, about the Eucharist, note the references to the writings of John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

    Then continue to move backward….just try it! You will have a different perspective. Starting with Part I is guaranteed to give you agita!

  41. Harris says:

    I won’t be reading it simply because our Pope will contradict it’s teachings within the week… Sad.

  42. benedetta says:

    Poll results are interesting. I think it would also be fun if sometime Fr. would put up an array of encyclicals and include this one for voting as to favorite. I’d be curious as to those results as well, particularly given the inclination of this readership, perhaps more, much more even, than in a number of other places, to seriously take up and read and think through with reason and in light of one’s baptism into the Faith.

  43. donato2 says:

    I’ve started it and what I’ve read so far is quite good – in touch with genuine Catholic tradition. I expect to be irritated by some of the pronouncements on specific policy issues but those pronouncements by their nature are going to be ephemeral, forgotten as the particularly circumstances underlying the policy issues pass away. What counts is the theological vision. R.R Reno’s commentary is quite good, and he raises important questions about the anti-modern, pessimistic vision underlying the encyclical. But what he raises in this regard does not call into question anything that causes me concern about the soundness of the encyclical’s teaching.

    Insofar as reaction is concerned, the real story line — one entirely missed by the press — is that the encyclical is resonating to a surprising degree with orthodox Catholics.

    (Care for creation, including of course procreation, is key. Query then: Would it not be fair to say that those who promote contraception, abortion, “gay marriage,” etc. — i.e. those who deform pro-creation — are polluters of human ecology?)

  44. Supertradmum says:

    If people really followed all of the Pope Emeritus’ writings and speeches on this subject, they might agree with me that it sounds very much like his ideas. He is quoted extensively, as is St. John Paul II.

    Sadly, the readership who do not want to read this and condemn it without doing so and those in the second and third categories do not understand that as adults we have a duty to read and study all things which come out of Rome at the first, second and third levels of infallibility. This poll saddens me greatly, as I see the results as proof that Catholics have fallen into anti-intellectualism.

  45. Auggie says:

    The poll shows another aspect of “the Francis effect”.

  46. I chose the “deference” answer because that’s what I believe. He is the Successor to Saint Peter; but I am not Saint Paul, if you get my meaning. So I will read what he said, and do my best with it. If I don’t see things the same way, I’m going to do my best with that out of respect for the pope. I’m certainly not going to react much to the letter till I’ve read it.

    For what it’s worth, I don’t know that anyone is obliged to read an encyclical; I suppose the bishops might be obliged, but I don’t think anyone else is. Pope John Paul issued fourteen, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg comprising all he published and said. I confess there are encyclicals of Saint John Paul II I haven’t read.

  47. andia says:

    I plan to read it, however since I have not yet I can not speak to whether or not I consider it morally anything. I am also not sure if Encyclicals are binding or not for Catholics ( being a recent revert, I am confused on that). Since I have not read it yet, I am not sure if all of it is relevant or feasible. Basically, I intend to wait and see what it says before I judge it.

  48. Gail F says:

    Supertradmom: I understand what you’re saying, but all Catholics are not obliged to read encyclicals. Never have been.

  49. Rellis says:

    Since when is a faithful Catholic obligated to read a papal encyclical, lest they be considered suspect in their fealty to the Successor of Peter? Up until very recently, that would have been beyond the reasonable capacity of most people.

    No, I read what I find interesting, and rely on other experts to read and distill the rest for me. I read about liturgy from Rome, and that’s about it.


  50. Geoffrey says:

    My growing concern is that apparently there isn’t going to be an official Latin text of this encyclical:


  51. Gerard Plourde says:

    Dear Supertradmum,

    I think you’re correct that the danger of the Americanist heresy has by and large been ignored. While the truths and freedoms that the Founding Fathers enunciated are laudable, it must be remebered that the founders were, almost to a man, raised in heresy and, in some cases, adherents to apostasy. Therefore, what they created must be examined critically to ensure that Truth is not undermined. As one example, religious freedom and religious tolerance are wonderful concepts but if not viewed critically can make a path to the error of Indifferentism.

