(LifeSiteNews) — Comments on the Apostolic Exhortation Laudate Deum will no doubt focus on Pope Francis’ recommendations for safeguarding the “common home”– an expression coined by Gorbachev at the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union – in his follow-up to the “ecological” encyclical Laudato si’.
But irrespective of what one might think of the Pope’s interference in an area that does not fall within his duty to strengthen his brothers in the faith, it contains a far more serious problem, precisely on the subject of faith. It is this issue which should be the object of our concern and our supplication to God to put an end to a crisis which seems, at the moment, to be reaching a climactic point in the Church.
Following his many considerations on the “climate crisis,” Pope Francis includes a short chapter on the “spiritual motivations” of his commitment to the planet, writing in paragraph 61:
I cannot fail in this regard to remind the Catholic faithful of the motivations born of their faith. I encourage my brothers and sisters of other religions to do the same, since we know that authentic faith not only gives strength to the human heart, but also transforms life, transfigures our goals and sheds light on our relationship to others and with creation as a whole.
“Authentic faith,” no less! Let us carefully consider the Pope’s words: He specifically attributes to “brothers and sisters of other religions” an “authentic faith.” But this is absurd. Faith can only be authentic and true if its object is true. Logically, there can only be one “authentic” faith, because it is not just a vague human feeling, but an adequation between the intellect, the soul, what one believes, and reality, divine reality.
Laudate Deum travesties the faith, which is a supernatural virtue
The Pope’s remarks reveal an abysmal ignorance, perhaps even a deliberate misrepresentation, of what faith actually is.
There is a confusion here between the natural and the supernatural. Faith, authentic faith, true faith, is a theological virtue, a supernatural virtue given to us, along with hope and charity, through baptism. It consists in believing the revelation given by God and God alone, in all those truths that man cannot know by the power of reason alone.
Faith is not to be confused with religion, the natural virtue by which man, thanks to reason, can and even is obliged to recognize the existence of a God who transcends him, and to whom he owes adoration and gratitude. Religion can be true or false, depending on its object: the being it worships.
By referring to the “authentic faith” of “brothers and sisters of other religions” – when our spiritual brotherhood derives precisely and solely from the grace received at Baptism, which makes us children of God and therefore brothers in faith – Pope Francis distorts and devalues our Catholic faith. He subjectifies it.
What do we receive in baptism? The grace of being washed of original sin – and for adults receiving baptism, of all personal sin –, divine filiation through incorporation into the Mystical Body of Christ and the ability to become co-heirs with the Son of God, as well as the infusion of the supernatural virtues of faith, hope and charity, and the indwelling of the Holy Trinity in our souls, which remains as long as we retain sanctifying grace. “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God,” St. Paul teaches.
Such is the greatness, the immensity of the gift of faith, such is the specificity of the unfathomable grace received through baptism.
To claim that any believer in just about anything – worshipers of Allah, the Sun or the Great Spaghetti Monster – possesses that living, “authentic” faith that only God freely gives, transcending the limits of our poor wounded nature, is (God help us!) to deny the Catholic faith in its very roots.
With this in mind, Laudate Deum cannot be approached as just another text in which Pope Francis rehashes the clichés of climate alarmism and submits to the preconceived ideas and conclusions of those who preach it.
Preconceptions: There is a climate crisis; man is responsible for it; it is “global.”
Conclusions: Because it is global, it is present everywhere, and it therefore must be combated in every detail of life. This totalitarianism – for it is indeed a totalitarianism – is what justifies all the measures that are being advocated today, from the so-called “moral duty” to ride one’s bike rather than one’s car, or to turn off the lights when leaving the room, on an individual level, to the global taxation of “carbon” and the compliance by all nations with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in order to reduce man’s “ecological footprint” on Mother Earth.
Having stated that to combat the “climate crisis,” “preference should be given to multilateral agreements between States,” the Pope once again makes his the language of the current globalists in paragraph 35 of Laudate Deum:
It is not helpful to confuse multilateralism with a world authority concentrated in one person or in an elite with excessive power: ‘When we talk about the possibility of some form of world authority regulated by law, we need not necessarily think of a personal authority.’ We are speaking above all of ‘more effective world organizations, equipped with the power to provide for the global common good, the elimination of hunger and poverty and the sure [defense] of fundamental human rights.’ The issue is that they must be endowed with real authority, in such a way as to ‘provide for’ the attainment of certain essential goals. In this way, there could come about a multilateralism that is not dependent on changing political conditions or the interests of a certain few, and possesses a stable efficacy.
