Some good commentary on ‘Laudato si” and some bad

I’ll add more as opportunity arises.

More good commentary about Laudato si’

From Crisis: Fr. Rutler – “Saint Peter, from his fishing days, had enough hydrometeorology to know that he could not walk on water. Then the eternal Logos told him to do it, and he did, until he mixed up the sciences of heaven and earth and began to sink.”

From American Spectator: Sam Gregg

From WSJ: Fr. Sirico

From First Things: Rusty Reno

Some bad commentary:

From Fishwrap: Michael Sean Winters (spends a lot of energy attacking Acton – his obsession – read it for fun, with environmentally responsible popcorn)



About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in SESSIUNCULA and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Quaeror says:

    I don’t understand all this energy spent pigeonholing the pope into people’s pre-existing fears of the Left. The pope is not a leftist. Distrust of the rich is as old as Christianity, and skepticism of capitalism is as old as at least Rerum Novarum. The pope is merely repeating what Christ himself said: the rich will bear an extra burden and increased responsibility if they are to pass through the eye of the needle into heaven.

    But because Democrats use the environment as a wedge issue, Catholics MUST be against climate change and environmentalism? I don’t understand. Cutting carbon emissions to combat climate change seems to me far more in line with Catholic teaching than continuing to plunder the earth that God placed in our care so that we can have a few more physical comforts and conveniences.

  2. Traductora says:

    Fr. Rutler’s wonderful, witty article was, as always, simply mahvelous. I used to go hear him preach on the Seven Last Words at St Agnes and he could hold an entire church full of people spellbound for 3 hours.

    His points were excellent, and one thing it brought to mind was Rachel Carson’s devastating, emotional nonsense, Silent Spring. This was a screed against DDT by a former marine biologist turned nature writer who was also, at that point, blaming her breast cancer on the developed world and its chemicals. She claimed that DDT was destroying bird eggs and this was taken up by the Romantic green crowd in the mid 60s. They managed to get the evil DDT banned – thus causing the death from malaria and other mosquito borne diseases of millions of human beings in the Third World, although there was really no hard evidence to support her claim and it has since been disproved (although DDT is still banned, despite the pleas of the Third World for this affordable preventive measure).

    When I was a child in the 1950s, btw, we used to run after the DDT trucks to get into the spray clouds when they were spraying, for some reason, and many years later, I’m doing just fine and have 3 healthy now adult children.

    But be that as it may, the 1970s redux thought that constitutes this encyclical is doing no favor to anybody, either in the developed world or the Third World.

  3. Elizabeth D says:

    If MSW is against Acton then I endorse it.

    If Obama and Ban Ki-Moon both are in favor of the encyclical, then I… wish they would read it in full.

    “I welcome His Holiness Pope Francis’s encyclical, and deeply admire the Pope’s decision to make the case – clearly, powerfully, and with the full moral authority of his position – for action on global climate change,” said President Obama.

    He added: “It has given me food for thought as well on the value of human life from conception to natural death, and the evils of gender theory. I think I can see how these planks of my party’s platform are undermining human ecology and the common good. I am sorry for my past misguided statements and actions and am begging for God’s mercy, I pledge that I and my family will stop taking wasteful vacations as a penance which is all too light for the seriousness of my offenses, and I will now work with Congress on two new Constitutional Amendments, one to halt abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide, another to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman who are open to having children through one another and raising them together.”

  4. benedetta says:

    I thought this a helpful way for average laity to approach reading this encyclical, as a start:

  5. CAR says:

    Excellent article from Fr. Rutler. BTW, I had a good laugh-of-the-day, when the “Foamers” started to hijack the comments section.

