Religion at the Service of Ecology
Francis’ Laudato Si and the Boff Connection
By John Vennari
The purpose of Pope Francis’ Laudato Si is to promote “ecological awareness,” “ecological conversion,” and to advance responsible “ecological citizenship”. Everything else in the document – everything else – is meant to serve this final goal.
Even the most “Catholic parts” of the document at the end – where there is mention of the Eucharist, the Blessed Trinity, Our Lady, St. Joseph – are not for the sake of leading people in devotion to these Divine goods as ends in themselves, but to provide a basis to spur us toward ecological awareness and ecological conversion.
Laudato Si is a blatant case of religion at the service of humanity, religion at the service of ecology.
The spirit of the neo-pagan Leonardo Boff also pervades Francis’ text, which we will spell out below.
Those who take excessive comfort in the “Catholic elements” of Laudato Si miss the point of the document, which is clearly laid out by Pope Francis himself.
In the beginning of the Laudato Si, #15, Francis establishes the six-point plan that explains the document’s central goal: to increase ecological awareness, and the ecological conversion of all planetary citizens.
“It is my hope,” writers Francis, “that this Encyclical Letter … can help us to acknowledge the appeal, immensity and urgency of the challenge we face. I will begin by  briefly reviewing several aspects of the present ecological crisis, with the aim of drawing on the results of the best scientific research available today, letting them touch as deeply and provide a concrete foundation for the ethical and spiritual itinerary that follows.” It is here that Francis accepts uncritically – in an alleged magisterial document – the questionable science of climate-change alarmism.
In other words, unlike John XXIII, Francis urges us to listen to the “prophets of doom.”
Francis continues explaining the purpose of his eco-text: “I will then  consider some principles drawn from the Judaeo-Christian tradition which can render our commitment to the environment more coherent.”
Please observe what I noted, the religious and scriptural citations in this document are for one reason: “to render our commitment to the environment more coherent.”
Francis goes on, “I will then  attempt to get to the roots of the present situation, so as to consider not only its symptoms but also its deepest causes.  This will help to provide and approach to ecology which respects our unique place as human beings in the world and our relationship to our surroundings. In light of this reflection, I will  advance some broader proposals for dialogue and action, which would involve each of us as individuals, and also affect international policy. Finally,  convinced as I am that change is impossible without motivation and a process of education, I will offer some inspired guidelines for human development to be found in the treasures of Christian experience.” In other words, all references in Chapter 6 to the Eucharist, the Trinity, Our Lady, are actually motivations for ecological action.
For example, in Chapter 6 when Francis speaks of the Eucharist, he concludes that if we center our life on the Eucharist, this “motivates us to greater concern for nature and the poor.” (#237)
Francis goes on to mention the Trinity, but for ecological reasons. Speaking of the interconnectedness of the three Divine Persons, Francis says, “Everything is interconnected, and this invites us to develop a spirituality of global solidarity which flows from the mystery of the Trinity.” (#238) Ecology again!
As we’ll later explain, this Trinity-interconnectedness-global spirituality theme comes straight from the pen of Liberation Theology neo-pagan, Leonardo Boff.
Francis goes on to speak of Our Lady, “Queen of Creation”. Why does he do this? So that we may “ask Her to enable us to look at this world with the eyes of wisdom.” (#242) Again, Catholic imagery at the service of ecology.
Finally, Francis mentions the Holy Family and the figure of Saint Joseph, the hard-working father. Why? So that “he too can teach us how to show care; he can inspire us to work with generosity and tenderness in this world which God has entrusted to us.”Religion at the service of ecology.
I cannot help but look at this approach as a process of manipulation. Nothing Francis says in the final “Catholic section” of Chapter Six leads the soul to conversion from sin, toward the life of sanctifying grace, towards acceptance of perennial Catholic doctrine, toward true devotion to these Catholic goods as ends in themselves.
Rather, these holy images: the Eucharist, the Trinity, Our Lady, Saint Joseph, are mentioned by Francis to urge us toward the naturalistic end of ecological awareness and ecological conversion. This manipulation of supernatural treasures is an abuse of the Papal Office, and indicates the man presently holding the office does not know what the Papacy is.
Contrast: Saint Pius X
If we wish to review what is first duty of the Roman Pontiff, we turn to Pope St. Pius X, the greatest Pope of the 20th Century. Pius opened his 1907 Encyclical Against Modernism stating the first duty of the Pope is to preserve the purity of doctrine and to combat error.
In the first lines of Pascendi, Pius teaches that one of the “primary obligations assigned by Christ to the office divinely committed to Us of feeding the Lord’s flock is that of guarding with the greatest vigilance the deposit of the faith delivered to the saints, rejecting the profane novelties of words and the gainsay of knowledge falsely so called.” He explains that in the face of the Modernist heresy, “We may no longer keep silence, lest We should seem to fail in Our most sacred duty …”
To neglect teaching the Faith in its integrity, and to allow heresy to run rampant among the flock, is a Papacy of failure.
In contrast to Pius X, Francis mocks “those who long for an exaggerated doctrinal ‘security,’ those who stubbornly try to recover a past that no longer exists—they have a static and inward-directed view of things.” He spends his energy provoking moral confusion (the tumultuous Synod of 2014 and the worrisome upcoming 2015 Synod) and on humanist endeavors, such as ecological awareness. It is safe to say that Francis’ understanding of the nature of the Papacy is skewed and deficient. He certainly has a different understanding from that of Pope St. Pius X.
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