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Sunday, June 21, 2015

Blessed are the recyclers and organic gardeners

One can imagine some future confessor instructing a penitent " For your penance say 3 Our Fathers and 3 Hail Marys and read the complete encyclical “Laudato Si’" . "I would rather go to hell" might be the reply. The Church really does not need at this time a patron saint of tedium but His Holiness seems to want to get his card punched for such an honor if it should ever be created. There are no inspiring prose, no exhortations to excellence, and certainly no bold visions. Philosophically it's chocked full of the of pointless minutiae that the Pharisees were so fond of and as far as letters go it is on a plane with Roger Goodell’s letter to NFL owners on domestic violence. No one was expecting Lord Chesterfield's concision but no one thought the art of letter writing had reached this nadir.
Dear boy, Turn off the air conditioner and eschew the temptation to mine coal.
Laudato Si is a dark document. It is anti capitalist in tone and almost sophomoric in its judgments.
Some countries are gradually making significant progress, developing more effective controls and working to combat corruption. People may well have a growing ecological sensitivity but it has not succeeded in changing their harmful habits of consumption which, rather than decreasing, appear to be growing all the more. A simple example is the increasing use and power of air-conditioning. The markets, which immediately benefit from sales, stimulate ever greater demand. An outsider looking at our world would be amazed at such behaviour, which at times appears self-destructive.
"The markets, which immediately benefit from sales, stimulate ever greater demand." That is deep!
Buying an air conditioner is self-destructive? One suspects the pontiff would have his bishops developer a talmudic set of regulations governing air conditioner use to further advance the cause of a totalitarian church. Show me a leftist and I'll show you a totalitarian.. Every facet of every citizen's life must be regulated in excruciating detail either by civil law or moral suasion.

 People take sick, for example, from breathing high levels of smoke from fuels used in cooking or heating. There is also pollution that affects everyone, caused by transport, industrial fumes, substances which contribute to the acidification of soil and water, fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides, herbicides and agrotoxins in general. Technology, which, linked to business interests, is presented as the only way of solving these problems, in fact proves incapable of seeing the mysterious network of relations between things and so sometimes solves one problem only to create others.
Good Catholics should starve in the cold? Again the anti-business rhetoric! Here Francis comes close to placing the onus on himself to build that better mouse trap and one would hope it goes beyond organic gardening. He does not address the issue of nuclear power just everything else. If there is an underlying theme in this tract it is "someone should build this or do that". He could write speeches for Obama.
To cite one example, most of the paper we produce is thrown away and not recycled. It is hard for us to accept that the way natural ecosystems work is exemplary: plants synthesize nutrients which feed herbivores; these in turn become food for carnivores, which produce significant quantities of organic waste which give rise to new generations of plants. But our industrial system, at the end of its cycle of production and consumption, has not developed the capacity to absorb and reuse waste and by-products. 
One assumes we are the carnivores in question since I can think of no large population of carnivorous beasts and sorry about the organic waste but what should one do when nature calls?

Will someone please buy this man a thesaurus! And maybe explain to him that to be understood he must use understandable prose. Witness this;
The basic problem goes even deeper: it is the way that humanity has taken up technology and its development according to an undifferentiated and one-dimensional paradigm. This paradigm exalts the concept of a subject who, using logical and rational procedures, progressively approaches and gains control over an external object. This subject makes every effort to establish the scientific and experimental method, which in itself is already a technique of possession, mastery and transformation. It is as if the subject were to find itself in the presence of something formless, completely open to manipulation.
What sort of a merciful God would expect the faithful to read this English? An undifferentiated and one-dimensional paradigm? There are insurance underwriters who write better. I'm mindful that the pope probably wrote in his native Spanish but linguistic atrocities such as this don't show up in translations of Guantanamera or Don Quixote. Not even with Google Translate. In the end one wonders if this document was mean to be read. It will certainly be forgotten. What would Cardinal Newman have said after reading this tortured English and pedantic silliness? Ora pro nobis. ( Pray for us)


  1. Let he who is free of capitalism cast the first stone.

    Turn of the air conditioning in the Vatican Museum, the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter's Basilica, and every souvenir shop and eatery in Vatican City. Eliminate admission fees and let the people enter freely and deposit their recyclable waste. Let the waste be used to maintain all the treasured Vatican artifacts, facilities, and livelihoods of the people of Vatican city. Recycling shall rule; the evils of capitalism shall be destroyed!

    1. "Furthermore, when media and the digital world become omnipresent, their influence can stop people from learning how to live wisely, to think deeply and to love generously. In this context, the great sages of the past run the risk of going unheard amid the noise and distractions of an information overload. Efforts need to be made to help these media become sources of new cultural progress for humanity and not a threat to our deepest riches."

      Kate, As I read this paragraph the only conclusion I can come to is that he would also like to control the news media and the internet. " help these media become sources of new cultural progress for humanity". Oh please, this is nothing more than a call for censorship lest we all become victims of "information overload". His idea of the Church is a totalitarian church not much different from 17th Puritanism where the elders felt free to enter any home to see the children were not idle

  2. This pope was a wolf in sheep's clothing from the outset. His feigned humility and humbleness was but a ruse to propel him to power. He is a totalitarian without question and likely has his sights on the "ultimate pulpit of power" on the dais of a global governance.

    1. I think he longs for the days, like many in the media, when information was rationed by the networks here and state controlled media abroad. And yes, as you suggest, he would like the UN to control more of our lives. In the near term I'm more concerned about Obama's plan to put the Internet under international control. Even there we have a work around that is being talked about in some circles, that is, simply building our own Internet. It just might be possible and it would be free of many of the design flaws in the present system. It would have fully encrypted email and the same upload and download speeds, a flaw in html and written entirely in open source code. The information genie is out of the bottle and I doubt if Obama, Francis, the UN,and the DNC will ever get it back in again.

  3. Did you hear the pope claim you're not a Christian if you manufacture guns? Um. Yeah. Waiting to see the Swiss Guard drop their guns in anticipation of ISIS?