Laudato Si

Jeffrey Sachs: The White Man's Burden Redux

Jeffrey D. Sachs’ presence at the now-concluded Amazon Synod is the dog that did not bark. Why not? The Catholic press describes him as “pro-abortion” and leaves it at that. But it is an inadequate description that evades a larger reality. The synod set in play two different games, a long one and a short. The German-led agenda (e.g. married priests, female ministry, etc.), which absorbed most attention, is the short one. While that covers matters of close concern to Catholics, it functions as a red-herring to distract from the globalist despotism represented by Sachs and the other two egoists behind the Vatican curtain: Ban Ki-Moon and Hans Schnellnhuber. Continue Reading
Jesus, the Male Gaze, & Laudato Sí

Every thoughtful Christian is invited to learn what is possible about Jesus in the context of first century Galilee and Judea. The much publicized Jesus Seminar, with its biases, stagecraft and colored-bead consensus, has skewed popular understanding of what we can grasp of the reality of Jesus of Nazareth in his own time and place. Nevertheless, respect for the tools of modern historical research keep us close to the words of Benedict XVI, spoken in November, 2012: “. . . faith is a continuous stimulus to seek, never to cease or acquiesce in the inexhaustible search for truth and reality.” John P. Continue Reading
Mazarine Master. Sassanian King Shapur II Persecuting Christians (15th C.) Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris.

The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.                                                                         —Daniel J. Boorstin
“Religions die.” Those two words open Philip Jenkins’ The Lost History of Christianity: The Thousand Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia—and How It Died. It is a stark beginning. We prefer to keep our eyes on the West’s relics of a not-so-distant Christendom and avoid the sweep of Christian history filled with reminders of the transience of human affairs. Continue Reading
Tofim Lysenko, Soviet agronomist (c. 1930s). Photo: HIP

Every First Things reader should spend a few minutes with Matt Ridley’s “The Climate Wars’ Damage to Science,” in the current issue of Quadrant, Australia’s leading monthly. Neither the pope nor the encyclical are mentioned. Nevertheless, Ridley’s article is supremely relevant to a full grasp of what Laudato Si signifies.  His article is entirely concerned with the corruption of science by political agendas and the funding dependent on them. It is a clear-eyed examination of the intellectual bankruptcy of the species of ideologues who have the pope’s ear, and on whose voice the moral credibility of the Church has been gambled. Continue Reading
Comet of 1680. From a pamphlet by Simon Bornmeister (1681). Nurenberg.

Snared by the hot button issues of the day, we serve ourselves best by standing back a bit and reading, or rereading, previous texts that anchor the mind in the longue durée. Or at least release us from the pressures of the moment. Philip Larkin’s quip that sex began in 1963 applies to a great many things, including those myths and inclinations driving the ecclesial culture that produced Laudato Si. Herewith, a small bouquet for remembrance. Begin with Charles MacKay’s Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, first published in 1841 and still in print. Continue Reading