“I deem the current pope not a liberal, socialist, or communist, but rather a heretic”

The shrill and ignorant responses to Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si continue to pour in and sadly most of those I’m seeing are coming from those I’m usually allied with.  What follows is from a comment left on Friday’s Wizbang post:

Because of his complete rebuttal of the concepts explicitly stated in the Holy Bible including dominion granted to man, as well as man’s standing as God’s foremost creation; because of his reliance of the statements of historical popes rather than the revealed Word; because of the unbiblical personification of God’s created earth and heavenly bodies; and because of his penchant, even in speaking of the work of creation, to prefer the findings of science over the revelation of scripture, I deem the current pope not a liberal, socialist, or communist, but rather a heretic. May God have mercy on him and the Catholic Church, and may God make Himself known in the redemption of that great body of believers.

Here are the Pope’s alleged ‘heretical’ comments taken directly from the encyclical:

67. We are not God. The earth was here before us and it has been given to us. This allows us to respond to the charge that Judaeo-Christian thinking, on the basis of the Genesis account which grants man “dominion” over the earth (cf. Gen 1:28), has encouraged the unbridled exploitation of nature by
LaudatoSiNewStartpainting him as domineering and destructive by nature. This is not a correct interpretation of the Bible as understood by the Church. Although it is true that we Christians have at times incorrectly interpreted the Scriptures, nowadays we must forcefully reject the notion that our being created in God’s image and given dominion over the earth justifies absolute domination over other creatures. The biblical texts are to be read in their context, with an appropriate hermeneutic, recognizing that they tell us to “till and keep” the garden of the world (cf. Gen 2:15). “Tilling” refers to cultivating, ploughing or working, while “keeping” means caring, protecting, overseeing and preserving. This implies a relationship of mutual responsibility between human beings and nature. Each community can take from the bounty of the earth whatever it needs for subsistence, but it also has the duty to protect the earth and to ensure its fruitfulness for coming generations. “The earth is the Lord’s” (Ps 24:1); to him belongs “the earth with all that is within it” (Dt 10:14). Thus God rejects every claim to absolute ownership: “The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine; for you are strangers and sojourners with me” (Lev25:23).

68. This responsibility for God’s earth means that human beings, endowed with intelligence, must respect the laws of nature and the delicate equilibria existing between the creatures of this world, for “he commanded and they were created; and he established them for ever and ever; he fixed their bounds and he set a law which cannot pass away” (Ps 148:5b-6). The laws found in the Bible dwell on relationships, not only among individuals but also with other living beings. “You shall not see your brother’s donkey or his ox fallen down by the way and withhold your help… If you chance to come upon a bird’s nest in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs and the mother sitting upon the young or upon the eggs; you shall not take the mother with the young” (Dt22:4, 6). Along these same lines, rest on the seventh day is meant not only for human beings, but also so “that your ox and your donkey may have rest” (Ex 23:12). Clearly, the Bible has no place for a tyrannical anthropocentrism unconcerned for other creatures.
69. Together with our obligation to use the earth’s goods responsibly, we are called to recognize that other living beings have a value of their own in God’s eyes: “by their mere existence they bless him and give him glory”,[41] and indeed, “the Lord rejoices in all his works” (Ps 104:31). By virtue of our unique dignity and our gift of intelligence, we are called to respect creation and its inherent laws, for “the Lord by wisdom founded the earth” (Prov 3:19). In our time, the Church does not simply state that other creatures are completely subordinated to the good of human beings, as if they have no worth in themselves and can be treated as we wish. The German bishops have taught that, where other creatures are concerned, “we can speak of the priority of being over that of being useful”.[42] The Catechism clearly and forcefully criticizes a distorted anthropocentrism: “Each creature possesses its own particular goodness and perfection… Each of the various creatures, willed in its own being, reflects in its own way a ray of God’s infinite wisdom and goodness. Man must therefore respect the particular goodness of every creature, to avoid any disordered use of things”.[43]

Notice the many Scriptural references.  Notice how beautifully it’s woven together.  Did you notice anything resembling heresy?  I did not.  Now I’ll allow some may have issues with the interpretation… but heresy?  Please.

