Today's Wisdom

Those who do not pass from the experience of the cross to the truth of the resurrection condemn themselves to despair! For we cannot encounter God without first crucifying our narrow notions of a god who reflects only our own understanding of omnipotence and power
Pope Francis

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Will America Listen to Pope Francis?

On June 18, 2015, the Vatican published Pope Francis much-awaited encyclical "Laudato Si" on "care for our common home" or the environment (See link to the text in English here, in French here, and in Arabic here).

The encyclical is a masterful treatise not only on the Church's tradition from the earliest Book of Genesis but also on today's global economic situation. Pope Francis does not shy away from naming actions by their moral effect on the lives of creatures drawing from the canticle of the creatures written by his widely beloved patron and first humanist Saint Francis of Assisi. The encyclical notes that the theology of creation caused by the Good God finds its support  in the Angelic Doctor Saint Thomas Aquinas. A man of the gospel centered on Jesus Christ, Pope Francis is quick to call for actions that would bring people back to their senses and awaken their conscience (Cf. Matthew 5, Rom 8: 22). He refers to Genesis 2, 15 to show the commandment to humanity to care for the earth. While emphasizing the three fundamental relationships of the human person to God, his neighbour, and the earth, he points to the incorrect interpretation of Genesis 1: 28 that has encouraged the unbridled exploitation of nature. With regard to the ecological crisis and related human misuse of natural resources, Francis refers to encyclicals and texts by his predecessors Saint John XXIII (Pacem in Terris), Blessed Paul VI (Octogesima Adveniens, and his Address to the U.N. FAO), Saint John Paul II (Redemptor Hominis and Centesimus Annus) and more recently Pope Benedict XVI (Caritas in Veritate). In addition to Catholic tradition, Francis refers to the Orthodox Church voice in the Ecumenical Patriarch's repeated calls for us to repent of the ways humanity has contributed to the "destruction of creation".

Pope Francis has unleashed the second phase of his revolution for human dignity in the footsteps of his Master Jesus Christ. In the same Spirit of Christ, Francis demands a liberation from the slavery to money in what he terms excessive capitalism and the abuse of technology for business dominion. The encyclical is particularly aimed at North Americans and Europeans who maintain a "throw away culture" that is a symptom of deeper concerns for injustice that rich nations of the North contribute to the poor in the South. The pace at which technological advances move has already created a climate of adversity between nations that threatens the survival of the human race and the rest of creatures on the planet. The gap between the have and have not is increasing rapidly.

The encyclical, The New York Times wrote "offers blistering criticism of 21st-century capitalism, expressing skepticism about market forces, criticizing consumerism, and cautioning about the cost of growth." (full article here). A few days earlier, however, The Economist published a report that warns of a possible impending global recession which will be hard to avoid unless central banks raise interest rates in order to avoid inflationary pressures (full article here).

It is hard to predict what the reaction would be in a Congress controlled by conservative Republicans when Pope Francis speaks to them in his much-anticipated visit to the U.S. in September.

Today's Quote

"Behold I make all things new." (Revelation 21:5)


See Links to Websites Below