Our New “Friends”

Naomi Klein



One of the more interesting feature of the current pontificate is how often the Pope extends the hand of friendship to enemies of the Church while giving the back of his hand to faithful Catholics.  In a rather gloating piece in The New Yorker, one of the Popes new best buds, environmental and anti-capitalist activist Naomi Klein, is on target about what a radical shift this all is:

This point is made forcefully by the Irish Catholic priest and theologian Seán McDonagh, who was part of the drafting process for the encyclical. His voice booming from the audience, he urges us not to hide from the fact that the love of nature embedded in the encyclical represents a profound and radical shift from traditional Catholicism. “We are moving to a new theology,” he declares.

To prove it, he translates a Latin prayer that was once commonly recited after communion during the season of advent. “Teach us to despise the things of the earth and to love the things of heaven.” Overcoming centuries of loathing the corporeal world is no small task, and, McDonagh argues, it serves little purpose to downplay the work ahead.

It’s thrilling to witness such radical theological challenges being batted around inside the curved wooden walls of an auditorium named after St. Augustine, the theologian whose skepticism of things bodily and material so profoundly shaped the Church. But I would imagine that for the conspicuously silent men in black robes in the front row, who study and teach in this building, it is also a little terrifying.

This evening’s dinner is much more informal: a sidewalk trattoria with a handful of Franciscans from Brazil and the U.S., as well as McDonagh, who is treated by the others as an honorary member of the order.

My dinner companions have been some of biggest troublemakers within the Church for years, the ones taking Christ’s proto-socialist teachings seriously. Patrick Carolan, the Washington, D.C.-based executive director of the Franciscan Action Network, is one of them. Smiling broadly, he tells me that, at the end of his life, Vladimir Lenin supposedly said that what the Russian Revolution had really needed was not more Bolsheviks but ten St. Francises of Assisi.

Now, all of a sudden, these outsiders share many of their views with the most powerful Catholic in the world, the leader of a flock of 1.2 billion people. Not only did this Pope surprise everyone by calling himself Francis, as no Pope ever had before him, but he appears to be determined to revive the most radical Franciscan teachings. Moema de Miranda, a powerful Brazilian social leader, who was wearing a wooden Franciscan cross, says that it feels “as if we are finally being heard.”

For McDonagh, the changes at the Vatican are even more striking. “The last time I had a Papal audience was 1963,” he tells me over spaghetti vongole. “I let three Popes go by.” And yet here he is, back in Rome, having helped draft the most talked-about encyclical anyone can remember.

McDonagh points out that it’s not just Latin Americans who figured out how to reconcile a Christian God with a mystical Earth. The Irish Celtic tradition also managed to maintain a sense of “divine in the natural world. Water sources had a divinity about them. Trees had a divinity to them.” But, in much of the rest of the Catholic world, all of this was wiped out. “We are presenting things as if there is continuity, but there wasn’t continuity. That theology was functionally lost.” (It’s a sleight of hand that many conservatives are noticing. “Pope Francis, The Earth Is Not My Sister,” reads a recent headline in The Federalist, a right-wing Web magazine.)

As for McDonagh, he is thrilled with the encyclical, although he wishes it had gone even further in challenging the idea that the earth was created as a gift to humans. How could that be so, when we know it was here billions of years before we arrived?

I ask how the Bible could survive this many fundamental challenges—doesn’t it all fall apart at some point? He shrugs, telling me that scripture is ever evolving, and should be interpreted in historical context. If Genesis needs a prequel, that’s not such a big deal. Indeed, I get the distinct sense that he’d be happy to be part of the drafting committee.

Go here to read the rest.  With “friends” like Naomi Klein, the Catholic Church is transforming enemies into friends, not by converting them to Christ, but by simply pretending that they are not enemies as the pope aligns with them on scientific, political and economic issues.  Of course, it is precisely on such issues that the Pope lacks any charism of infallibility as demonstrated by his choice of secular colleagues as he embarks the Church on several secular leftist “crusades”.    This is all going to end in utter disaster.

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  1. Two important excerpts in the article overlooked

    1. Acceptance of “feminist/feminism” by the Vatican Press Office:

    In his introduction, Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Holy See press office, describes me as a “secular Jewish feminist”—a term I used in my prepared remarks but never expected him to repeat. Everything else Father Lombardi says is in Italian, but these three words are spoken slowly and in English, as if to emphasize their foreignness … After the press conference, a journalist from the U.S. tells me that she has “been covering the Vatican for twenty years, and I never thought I would hear the word ‘feminist’ from that stage.”

    2. Her attitude toward Church teaching on contraception and abortion as well as Pope Francis’ criticism of the latter in his encyclical as “navigating political [not moral] disagreements”:

    The first question directed my way is from Rosie Scammell, with the Religion News Service: “I was wondering how you would respond to Catholics who are concerned by your involvement here, and other people who don’t agree with certain Catholic teachings?”

    This is a reference to the fact that some traditionalists have been griping about all the heathens, including United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and a roster of climate scientists, who were spotted inside these ancient walls in the run-up to the encyclical’s publication. The fear is that discussion of planetary overburden will lead to a weakening of the Church’s position on birth control and abortion. As the editor of a popular Italian Catholic Web site put it recently, “The road the church is heading down is precisely this: To quietly approve population control while talking about something else.”

    I respond that I am not here to broker a merger between the secular climate movement and the Vatican. However, if Pope Francis is correct that responding to climate change requires fundamental changes to our economic model—and I think he is correct—then it will take an extraordinarily broad-based movement to demand those changes, one capable of navigating political disagreements.

