Heather Eaton and Pope Francis on The Current

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Anna Maria Tremonte on the CBC ‘s The Current this morning had a segement on Pope Francis and his increasing demands on the faithful to get moving on the greatest moral challenge of our time: climate justice.
Heather Eaton a Catholic ecologian on the staff of St.Paul’s in Ottawa responded by saying this new encyclical gives direction to the whole  Catholic world, and is expected to be taken seriously by all Catholics. “This is the first pope who has taken the environment seriously.”
The RC church according to Eaton has lost credibility in the last few decades with its obsession on sexuality and its abysmal record on women.Lots of Catholics have been engaged in these issues for deades and this forces clergy to be more serious about this vital issue.
Increasingly people are seeing 3 things—the natural world has always figured in the human imagination on what we consider to be sacred—teachinga on creation had been abandoned in Christian traditions  are now being revived so people are realizing that God is part of this and destruction of the planet cannot be part of God’s plan and thirdly morals, values and ethics are related to what’s happening to climate change.
The dilemma—the JP ll/Ratzinger bishops have been nowhere on this issue.They have been hamstrung on  ‘pelvic morality” an area they know little about. As former Ireland  president Mary Macaleese famously said on the bishop’s wisdom on family morality and sexuality: “How many have changed a nappy(diaper)?”

What will they do when Il Papa tells them: Get moving!

10 Comments »

  1. 1
    mushafta Says:

    In years to come Catholics will be weeping and ashamed that they had a leadership like JP2 and Ratzinger that utterly abandoned their post on climate change, women’s rights, clerical sexual abuse and an institutional organization mired in corruption and scandal. And the truly sad and shameful part of this- those who rose up in opposition were beaten to a pulp through formal excommunications and shaming through the powerful offices these “men” held.

  2. 2

    Just take this Encyclical seriously, not the others, especially those you disagree with. But take this one seriously, that is expected, because it says just what I want it to say.

    • 3
      bfinny Says:

      The Pope and the Church still have much leadership to offer our in the world. The role recently played by Francis behind the scenes bringing Cuba and the USA to the table to discuss the future is a good example. Climate Change is one if the major issues of our age. Leadership and a strong moral challenge to conscience are needed on this issue.

  3. 4
    mushafta Says:

    Francesco-
    I want to take you back to the story of Catherine Doherty and her denunciation of the church for taking care of the 99 for sheep and neglecting the one on its own.

    Hit is my true feeling that one of the many problems with the church today and I include not just the Catholic – is that it too often takes very good care of it’s own flock and hardly ever goes out looking for the lost one.

    The abandoned of the earth today are getting much larger than never anticipated – due to social systems and structures like the church.
    The complete lack of empathy for Third World nations especially by Third World countries like Canada is an excellent example. We have done very little on the whole to help struggling nations with all of their problems – medical, financial, etc.

    We have barely pulled our share of work. Our efforts on climate change are abysmal.

    So I want to point out again- Doherty would have been most vocal about such a disparity and such a lack of conscience dealing with the large numbers of homeless and abandoned. Yes she loved the Church enough to criticize it.

    I honestly think, that the situation has become so dire that somehow the Holy Spirit got involved in the papal election process and produced a Francis – fearless, bold, and brazen enough to demand immediate change from within his own worn out, corrupt and broken institution.

    People like yourself, and so many wonderful highly esteemed, highly educated, and highly respected prelates have kept this institution alive and thriving for far too long.

    Why I ask, you have rattled the hell out of people like Ted for stating obvious facts about it’s need for reform. So many excellent and highly educated and respected theologians have been excommunicated for doing the same. A sure sign of an institution going out of existence.

  4. 5

    Francesco-
    I want to take you back to the story of Catherine Doherty and her denunciation of the church for taking care of the 99 for sheep and neglecting the one on its own.

    I don’t remember her denouncing anybody, and I read that book carefully, and other books she’s written. She’s not a denouncer. That’s your “reading into her” your own mentality.

    Hit is my true feeling that one of the many problems with the church today and I include not just the Catholic – is that it too often takes very good care of it’s own flock and hardly ever goes out looking for the lost one.