  6. chantgirl says:

    You know, really the solution to our ecological problems is Catholics having big families. Our family of ten lives in a neighborhood in which most similar size houses have 1-4 people living in them. It costs the same to turn the lights on whether 2 or 8 people are in a house. Our kids wear hand-me-downs. We necessarily carpool everywhere we go. It costs enough to fill the gas tank of our family van that I limit driving due to cost. My kids have never flown because it would cost me an arm and a leg. We take cheap vacations to close destinations. They have never had an ipod, ipad, or iphone- let alone a new model every year! We are doing our fair share to provide future taxpayers. We go to a Latin Mass parish, which doesn’t need to order 500 new worship aids per year.

    Yes, the new “green” family model is the big, Catholic family :)

    As far as the recyclical goes, if the Church is a field hospital, there are far more important wounds and injuries that need some attention! Our problem in the Church is spiritual, liturgical, and social (the family). The house is burning and we’re worried if the lawn will get scorched. The specificity of the “science” cited in the document will make it dated within 15 years. We need to care for the earth, but we don’t need to co-opt the loaded language of the left and give them moral support to implement their population control agenda. Yes, I know that the encyclical does not support population control measures, but the left will take Francis’ acknowledgment of man-made climate change and use it to undergird their atheist agenda. Finally, if we’re really concerned about the poor, pushing for a global governing body (yes, I know B XVI pushed for this too- I didn’t like it from him either) will leave the poor out in the cold as such a body will be swayed by the rich and the powerful. The poor won’t have a voice as the strong decide that the weak need to be sterilized.

  7. SaintJude6 says:

    Don’t forget that food waste isn’t an issue in a big family either.

  8. Michaelus says:

    Hmm…everyone’s talking about “climate change” but no one is talking about the Holy Father’s explicit call to say grace before meals……did everyone actually read the text? Any comments on the sections on the Eucharist and how nature reveals the Trinity Mr. Obama?

    If out turns out that carbon dioxide does not affect climate and the Mauna Loa measurements are wrong and all the waste from gas and oil just make butterflies healthier it would not change the key points of Laudato Si.

  9. Woody79 says:

    It’s probably like all the Vatican Two documents…..full of booby traps. Looks rather harmless now but has devastating effects in the future. And the devastation is to the Church.

  10. Gerard Plourde says:

    I think Fr. Sirico is correct in his observation that the dialogue Pope Francis calls for is vital. A full and honest discussion will begin by recognizing that all systems humans create, no matter how good the intent at their inception, are by definition flawed in their execution because of the sin of our first parents and subject to perversion by the temptations of Satan. Capitalism, as one of those human systems, while worthwhile for its undeniable ability to better the lot of many financially, must also be held to the standard of achieving good ends solely through licit means.

  11. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Textual commentary seems a good sort of commentary to me:

    Is ‘bozza’ the new nickname of Fr. Lombardi? Could someone more learned than myself discourse on ‘suggestio falsi’ and ‘suppressio veri’ as they may possibly apply to Fr. Lombardi’s statement (and, for that matter, the encyclical’s ‘climate “science” ‘)?

  12. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Again, could someone more learned than myself suggest where on the commentary scale it were best to place Dr. Wei-Hock Soon?:

  13. pelerin says:

    Having only come across reference to the Acton Institute on this blog I decided to find out more. I was surprised to find that in 2005 the Acton Institute received $155,ooo dollars from Exxon Mobil and that Exxon Mobil has drawn criticism for its history of lobbying in attempts to discredit the idea that climate change is caused by the burning of fossil fuels. Food for thought following Pope Francis’ encyclical.

  14. Rob_in_the_UK says:

    Sorry to post twice….. I just noticed that the same St John Paul II proclaimed St Francis of Assisi the patron saint of ecology in 1979. The heavenly patron is no doubt pushing his Papal namesake now. Trust in all this stuff:

  15. Kerry says:

    “Cutting carbon emissions to combat climate change…” “Sigh”.
    In a stadium of 10,000, 7800 are nitrogen, 2200 oxygen, and 3 are carbon dioxide. (.03% CO2 in the atmosphere.) When that changes to 4, the world ends? Over the next how many years…? I’d suggest holding your breath. And look up Piltdown man, the 2nd greatest scientific fraud of the last 100 years.
    Hint, water vapor.