  2. “McDonagh points out that it’s not just Latin Americans who figured out how to reconcile a Christian God with a mystical Earth. The Irish Celtic tradition also managed to maintain a sense of ‘divine in the natural world. Water sources had a divinity about them. Trees had a divinity to them.’”

    Certain passages of Laudato Si smacked of pantheism but I reserved judgment. Now I think they are in fact a beginning effort to introduce pantheism into the Church.

  3. After Laudato Si, I think leftists wrote or called Francis and noted that he was being too general and needed specificity. I say that because of this moment in his speech last week to the ” World Meeting of Popular Movements “:
    ” But it is not so easy to define the content of change – in other words, a social program which can embody this project of fraternity and justice which we are seeking. So don’t expect a recipe from this Pope. Neither the Pope nor the Church have a monopoly on the interpretation of social reality or the proposal of solutions to contemporary issues. I dare say that no recipe exists.”
    Let me translate Francis, ” So don’t expect a recipe from this Pope”…equals….” I’m a media darling only as long as I stay in the non responsible realm of generalities….specifics requires work, research and truthfulness…generalities do not.”

  4. Philip wrote, “Certain passages of Laudato Si smacked of pantheism”

    That is an exaggeration; Catholics have always recognised the immanence of God in creation, as well as his transcendence.

    Thus, we have the Catholic poet, Alexander Pope, affirming the divine transcendence in one passage:
    “Who sees with equal eye, as God of all,
    A hero perish, or a sparrow fall,
    Atoms or systems into ruin hurled,
    And now a bubble burst, and now a world.”
    And stressing his immanence in another:
    “All are but parts of one stupendous whole,
    Whose body Nature is, and God the soul;
    That, changed through all, and yet in all the same;
    Great in the earth, as in the ethereal frame;
    Warms in the sun, refreshes in the breeze,
    Glows in the stars, and blossoms in the trees,
    Lives through all life, extends through all extent,
    Spreads undivided, operates unspent;
    Breathes in our soul, informs our mortal part,
    As full, as perfect, in a hair as heart:
    As full, as perfect, in vile man that mourns,
    As the rapt seraph that adores and burns:
    To him no high, no low, no great, no small;
    He fills, he bounds, connects, and equals all.”

  5. This is all going to end in utter disaster.

    The disaster is ongoing as existing Catholic apostolates and local ministries are corrupted and ruined (EWTN, quo vadis). The big embarrassment has been Cdl. Dolan.

    Some will make common cause with Una Voce and such and some will attempt as best they can to ignore denizens of the Vatican clown car (which is what traditionalists have been doing for decades). The priests at my local parish have simply stopped making references to Francis. Maybe if you scoured the building you’d find an image of him somewhere. Not so re JP or Benedict in any parish I’ve attended in the last 15 years.

  6. “That is an exaggeration; Catholics have always recognised the immanence of God in creation, as well as his transcendence.”

    Yes, but that is completely different than pantheism which sees the created objects as divine in themselves. The comments of Klein and Laudato Si do speak in terms of nature having “a divinity about them.” Again, my comments hold.

  7. Phillip–you are correct and it shouldn’t be close and is hardly worth the effort to explain why. That which we took time to read is being given life by our new Gaia friends.

    Let me add to the list of new friends: the Castro boys, the Che groupie Evo, Abas and many more such thugs to come.

  8. The eco-cyclical, among the other psuedo-mystical gibberish, explains how all of nature moves forward to its destination together, ALL creatures becoming ONE, arriving together at the ultimate reality… blah, blah, blah. Anyone who can reconcile that with the teachings of Christ or the Tradition of the Holy Spirit, go right ahead.

  9. Joannie wrote, “all of nature moves forward to its destination together, ALL creatures becoming ONE, arriving together at the ultimate reality…”

    And what is this but the Omega Point envisaged by St Paul in 1 Cor 15, when God shall be al things in all things [τὰ πάντα ἵνα ᾖ ὁ θεὸς τὰ πάντα ἐν πᾶσιν – πάντα and πᾶσιν are neuter plurals]

    Origen and Evagrius, writing in the 3rd century also insist that every emanation from Him must return to the One – “Hear, O Israel, the Lord they God, the Lord is One” (Deut 6:4) they insist is inconsistent with any kind of plurality.

  10. Whatever happened to the idea that His Kingdom is not of this world? Did Jesus ever have the concerns of Pope Francis? Did He speak of slavery? Of oppression? Of income redistribution? Of politics? Of the environment?

  11. My thoughts also, Michael Dowd. We are all directed to take our eyes off the finish line these days. As we still profess to believe in an eternal life after this short one, these antics of our pope steer us in the opposite direction. Meanwhile back in the pews, most catholics are unaware of this large change in direction, and will follow this pope into ?

  12. Fr. Sean Mcdonagh is an ardent follower Of Teilhard de Chardin who taught pantheism.
    TEILHARD IS IN HELL, as revealed to Seer Veronica Leuken of Bayside, New York. To another seer, Teilhard de Chardin requested that his teachings be stopped because the more he is pushed to HELL everytime, one accepts his writings.

  13. Melly Pardillo wrote, “Teilhard de Chardin who taught pantheism…”
    Not according to Cardinal Henri de Lubac, perhaps the greatest theologian of the 20th century.

  14. Donald R McClarey wrote, “Chardin’s third nature of the “Cosmic Christ” is transparent pantheism.”

    But the Omega Point is necessarily pre-existent and transcendent. Only thus can it be the goal towards which the universe rises. Moreover, it is necessarily personal for it is the cause of the emergence of personality, of free centres of operation as the highest form within the universe.

  15. Thank you MPS for demonstrating that besides mixing pantheism in with Christianity, Chardin also wrote some of the most convoluted gibberish to disgrace the pen of man. He is the spiritual father of the New Age:

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