    This is just too general. Who are you referring to? There are individuals, laity and clerics, who neglect their duty to enter into the world and do what the Lord calls us to do, but there are others who do not neglect their duty, and that includes bishops. The first hospitals were the monasteries, and before that, the first hostels were the bishops’ residences.

    All that came from the Church. So again, you are being too vague and sweeping. You have to be specific.

    The abandoned of the earth today are getting much larger than never anticipated – due to social systems and structures like the church.

    It’s not due to social systems and structure, but due to the indifference of human beings. Evil is not on the level of the system, but on the level of the person. Marx taught that evil is on the level of the system. The Church has always taught that evil stems from individual human persons. We live in a fallen world. Yes, there is evil, there is suffering, sin, and yet as St. Paul said, where sin abounds, grace superabounds.

    The structure of the Church is not a source of evil. That’s silly. An institution like the Church requires a structure. Without a structure, it has no determinate identity. The Church developed a structure as a conceptus in the womb develops structurally. Structure is good. It is people who are sinful who abuse what is good for their own selfish ends. There are good people in the Church, there are not so good people in the Church. You like to focus on the not so good. In fact, you are quick to judge people as not so good, because they are not doing what you think they should be doing.

    The complete lack of empathy for Third World nations especially by Third World countries like Canada is an excellent example.

    It’s more complicated than this. I wouldn’t say there is “complete” indifference. Under Mulroney, Canada forgave a huge portion of Third World debt. The problem in the developing world is the same as it always was, corruption, a lack of the rule of law, lack of private property rights, etc. They need the rule of law. Too much corruption. That’s the problem with Italy now.

    We have done very little on the whole to help struggling nations with all of their problems – medical, financial, etc.

    Nonsense. That’s like saying we do little to help struggling students with all their problems. The fact is, we have all sorts of resources and personnel, paid for by taxpayers, in the schools to serve students who are falling through the cracks. But the problem is that some students insist on doing things their way. Yes, they’ll take the help, but they will continue to extort money, continue to bully, etc. It’s not so simple as the dualism you are proposing: struggling nation asking for help, non-struggling developed world. Many of their struggles originate internally, i.e., corruption, lack of stable and secure property rights, conditions that discourage foreign investment, etc. It’s much more complicated than you make it out to be.

    We have barely pulled our share of work. Our efforts on climate change are abysmal.

    The problem is that the scientific evidence for climate change is not as solid as you think it is. The ICSC has indicated that there has been no global warming for the past 14 years. Why should governments rush to raises taxes on people who are already struggling, as you say, for the sake of a crisis that may be, might be, no crisis at all. Wait till we are sure.

    So I want to point out again- Doherty would have been most vocal about such a disparity and such a lack of conscience dealing with the large numbers of homeless and abandoned. Yes she loved the Church enough to criticize it.

    That’s the point. She does not criticize it. She’s not judgmental. She actually does something about it, does her part. She has never stood back and pronounced judgment on anyone, claiming that they are not doing enough. She’s too smart for that. How do you show that the Church is not doing enough? What is “enough”?

    You see, the problem is that you are frustrated at all the evil in the world, and it is indeed something to be sorrowful about. But the proper reply is to do your part, not scream at others and tell them that they are not doing their part. You can look at me and say: “You, Francesco, are not doing enough”. Okay, how do you know that? Maybe I’m doing more than my fair share. Maybe I’m doing too much. And if I am not doing enough, what is “enough”? You can’t say: well, the Church is doing enough when there is no climate crisis anymore, when there is no more poverty in the world. That would be like saying Jesus didn’t do enough. Sure, he died for us, but the world remained corrupt.

    I honestly think, that the situation has become so dire that somehow the Holy Spirit got involved in the papal election process and produced a Francis

    What? Somehow got involved? What a joke! The Holy Spirit got involved, but the Holy Spirit was not involved when JP II was elected, or Benedict was elected, but He was involved when John XXIII was elected… You can’t be serious!

    – fearless, bold, and brazen enough to demand immediate change from within his own worn out, corrupt and broken institution.

    You can demand all you want, but whether others cooperate with his demands are another matter. I hope they do, but it is not so simple.