  16. Kerry says:

    “Sigh”, again. (I really must read more thoroughly.) Ahem, “… to discredit the idea…”. When the scientific method “discredits an idea”, it is called being disproved, or falsified. Ideas are not feelings! It doesn’t matter a whit’s fig if one “feels” that the oil companies are behind efforts to “discredit the idea” of the effect of gravitational pull of the moon upon the tides. If one wishes to assert something, also properly called, hypothesizing, (not, as in Fringe, “I have a theory”), the next step is to test the hypothesis by experiment, “What happens if…”? If tests verify observations, an hypothesis explaining the phenomenon can be suggested. The best part is what comes next. Other people get to run tests as well. This is known as “The science is not settled!” (Indeed, science can be quite unsettling.) If someone tests discredit, um, disprove the theory, it has been falsified.
    Whether the people involved in all this are likeable or not, run giant corporations or not, is irrelevant. As someone said, “Facts are stubborn things”. At the turn of the 19th century it was believe that physics was all sewn up, settled if it were. (Look up settling ponds and water treatment plants.) Then an obscure fellow in a Swiss patent office said, “I have an hypothesis”. Pound said Algore! (On that note when will Al release his version of Humanae Vitae?)

  17. Kerry says:

    Oops. (Anglo Saxon for “Sigh”.) “If test verify…a theory can be suggested”.

  18. Pat says:

    Reminder: Card, Turkson, who is behind the first draft of LS, wrote this other document after the 2008 financial crisis

  19. Imrahil says:

    In fairness, dear St. Rafael, have the “neo-Catholics” excused… They are all just so glad because they expected worse. I certainly did not expect that “unecological behavior” in individuals would be spared (for all the rebukes, and the implicit calls for prudence and moderation) a condemnation as sinful, but saying grace would not only be praised as pious, but even be hold to make an actual positive impact.

    That said, the article you quoted does, in view my, go beyond how a Catholic should treat the Vicar of Christ even where he disagrees with him.

  20. Imrahil says:

    (whatever the word “neo-Catholic” means)

  21. St. Rafael says:

    The situation is a lot more serious that just mere disagreement. The Vicar of Christ needs prayers. A lot of prayers. Prayers for conversion. Many Catholics including myself respect the office of the papacy, but that man occupying the office as Pope and Vicar of Christ, needs a conversion to the faith.

  22. Imrahil says:

    The First Things article our reverend host linked to is especially interesting and, I think, insightful (though bold).

    In this encyclical, Francis expresses strikingly anti-scientific, anti-technological, and anti-progressive sentiments. In fact, this is perhaps the most anti-modern encyclical since the Syllabus of Errors[…]

    (well, excepting Ardenti cura, if we consider National Socialism – as I think we may – as the “modern”, “en vogue” thought of its own time.)

    The author pronounces himself as skeptical. He’s entitled to that. I do not deny, though, that, for my part, after for years and years where longing-for-the-good-old-times was virtually the only sin preachers thundered against in sermons, I cannot deny that a bit of anti-modern sentiment makes for a refreshing change.

  23. St. Rafael says:

    The First Things author doesn’t even know what Modernism is. The Syllabus of Errors was written against the theology of Modernism. This theology is not the same as the other general popular definition of modernism, which deals with modernity, technology, and modern progress. The Modernism of the Syllabus of Errors, is a specific theological system of thought. We are talking about a specific Catholic theology and heresy called Modernism. A heresy that Pius X called the synthesis of all heresies. You won’t find any of the anti-modernism that Popes Pius IX or Pius X wrote about anywhere in this encyclical.

  24. Ben Kenobi says:

    Anti-modernist? Hardly. Look at the jargon. This is like a modern household praising itself for not watching TV, while turning on their screens. The encyclical is full of loaded terms with tremendous sociological baggage behind it. I was quite disappointed to see Francis first invoke God to see, “even now, we have some climate dissenters”. *sigh* I had a hard time getting the image of an aging, tie-dyed, geriatric hippy telling kids to get off of his lawn. The one blessing is that it’s hard to be an edgy rebel when the Pope agrees with you!

