Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Bear For One Welcomes Our New Climate Change Overlords

On July 25, 1968, Pope Paul VI issued his encyclical Humanae Vitae. Many had already decided to oppose it, and a well-orchestrated campaign against it was launched the same day it came out.

Someday soon, Pope Francis will issue his encyclical on climate change, or sustainability or global warming, or whatever he ends up calling it. Many have already decided to oppose it, and, indeed, are taking to the blogs to criticize the whole idea, sight unseen.

Now, the Bear thinks the encyclical is likely to be the same bunk we've been seeing for it seems like forever from the Left. But this time, it isn't coming from the secular Left. It is coming from Pope Francis, Bishop of Rome. And that, friends, makes a difference.

But no, it doesn't, some may reply. Encyclicals are not infallible!

It is true that encyclicals are not infallible per se. They might as well be, in some cases, however. Humanae Vitae was a virtual restatement of the Church's continual teaching on the matters it touched. It was built on prior infallible teachings.

But more to the point, infallible or not, Catholics are not free to mock, dispute and disregard an encyclical. In fact, we're required to get on board with it. The Catechism of the Catholic Church 892 says this:
Divine assistance is also given to the successors of the apostles, teaching in communion with the successor of Peter, and, in a particular way, to the bishop of Rome, pastor of the whole Church, when, without arriving at an infallible definition and without pronouncing in a “definitive manner,” they propose in the exercise of the ordinary Magisterium a teaching that leads to better understanding of Revelation in matters of faith and morals. To this ordinary teaching the faithful “are to adhere to it with religious assent” which, though distinct from the assent of faith, is nonetheless an extension of it.

Catholic Church. (2000). Catechism of the Catholic Church (2nd Ed., p. 236). Washington, DC: United States Catholic Conference.

In other words, the Pope is given divine assistance to so exercise his ordinary magisterium in such a way so as to help the faithful understand issues of faith and morals.

So, what does this "religious assent" look like? The Vatican II document Lumen Gentium shows the answer:
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.

Now, any scientific claims need not be adopted, since they are not matters of faith or morals. But what about moral conclusions flowing from bogus scientific conclusions? They may not be infallible, but they deserve the reverence of religious assent.

Until we actually have a chance to study the document, we don't know how it is framed. These comments are provisional. Faithful Catholics are going to have to be very careful. Of course, it does not help that, on his part, Pope Francis has undermined the trust of a large minority of Catholics through his mishandling of the Synod on the Family, his eccentricities, and his insults. "Religious assent" may be hard to come by.


  1. The difficulty with an encyclical on "climate change" is precisely that it is to take the form of an encyclical, a type of declaration usually reserved for doctrinal matters. The faithful might well express reservations on that alone, before so much as a word is composed. As Pope Pius XII wrote in Humani Generis:

    "It is not to be thought that what is set down in Encyclical letters does not demand assent in itself, because in this the popes do not exercise the supreme power of their magisterium. For these matters are taught by the ordinary magisterium, regarding which the following is pertinent: 'He who heareth you, heareth Me.' (Luke 10:16); and usually what is set forth and inculcated in Encyclical Letters, already pertains to Catholic doctrine. But if the Supreme Pontiffs in their acts, after due consideration, express an opinion on a hitherto controversial matter, it is clear to all that this matter, according to the mind and will of the same Pontiffs, cannot any longer be considered a question of free discussion among theologians."

    Now, do we really want to assign that level of authority to a matter of science, and in some respects, rather questionable science at that?

    1. But I doubt it is going to be about science, but things like respecting God's creation and adopting polar bears and whatever else. We're not bound by the science anyway. It's the morals, which depends on how much he wants to unload from the sustainability grab-bag. Just setting the table, that's all.

  2. "Just setting the table" on an encyclical, which brings me back to my point, especially when it "depends on how much he wants to unload from the sustainability grab-bag."

  3. The main objection to the coming climate white paper or encyclical is that Pope Francis is not even competent to discuss it. He is merely acting as a front man for the advocates of this hoax. Pope Francis should focus on the very bad spiritual climate in the Church and the world. He would be on safer ground and might even be worth considering. As it is he is making a fool of himself with this climate change nonsense. But the Democrats will love it and that's what's important. Let's make sure that everyone will believe that abortion and climate change go together. Way to go Pope Francis.

    Michael Dowd

    1. Seems as though there are a lot of these things that are laid out well in advance. At least I seem to be picking up a pattern. The Synod mid term relatio was done and ready for handout immediately. They couldn't have possibly had it done so quickly and ready for distribution when they did. The report on the climate change meeting with the Pope also was obviously done ahead of time. Seems rather odd to me that even with the 'Rabbit' comments months back the Pope was giving indication that (according to him anyway) Christians should be reproductively 'responsible'. He had to try to walk that back to some extent later, but he couldn't have been any more clear at the time. I have also taken into consideration the Pope's clear statement at the beginning of his Papacy that he was not going to focus on issues such as 'abortion.' Not that any of this means anything, but to me it sure is a coincidence. Now, I will probably be getting nailed for looking like a 'conspiracy theorist', but I guess I'm just seeing strange coincidences that seem to tie into other things like this upcoming encyclical that happen down the road. Just sayin.......or should I say.......Just thinkin.

    2. Maybe me thinks too much. :)


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