Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Pope Francis' Theological Tsunami: An Upcoming Encyclical On The Environment

Alan: Ultimately, we treat others as we treat Earth: the degradation of the latter degrades the former. In his upcoming encyclical, I expect Francis to spotlight the unfolding catastrophe of global warming, partly because  the poor already suffer most. Conservatives will rage at the pope's admission of human responsibility for environmental catastrophe, and their ire will focus their contempt. "Conservatives" -- who, ironically, are enemies of conservation -- believe that God (or the de facto demigod of "The Invisible Hand") will vouchsafe planetary well-being without humankind's active co-operation in the ongoing drama of Co-Creation. Although "conservatives" conceive themselves as the only "responsible people," their arrogance will be swept away by the gathering view that human beings are responsible for active collaboration with God/Incarnation. This apocalypse -- this revelation -- will rival Copernicus' realization that humankind can only find its true center by abandoning demonstrably false visions of centrality. 
The prophet John foretold "a new heaven and a new earth." 
The pangs of that birth are getting sharper.
A vision of co-creation?
Bill McKibben: "The Christian Paradox, How A Faithful Nation Gets Jesus Wrong"
By Jonathan Easley
January 25, 2014
Pope Francis is drafting an encyclical on the environment.
According to multiple media reports, the Vatican announced Friday that the pope is in the early stages of a work on “the ecology of man.”
The pope adopted his name from St. Francis of Assisi, known for his love of nature and the environment. Francis has previously spoken about the exploitation of the earth’s natural resources and urged followers to “respect for the whole of creation and the protection of our environment.”
Since taking control of the church in March, Francis hasn’t shied away from taking strong political positions, often with a populist bent. Many Democrats have been encouraged by his focus on combating poverty and his criticisms of unrestrained capitalism.
President Obama will meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican at the end of March.
The Catholic church, however, sharply disagrees with a number of the Obama administration’s policies, such as the health law's contraception coverage and the U.S. government's tacit support for gay marriage and legalizing marijuana.
Catholic leaders are also concerned about allegations that the National Security Agency spied on the Vatican.
American Conservatism


"Capitalist Pig, Kevin O'Leary, Typifies The Moral Catastrophe Of Un-Socialized Capitalism"

Dear Fred,

From the beginning of Francis' papacy, I have expected him to write an encyclical on the environment.

We are living through the end of medieval Christianity and the scholastic suppositions that prevailed. This thousand year old framework -- brilliant for its time! --  insisted that individuals work out their salvation in direct relationship with God Almighty, aided intermittently by priestly mediation.

Dominated by this medieval monolith, Christianity paid little attention to social and structural sin, partly because the concubinage of church and state wished to deflect attention from its own autocratic operation. 

Catholicism's recent sacerdotal sex scandal is a direct outgrowth of Catholic clergy's presumably unimpeachable status, a kind of knee-jerk favoritism dating back to The Middle Ages. 

Since Christian conservatives are authoritarian "by nature," they are understandably zealous to support authoritarian structure. To this end they prefer the old "monadic" model of Christianity over any reasonable recognition that entrenched authorities are unusually prone to corruption and that robust subsidiarity is a viable alternative, probably a preferable one.

Here is how Lord Acton -- widely considered a bulwark conservative -- saw it: 

Religion and writings

In 1870, along with his mentor Döllinger, Acton opposed the moves to promulgate the doctrine of papal infallibility in the First Vatican Council going to Rome to lobby against it, ultimately unsuccessfully. Unlike Döllinger Acton did not become an Old Catholic, and kept on attending Mass regularly and receiving the last rites on his deathbed.[10] The Catholic Church did not try to force his hand. It was in this context that, in a letter he wrote to scholar and ecclesiastic Mandell Creighton, dated April 1887, Acton made his most famous pronouncement:
But if we might discuss this point until we found that we nearly agreed, and if we do agree thoroughly about the impropriety of Carlylese denunciations and Pharisaism in history, I cannot accept your canon that we are to judge Pope and King unlike other men, with a favourable presumption that they did no wrong. If there is any presumption it is the other way, against the holders of power, increasing as the power increases. Historic responsibility has to make up for the want of legal responsibility. Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority, still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority. There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it. That is the point at which the negation of Catholicism and the negation of Liberalism meet and keep high festival, and the end learns to justify the means. You would hang a man of no position like Ravaillac; but if what one hears is true, then Elizabeth asked the gaoler to murder Mary, and William III. ordered his Scots minister to extirpate a clan. Here are the greatest names coupled with the greatest crimes; you would spare those criminals, for some mysterious reason. I would hang them higher than Haman, for reasons of quite obvious justice, still more, still higher for the sake of historical science.[4]
Once literacy and numeracy became widespread (under influence of McLuhan's "Gutenberg Galaxy") it became inevitable that rigid authoritarianism come to an end. 

People no longer need clerical intelligentsia as they did in the illiterate past. 

Clinging to anachronistic hierarchical trappings is like Laura re-embracing "the stove" - unlettered, barefoot and pregnant. 

Does Laura realize the existential debt she owes to a lineage of brave women who refused chattel status?

Pax tecum


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