Archives for posts with tag: Pope Francis

I’ve seen my share of references, so I assume you’ve seen the headlines too.

Pope Francis is reported to have said those who refuse God eventually disappear. Official sources clarify that the report is exactly that, a report, not a quote. Given the Pope’s penchant for unorthodox views, I wouldn’t put it past him, but this ancient reporter seems likely to have added his own slant. I’m not sure why the Pope would interview with someone who is known for overt agenda, but oh well.

Apparently, it wasn’t supposed to be an interview at all. “A recent meeting between Pope Francis and Italian journalist Eugenio Scalfari, 93, was a “private meeting for the occasion of Easter, however without giving him any interview,”” … “Scalfari, a self-proclaimed atheist…”

I pulled from the Catholic News Agency, CNA news report here.

Regardless of what the Pope may think, Jesus had a few things to say about hell, and folks talk about translation and context, which is certainly needful, but Jesus didn’t pull any punches here: http://biblehub.com/matthew/18-8.htm What might he have meant by fire that endures the ages if not a fairly conventional definition of hell?

There are limitations to the information we have, and there is even more limitation to our potential to understand. Our understanding is truly finite and limited.

What a conundrum we have when we consider time.

If we exist, there is time. It exists as sure as anything.

Time is hardly more than the running down of our universe. Sure, we can complicate, and when we must consider the things that time affects, we must be more precise, but I consider here time of itself, moreover, eternity.

If time exists, eternity must. Time began with the universe. Time is a property of the universe, the space-time continuum, we correctly call it.

Eternity is without time; there is eternity; eternity is.

See? Eternity is not a long time. Eternity has nothing to do with time. Time is what you have when you do not have eternity, or rather, when you are limited and expiring.

Can we accept eternity as a foundational, fundamental, encompassing premise? I assert we must. We know time is finite, at least as it pertains to our existence, our reality. If time is finite, must there not be more, something beyond time, something that has nothing to do with time, something for time to happen in? How can we be reasonable if we reject the notion.

How can we reason at all if we assume that all that exists is finite? Accepting nothing beyond the finite defies meaning as a premise. It reduces all to fundamental happenstance with no intent, no direction, no meaning, no reason. I hold it unreasonable to assert there is no reason. I hold it meaningless to assert there is no meaning. As has been rightly observed, we act as though we believe in reason and meaning. We act as though we mean something when we say it, as though we are reasoning when we suppose something.

Let us agree on eternity as a foundational premise.

Now, is eternity divine?

That is a question that seems certain to have two, and only two, possible answers, yes or no.

A religious view would probably shun the notion of eternity as the divinity, but can it not be fundamentally divine? Yes, it can. It is also possible that it is not. If not, we are looking again at utter happenstance with no possibility of meaning.

Still, blatant finitude, absolute meaninglessness, is a possibility we cannot disprove. Yet, if there is infinity, eternity, and it is divine, we end up assuming some divinity, some ultimate divine, eternally existent, infinite (not finite in any way) being. Well, hold up. Not necessarily a being. Still, something ultimate, infinite, unlimited, unbounded.

Shifting from the external and ultimate, let us look within. We do not, and perhaps cannot, understand consciousness. We have working models—workable, useful tools, but no understanding. We act as though we have a soul, but we explicitly denounce the soul as unknowable, unverifiable. We treat each other as sovereign souls (at least ideally–we know we should), as entities embodying the divine, the image of God, be that defined as it may. We, at least ideally, act as if it is so. If we act as though we have a soul while discounting it, what can we surmise as basis? Can we suppose that there must be something divine, eternal, within? Is there some attribute and capacity of ourselves, our consciousnesses, that is actually and truly eternal? It seems a reasonable assumption, a justifiable premise.

If we accept eternity, and we assume we are, at least in some way, part of it, then ultimately, we will exist long after the universe, long after world’s-end. (There I go assuming time again.) Fundamentally, the worthwhile possibilities for consideration are only two: With the divine in eternal existence, or without the divine in eternal existence. Unbounded existence with God, or without God. Regarding this latter, what more definition of hell might one propose?

I find it an undeniable possibility that there be no heaven, but if there is heaven, there most certainly is hell.

Micah 6:8

 

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Let’s make sure we don’t repeat the obvious mistakes.

http://www.history.com/news/little-ice-age-big-consequences

The Little Ice Age was bad. Similar global cooling now will be harsh. Hopefully earth won’t significantly cool, but we have more reason to prepare for cooling than warming. A little warming is a good thing. A little cooling will cause famine and worse.

