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Laudato Si and the Bifurcation of God

by Christopher A. Ferrara
August 5, 2015

Every new reading of Laudato Si reveals a new disturbing aspect of this utterly unprecedented “green” encyclical, addressed to “every person living on this planet.” There is something disturbing on almost every page.  Consider the closing paragraph of the encyclical:

At the conclusion of this lengthy reflection which has been both joyful and troubling, I propose that we offer two prayers. The first we can share with all who believe in a God who is the all-powerful Creator, while in the other we Christians ask for inspiration to take up the commitment to creation set before us by the Gospel of Jesus.

The implications are really quite staggering.  Francis is the Vicar of Christ, whose duty is to proclaim, defend and pass on intact the Divine Revelation of Our Lord and His Apostles, which was to be brought to the whole world in keeping with the Great Commission:  “Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you…”

It is no part of the Pope’s duty to compose prayers that “Christians” (Francis never uses the word “Catholics”) can “share” with those who believe in “the all-powerful Creator” but do not believe in or positively reject the divinity of Christ and the Holy Trinity. There is only one God — Father, Son and Holy Ghost — not one God for the Christians and another for the followers of “the all-powerful Creator.” Yet here we see the very Vicar of Christ not only passively accepting but actively encouraging the unbelief of non-Christians by composing a prayer just for them, to be offered to some generic deity, as if they were in no need whatsoever of believing in Christ and the true God for their salvation.

Our Lord commanded His Church, above all its earthly head, to teach “all nations” to “observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.”  All things whatsoever.  But Francis apparently proposes to teach them nothing whatsoever of what Our Lord has commanded, including the necessity of believing in Him in order to be saved:

Be it known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God hath raised from the dead, even by him this man standeth here before you whole. This is the stone which was rejected by you the builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other. For there is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved.  (Acts 4:12)

Instead of proclaiming that “there is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved,” Francis rhetorically bifurcates God, composing one prayer for Christians and another to “the all powerful Creator.” The latter he prescribes for a world filled with lost souls as if it were sufficient for them in the darkness they inhabit without the grace of the One who said:  “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me, walketh not in darkness, but shall have the light of life (Jn. 8:12).”

Let us face reality:  We have a Vicar of Christ who does not wish to be the Vicar of Christ. He wishes to be the Planetary Pope who “address[es] every person living on this planet” without regard to, or concern for, the false religions or outright atheism they may profess. It simply doesn’t matter to Francis whether anyone becomes a member of the Catholic Church. What matters to him is that everyone, whatever they believe, work together to repair the harm to the environment:

Respect must also be shown for the various cultural riches of different peoples, their art and poetry, their interior life and spirituality. If we are truly concerned to develop an ecology capable of remedying the damage we have done, no branch of the sciences and no form of wisdom can be left out, and that includes religion [any religion!] and the language particular to it.  (LS 63)

Truly we are in the midst of what Bishop Athanasius Schneider has called “the fourth great crisis” of the Church.