    People like yourself, and so many wonderful highly esteemed, highly educated, and highly respected prelates have kept this institution alive and thriving for far too long.

    No, Jesus has kept it alive, and so too the Holy Spirit that “somehow got involved”. Jesus said: “I will be with you till the end of time”, and “the gates of hell will not prevail against it (the Church).”

    So it’s going to be around till the very end.

    Why I ask, you have rattled the hell out of people like Ted for stating obvious facts about it’s need for reform. So many excellent and highly educated and respected theologians have been excommunicated for doing the same. A sure sign of an institution going out of existence.

    Going out of existence? Well then, if it is going out of existence, why the big fuss? Just let it go out of existence. Let it happen. Or, is it that it is not happening fast enough? And people like me are keeping it from happening? You sound like Nietzsche and his Ubermanch. The weak delay the rise of the Ubermanch, so they must be eliminated. Hence, Hitler.

    Look, if the Church is going out of existence, sit back and watch it happen. But Ted has been saying that for decades now. “People are leaving in droves”. Well, if they are leaving in droves and that was 25 years ago, the Churches should be empty. But they are not. Hence, think again!

    • 6
      mushafta Says:

      Well Francesco,
      I just want to say that I do appreciate your comments here and you do any measurable service in responding to Chad’s writings and the comments of others. Without your input this blog would not be the same.

      The problem is, that has been little or no dialogue for centuries among the laypeople inside the Catholic Church. Dialogue is good. Now we need to work towards more democracy.
      The old church is going out of existence. And it certainly needs to. Frances is working on a new model.
      A model that will give people like ourselves a stronger voice in this institution.

      Women need a greater voice. Women need to be more appreciated and should be considered for ordination. Celibacy should not be an imposition.
      The root cause of all these sexual scandals should be properly dealt with. It is Ted’s belief that celibacy is directly linked to this. I have to agree.

      I must admit that you make a lot of sense to me on so many points. And I do appreciate your most informative comments. They are refreshing.
      I do not agree with you on your climate change take.
      I have a serious disagreement with your attitude towards corruption in Third World. There is plenty of corruption here in our own federal and provincial governments that stinks to high heaven. You mentioned Mulroney. Highly corrupt. I suppose, there is ample evidence of Chretien and many others being equally corrupt. But please be courteous enough to cut these young developing countries some slack – corruption comes with power. Any young African countries had Europe has their model for power-some model!

      I believe a lot of the reform will come from individual Catholic sisters and ex sisters. I must say, I enjoy reading Karen Armstrong and Find her to be a formidable voice on so many issues.

      At least for now, I am enjoying the marvelous work that Frances is doing and I am happy to see so many people welcoming the change.

  5. 7

    The problem is, that has been little or no dialogue for centuries among the laypeople inside the Catholic Church.

    This statement, if you read it carefully, makes no sense. It is meaningless. What does it mean that little or no dialogue has taken place? I’ve been in dialogue, theological and philosophical, with members of the Church for over 30 years. I know other lay theologians who were in dialogue with JP II during his pontificate. Are you suggesting that the Church is the hierarchy, and that the hierarchy has only carried on theological discussion with other members of the hierarchy, exclusively? If so, you are simply imagining this. Were not lay people involved in Vatican II? What exactly does this mean, what you are implying? It’s just non-sensical. The hierarchy is small compared to the rest of the Church. How is it possible to exclude the laity from dialogue? Look at the great analytical philosophers of the 20th century. They are mostly Catholic and lay people. To suggest that they had no influence is downright silly.

    Dialogue is good. Now we need to work towards more democracy.

    The Church is not a democracy, it is not a political institution. Christ founded the Church in Mt 16, 18. He said: “Who do people (demos) say that I am?” Some say John the Baptist, other Elijah, Jeremiah, others one of the prophets. In other words, they got it wrong. The people got it wrong. Then he asked: “Who do you say that I am?” Peter spoke up. You are the Christos. He got it right, because “My Father in heaven revealed that to you. So you are Petros, and on this rock I build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it, which presupposes they are going to try.

