The Weakness of Laudato Si

Please enjoy this excerpt from “The Public Square” of the forthcoming August/September issue of First Things. To read more, subscribe here.Laudato Si addresses global warming and other environmental issues, as well as global development and economic justice. The conjunction of concerns is . . . . Continue Reading »

The Pope's Moment of Grace

When the Pope’s highly anticipated encyclical, Laudato Si finally appeared, Detroit’s Archbishop Allen Vigneron summed up its significance by calling it “a moment of grace.”The new encyclical has been widely described as “the pope’s encyclical on climate change.” But one shouldn’t be . . . . Continue Reading »

Forgetting God

Laudato Si, last week’s encyclical from Pope Francis, seeks to address a plethora of problems in the modern world—predominately focusing on environmental issues, distributive justice, and perceived problems with consensus developmental economic theory. Pope Francis offers a harsh critique of . . . . Continue Reading »

The Latin American Pope and the Irish Poet

A great variety of people are looking forward to reading and digesting Pope Francis’s new encyclical, Laudato Si, which the Vatican officially releases today. I am as interested in reading it as the next person, but maybe not immediately. That comment may understandably demand some defense, or at . . . . Continue Reading »

The Return of Catholic Anti-Modernism

Commentators are sure to make the false claim that Pope Francis has aligned the Church with modern science. They’ll say this because he endorses climate change. But that’s a superficial reading of Laudato Si. In this encyclical, Francis expresses strikingly anti-scientific, anti-technological, . . . . Continue Reading »

​Praise Be to You, Lord

The First World War lingers in the memory as humanity’s first encounter with industrialized killing on a mass scale. New weapons of the machine age obliterated forests, villages and fields—an entire way of life. This new type of war also deeply shaped the thinking of men who experienced it . . . . Continue Reading »

Let’s Listen to the Pope on Climate

The Syllabus of Errors, issued in 1864 under the auspices of Pope Pius IX, famously ends by condemning the proposition that “The Roman Pontiff can, and ought to, reconcile himself, and come to terms with progress, liberalism, and modern civilization.”Is Pope Francis a latter day Pio Nono? Such . . . . Continue Reading »

Dear Pope Francis: Remember the Standers

Pope Francis has spoken often about the problem of family breakdown. “The family is the fundamental cell of society,”the Holy Father told bishops, clergy and laypersons during the first year of his tenure. “Marriage and the family are in crisis,” he said shortly after bishops gathered in Rome last fall for the Extraordinary Synod on the Family. No-fault divorce has done more to fuel this crisis than any other factor. Although divorce rates initially skyrocketed after adoption of no-fault in the United States, they remain high. Meanwhile, single motherhood and cohabitation continue to rise, while marriage rates nosedive. And Pope Francis has acknowledged the link between marriage breakdown and society’s ills, including increased poverty, noting that it is children who usually bear the brunt. Continue Reading »