I love what Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the Archbishop of Washington DC, had to say today to Fox News host Chris Wallace when asked to respond to Rush Limbaugh’s latest shrill and ignorant criticism of Pope Francis:

“Essentially what this papal encyclical is suggesting is that every Catholic should vote for the Democrat [SIC] Party,” Limbaugh ranted last week. “How in the hell else do you interpret it when the pope comes out and sounds like Al Gore on global warming and climate change?”
“This is one of the great blessings of America,” Wuerl replied with a smile. “We’re all allowed to speak our mind even if we don’t have all the facts, even if we don’t have a clear view of what the other person is saying. We’re all allowed to speak our mind, and that’s what he’s doing.”
“I think what the pope is doing is something very, very different from that,” he continued. “He’s saying, why don’t we all discuss this, why don’t we come to the table and before we start eliminating other people from the discussion or renouncing them or even ridiculing them, why don’t we listen to them and see what they’re saying and see where we really ought to be going as a human family?”

There are lots of folks speaking their minds these days absent any real facts and certainly any clarity and the best way to recognize them is in seeing how they deal less with the substance of what the Pope has written and more with using ad hominems to describe who in their minds they believe him to be.

Don’t be fooled by those whose religion is largely politically sourced and ideologically driven.

Just don’t.

I’ve already linked to critics who see issues with the encyclical but who also see the much larger picture and the value contained therein.

Cogent criticism based in substance and delivered with respect isn’t a problem.  It’ll add to the discussion the Pope is seeking.

Shrill screeds focused on personal attacks are garbage and should be seen as such.

You’re welcome.

Crossposted at Brutally Honest.

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  • Paul Hooson

    I’m a Jew, but I largely understand and appreciate a large part of what this pope attempts to achieve and his overall very positive reputation for rebuilding trust and faith in the Catholic Church as well as bridges of positive relations to those in other Christian churches as well as to Jews. I think he’s a very special man overall, who will be remembered for years to come as being both friendly as well as saintly. The kindness of St. Francis comes to mind with this pope, except towards fellow humans…

    Some incredible scenes such as members of a motorcycle club having a joyful meeting with this awesome pope characterize a friendly man who is friend to all men. This pope may even be a saint someday…

  • Paul Hooson

    His warm and friendly respect for Jews as well as all men, prove this pope to be a wonderful religious leader.

  • jim_m

    The Pope is a man. He is a sinner. He makes mistakes. These are correct Biblical and Catholic positions. He is not above criticism.

    Deal with it.

    • Paul Hooson

      Your views are also correct as are mine that he is a wonderful and friendly man.

    • Why don’t you read the post again, see that I don’t have problems with substantive critiques, and for once apologize for the knee jerking.

      • jim_m

        You’re just awfully defensive about this Pope.

        • The truth is that I’m being awfully offensive to unthinking, shrill and ignorant conservatives.

          • jim_m

            Nah, You’re being overly defensive about his anti-capitalist leanings. While he does try to temper them, it is inescapable that he feels that way.

          • I think he’s been pretty clear that he’s got a problem with unfettered capitalism and the idolatry of money, issues Evangelicals largely ignore for reasons they’d have to answer. If you want to call that being an anti-capitalist then call Christ that too and we’ll call it even.

            But thanks for agreeing that calling the man a heretic is silly. As is calling him a communist or a marxist. Silly of course is being polite. It’s actually ignorantly absurd.

          • jim_m

            You lump Evangelicals and Pentecostals into one group. It shows your ignorance. Most(nearly all but not quite) prosperity gospel preachers have been Pentecostals.

            As an Evangelical, I take exception to this.

          • jim_m

            Wow, you couldn’t even finish the first freaking sentence of the article:”Pentecostals are a particular subgroup of evangelicals,”

            They are a fraction of evangelicals and distinct in many ways from the rest. But you couldn’t be bothered to read and understand.

          • I read the entire piece… and it was clear that the Evangelical tent was considered big enough to include lots of denominations… so maybe you should read the piece again.

          • jim_m

            I see. So we should then agree that the utra traditionalist groups speak for the whole Catholic Church and we should not bother to distinguish between them and individuals like you, because you know, there are many groups within Catholicism and they should all be considered Catholic. As well as Catholic Reform International, which advocates for women in the clergy and acceptance of homosexuality as representative of the whole Catholic Church, because you know, there really isn’t any difference.

            Screw you Rick and screw you self righteous ignorance. As much as you criticize others we at least make an attempt to understand your Church, you just make prejudiced stereotypes about ours.

          • Here’s what I said and I think in your butthurtness, you’re missing it so I’ll quote it again:

            “I think he’s been pretty clear that he’s got a problem with unfettered capitalism and the idolatry of money, issues Evangelicals largely ignore for reasons they’d have to answer.”

