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Laudato Si’: A Telling Disparity

by Christopher A. Ferrara
June 24, 2015

Quite enough has already been written about the Pope’s “recyclical,” as some are calling it.  Laudato si’ (LS) is destined to join the mountain of other voluminous and forgotten documents of the “talking Church” of the post-Vatican II epoch, which says more and more to fewer and fewer people who are actually committed to believing and following everything the Church has constantly taught on faith and morals.

Having said my piece at length elsewhere, here I would like to focus on one curious disparity in an encyclical that calls for an “ecological conversion” in answer to an “ecological crisis.”  Consider paragraph 33:

It is not enough, however, to think of different species merely as potential “resources” to be exploited, while overlooking the fact that they have value in themselves. Each year sees the disappearance of thousands of plant and animal species which we will never know, which our children will never see, because they have been lost for ever. The great majority become extinct for reasons related to human activity. Because of us, thousands of species will no longer give glory to God by their very existence, nor convey their message to us. We have no such right.

Here Francis mourns the loss of plant and animal species due to “human activity” because our children will never see them and they will no longer give glory to God.  That’s plants as well as animals.  Plants.  We have no right to cause the extinction of animals and plants, says Francis forthrightly.

Now compare what the “normalists” widely applaud as the Pope’s “condemnation” of abortion in LS. The only reference to abortion by name, in paragraph 120, comes long after the mourning of the loss of animals and plants:

Since everything is interrelated, concern for the protection of nature is also incompatible with the justification of abortion. How can we genuinely teach the importance of concern for other vulnerable beings, however troublesome or inconvenient they may be, if we fail to protect a human embryo, even when its presence is uncomfortable and creates difficulties? “If personal and social sensitivity towards the acceptance of the new life is lost, then other forms of acceptance that are valuable for society also wither away”.

Notice the rationale for this “condemnation” of murder in the womb: “everything is interrelated.”  Notice the equation of the “human embryo” with “other vulnerable beings.” Notice the concession that the existence of a “human embryo” is “uncomfortable” and “creates difficulties” for those who would dispose of it.  Notice the characterization of murder in the womb as a lack of “personal and social sensitivity towards the acceptance of new life,” which is wrong because it leads to a withering of “other forms of acceptance.”  

And notice, finally, the lack of anything approaching Francis’ eloquent mourning over the loss of plants and animals: There is no reference to the “human embryos” “we will never know” and that “our children will never see” because their brothers and sisters have been murdered in utero and tossed in the garbage or expelled chemically by contraceptives.  While the Pope mourns the loss of “thousands of species,” including plants, there is no expression of mourning for the loss of hundreds of millions of human lives—a slaughter that continues day after day while Francis complains about the “the increasing use and power of air-conditioning” in paragraph 55, long before he mentions the mass murder of unborn children. There is no mention of how these murdered children have been robbed of their right to give glory to God on this earth.  And, finally, there is no forthright declaration that “we have no such right” regarding legalized child murder throughout “the planet” Francis mentions more often than he does the Person of Christ.

Nor is the rest of LS any better in this regard.  Paragraph 117 states: “When we fail to acknowledge as part of reality the worth of a poor person, a human embryo, a person with disabilities—to offer just a few examples —it becomes difficult to hear the cry of nature itself; everything is connected.”  Here the “human embryo” is placed alongside neglected poor people and the disabled, when the “human embryo” is the victim of deliberate mass murder on a scale of millions.  And the “condemnation” of abortion is expressed, not in terms of a wrong in itself—that being murder—but rather as an act that makes it “difficult to hear the cry of nature” because  “everything is connected.”  Kill babies, and you won’t hear the cry of the nature!  Is this for real?

And, in paragraph 136, we read this gem of “pro-life” sentiment:  “It is troubling that, when some ecological movements defend the integrity of the environment, rightly demanding that certain limits be imposed on scientific research, they sometimes fail to apply those same principles to human life.” Troubling? That’s it?

Nothing could be more telling concerning this encyclical than the disparity between Francis’ treatment of the loss of animals and plants and his reduction of abortion to an ecologically-related offense against the “human embryo.”  Nothing could be more telling than his invocation of the name of God and the glory He is owed in the first case and his silence about God in the second.

It should be obvious why the world, including the Abortion President, loves this encyclical and why its tacked-on Catholic elements (beginning at paragraph 233) give no offense to the culture of death. Laudato si’ is a monumental embarrassment to the Church and yet another setback for the cause of the Gospel.  May it soon pass into the oblivion it deserves. And may Our Lady of Fatima obtain from Our Lord, before it is too late, the grace of obedience at last to Her requests nearly a century ago.