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The Silences of Francis

by Christopher A. Ferrara
August 7, 2015

Francis is constantly expressing opinions on numerous subjects having nothing to do with the papal magisterium.  Laudato si is filled with them.  Here is just a sampling:

  • “A very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system.” (LS 23)
  • “Humanity is called to recognize the need for changes of lifestyle, production and consumption, in order to combat this warming or at least the human causes which produce or aggravate it.” (LS 23)
  • “[A] number of scientific studies indicate that most global warming in recent decades is due to the great concentration of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen oxides and others) released mainly as a result of human activity.” (LS 23)
  • “Concentrated in the atmosphere, these gases do not allow the warmth of the sun’s rays reflected by the earth to be dispersed in space. The problem is aggravated by a model of development based on the intensive use of fossil fuels, which is at the heart of the worldwide energy system.” (LS 23)
  • “Warming has effects on the carbon cycle. It creates a vicious circle which aggravates the situation even more, affecting the availability of essential resources like drinking water, energy and agricultural production in warmer regions, and leading to the extinction of part of the planet’s biodiversity.” (LS 24)
  • “Carbon dioxide pollution increases the acidification of the oceans and compromises the marine food chain.” (LS 24)
  • “If present trends continue, this century may well witness extraordinary climate change and an unprecedented destruction of ecosystems, with serious consequences for all of us.” (LS 24)
  • “The melting in the polar ice caps and in high altitude plains can lead to the dangerous release of methane gas, while the decomposition of frozen organic material can further increase the emission of carbon dioxide.” (LS 24)
  • “Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods. It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day.” (LS 25)
  • “The exploitation of the planet has already exceeded acceptable limits and we still have not solved the problem of poverty.” (LS 27)
  • “The replacement of virgin forest with plantations of trees, usually monocultures, is rarely adequately analyzed. Yet this can seriously compromise a biodiversity which the new species being introduced does not accommodate.” (LS 39)
  • “In some coastal areas the disappearance of ecosystems sustained by mangrove swamps is a source of serious concern.” (LS 39)
  • “Particularly threatened are marine organisms which we tend to overlook, like some forms of plankton; they represent a significant element in the ocean food chain, and species used for our food ultimately depend on them.”  (LS 40)
  • “Many of the world’s coral reefs are already barren or in a state of constant decline… This phenomenon is due largely to pollution which reaches the sea as the result of deforestation, agricultural monocultures, industrial waste and destructive fishing methods, especially those using cyanide and dynamite. It is aggravated by the rise in temperature of the oceans.” (LS 41)
  • “We know that technology based on the use of highly polluting fossil fuels — especially coal, but also oil and, to a lesser degree, gas — needs to be progressively replaced without delay.” (LS 165)

Never in the history of the Church has a papal encyclical indulged in such patently dubious contentions about matters obviously beyond the scope of papal authority and competence. Then there is that endless stream of interviews with reporters, airborne press conferences and innumerable spontaneous remarks about this or that in places here and there.

And yet there is a resounding silence on the part of this very talkative Pope when it comes to some rather important recent developments that call for a pronouncement that is actually within the Pope’s competence as Vicar of Christ on earth:

  • Concerning the approval of legalized “gay marriage” in Ireland, Francis had not a word to say, either before or after the vote.
  • Concerning the imposition of “gay marriage” on the entire United States by five Supreme Court Justices, Francis has been utterly mute.
  • In America, daily news reports reveal that Planned Parenthood has been trafficking in the organs of aborted babies and even entire intact babies, who may have been born alive before they were killed.  From Francis, not a peep.
  • The New York Times has just published (July 22) a landmark piece, of Pulitzer Prize-winning quality, entitled “Is this the end of Christianity in the Middle East?”, which powerfully depicts how, as the sub headline states: “ISIS and other extremist movements across the region are enslaving, killing and uprooting Christians, with no aid in sight.”  And what does Francis have to say about the end of Christianity in the Middle East?  Absolutely nothing.  He does, however, demand — over and over again — the unrestricted admission of Muslim “immigrants” to Italy and “dialogue” with Islam, blithely ignoring what even the secular press now warns is “The Coming Muslim Conquest of Italy.”

So much of what Francis utters has had a disastrous impact on the Church’s credibility and mission in the world­, from “Who am I to judge?” concerning homosexuals in the clergy to “There is no Catholic God,” to — well, as we all know, the list seems endless after only two-and-a-half years of papal chatter.  But here is something one might wish to consider: that what Francis fails to say is even more damaging than what he does say.

As Pope Felix III famously declared: “Not to oppose error is to approve it; and not to defend truth is to suppress it, and, indeed, to neglect to confound evil men — when we can do it — is no less a sin than to encourage them.”  Such conspicuous silence in the face of massive evils that preoccupy even the secular media is, I am afraid, becoming another destructive hallmark of this pontificate: the Silences of Francis.

Pray for the Holy Father in keeping with the spirit of Our Lord’s prayer for the first Pope: “But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren.”