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"I have to wonder if some of the noisiest people on both sides have even read it. The thing that's gotten the most attention is its commitment to the cause of combating "climate change." But that's really quite a small part of the whole, and an unessential one; that is, you could remove every mention of climate change without in the least diminishing the force of its call for environmental responsibility, for which it makes a case very persuasive on both religious and common-sense grounds."

I suspected that might be the case.

Well, I'm glad you read it, and it's an interesting piece, but I'm afraid it will be a long time before I get to it. I'll just read this one.


I'm currently re-reading it after having skimmed through it when it first came out. I'm surprised again by how much it sounds like Wendell Berry in a lot of places. This is both a plus and a minus: both WB and Francis are saying things that need to be heard. Yet, frankly, shouldn't the Pope sound more Catholic than Berry? Is it a valid complaint to say that LS isn't "papal" enough? From this angle, among others, I'd have to agree with Mac that there were missed opportunities. Which is not to discount the encyclical's many wonderful moments.

It's certainly an accurate observation to say it isn't very papal. It's a very un-magisterial document. Some would say that's a virtue, though I tend to think it isn't. On the other hand, though, I'm glad that he didn't put the weight of the Church's teaching authority behind scientific findings that may well turn out to be mistaken.

It has been widely received as anti-capitalist, and it is in a way, but really in a fairly muted and abstract sort of way. I think papal critiques of capitalism would do better to zero in on the moral aspect, to state in no uncertain terms that greed is a sin. Instead you get a somewhat vague and amorphous criticism of systems.

"It's certainly an accurate observation to say it isn't very papal. It's a very un-magisterial document. Some would say that's a virtue, though I tend to think it isn't."

I'm sure you're correct on the first point, and if so, I agree with your conclusion.

Re the "seamless garment" protection -- here's Nancy Pelosi using Francis in her October 22 press briefing:

Again, instead of moving forward with all of the must-do legislation that I mentioned earlier, Republicans are moving forward with a GOP reconciliation package that once again lays the groundwork for another Republican government shutdown. It’s a waste of time. It will go nowhere in the Senate. It will be their 61st vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act. And they will, of course, be wanting to defund Planned Parenthood, destroy the Affordable Care Act, dismantle newfound health security for millions of Americans.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Instead, we could be working together, recognizing a Republican Congress, a Democratic President, the ability for Democrats to use their leverage legislatively to have compromise for the good of the American people. That’s what Pope Francis told us to do. He said leaders should have transparency – that would be wonderful – ‘Openness,’ he said; he used the word ‘openness’ and ‘pragmatism.’ And he said we had to move forward for the good of the people. Let’s – in the spirit of Francis – do that.

I don't see what that has to do with the "seamless garment", which in my understanding has always been explicitly that opposing abortion is part of a package, not an optional extra.

In principle it can and should be taken that way. But in the American political context, that's not the way it's played out. Its practical effect was really the other way around, so that, for instance, "fighting racism", an extremely vague mandate, was the moral equivalent of opposing abortion, and, as a practical matter, if one declared oneself to be "fighting racism" one needn't feel bad about enabling abortion. It undercut the moral standing of opposition to abortion, and correspondingly raised the standing of whatever the Democratic Party proposed as broadly good for people.

This is related to the complaint I've voiced here about the term "pro-life". Being applied to anything one wishes to advance as beneficial, it becomes useless.

The Pelosi quote is nauseating.

It is in fact. drivel.


Yeah, kind of a perfect example.

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