    The Church has never ever been a democracy. In John ch. 14, and 16, Jesus promised that it would be the Advocate, the Holy Spirit that would lead them to the complete truth, not votes, not the people. The Church is Christ’s body. Canada is not Christ’s body, the U.S is not Christ’s body. Canada is a republic, because the human person has natural rights. The Church is not a republic. It is not a natural institution, it is enlivened by the Holy Spirit. The Church is the Bride of Christ. It is His body. He is the head. You are confused.

    The old church is going out of existence. And it certainly needs to. Frances is working on a new model.

    That’s funny. When did he say that? When did he even suggest that he’s working on a new model? Where are you getting all this? Do you read his homilies? He’s a member of the hierarchy. Are you telling me he’s dismantling the hierarchy? Didn’t he just appoint Cardinals? Doesn’t that suggest he’s maintaining the structure? Did he not call a synod? What is this new model?

    A model that will give people like ourselves a stronger voice in this institution.

    And how is this going to be achieved? Is he going to get people to call us up on the phone? Is he going to get a list from parishes, and get a Vatican telemarketing service going, to randomly pick phone numbers and ask people their opinions? How is this going to happen?

    Women need a greater voice.

    Which women? Any woman? Nuns? Faithful Catholic women? Or liberal Catholic women who are pro abortion? You speak as if all women are united in one voice. I know lots of women who are not in favor of female ordination. Besides, the Church as a whole is a woman, the Bride of Christ and the Mother of Christians. A woman has the supreme role.

    Women need to be more appreciated and should be considered for ordination.

    Says you and others who think like you. And there are others who say the opposite. How do we decide who is right? the same way they did in the past. Ecumenical Councils. And the magisterium has spoken.

    Celibacy should not be an imposition.

    It isn’t. It is freely chosen.

    The root cause of all these sexual scandals should be properly dealt with. It is Ted’s belief that celibacy is directly linked to this. I have to agree.

    Well that just shows how slow Ted is. Have you thought about that for two seconds. A male priest abuses boys, because……oh, yeah, he’s not married. Huh? And if he was married to a woman, his sexual drive would be satisfied, and he’d no longer be attracted to little boys. Does that make any sense to you? If a priest were having an affair with a woman, an adult woman, I could see how you could conclude that he’s struggling with celibacy. But altar boys? The priest is a damn pedophile. He’s damaged goods. Celibacy didn’t cause that. Are you telling me that all those men who are not married today are borderline pedophiles?

    I do not agree with you on your climate change take.

    I’m not the ICSC. It’s all over the internet. It’s the scientific facts. Global warming has plateaued in the last 14 years. Even David Suzuki was surprised. Many scientists have come out to expose the whole climate change thing. Governments offer loads of grant money for research into climate science. Remember, liberals tend to favor expansion of government, Scientists have a great financial incentive to research climate science. It’s their livelihood. But where does government get their money? From the taxpayer. Conservatives want to shrink the size of government and lower taxes. That’s bad news for scientists who live off of government grants. There is great incentive to draw conclusions that are not entirely verified by science. That’s why there is good reason to slow down and ask for the evidence. That’s what they are beginning to do, and the results are surprising.

    I have a serious disagreement with your attitude towards corruption in Third World. There is plenty of corruption here in our own federal and provincial governments that stinks to high heaven.

    I didn’t deny it, and I don’t deny it. But I was talking about the third world, not here. We at least have property rights. I can take my money to the bank and give it to a stranger behind the teller, and I know that it is protected. I am protected by laws, planted thick, like a dense forest. If the teller pockets my money, I got the law on my side. The government cannot just take my house and property. We can sue the government and we can even win. Of course there is corruption here, but the difference is that it is the norm in the developing world. He’s is not the norm here. We continue to develop laws that prevent further avenues of corruption. I can open a business tomorrow in Canada. It takes about 2 years in Italy. I can get a phone tomorrow. About a month in Italy. To open a business in Brazil might take about 2-5 years. Regulation, corruption, regulation, corruption, pay offs, bribes, etc.

    At least for now, I am enjoying the marvelous work that Frances is doing and I am happy to see so many people welcoming the change.