            I was an evangelical for nearly 10 years… passionately so… completely caught up in it, to include being hugely devoted to Sola Scriptura, linking to every kind of conservative Christian thought and I’m telling you first hand that it was rare for Evangelicals (and I define them as conservative Christians who would be quick to tell you Jesus Saves and that you need to be saved) to speak against the sin of greed, against what the Pope is calling unfettered capitalism (which is capitalism not bounded by an moral obligations), against the notion that love of money is the root of all evil.

            That’s not to say that there weren’t exceptions… of course there was but it was rare and one had to go looking for them.

            That’s not ignorance based on prejudicial stereotypes… it’s simply a fact.

          • jim_m

            And I am telling you that just because you went to some crap church that you are an ass for painting the entire evangelical movement with that brush. My experience is quite the opposite of yours. Just because you attended some church full of greedy idiots doesn’t mean that the rest of us have.

            You ignorance IS based on stereotypes. Your stereotype is born of your own narrow personal experience and you apply that to millions of other people with an epic degree of ignorance and insensitivity, one that dwarfs that of the people you attack for daring to criticize you god on earth, Francis.

          • I went to a handful of what I would call Evangelical churches over a peiod of roughly 15 years, a couple of them charismatic mainline churches (quite evangelical in nature), others more in line with baptists (though seeker friendly and not openly at least aligning themselves as such but definitely evangelical). Some of them were exceptionally good but more importantly, as a blogger particularly, I was in tune if you will with countless conservative, evangelical voices, using things said as fodder for the blog and for my own education… so again, your presumption and arrogance and hurt feelings are writing checks your integrity can’t cash.

            Francis is not God on earth but he is the Pope and faithful Catholics are obligated to respect him as such. We are most definitely allowed to disagree with him on things not considered to be related to faith or morals but we’re to do so with respect and dignity. Calling the man a commie/marxist/heretic is over the line.

            If someone can substantively point to things the man has said or written that conflict with Catholic teaching, then your criticisms of him may have validity. But apparently, you can’t produce the substance needed to buttress your argument… either because you’re too lazy to go find it or because it doesn’t exist. I suspect it’s the latter.

            If I’ve offended you Jim I apologize. It’s not my intent and I’ll be the first to admit that in my passion, I’ll cross a line or two. If I’ve done so with you, I’m sorry. Honestly.

          • jim_m

            Had you bothered to actually be on Wizbang the last few years, you would have found me to be a defender of the Catholic Church from many criticisms. I should have known that Catholics are assholes and should defend themselves. Thanks for educating me RIck.

          • Sorry, haven’t been on Wizbang the last couple of years or so… my focus was elsewhere… the question however in response is… what’s changed as to your defense of Catholicism? This Pope is doing nothing more than reiterating Catholic teaching, quoting other Popes, the Catechism, etc. and yet you’ve joined forces with the ignoramuses calling this Pope a marxist or a communist or whatever…


          • jim_m

            I don’t criticize Catholicism. I criticize the Pope. Unfortunately, You see no difference between the two.

            It seems like you have a lot of problems making distinctions between different groups or the group vs the individual.

          • Apparently, the expression “evangelical” has lost its meaning. /sarc

            Anyway, it was Chico, not Rick, who equated the Prosperity doctrine with evangelicals.

          • Raygun

            Ohh…so you ARE a bible thumping sky fairy worshipping moron. And you wonder why I refuse to argue with you, fucking retard.

          • jim_m


          • Raygun


          • jim_m

            And you are a tool who up votes his own comments. What a disappointment you must be to your parents.

          • Raygun

            I upvote my own comment because I agree with it, derp. Also, you upvote your own comments as well, but with a second account. I am wise to your pathetic attempts.

          • jim_m

            Liar, and a pathetic one at that.

          • jim_m

            Unfettered capitalism as you call it has given us the train, the airplane, the automobile, steel, skyscrapers, the telephone, electricity, the computer, and advancements in agriculture that feed the whole world.

            Communism has given us famine and gulags.

            Criticize capitalism all you want but you’d be living in a hovel, if you lived at all without it.

          • Paul Hooson

            Some attacks in this pope that I’ve seen are far off base from what this pope actually represents. I don’t really view him as a leftist of any sort, just a compassionate and kind religious leader who sees the world in a Christlike view of compassionate and empathy towards others.

  • Commander_Chico

    The basic issue is that many American “Christians” are actually adherents of The Cult of Ayn Rand and Objectivism. If there are two doctrines that are diametrically opposed, they are Christianity and Objectivism. One is ideally selflessness, the other is selfishness.