  52. Supertradmum says:


    Many ideas held by Americans are simply not Church teaching; such as the idea that the Church had to change with the times–does not that sound familiar. But, the biggest lie of this heresy was and is the idea that Rome has no right to judge or dictate ideas which are “American”, such as the complete separation of Church and State, which the Church has never taught. This American “ideal” causes problems in education and court rulings, for example.

    Most of the Founding Fathers had classical education, so they knew more about history, philosophy and religion than politicians or statesmen today. But, only one signer of the Declaration was Catholic.

    Americanism is connected with modernist heresies–and some which came out of the Enlightenment mindset, such as “particularism”, which meant that because of the American experience of Catholic living in a, then, predominantly Protestant nation, Catholics should be more accommodating and low key, etc. Leo XIII, who should be canonized, decried gross individualism in his encyclical Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae.

    Catholics forgot they were suppose to be counter-cultural and try to reshape the Protestant culture into a Catholic one. Obviously, this never happened.

    One bit for those who are not inclined to read this encyclical, either.

    “For it would give rise to the suspicion that there are among you some who conceive and would have the Church in America to be different from what it is in the rest of the world….
    But the true church is one, as by unity of doctrine, so by unity of government, and she is catholic also. Since God has placed the center and foundation of unity in the chair of Blessed Peter, she is rightly called the Roman Church, for “where Peter is, there is the church.” Wherefore, if anybody wishes to be considered a real Catholic, he ought to be able to say from his heart the selfsame words which Jerome addressed to Pope Damasus: “I, acknowledging no other leader than Christ, am bound in fellowship with Your Holiness; that is, with the chair of Peter. I know that the church was built upon him ”

    I remember a popular and well-known tv and radio personality of the Catholic Faith, years ago, going on about dropping the nomenclature of “Roman Catholic”. Some of us are proud to be “Romans” as we are called still, to this day, in England.

  53. Gerard Plourde says:

    Dear Geoffrey,

    If the Holy Father wrote the encyclical in Italian then a Latin translation would be subject to the choices of the translators and could be subject to the inaccuracies that plague all translations. (This concern, of course, is not present in other Vatican documents which are created in Latin like the Catechism of the Catholic Church or the Roman Missal. In these the original intent is preserved in the Latin and the translations into the various vernaculars vetted for their fidelity.)

  54. Gerard Plourde says:

    Dear Supertradmum,

    Thanks for the truly well-thought out response. Your observations about the Founders mirror and amplify the warning I intended. We in the United States, like you in the U.K, are immersed in a culture with Protestant foundations (perhaps more so even than Britian, since Henry VIII and his successors had to uproot about a millenium of Catholicism, while here the colonies were, with the exception of Maryland, founded by Protestants.) Thus, we, like the proverbial frog in the slowly warming stock pot, may not readily recognize the deviations from Catholic truth that are part and parcel of the predominant culture and whose roots lie at the foundation of the Republic.

    I am also persuaded by your defense of “Roman Catholic”. While use of “Catholic” without the modifier is an attempt to assert the universal jurisdiction, authority and divine origin of the Church against those who would limit the same, your point that the addition of “Roman” is intended to express allegiance to the Vicar of Christ as against usurpers of the title “Catholic” (“Anglo-Catholics”, “Old Catholics”, and “Polish National Catholics” come to mind) carries great weight.

  55. WYMiriam says:

    I didn’t want to call the encyclical “foolishness” (even though I probably would be foolish enough to do so in my head, knowing the assumptions I would take with me in reading it), so I chose “I’ll probably read selected parts as time permits.” It will most likely be very, very few selected parts, I may add, as I find it increasingly difficult to read anything the pope says or writes, as I also find it increasingly difficult to believe that anyone could write (and/or translate) so badly. Somebody’s GOT to find a replacement translator, quick!

  56. WYMiriam says:

    Gerard, the rumor I heard (if rumor it was), was that the original language of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (the one promulgated by Pope St. John Paul II) was French, not Latin. I’m willing to be corrected on that, if I’m wrong.

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