20 June 2015


I would be grateful if somebody who happens to notice when Laudato si is made available in its official Latin Text could let me know, so that I can read it.

I would like to make a preliminary comment. I think it becomes us all to read this Letter intending to be taught by it and by the one who sits in the Chair of Peter and wears the Fisherman's Ring. It is not infallible, but then, neither am I. We rightly condemn those who rubbished Humanae vitae when it was published; and those who do not accept the binding authority of Ordinatio sacerdotalis. We stand under our own condemnation if we treat this Encyclical with that same disrespect with which the Wolves malevolently treat the Church's Magisterium. (This is still true, even though it is obvious that this Encyclical does not intend to impose dogma or definitively to settle a particular and precise moral question, as each of those two documents did.)

If we find in this or in any other Encyclical some particular teaching which we genuinely have trouble understanding or appropriating, then, in my view, the most fitting response is simply not to talk about that particular aspect of its teaching until we do find that we can speak positively about it.

There is something else we should remember. This Encyclical, like all such documents, was not whimsically dreamed up in the middle of the night by some individual called Jorge Bergoglio. It is the formal teaching of the Mother and Mistress of all the Churches, and its text will, beyond any possible shadow of doubt, have been in and out of the competent dicasteries in a succession of different drafts. In particular, it will have been scrutinised under the care of Cardinal Mueller. And it is not just that Mueller has shown himself a very safe pair of doctrinal hands (he was, after all, entrusted by Pope Benedict with editing his opera), but he has spoken candidly about the enhanced role his dicastery inevitably, structurally, has when the Roman Bishop is himself not a professional theologian. Arrogant though I may be, I am not sure that I wish to back my own judgement against Gerhard Mueller's on any ordinary day of the week!

And, while I'm about it, another cognate point: I am not panicking about the appointment of Bishop Bonny to the Synod. Nobody will be able to say, later, that the heterodox were refused an opportunity to put their views across. This may very well be the reason also for that infamous lecture by Kasper. I am increasingly inclined to suspect that this Pope, while not a subtle sophisticate like his predecessor, does a rather good line in plain homely wiliness. Perhaps he has even heard the old Anglo-Saxon adage that it is best to have ones enemies inside the tent ****ing out than ...  And I rather think he might recently have suggested to Kasper that the latter should set the record straight on the degree of support the lecture had from Francis himself. Otherwise, why do you think Kasper made that embarrassing retraction? And don't you feel that the Enemy is rather more on the defensive, knowing that so many of his emissaries have been flushed out?


Nicolas Bellord said...

The problem is what is teaching which we should treat with respect and what is just some very strange assertions about technology etc. I can accept the teaching that we should take care of God's creation but am I obliged to respect the idea that air-conditioning is a bad thing?

Liam Ronan said...

Splendid thought, Father. Wait for the Latin version to be made available. Presupposing the Latin version of the encyclical will not be entrusted to the Vatican post office for dissemination and therefore spared the fate of last October's "Remaining in the Truth of Christ: Marriage and Communion in the Catholic Church", I thereafter will await your rendering of the Latin and subsequent on-line publication of same in pdf. format.

Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

It is to be wished that those who defend the personnel selected by the Pope by citing - keep your friends close, your enemies closer - could point to the times he has appointed traditionalists to his inner circle; otherwise, that defense ought to be abandoned.

David said...

There are other reasons why things like air-conditioning might not be so "good" as we make it out to be. If we compare our manner of living today to that of even a century past, it seems that we are much more pampered and coddled than the vast majority of people were in the past. In fact, many of our first-world "poor" live better than royalty in ages past: indoor plumbing, climate controlled homes, better food, better clothing, etc.

Most spiritual writers of the past talked about the dangers of such pampering of the body: it makes it harder to mortify ourselves, and correspondingly it makes it harder to detach ourselves.

Granted, his Holiness has chosen a more worldly and anthropocentric argument; but one might also posit that he recognizes the spiritual detriment that such things can have. And one might choose to believe that he chose to use the more worldly argument simply because he believed it would carry greater weight with (and be more comprehensible to) the majority of those to whom he was writing.

Just a thought.

Capt. Morgan said...

If i knew without doubt that everything in this encyclical was the work of His Holiness, i could agree with Father. But knowing who the contributors were to this document, i will simply hold fast to the totality of sacred tradition and carry on doing the best i can with Gods grace guiding me.

Highland Cathedral said...

I totally agree with you on the way we should receive this Encyclical – when it comes to teaching on faith and morals. However, when it comes to purely scientific matters then I am totally free to agree or disagree. Just as I would not go the world’s leading nuclear physicist to have a medical diagnosis I would not go to the Pope for an understanding of the world’s climate. On that issue it is clear that the Pope has listened to the views of certain people. So be it. But neither I nor any other Catholic is obliged to accept the views of those people just because the Pope has listened to them.

Liam Ronan said...

May I suggest that for those who wait expectantly for the Latin version of Francis' handiwork that one's time might be productively whiled-away reading Pope Benedict XV's 25 July 1920 Motu Proprio "Bonum Sane"?

Jacobi said...


I have read it carefully. It does not contain any new doctrine. It is a thoughtful and I think rather clever attempt to attract the attention of non-believers, particularly to much of the traditional Catholic thinking in Chapter 6., that is 202 onwards, not to mention the attention of many many ignorant so-called “Catholics”

In fact it is a completely new type of encyclical.