    But the Cult of Ayn Rand has permeated American discourse for 40 years now. It is just another name for an old faith, the worship of Mammon, the Golden Calf, etc. The co-optation of Christianity by these assholes makes me believe in the Devil.

    In the evangelical churches which are political auxiliaries of the Republican party, the “Prosperity Gospel” and “Dominion Theology” are just repackaged Objectivism with a religious gloss. Charlatans like Jim Bakker and that faggy Joel Osteen are just continuing a tradition of happy feel-good horseshit going back to Aimee Semple McPherson and Billy James Hargis.

    They will burn in hell.

    • Paul Hooson

      So much of TV evangelism is built on prosperity gospel thinking and wealth building of financial empires compared to the far more pure motives of mainstream mainline Christians or Catholics who prefer to follow the example of Christ and to be “fishers of men” instead…

    • jim_m

      I would draw a distinction between evangelical churches and the predominantly pentacostal churches which you refer to.

      • Commander_Chico

        You said Ayn Rand should be on the $10 bill. You denied it was because you thought she was an attractive woman, so I take that as an endorsement of godless Objectivism.

        • jim_m

          Take it as an endorsement of pissing off little sissies like you.

  • The worst shrill screed about Pope Francis is the claim that he is a Communist, which he isn’t.

    • jim_m

      Are you a communist if you dislike the communist leadership but you agree with their economic philosophy?

      Because that is what we have in Francis.

      • Commander_Chico

        Is “communist” just another insult you throw around? Because Francis has defended the right to private property and private enterprise.

        • jim_m

          Francis is attacking capitalism and democracy. A couple of years ago this was cool. Now it is time to cover it up.

          • A counter to that dated Atlantic piece suggesting that Pope Francis is doing something new. He isn’t. He’s doing nothing more than reiterating longstanding Catholic thought.

          • jim_m

            I suppose the problem is that his criticisms of capitalism and markets are founded in radical, left wing, communist thought. So while he claims to not be a communist he parrots much of their propaganda.

          • Pope Francis isn’t attacking democracy.

          • I disagree. He is clearly attacking democracy and the west.

          • It is clear only in addled brains where clarity is redefined and delusion reigns. Show us specifically where he’s attacking democracy.

          • Notice how the “good Catholic” calls names and attacks people personally. You are pathetic.

          • “No one is good except God alone.”

            Addled is an adjective describing the brain. Calling someone names requires nouns. Like… oh… communist… marxist… heretic…

            You decrying name-calling and personal attacks is exceptionally rich.

          • jim_m

            You tear down capitalism and what else is there except communism and dictatorship?

      • Pope Francis has openly declared Marxism to be wrong.

  • It amazes me that some people try to redefine Communism in order to depict Pope Francis as a Communist.

  • Red Pope can’t figure out if it’s OK for Christians to use weapons on people or if you can’t be a Christian and make weapons.

    • The Pope’s actual words, spoken to a general audience nearly two weeks ago:

      Take care not to place your hope in money or pride, power or vanity, because they can promise you nothing good! I am thinking, for example, of people who have responsibility for others and allow themselves to become corrupt; do you think a corrupt person will be happy on the other side? No, all the fruit of his corruption has corrupted his heart and it will be difficult for him to go to the Lord. I am thinking of those who live off human trafficking or slave labour; do you think these people who traffic persons, who exploit people through slave labour have love for God in their hearts? No, they haven’t fear of the Lord and they are not happy. They are not. I am thinking of those who manufacture weapons for fomenting wars; just think about what kind of job this is. I am certain that if I were to ask: how many of you manufacture weapons? No one, no one. These weapons manufacturers don’t come to hear the Word of God! These people manufacture death, they are merchants of death and they make death into a piece of merchandise. May fear of the Lord make them understand that one day all things will come to an end and they will have to give account to God.”

      Straightforward Christian doctrine… something Christ Himself would’ve spoken and likely did through this good Pope.

      • You’ll explain away anything, won’t you? How evil is air conditioning, again?

        • Here is the sum total of the Pope’s words on air conditioning:

          “People may well have a growing ecological sensitivity but it has not succeeded in changing their harmful habits of consumption which, rather than decreasing, appear to be growing all the more. A simple example is the increasing use and power of air-conditioning. The markets, which immediately benefit from sales, stimulate ever greater demand. An outsider looking at our world would be amazed at such behaviour, which at times appears self-destructive.”

          You keep doing what you’re doing Warner… I’ll keep getting out of your way as you are your own worst enemy on these things.