From the article, and this is my point:

Witch Hunts
In 1484, Pope Innocent VIII recognized the existence of witches and echoed popular sentiment by blaming them for the cold temperatures and resulting misfortunes plaguing Europe. His declaration ushered in an era of hysteria, accusations and executions on both sides of the Atlantic. Historians have shown that surges in European witch trials coincided with some of the Little Ice Age’s most bitter phases during the 16th and 17th centuries.

I consider it exaggerated to blame that pope for ushering in an era of hysteria, but the official papal declaration did lend credence to the noble-cause-corruption evident. Of course, the Pope held responsibility for the Inquisition in his day.

I doubt I’m the only one with misgivings regarding the Pope’s recent stances on environmentalism, socialism, and a few other ominous topics, especially his assertion implying Trump cannot be Christian (and by association and extension, all who support wall-building).

Similarities between now and more than a few grave moments in history are striking.

Let us not lose sight of what is right. Do not repeat the mistakes of the past. Too many lives were sacrificed in learning those lessons and overcoming the mistakes.

No one can claim history has not warned us.

http://www.bbc.com/news/election-us-2016-35607597

The Pope backtracked a bit, but he erred when he judged Donald Trump as not a Christian.

Click the link and watch the statements. Someone might make something of translation, but I think the Pope was clearly judging Trump. If he had simply said something like, “Good Christian charity focuses on building bridges, not walls…” I could have supported him. Nope. Not with this.

I supported the Pope when he refused to judge a homosexual. I agree, if you are honestly seeking God, who am I to judge?

Fundamentally, none of us can judge another person’s soul. We do not know if a person is a Christian. That is why it was wrong to judge the President. He has made a declarative statement. Actions and fruit from his life give us indications, but they do not allow us to judge.

Such judgement is exactly what Jesus forbid.

Good thing we know the Pope is human, subject to the frailties common to us all.

Dr. Ball wrote an article for Anthony, over at WattsUpWithThat.

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/07/18/climate-change-baltic-herring-and-the-reformation/

Very insightful article.

The rule of thumb regarding questions in headlines is that the answers must be assumed to be “no.”

So, is the Pope worried about prosperity? I’d say probably, but not in the general sense as asked in the question. The Pope may be getting such bad advice, and so much of it, that he thinks our current prosperity is only increasing as a bubble, and the crash is coming, and it will be worse than the dark ages.

Given the long view the church must take, I understand, but if the leadership of the church is trying to mitigate against loss of adherents, it has lost sight of the reason for the churches existence. Besides, Jesus himself declared He would build the church and hell would not prevail against it.

The media hates the church. Much of the left hates the church. Most of the radical environmental movement hates the church. When the enemies of the church support something the Pope says, it might mean they take his words out of context or twist them. With Ladato si, that is not the case. It can only mean the Pope has made statements detrimental to the church.

The Pope has espoused political power. Political entanglements harm the church. History is clear on that point. The Laudato si does more harm than good, more harm for all, especially more harm for the church.


Pointman hits the nail on the head.

I was born and raised Pentecostal, and thank God I’ve grown out of the fundamentalists aspects of it. I’m inherently a Wesleyan, at least as I know him and his work. Though, mostly, I’m committed to truth. Jesus took the title of truth. I follow Jesus, so absolute commitment to truth seems the absolute requirement. Truth above all. Not dogma, truth. Not man’s interpretation of scripture, truth. Not scripture, since one can set the Bible up as an idol. No idolatry, truth. Truth that can be worked over and found to remain true, over and over, and revised as necessary in order to maintain commitment to the highest possible truth.

I haven’t lost my faith. (Pointy hasn’t either, but he has abandoned all sense of religion. And honestly, I prefer Pointman’s brand of irreligion greatly over a couple like Katherine Hayhoe and Andrew Farley and their “church without religion.” I find Pointman a much better example of Christ and what Christianity is to be.) My faith, though, now rests in the goodness of God and not much else. Like Pointman says, if it is going to get fixed, it is up to us. I suspect if asked, Jesus would have affirmed that God helps those who help themselves, at least when they have internalized Micah 8:6 and Ecclesiastes 12:13, and Jesus’ oft repeated command to love one another.