As a retired one-time scientist and life long active amateur ornithologist ( so my interest in nature goes back to childhood), I have felt it important to study the science of Global Warming and I am not impressed. It is very partial, selective and bad science.

Once again The Pope has been very clever, and positively so. He refers often but always rhetorically to scientific opinion on global warming but with suitable reservations so as not to actually support it. I have not found a single scientific reference by him, essential if you are being serious.

But as I have said elsewhere, the logical implications of what he says about the physical impact, (quite separate from impact on climate), the poor and the need to retreat from hedonism are profound and we really must all be giving this much thought. There are a lot of Catholics and secularists who are not going to like it!

But roll on the official Latin translation.

Anonymous said...

Bloody 'ell. What's the point then? None, I imagine. It's not as though it is going to stir up any serious line of study or open a new intellectual vista, or whatnot. It is just so much opinion for the day. I am sorry to ses it come to this, though. The encyclical as a form of journalism. It's too bad. This pope lowers the tone, and we are not supposed to notice. Can you imagine there was a time when men were abroad who could write epistles and gospels? Dear Lord, keep us all safe, and preserve us in the faith. Amen.

Anonymous said...

And, while I'm about it, another cognate point: I am not panicking about the appointment of Bishop Bonny to the Synod. Nobody will be able to say, later, that the heterodox were refused an opportunity to put their views across....with all due respect Father, if a Bishop is heterodox he shouldn't be a bishop..the inclusion of this apostate in the synod negates whatever good the Pope does by his talks on the traditional family, I remain disheartened and confused by the current leadership of our church

Victor said...

@Capt. Morgan: I couldn't agree less with your position. Whoever wrote the encyclica, the moment that the Holy Father signed it he made it "his" encyclica, an official teaching of the Pope, Bishop of Rome and successor of Peter, whose name is currently Francis. I do not suppose you think he was coerced in signing, do you?

Victor said...

@Highland Cathedral: But how is your position different from that of those who claim that, since Pope Paul VI was not married, he couldn't per definitionem be an expert on marital life and hence his teaching in Humanae Vitae is not binding for the Catholic Laity? Trust me, my problems with Bishop Bergoglio are huge, but the fact remains that this Bishop is currently the Pope of Rome, and when he teaches, Peter speaks.

Nicolas Bellord said...

Captain Morgan: You raise an interesting point. When I was reading French at Oxford I had to read Beroul's Tristan et Iseut. A jolly tale of adultery etc. My poor tutor at St Hilda's believed it was written by some 20 or more different authors and was disappointed that I did not realise this. Truth to be told I was too idle and uninterested to bother. How I longed to get back to what I had learnt at Fribourg about 19th/20th century Catholic literature; Chateaubriand, Barbey d'Aurevilly, Villiers de l'Isle Adam, Baudelaire, Huysmans etc. Instead Oxford seemed to be into very provincial obscurantism about anything French. Still the point I now make is that it is possible to have textual analysis of a text to discover whether different authors have contributed and I suspect that with computers this has developed enormously since my days at Oxford in the 1950s. Am I wrong in detecting very different authors from Chapter One to Chapter Two of this encyclical? Do I detect that Chapter Two, The Gospel of Creation, was written, at least in draft, by somebody who really knew what he was talking about, could write brilliantly and currently having no other job had plenty of time to write it? I wonder who it could have been.

BishopLeland said...

Te consentio! Illam encyclicam epistuam interpretare ipse conabor.

Si placet tibi, email scribe in bishopleland@ec.rr.com.

Reverendissimus Leland Lannoye

Gratias ago!

Liam Ronan said...

Happily I have found a translation (in-part) of Pope Benedict XV's 1920 encyclical 'Bonum sane':

"The coming of a world state is longed for, by all the worst and most distorted elements. This state, based on the principles of absolute equality of men and a community of possessions, would banish all national loyalties. In it no acknowledgement would be made of the authority of a father over his children, or of God over human society.

If these ideas are put into practice, there will inevitably follow a reign of unheard-of terror."

Remnant Clergy said...

Would you say that we are required to believe in man-made "global warming"? What is our standing in the Church if we dissent from that?

Liam Ronan said...

@Remnant Clergy,
If you will forgive me, yours is a peculiar question from one styled 'Remnant Clergy'. Your blog site seems to be full of various apocalyptic prophecies. If some of them are to be believed I suggest that man-made global warming and its orthodoxy might prove the least of your worries.


Anonymous said...


Thank you for another excellent piece. I will try to follow your teaching on how to read the encyclical when I get to it. I think I will be using other documents to brush up my Latin and thus will read this in English.
Alas I fear you may be too optimistic in your expectation that it will ever be published in Latin. I have just resorted to the Acta Apostolica Sedis on line to try and find a Latin version of Evangelii Gaudium, only to find (to my horror) that it was published there only in Italian.

JARay said...

I am one of those who flatly do not accept that climate change was/is because of anthropogenic activity. I confess to liking my air conditioning and I have no hesitation whatsoever in turning it on before I retire to bed at night in order to take the chill out of the room. I hate the cold and I am not exactly a sun worshipper although I am grateful that the sun provides me with both electricity free of charge and heat for my hot water at the same cost. It has provided my hot water for the last 40 years and a large reduction in my electricity bills for the last 6 years. Of course I had to pay for the devices which now provide for me but I regard it as money well spent. My air conditioner also cools me when the heat outside reaches the upper 30's and 40 degrees. I am doing nothing environmentally deleterious.