  25. Imrahil says:

    Dear St. Rafael

    ad 1: I think it is a serious suggestion that the Pope has lost (or never has had) the Catholic faith; and I don’t think (for all the criticism he may deserve in detail*) it is true; and it is certain there is no evidence for that, and much evidence to the contrary.

    [Note that this is a purely theoretical statement: A “Catholic with errors” in a high Church office is, I think, in most cases more dangerous than someone who plainly has lost the faith (perhaps excepting someone who works consciously for subverting it) – evil takes its strength from what is still good about it, generally.

    But that doesn’t make the said “Catholic with errors” someone who, in addition to his errors, has lost the Faith, just because we may think he deserves a harsh-sounding rebuke.]

  26. Imrahil says:

    Dear St. Rafael

    ad 2: We are talking about a specific Catholic theology and heresy called Modernism.

    The First Things author wasn’t, which is why (if I remember correctly) he didn’t say so, didn’t use the terminus “modernism”. [Well, I just checked. The title does have “return of anti-modernism”; otherwise, the words “modernism” and “modernist” are not found in the text, though.] Use of a catchy title which is colloquial rather than displaying the precise technical meaning of a term does not, in my view, make an article utterly lose informative or describing value.

    And it is true (I’m assuming now, or trying to assume, the position of “neutral observer”, which I am allowed to do, as actual doctrine is not concerned) that besides the anti-modernism (exposure of and fight againt the heresy of modernism) of Pope St. Pius X., there has also been present, within the Catholic fold, a tendency of suspicion against, and disdain of, modernity even in areas where modernity is defensible.

    And indeed even now, if someone converts to Catholicism, most of the time one can watch him growing “old-fashioned” even in areas where precise theology and precise morality do not actually make him do so (and I do not suppose they do) – not, hence, because he must, but because he may. People seem to be giving tribute to Modernity, as it were as to an unbeloved ruling power; when having found out she does not actually rule, they quickly cease to do so.

    I do not say it is Catholic doctrine, but it certainly was written from a background of general Catholic sentiment, what e. g. Tolkien described in the Saruman character and its involvement with Nature (viz. Ents), traditional men (viz. Hobbits) and rightly-directed intellectuals (viz. Elves). [Note to the dear Tolkien fans: please forgive the allegoricizing^^, but after all:] Tolkien himself would some day point out that the battle of our time is “against the wizards”.

    As I said, not Catholic doctrine, but undoubtedly the sentiment of Catholics.

    During the last decades, our bishops have made clear that you are not obliged to be anti-modern as a Catholic. In this they were right. In the meantime, though, they have repeated it so often as to create the impression, and sometimes they have explicitly said, that Catholics have a duty to be modern (only as far as this does not imply immorality, but not, it seems, one inch less). In this they were not right, and also, I guess, it was tactically a bad move, for the pleasure of not-having-to-be-modern is indeed (though perhaps in a hidden manner) one of the attractive traits of Catholicism to non-Catholics.

    (Some say that the Church when trying up to catch the times, is always five years late. When the Church tried to “come to terms with modernity”, modernity itself was in her last breaths; she has died since, and our own culture is aptly named “post-modernity”.)

    Now what the First Things author described (and critized) is that Pope Francis seems to display that anti-modern sentiment rather more than that latter “we are everything but not anti-modern, that is as long as the Ten Commandments, and Pascendi, and Lamentabili, and so on allow”. This is no question of theological precision, but “the tone [also] makes the music” as the proverb goes.

    On the other hand, while I do not imply that anti-modern sentiment of necessity implies anti-modernism (now using the strict definition) or vice versa, I do not think that they are, statistically and by “natural proximity in personal attitudes” (if I may say so) utterly unconnected.

Comments are closed.