As to losing faith in general, I have never actually seen it. Everyone has faith in the ultimate, in reason, in some sense of purpose. Most of all, we must retain our faith in love. The greatest of these, truly, is love. Without love, I am sound and fury, signifying nothing. Some people become cynical, but all retain a sense of the significance of love.

As to seeing God’s hand in life, well, that is kinda the point. He that comes to God must believe. You cannot figure it until you believe it. It requires the leap first, the leap of faith. I don’t disagree with Pointman regarding his not having that-something for the leap. I’m not the judge, and I don’t know.

Honest people trust in goodness and truth, even though they know they will sometimes be disappointed, sometimes even fatally so. That is life. There is a poem by Robert Browning Hamilton about how sorrow teaches us, Barry McGuire recorded a version on the To the Bride album. This link is to a poor recording of a live performance. YouTube doesn’t seem to have a better rendering. (Spotify does.)

As Pointy points out, “life is a simple but roughty toughty business.”

As to intellectual reasons, well, it is irrefutable that most of the greatest minds of all of history have retained faith. Of course, majority and consensus just don’t hold water as arguments. Despite being in good company, if the ship is going down, all drown. It is, absolutely, a matter of personal belief. Each must follow his own heart. That is the essence of liberty, freedom.

Here is my touchstone: on that day, the books will be balanced. The scores will be settled. Justice will be fully satisfied, but so will Mercy. All will stand, one on one, face to face and answer. Each will know. All will affirm justice with mercy was done. Our religious notions, no matter how deep or shallow, just don’t matter in this context. It is where we are going, and we will know that the outcome was just and merciful. Mother Teresa was right to assert that Love is the key. From memory, she said God will not ask what you did, but whether what you did, you did in love. Trust in God. Act in love. I think the key is do you insist on living for self, or do you strive for something more, something as far above self as the heavens are above the earth.

C.S. Lewis addressed that face-to-face factor:
“When the time comes to you at which you will be forced at last to utter the speech which has lain at the center of your soul for years, which you have, all that time, idiot-like, been saying over and over, you’ll not talk about the joy of words. I saw well why the gods do not speak to us openly, nor let us answer. Till that word can be dug out of us, why should they hear the babble that we think we mean? How can they meet us face to face till we have faces?”
― C.S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces

Our road here is short, but it is essential. Make the most of it.

I’ve found more of my theology in the underpinnings of fiction than in theological works, especially the fiction of C.S. Lewis. I’ll mention Madeleine L’Engle as well.

Back to Pointy’s article, I just gotta repeat this: “give my fippence worth of opinion on the head honcho in the poncho’s cycling piece.” Beauty.

I’ve been so busy reading how people are reacting to the encyclical, that I still haven’t read it, but I think it is safe to use the word “anodyne” as a descriptor. Well, good, but sometimes offense is necessary. Even Jesus knew that.

Pointman knows too, and he spares no punch in his next few lines. I’d like to disagree, but he’s too close to define the miss.

Regarding responses to the encyclical, spot on!

To Pointman’s closing comments, I can only say the amen. Amen, brother, amen!

Pointman's

I was born and raised a Roman Catholic. If you don’t know me by now, I’ll understand, or will try to understand such determined obscurantism in the face of reading this blog for any amount of time. I will endeavour to add some graphs and equations to it purely for your benefit but only as long as you accept I’ll just be giving it a go, but my heart won’t really be in it.

Meh, bollocks, I’ve done all my graphs and equations porridge, I’m clean nowadays, I’m a quitter, I don’t do that sorta stuff no more, haven’t turned a trick in years. For those people who read slowly and carefully, you probably realised long ago which particular stripe of rockcake I am, so bingo, you got me.

Like so many of my generation, I walked away from it but unlike so many of them, it wasn’t from…

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Writing for First Things, of course, R.R. Reno reviews Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Sihttp://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2015/06/the-return-of-catholic-anti-modernism. Excellent.

I’ll likely be of similar opinion once I’ve read it myself.

I look forward to Maureen Mullarkey’s comments. She doesn’t pull punches, and she has a keen eye for seeing through the ornamentation and fixing on the essential truth in a presentation. Perhaps a characteristic of an artist.

