Thursday, July 23, 2015

Bishop-Elect Barron on Pope Francis and CST

Bishop-Elect Barron says what I was trying to say in my evaluation of "Laudato Si", but of course he says it much more precisely.

Some in the Church are labeling Pope Francis a socialist and so forth because of either passages from "Laudato Si" and/or comments he's made, whether from Rome or South America.

I don't think any Pope has to get everything right (nor does the Church) in order for papal infallibility to hold up.  However, everything I've seen from the Holy Father is very much in line with a long line of Catholic Social Teaching.

Catholic Social Teaching has been condensed into a Compendium which is a fascinating read for any Catholic (and, I argue often, a MUST read for anyone who is going to preach or teach today in the name of the Church).  CST (and St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict) make ALL THE SAME points Laudato Si does.

1) Capitalism (and similarly democracy) can become deranged and malformed if not buttressed by strong moral values.  Isn't that precisely what we're seeing in the United States?  Democracy is better than a lot of other systems, but just because you have a democracy doesn't mean everything will turn out well.  The same is said by the Church's CST, St. John Paul II, Pope Benedict and Pope Francis about capitalism - it must be governed by solid moral values or it will become diseased.  Is there really any doubt that that statement is true?  Saying that makes none of the above parties Communist, it makes them realists and prophets.

2) The environment deserves protection.  Again, read CST.  It's in there.  A lot.

3) Subsidiarity is a CST principle that is clearly defined in the Catechism and is expanded upon in the Compendium of CST.  The Pope saying that certain decisions should be left to a body larger than individual nations is perfectly inline with CST.  Pope Benedict said it first anyway.  It isn't Pope Francis (nor was it Pope Benedict) claiming a need for a world wide government.  Take off the aluminum foil hats.  Breathe.

I don't agree with everything Pope Francis does or says.  I'm not a papal cheerleader.  I get no bonuses for commenting positively on the pontiff.  It is important for Catholics to know, though, that the Pope's warnings in Laudato Si are NOT new.  It is very telling about a Catholics familiarity with the larger corpus of Catholic Social Teaching when a person says that what is in Laudato Si is new.

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