Lots of furor over the apparently ghost written encyclical on the environment:
The Vatican has denied that Pope Francis’ forthcoming encyclical has been delayed because the Holy Father feared the first draft would not be approved by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).
Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told the Register May 14 that the “preparation procedure of the encyclical took place, and is taking place, in a completely normal way, and there has not been, and there isn’t, any delay compared to what was expected.”
He added there have “never been reliable predictions” about the time of the publication of the encyclical, which is expected to reaffirm the Church’s teaching on safeguarding the environment and controversially endorse the science of anthropogenic climate change.
Those who have claimed to know the date of its release have based their comments on “rumors and fantasies,” Father Lombardi said.
The Vatican spokesman did say he has always thought it would appear “before the summer,” but added that it has already been “announced and repeated that the final text is being translated, and it’s reasonable to expect the publication within a few weeks, probably in June.”
Father Lombardi’s comments came after veteran Vaticanista Sandro Magister claimed on his blog “Settimo Cielo” May 11 that the Pope had “binned” the first draft of the encyclical when he spent a week in March examining the document.
Magister said the Pope feared the first draft — which had been ghostwritten by his theologian friend from Argentina, Archbishop Victor Manuel Fernández — would have been “demolished” by Cardinal Gerhard Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “once it had gotten into his hands.”
But Father Lombardi said it is “normal and obvious” that, as with any encyclical, the CDF would check the document before publication and that he was unaware of “any cause of delays or problems.” He called the speculation “totally unfounded” and said it “seems almost unbelievable that such things are written.”
Go here to read the rest. PopeWatch hopes that the powers that be at the Vatican take their time with this “green” encyclical. This time next century may be an apt time for it to be released. More seriously, what is the duty of a faithful Catholic to an encyclical written by someone other than the Pope. I assume that most modern popes have had help in regard to their writings, although both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI had styles that were quite evident in what they wrote. However, what if a Pope writes almost none of an encyclical but merely issues it with his approval? In the New Advent entry on Encyclicals there is this interesting passage: As for the binding force of these documents it is generally admitted that the mere fact that the pope should have given to any of his utterances the form of an encyclical does not necessarily constitute it an ex-cathedra pronouncement and invest it with infallible authority. The degree in which the infallible magisterium of the Holy See is committed must be judged from the circumstances, and from the language used in the particular case.
If the utterances of what purports to be a papal encyclical are not actually the words of the Pope but rather the product of the brain of someone else, I assume that perhaps questioning of the Pope might be appropriate to ascertain that he at least has read what has come out under his name.