I think Reno finds a key when he notes the inconsistency of the Pope aligning with science consensus, while at the same time condemning it. Reno says, “In this encyclical, Francis expresses strikingly anti-scientific, anti-technological, and anti-progressive sentiments. [and anti-modern]” If I understand Reno’s use of progressive, I would say antigrowth, antiadvancement. When I use the word progressive, I’m generally talking about the leftist ideology that is akin to socialism. I’m not inclined to suppose the Pope anti-progressivist in this sense. He seems to have socialists leanings as well as I can tell.

Reno indicates the Pope was speaking against globalization, and probably specifically as related to China and its impressive recent growth. I think it is quite important to recognize that China will not pay attention to the Pope, nor to any policies or edicts from outsiders that hinders its continued growth. China is far too big and far too poor to entertain notions of slowing growth and increasing per capita wealth. They have the resources in raw material and manpower. They will use it. They will burn fossil fuels and nuclear fuels as fast as they possibly can. They are finding that fouling one’s nest is a bad thing. They are becoming ever more conscience of decreasing pollution. As their growth and wealth increases, they will afford more and more means of keeping it clean. That is a good thing on the whole.

I note this Reno quote, including a Francis quote:

Another feature of modernity and its faith in progress has been a political commitment to liberty, equality, and fraternity. To be modern is to believe that, for all our flaws, Western societies are more democratic, more egalitarian, and more inclusive than any in history. This is not the Pope’s view. The West is rapacious. He quotes one source approvingly: “Twenty per cent of the world’s population consumes resources at a rate that robs the poor nations and future generations of what they need to survive.”

I find that sad. The Pope seems to not understand that commerce and freedom are not zero sum. The more the better-off produce, the more is available for all. The 20% consuming are also producing, and they are producing far more than they are consuming. Energy is a particularly good example here. We need to bring the poor, the undeveloped communities up to the power levels of the west. Ask any missionary in undeveloped lands about how important electricity is, and how often they have to manage without. Inexpensive, reliable electricity (and fossil fuel) is the key to lifting the truly poor out of poverty and oppression.

Reno says:

In effect, the present world system created by European and North American modernity—the world made possible by Newton, Locke, Rousseau, Ricardo, Kant, Pasteur, Einstein, Keynes, and countless other architects of modern science, economics, and political culture—is an abomination. Francis never quite says that. But this strong judgment is implied in his many fierce denunciations of the current global order. It destroys the environment, oppresses the multitudes, and makes us blind to the beauty of creation.

If Reno has captured the intent of the Pope, I strongly disagree with the Pope. The modern world is what we have to work with. I know the Pope put some emphasis on personal, individual responsibility. Yes, I agree. Be the change you want to see in the world. The modern world is actually, quantifiably, verifiably better than any before. MLK Jr. is still correct in his observation that the moral arc of the world bends slowly, but it bends toward justice and freedom. The fact is, the doomsayers may be right, but they have yet to be, and there is more evidence now than ever before that things are actually getting better.

I agree with R.R. Reno. I may alter this and that after I’ve read for myself, but I agree with what Reno says. I agree that the Pope seems to be leading in a dangerous direction. I believe society as a whole is experiencing pain associated with bad choices. I see from history and observing our world today that our choices will continue to be bad until the pain gets much worse. The better choices rest in freedom and respect for the individual at all levels in all of life’s stages and ages. We must first do no harm. We must work with and for others. We must cherish each his own. We must not coerce. We must allow all possible latitude as rational, cooperative children of God. When each of us, well, most of us, can view everyone as equal and of inestimable worth, then we will be back on the right track. Till then, over consumption will continue. The Pope cannot change that. However, market forces correct for such. Shortages result. Pain and suffering ensue. People wise up and work then.

The gods of the copybook headings come to mind.

The world will not overheat if we burn every last kilogram of coal, oil, natural gas, and even the methane clathrates. The systems are hydrodynamic and biologically buffered. Dissipative systems emerge, and the will get as complex as necessary to push back against any perturbation. 1,000 years from now, assuming something else doesn’t extinct human beings, no one will ever think of high CO2 levels, unless maybe they are trying to figure out how to raise them back up some.


Well, I need to read what the Pope wrote for myself, rather than take others’ word for it.

In the meantime, this particularly article is evenhanded and well quoted.

I do think the statements regarding climate will prove embarrassing, perhaps even regrettable and possibly even harmful.

Even older than the church, Primum non nocere: “First, do no harm.”

Anything that increases energy costs and food costs, including converting corn to motor-fuel is immoral, sinful, harmful to people, especially the poorest of us.

