Sunday, July 12, 2009

CALM DOWN: No Truth to Rumors that Pope is Evil Emperor

A recent encyclical released by Pope Benedict XVI -- coupled with some well-circulated, highly Photoshopped images of the Roman Pontiff -- has caused many in his American flock to fear that he is, in fact, the Evil Emperor Palpatine from George Lucas' Star Wars movies.

Besides the arresting resemblance between the Pope and British actor Ian McDiarmid, who plays the Emperor, the Pope's call for a global authority with "real teeth" in Caritas in Veritate has caused more than one conservative Catholic to grab his lightsaber and fire up the Millennium Falcon.  Here is the pertinent text from the Vatican website:

In the face of the unrelenting growth of global interdependence, there is a strongly felt need, even in the midst of a global recession, for a reform of the United Nations Organization, and likewise of economic institutions and international finance, so that the concept of the family of nations can acquire real teeth. [¶ 67, emphasis in original]

However, before seeking refuge on Tatooine from the incipient Galactic Empire -- replete with Darth Obama as Benedict's right hand man -- the prudent and politically conservative Catholic might be inclined to read the entirety of the document, wherein the Pope teaches:

A particular manifestation of charity and a guiding criterion for fraternal cooperation between believers and non-believers is undoubtedly the principle of subsidiarity...[it] is particularly well-suited to managing globalization and directing it towards authentic human development.  In order not to produce a dangerous universal power of a tyrannical nature, the governance of globalization must be marked by subsidiarity, articulated into several layers and involving different levels that can work together. [¶ 57, emphasis in original]

And if that's not enough to get you out of the X-Wing and back on the moisture farm, you might check out the former Cardinal Ratzinger's "severe critique" of the U.N.'s proposal for a New World Order from way back in 2000.

As far as other Catholic reactions go, George Weigel's article has criticized this and other points in the encyclical, and his general summation of the document is that it is partly Benedictine, and partly a concession to the wayward Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.  There are less scathing views from none other than Fr. Joseph Fessio and George Neumayr (among others), which you can peruse here at Catholic World Report.

Finally, it would be advisable for all Catholics with an intellectual bent to read the primer (Rerum Novarum - 1891, Quadregisimo Anno - 1931, Centesimus Annus - 1991) before passing judgment on this latest text.

There is room for a faithful Catholic to object in good conscience to particular policies which the Pope may suggest -- and Benedict says as much when he admits that the Church "does not have technical solutions to offer and does not claim 'to interfere in any way in the politics of States'" -- but one should be advised of the Lumen Gentium text:

The laity should, as all Christians, promptly accept in Christian obedience decisions of their spiritual shepherds, since they are representatives of Christ as well as teachers and rulers in the Church.  [¶ 37] 

And yes, claiming that the Pope has joined "the Dark Side" finds its theological equivalent in "the gates of hell have prevailed".  This blog, for one, is loathe to make any sort of despairing claim of that ilk.

God bless Pope Benedict and our Holy Mother Church!


  1. You have a wonderful "tongue-in-cheek" humor. On the basic reactions of many people to what the Pope has spoken of in his new encyclical, have we not become accustomed to everyone needing to tear apart each and everything being written by the Pope these days? I would like to address only one item and that is the issue of avoiding a "dangerous universal power of a tyrannical nature". Certainly the Pope is far too intelligent to claim that there "should" be a globilized world, but if there were to be momenetum toward one (and at this point only a very naive person would deny this) I believe the Pope is telling us that the only way to avoid a very EVIL new Babylon would be to understand that no governing system can or should exist that claims there is no God and that only a technological approach will bring peace and harmony to our world. I finished reading a commentary on the Science Czar for the Obama administration today, Mr. Holden, who advocates just this idea for the United States and the world. (see life site news, Today's headlines) He speaks of creating a global regime that would have the power to use technology and control the number of people in the world through the use of forced sterilization, abortion, adding sterilization drugs to our water systems and having the power to force women to have babies and abort them as the powers that be decide the system needs them. What type of image does that bring to the minds of all the advocates of one world government. the image it brings to my mind is someone with a lot of pride who believes they are superior to the rest of us that will herd women like cows to produce or not according to a spread sheet of needs. Is this the end result of the women's liberation movement? I believe this is more than anything what Pope Benedict is clearly telling us to not let happen. Only if we remember that this world is first and foremost under the most loving personal God who wants a personal relationship with each and everyone of us, and desires that we treat each other in the same way, can our world ever develop a system of government that would allow for the dignity of the human person to unfold. I do not believe anyone like Mr. Holden or the President who would have this man as an advisor have these same principles in mind. This is what the Pope is so correct in challenging us with in his new encyclical. Peace, Kris

  2. My problem with the papal encyclical is that, within the context of the times in which we live, such a phrase about "a world authority" and "real teeth" can only be interpreted a certain way.

    Yes, yes, read the entire encyclical --- it would seem that is for the serious Catholics who are looking for a life-line to grab onto. But 1.1 billion Catholics and 6 billion people in the world do NOT read entire encyclicals. Excuses about, "imprudence", "bad-timing", "misconstruing" and "incomplete readings taken out of context" do not take these realities into account. But no encyclical passes muster without hyper-analysis, and it would be naive to think that this was somehow a mistake that slipped through.

    My guess: some of the pope's advisors have shown themselves to be Obama-apologists, Western Euro socialists and both purposeful and/or useful idiots of the New World Order, and are using the papal office to confuse the faithful and the world.

    The beauty of a papal document, read centuries later, can be obvious in its wisdom and truth. God, knowing this, may be Inspiring not our generation, but those of later ones who will ponder and read it properly. The confusion that results within our own time and context may perhaps be a type of Judgment. This may also serve His purpose to enhance the breaking down of the Old in order to usher in the New.

    "My ways are not your ways" and the suffering of confusion may have to be accepted as part of the Penance we all deserve.

  3. OT for this post, but not this blog:
    More scandal, this time north of Kenai in Anchorage, the Anchorage Daily News reports that Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church is being used as a concert hall.

    Author: Compiled by arts reporter Mike Dunham

    Date: August 28, 2009
    Publication: Anchorage Daily News (AK)
    Page: D7

    Word count: 268


    Two on the high notes

    "Sopranos Elena Bird and Sydnee Waggoner, co-winners of this year's Anchorage Festival of Music Young Alaska Artist Award, will present a debut concert at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, 3900 Wisconsin St. Suggested donations are $20 for adults and $10 for students and children. A portion of the proceeds goes to the scholarship awards. For more information, call the Anchorage Festival of Music office at 276-2465."