    What are these major changes that you are talking about? Point them out to be. I’d like to know. I’m very curious.

  6. 8
    mushafta Says:

    Give me a break Francesco! I cannot believe how simplistic you can get to be at times.
    I honestly think that somehow you are living in a different era. Truly, such a bright and brilliant man as you are and yet you cannot seem to offer any sign of change. When I was an altar boy the mass was in Latin and the priest had his back to us. Times have changed! The priest owned the laity. It did as he commanded.
    I recall some years ago when Parish Councils came into existence. I recall asking the priest what the council does. This quick and short answer was – it does as I tell it!

    Chew on that for a while.

    Your statements about women is truly astounding. I really cannot imagine the majority of women I know listening to that kind of nonsense. Women demand a greater role and a much greater respect.

    You mentioned nothing– Absolutely nothing about some of the women reformers like Karen Armstrong for example. I take it that you don’t not know this person or you put her in the same category as Joan Chittister.

    Only today I find in the NCR a great story about how the pope defends his position on capitalism. Take a look:

    In new interview, Francis strongly defends criticisms of capitalism
    Joshua J. McElwee | Jan. 11, 2015
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    ROME Pope Francis strongly defends his repeated criticisms of the global market economy in a new interview released Sunday, rebutting those who accuse him of “pauperism” by saying he is only repeating Jesus’ message of caring for the poor.
    “Jesus affirms that you cannot serve two masters, God and wealth,” Francis states in the interview, bluntly asking: “Is it pauperism?”

    “Jesus tells us that it is the ‘protocol’ on the basis of which we will be judged, it is what we read in Chapter 25 of Matthew: I had hunger, I had thirst, I was in prison, I was sick, I was naked and you helped me: dressed me, visited me, you took care of me,” the pontiff continues.

    “This is the touchstone,” he states, asking again: “Is it pauperism? No, it is the Gospel.”

    “The Gospel message is a message open to all,” the pope continues. “The Gospel does not condemn the rich but idolatry of wealth, that idolatry that renders [us] insensitive to the cries of the poor.”

    I know you to be a staunch conservative so I’m eager to get your take on this one. I know you’ll put your spin on it but nonetheless I like to see what you have to say.

    I’m sorry that I’m currently unable to write in more detail and elaborate on many of the points that you brought out – but at present I’m not able.

  7. 9

    Well I don’t disagree with what you say on the level of the parish. Sure, a lot of priests, even today, treat the parishes as if they are their own little kingdoms. So I do not disagree with you on that one. It’s just unclear what you mean by “the church”. Do you mean the local parish priest? If that’s what you mean, then yes, you are right. In the 50s, clerics had way too much power.

    “Jesus tells us that it is the ‘protocol’ on the basis of which we will be judged, it is what we read in Chapter 25 of Matthew: I had hunger, I had thirst, I was in prison, I was sick, I was naked and you helped me: dressed me, visited me, you took care of me,” the pontiff continues.

    That’s true. But that does not address a capitalist or free market system. Jesus is talking about individuals who neglect the poor. It isn’t a system that he sends to the eternal fires, but those on the left, the goats.

    “The Gospel message is a message open to all,” the pope continues. “The Gospel does not condemn the rich but idolatry of wealth, that idolatry that renders [us] insensitive to the cries of the poor.”

    That’s true. Who disagrees with that? What does that have to do with capitalism? If you love the poor, you will want them to rise out of poverty. Socialism does not achieve that. The free market does that. Just look at India and China since 1991, when India, for example, deregulated and opened up the markets. Billions have risen out of poverty. Should we return to regulation and government intervention? I don’t think the untouchables (or former untouchables who are now millionaires) would want that.

    I know you to be a staunch conservative so I’m eager to get your take on this one. I know you’ll put your spin on it but nonetheless I like to see what you have to say.

    Staunch? Not quite. That’s a label. I’m not staunch. I’m not even conservative. What do I want to conserve? Conservatives get on my nerves. They are often self-righteous and full of fear.

  8. 10
    mushafta Says:

    I’m impressed Francesco!
    I’m seeing you under a new light!
    I must have misread you before.
    I do look forward to reading more of your very enlightening comments!


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