I assert boldly that burning edible food for fuel is sin. It is immoral. I will go so far as to say it is a crime against humanity. It increases the cost of energy, increases the cost of food, and reduces the availability of food. What could be more harmful to the poorest two-thirds of our population?

The fact is that actions taken in the name of saving the global climate, and actions taken in the coerced (referring to subsidies funded by taxes) support of alternative energy sources, are causing measurable harm today, right now.

No harm done today can ever be construed to justify a possible lessening of harm in some distant future.

We will do what we must.

Today, for our generation, for our children and grandchildren today, we should do all we can to improve all proven energy sources, especially nuclear, but also coal, oil, and natural gas. We have a moral imperative to increase availability of fuel and power production and to decrease the cost by all means of efficiency gains and economy of scale.

More energy, not less. That will accomplish the Pope’s stated goal of assisting the poorest of us.

Watts Up With That?

Guest opinion by Joe Ronan

climate-pope-cover

Laudato Si – A cry for the poor

Why is Pope Francis writing about climate change?  Because he cares for the poor, and wants us all to look at how we use the resources of the world.  His objective is to ask each of us to look at how we use the resources available to us, and how to be good stewards of creation.  Whether we consider ourselves as owners or tenants of this planet we are asked to use it’s bounty to the good of all, and to avoid laying it waste to the detriment of our brothers and sisters.

He looks at a number of ways in which the poor more than most suffer from environmental damage that man has control over.    The first thing he mentions (paragraph 20) is something well aired on these blogs: atmospheric pollutants affecting the poor, using as…

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Mr. Gene M. Van Son has written a couple of articles for American Thinker. Both are good. This second one, http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/12/business_and_the_gospels.html, is excellent.

He points out how the corporate world is running counter to the principles of good work ethic and good Christian living that used to be the bedrock of Capitalism. He references the Pope and other recent Papal and Catholic writings and emphasis, and points out how it is consistent with traditional Christian and capitalistic thinking.

He mentions Vocation of the Business Leader. The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace prepared it. They call it a reflection. It seems appropriate for each of us to reflect upon it.

He mentions the book’s Six Practical Principles for Business. A bit stuffy, perhaps, but I think these are good principles and worthy of emulation. Number 6 sums up well: Businesses are just in the allocation of resources to all stakeholders: employees, customers, investors, suppliers, and the community.

Our corporate world has lost sight of the long run and the breadth of stakeholders and focuses only on the short term and the monetary shareholders (stockholders).

Sooner or later, the long-term interests will require their due and our shortsighted endeavors will fail. This lesson seems to me the one we should take from recent Papal statements, not some sort of anti-Capitalistic notion.

Personal responsibility and long-term thinking, inclusive of as much of the relevant stakeholders as we can know. That is how each of us must pursue our industry, no matter what it is, no matter the level.

At First Things blog, R. R. Reno writes about the Pope’s Apostolic Exhortation.

http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2013/12/our-populist-pope

Insightful, with some good comments from readers.

My takeaway is to try to change the world by starting with small improvements in myself and my actions toward others.

 

R.R. Reno, editor of First Things, provides his insights into the Pope’s recent interview here: http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2013/09/francis-our-jesuit-pope

He provides an honest look at what I see as an honest interview. There are good comments from readers as well. Read the rest of this entry »

I really intend to read what the Pope said, here, http://www.americamagazine.org/pope-interview, but for now, I find the comments interesting. It does seem obvious the progressives and the amoralists are most definitely seeing what they want to see and engaging in wishful thinking. It seems clear the Pope has no intention of changing orthodoxy and Christian morality.

It seems to me the Pope is a follower of Jesus, a man who looks to each person as an individual, special and unique to God, therefor special and unique in how he is to be dealt with, one on one, with full consideration, as much as is humanly possible.  Read the rest of this entry »

Ann Kane writing at American Thinker, here: http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/09/the_popes_new_talking_points.html, provides much food for thought. God bless Pope Francis and help him lead the Catholic Church faithfully.

I sure appreciated  comments, that I linked yesterday. I truly think it the utmost importance to consider every individual individually. Everyone; every human, from conception to the last breath. It isn’t always easy, but it is what we are. It is what it is to be human, to walk in love and consideration and deference with every breath, especially when we are the blessed and empowered.

http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2013/09/20/pope-francis-advice-on-how-to-talk-about-abortion-gay-marriage-and-contraception/

 

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