Pope Francis Warns Culture of Waste is Turning into a Culture of Hatred

via Vatican News:

The fragile and vulnerable person, the Pope said, is defenceless in the face of the interests of the market and the power that some economic sectors exert over the state.

To defend democratic institutions and the development of humanity, the Pope said, jurists need to contain the punitive irrationality which manifests itself in many forms, such as mass imprisonment, crowding and torture in prisons, arbitrariness and abuse by security forces and the criminalisation of social protest….

According to Pope Francis, acts such as the massive pollution of air, land and water resources, large-scale destruction of flora and fauna, and any action capable of producing an ecological disaster or destroying an ecosystem should be regarded as “ecocidal” and must not go unpunished.

In this regard, he recalled the Synod for the Panamazon Region, which proposed to define an act or omission against God, against one’s neighbour, the community and the environment, as “ecological sin”….

The culture of waste, the Pope lamented, is degenerating into a culture of hatred, an example of which, he said, is the reappearance of emblems and actions typical of Nazism.

Pope Francis: Catechism Will Include Ecological Sins

via CNS:

Following through on a proposal made at the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon, Pope Francis said there are plans to include a definition of ecological sins in the church’s official teaching.

“We should be introducing — we were thinking — in the Catechism of the Catholic Church the sin against ecology, ecological sin against the common home,” he told participants at a conference on criminal justice Nov. 15.

Pope Francis on the Throwaway Culture and the Path of Generous Solidarity

via the Vatican:

Rising levels of poverty on a global scale bear witness to the prevalence of inequality rather than a harmonious integration of persons and nations. An economic system that is fair, trustworthy and capable of addressing the most profound challenges facing humanity and our planet is urgently needed. I encourage you to persevere along the path of generous solidarity and to work for the return of economics and finance to an ethical approach which favours human beings

A glance at recent history, in particular the financial crisis of 2008, shows us that a healthy economic system cannot be based on short-term profit at the expense of long-term productive, sustainable and socially responsible development and investment….

An economic system detached from ethical concerns does not bring about a more just social order, but leads instead to a “throw away” culture of consumption and waste. On the other hand, when we recognize the moral dimension of economic life, which is one of the many aspects of social doctrine of the Church that must be integrally respected, we are able to act with fraternal charity, desiring, seeking and protecting the good of others and their integral development….

I express to you my heartfelt gratitude for your commitment to the promotion of a more just and humane economy, in line with the core principles of the social doctrine of the Church, always taking into account the whole person, both in the present generation and in the ones to come. An inclusive capitalism that leaves no one behind, that discards none of our brothers or sisters, is a noble aspiration, worthy of your best efforts.

Are The US Bishops Trying to Help Trump Win Reelection?

MSW writes:

Preeminent: Adj. surpassing all others; very distinguished in some way.

This adjective was the focus of two debates at the heart of last week’s bishops’ conference plenary. It was added to the text of a new letter that will supplement the bishops’ quadrennial, and apparently irrevocable, statement about elections, “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.” The first had to do with U.S. politics and the second with Pope Francis….

The 143-69 vote not to include a longer quote from Francis that would have better balanced the preeminence of abortion indicates that abortion really is the top priority for the bishops — which is precisely why the change was wrong-headed….

The aim of the underlying document is to form consciences. Telling us what their priority is this election cycle does not help me form my conscience….

In explaining why he wanted the change to “preeminent,” Archbishop Alexander Sample of Portland, Oregon, unwittingly gave the game away: “We are at a unique moment with the upcoming election cycle to make a real challenge to Roe v. Wade, given the possible changes to the Supreme Court,” he wrote. “We should not dilute our efforts to protect the unborn.”…

There are deeper problems with the document, problems that demand the bishops start from scratch next time, and not just the fact that the text does not reflect the papal magisterium on political issues of Francis or Pope Benedict XVI. The exclusive focus on issues, originally seen as a way of avoiding partisanship, has instead brought the ideological divisions of the politicians into the life of the church. Instead of recognizing the underlying thrust of Catholic social teaching — for example, its concern that a hyperindividualism, or erroneous autonomy, inevitably degrades important social bonds — the current listing of issues, and seeking to prioritize them, inevitably involves political calculations the bishops have no competence in making. It allows for the perception, and perhaps the reality, that the majority of bishops see the church as an extension of the Republican Party….

