Regular readers will recall that I like to document my interactions with the press, especially the mainstream media. I do this to show the discrepancy from what they are told and what they print. We have something of an adventure with this in the Willie Soon affair. Yesterday I received a request for an interview from Bart Jones at Newsday, forwarded by Maureen Mullarkey (whom everybody should read). I requested the questions in writing. Here are his questions and my word-for-word response. If anybody discovers what Newsday actually says, please let us know.
OK. Doing a story on traditional/conservative Catholics reaction to Pope Francis. What is their take on him? What are their main concerns? How do they view his upcoming trip to the U.S.? What is your own take on Francis?
I can’t speak for others, only myself; everything I say here are my opinions; whether they are the opinions of others too, I have no idea.
The largest concerns are two: (1) self-aggrandizing politicians who will use the Holy Father’s visit to further their secular agendas, in particular to push for larger more intrusive anti-religious-freedom government, and (2) people will mistake the views of the Pope’s advisors for the views of the Pope himself.
As I wrote elsewhere ( https://stream.org/laudato-si-science-global-warming-loud-clear-mistaken/ ), the Holy Father welcomes debate. He himself said, “There are quarrels and arguments in the Church? Well, it makes good news! This is so since the beginning. A church without quarrels is a dead church. Do you know where there aren’t any quarrels? In cemeteries!”
So I look forward to his arrival here to have a debate on some of the big questions facing the Church. Foremost is the decrease in religious freedom pushed by our government, primarily in the areas of forcing support for abortion and gmarriage. “Gmarriage”, incidentally, stands for “government-defined marriage”, a state which is only coincidentally actual marriage (see https://stream.org/gmarriage-worse-think/ ).
As examples, think of how our government tried to mandate (their own word) that the Little Sisters of the Poor provide services for contraception, or how the state of Oregon is actively persecuting Christians and paying for 15-year-olds to receive “sex change” operations without parental knowledge. There is no such as a “sex change” operation, of course: it’s scientific and grammatical folly to use such a term.
How is the increase of secular government related to the breakup of the family? The Holy Father himself said children deserve a mother and a father and are deprived without them ( http://www.crisismagazine.com/2015/pope-francis-prepares-shock-liberals-sex-marriage ). He meant those words in their plain sense, naturally. And not in the increasingly pretend sense they’re coming to mean. We’re already reading that some politicians (I’ll let you guess their party) are trying to rid the language of the words “husband” and “wife”. (See inter alia http://www.dcclothesline.com/2015/07/10/democrats-introduce-bill-to-ban-husband-and-wife-as-anti-gay-words/ )
I doubt you’ll hear many politicians eagerly quote from the Holy Father on these matters. Nor will most of them urge the public to read all of his “Laudato Si'”, the so-called environmental encyclical.
It’s here the second concern arises. The Pope has unfortunately had some bad, even lousy, advisors on matters of the environment. One of the chief scientists with ties to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences is a man named Hans Schellnhuber, a die-hard anti-evidence believer in global-warming-of-doom.
I’ve written a lot about Schellnhuber (here https://stream.org/pope-francis-dr-strangelove-craves-one-world-government-run-experts/ and here https://stream.org/scientific-pantheist-who-advises-pope-francis/ and here https://wmbriggs.com/post/16400/ ) and his strange, anti-science views. A quick scan of any of these ought to prove to you that the man’s views are highly suspect.
Yet his fingerprints are on Laudato. For example, the claim that the world’s temperature has been increasing is demonstrably false: it hasn’t, and not for almost two decades. Another is the claim that storms are increasing in size and strength: also false; indeed, the opposite is true. Another is the claim that thousands of species are going extinct: false, and easily proved to be so (see https://wmbriggs.com/post/15887/ ). Another is…but you get the idea. Most of the scientific claims cited in Laudato are not true.
And men like Schellnhuber and the big chief of PAS Archbishop Sanchez Sorondo have openly admitted to barring and banning any scientist with contrary findings (see https://stream.org/junk-science-cheap-moralism-tiber/ ). So it’s no surprise the Pope has been misled.
Even if he wasn’t, we can’t let politicians claim to have the Pope’s backing. The Pope said in Laudato (para. 123), “We should not think that political efforts or the force of law will be sufficient to prevent actions which affect the environment because, when the culture itself is corrupt and objective truth and universally valid principles are no longer upheld, then laws can only be seen as arbitrary impositions or obstacles to be avoided.”
He also said (in 211) ” The existence of laws and regulations is insufficient in the long run to curb bad conduct, even when effective means of enforcement are present. If the laws are to bring about significant, long-lasting effects, the majority of the members of society must be adequately motivated to accept them, and personally transformed to respond. Only by cultivating sound virtues will people be able to make a selfless ecological commitment.”
The solution to the failed philosophy and culture of materialism, which the Pope is absolutely right to condemn, is not socialism (or worse). It’s what the Holy Father himself said in Laudato (cf para. 235) are the sacraments, particularly the Eucharist. “The Sacraments are a privileged way in which nature is taken up by God to become a means of mediating supernatural life.” And (236) “It is in the Eucharist that all that has been created finds its greatest exaltation.”
It’s doubtful you’ll hear those passages on the nightly news.
Let me know if I can help with anything else. You may also want to contact Jay Richards and John Zmirak, who are editors at The Stream (the journal I cited above). They are enlightening on these questions.