The aim is to endow global, supranational organizations with “authority,” i.e. binding powers. This is a political program that does not consist in teaching all nations and making them disciples, “baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” the divine and spiritual mission entrusted to His Church by Our Lord at the moment of His Ascension, but in giving an earth-bound roadmap aimed at the submission of nations to a seemingly natural objective. Here we must keep in mind Chesterton’s warning: “Take away the supernatural, and what remains is the unnatural.”
Laudate Deum personifies the earth
All this is done in the name of the earth: a personified earth, an almost god-like earth. Adopting the language of the ecological religion installed in the climate discourse, Pope Francis speaks of the “cries of protest of the earth” (paragraph 5), the “cry of the earth” theorized by liberation theologian Leonardo Boff in his 1995 book, Ecology and Poverty, Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor.
The entirety of Laudate Deum focuses on this purely natural horizon, seeking to save the planet rather than souls. Jesus warns us: “What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” If we fail to focus first on Jesus Christ, there is no point in worrying about (alleged) global warming. People will all die anyway, with or without global warming, and what matters is that they attain eternal salvation.
This also we know: “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.” This phrase from Our Lord underpins the whole of the Church’s “social doctrine”: it is the key. We must first respect divine law, we must embrace the kingdom of God through the life of grace, we must seek it in all things, and then will the harmony of life on earth, peace (including social peace), which is the tranquility of order, be given to us. It is by seeking God that the Benedictine monks transformed Europe into a garden of Christendom.
Sadly, Laudate Deum goes even further, by devaluing the kingdom of God which, as we know, is not of this world. The Apostolic Exhortation – in line with the climate religion which, at rock bottom, is designed to establish a global spirituality to which everyone is supposed to be able to adhere – uses the language of pantheism.
Here are a few examples, with many quotes from Laudato si’:
§ 25: Contrary to this technocratic paradigm, we say that the world that surrounds us is not an object of exploitation, unbridled use and unlimited ambition. Nor can we claim that nature is a mere ‘setting’ in which we develop our lives and our projects. For ‘we are part of nature, included in it and thus in constant interaction with it’, and thus ‘we [do] not look at the world from without but from within’…
§ 64: Jesus ‘was able to invite others to be attentive to the beauty that there is in the world because he himself was in constant touch with nature, lending it an attraction full of fondness and wonder.’
Just read the New Testament, and you will find nothing of the sort. Jesus teaches – as He does in chapter 6 of St. Matthew’s Gospel and chapter 12 of St. Luke’s Gospel – that we are worth far more than the wondrous goods of nature, and that our eye must be fixed on that which is supernatural. Our treasure is in heaven, and in that sanctifying grace which places the Holy Trinity itself in the depths of our soul.
§ 65: Hence, ‘the creatures of this world no longer appear to us under merely natural guise, because the risen One is mysteriously holding them to himself and directing them towards fullness as their end. The very flowers of the field and the birds which his human eyes contemplated and admired are now imbued with his radiant presence’. If ‘the universe unfolds in God, who fills it completely… there is a mystical meaning to be found in a leaf, in a mountain trail, in a dewdrop, in a poor person’s face’…
§ 67: The Judaeo-Christian vision of the cosmos defends the unique and central value of the human being amid the marvelous concert of all God’s creatures, but today we see ourselves forced to realize that it is only possible to sustain a ‘situated anthropocentrism.’ To recognize, in other words, that human life is incomprehensible and unsustainable without other creatures. For ‘as part of the universe… all of us are linked by unseen bonds and together form a kind of universal family, a sublime communion which fills us with a sacred, affectionate and humble respect.’
So, is the Judaeo-Christian vision obsolete? Should it be overturned if not turned upside down? And how can we fail to see here the confusion between nature and grace that lies at the root of the errors conveyed by Laudate Deum?
These are far more serious than the Pope’s declarations on climate and the globalist solution to the “climate crisis,” which – is it necessary to point this out? – have no guarantee of infallibility and are not binding on Catholics.
While on this point it’s possible for us to remain relaxed, Pope Francis’ strange statements that touch on faith itself are shattering. How can a pope say such things?
As a man, he can. As we all are, and only too often, even the Pope can be unfaithful to the mission God has given him. But the Church, as we also know, benefits from God’s promise: The gates of hell shall not prevail (which of course means that they have been striving to bring Her down ever since Christ instituted Her), and Our Lord will remain with Her until the end of time.
Are we shaken? We certainly are. But then the time has come for prayer as never before: prayer for the Pope and for the Church. We can also cry out: “Lord, save us! We are perishing!”, but already we are sure of the answer: “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?”
He is here with His Church, until the end of time.