Voters do not get to vote on a particular issue. We select from a list of candidates. We need to consider not only where they stand on issues, but their character and their competence as well….

Apologists for Trump will be citing the word “preeminent” from now through election day. The bishops knew that and voted for it anyway. Francis famously wrote in Amoris Laetitia: “We have been called to form consciences, not to replace them.” The majority of the U.S. bishops seem more interested in getting Trump reelected than in forming consciences….

Which leads to the second focus of debate: The majority of bishops are perfectly willing to ignore Francis. They not only included this word, “preeminent,” that runs counter to the holistic approach to issues he advocates, they have barely done anything to implement “Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home” and have done even less on Amoris Laetitia….

My advice to Catholics next year? Reread Vatican II’s Gaudium et Spes, John Paul II’s Laborem Exercens, Benedict’sCaritas in Veritateand Francis’ Laudato Si’. If you are ambitious, include Pius XI’s Quadragesimo Anno. Although this last was issued in 1931, it strikes me as timelier than “Faithful Citizenship.”

Why “But, Abortion!” is No Excuse for Ignoring Moral Imperatives

Brian Fraga writes:

“But, abortion!” has become sort of a tongue-in-cheek retort in some Catholic circles to refer to arguments when the right to life is seemingly used by people to downplay or dismiss other important principles in the Church’s social teaching, such as the preferential option for the poor, caring for creation, welcoming the stranger or paying the worker a just wage.

The right to life is a foundational issue, and I would argue that all the other rights we have, including those that are enshrined in the Constitution of the United States, really don’t mean anything if we don’t have the right to be born. As I see it, abortion is a social justice issue….

the way we Catholics often talk about abortion has become sadly myopic, especially in our American political context where neither of the two major political parties offer platforms that are fully consistent with Catholic Social Teaching principles….

Democrats have solid ideas on consumer and worker protections, the environment, firearm regulations, immigration reform and healthcare. But they have become increasingly liberal on some social issues, especially abortion. The leading Democratic presidential candidates for 2020 want to repeal the Hyde Amendment, which prevents federal tax dollars from being used for most abortions.

Republicans are staunchly against abortion….

But the Trump presidency has also become synonymous with nativist and divisive political rhetoric, heavy-handed immigration policies such as child separation, not to mention racist dog whistle politics, chronic dishonesty, a disrespect for democratic norms, even an alleged disregard for the rule of law that has resulted in an impeachment inquiry.

That is a vexing political picture for Catholics in the United States. But to hear some tell it, any legitimate concern one may have about a politician who claims to be pro-life automatically takes a backseat if the opposing candidate supports legal abortion. It’s akin to a get-out-of-jail-free card for a politician who steals from taxpayers but promises them that they’ll make abortion illegal.

That kind of thinking makes it more difficult, if not impossible, to have honest, straightforward and respectful conversations about politics, especially abortion….

I think that is what the “preeminent” abortion language debate was really all about last week at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ meeting in Baltimore….

Welcoming the stranger, caring for creation, advocating to abolish the death penalty, taking care of the poor and standing up for the vulnerable who are already alive are moral imperatives, not “prudential matters” as some would suggest out of ignorance or cynicism. Implementing those imperatives into public policy and legislation is where prudence comes into play.

The current state of our politics does not always make it easy to make prudential decisions, especially in the voting booth….

So it’s unfair to assume that criticizing Donald Trump for his immigration policies means someone is pro-abortion, just as it is to say that someone who voted for Trump because of his promises to appoint pro-life justices to the U.S. Supreme Court must be a racist or hate immigrants.