The sickening encyclical.

niet03

I was born and raised a Roman Catholic. If you don’t know me by now, I’ll understand, or will try to understand such determined obscurantism in the face of reading this blog for any amount of time. I will endeavour to add some graphs and equations to it purely for your benefit but only as long as you accept I’ll just be giving it a go, but my heart won’t really be in it.

Meh, bollocks, I’ve done all my graphs and equations porridge, I’m clean nowadays, I’m a quitter, I don’t do that sorta stuff no more, haven’t turned a trick in years. For those people who read slowly and carefully, you probably realised long ago which particular stripe of rockcake I am, so bingo, you got me.

Like so many of my generation, I walked away from it but unlike so many of them, it wasn’t from laziness – it wasn’t that I couldn’t be arsed to go to church Sundays or being pissed off at a variety of holy Joes who were pinching choir boy’s bottoms, but an intellectual rejection. Believe it or not, I was the sort of sad bastard who thought he could read through the theology and that would assuage all the growing doubts.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin I finally decided was an overrated simplistic twat with barely two and one half brain cells to rub together and Thomas Aquinas really needed to get outside the monastery into the sunlight and get laid, possibly by a nun which he seemed to be hinting at. The cloistered brides of Christ might have a practical use after all, but an exclusively liturgical one you understand, à la mode Loudun.

What followed was not a godless life, but a normal one. I’ve seen the evil that men can do, the goodness that’s in the heart of some people on the worst day of their lives, but I’ve never yet discerned the hand of God in any of it. If anything, his absence. If it needed fixing, it was always up to us schmucks to just get on and do it, because praying to God to work his magic never seemed to deliver in any timely fashion. Life is a simple but roughty toughty business; work hard, keep your nose clean, look after your loved ones, don’t ever allow yourself the luxury of being stoopid and never forget a Smith & Wesson beats four aces any day of the week.

The intellectual reasons for abandoning ones faith are easy to trot out and it’ll always be a no contest with anyone who seriously thinks they can argue to the contrary. Those sort of arguments I long ago ceased to engage with. It is after all a matter of personal belief. I have a few friends I love who have the real faith and I can only envy them. I honestly do. They have a capacity for a belief that’s not been within me for many years. We’ve had all the long talks and they no doubt put a good word in for me in their conversations with him upstairs. I have good reason to suspect I’ll need all the help that’s going when I eventually run out of road. Who will sing for me?

Having established my credentials as the worst sort of lapsed Catholic, that’s to say a badly lapsed one, I’ll finally move on to give my fippence worth of opinion on the head honcho in the poncho’s cycling piece. It’s of course a masterfully crafted and anodyne piece of prosaic drivel that wouldn’t be out of place in one of those terrible stealth religious movies you mistakenly watch for half an hour before realising that awful bloody truth. It was financed by a bunch of holy Joe businessmen in somewhere like Minnesota to convert you to Christianity on the sly. You’ll never get that wasted half hour of your life back.

It says everything and nothing to anyone and everyone, without ever once foundering on the reef of controversy as it sets sail out into the vast Sea of Irrelevance. It’s no wonder a resurgent Islam views not only the Church of Rome but Christianity as a rudderless hulk, lost and adrift in a sea of anything goes it created by abandoning any beliefs or sleeves rolled up duty of care to the poor in favour of a kindly sound bite from the media tarts of the developed world.

They’ve profited by gaining the world but the real cost nobody wants to talk about. Any sort of muscular Christianity is dead. One by one, all the isolated holdout outposts of principle have been abandoned in favour of a touchy feely religious experience. The soldiers of Christ who manned those solitary keeps for centuries have walked away into the wilderness to die of despair.

The Judeo-Christian tradition has now become the love that no longer dares to speak its name. It’s been mashed and mellowed, homogenised and pasteurised, rinsed and spun dry, fucked, bollocked and buggered over to the point where it’s now fit for nothing more than daytime TV. Atop St. Peter’s Rock, now squats a new and terrible Earth goddess. Her name is Gaia and she demands the blood sacrifice of the most vulnerable in our world to preserve her new and improved version of the Garden of Eden, and if you don’t know it, that’s the one without any people in it.

The final indignity to be heaped on the compliant face down, arse up corpse of the Church is the sudden appearance of various Saturday night special instant theologians who though the wouldn’t recognise a papal bull from my left bollock, nonetheless feel it incumbent on themselves to guide us through the mystical subtleties of the encyclical. Thanks but no thanks – I learnt to read for myself some time ago.

Like the curate’s egg, everyone found a part of it that was to their satisfaction. The skeptics could pronounce it a damp squib and the godless BBC could lead with el Pappa admonishing us to become earth worshippers. Even the degenerate rag that was once the venerable Manchester Evening News seized on the bits that supported its agenda. Yes, the militant bloody atheistic swine egging on the faithful to obey the pope. How fucked up is that?

Never mind Selwyn, never mind.

A long time ago, a man walked into a house of worship and seeing what it had allowed itself to become, became enraged. He found usurers and money changers busily plying their trade within it, so he attacked them. He went ballistic, he totally lost it. He beat them, he kicked their ass, he overturned their tables and raged as he whipped them out of the temple. It’s the only passage in the New Testament where I actually feel the son of god might really have been a man, if only because he lost his rag completely. That man and his anger, I understand.

The abiding love and the care still within us apostates demands we need someone to start nailing a more human way forward to the door of the cathedral. In the meantime, God has no other hands on this Earth but ours.

©Pointman

Related articles by Pointman:

Pop, pop, and poppety pop.

The big green killing machine: They sit with God in paradise.

Credo.

Click for a list of other articles.

Comments
23 Responses to “The sickening encyclical.”
  1. Selwyn H. says:

    How did you know I was reading this article? Never mind, your Blog is great!

  2. Pointman says:

    Anything to do with religion will always be a controversial topic so I would ask everyone to exercise a modicum of restraint. I’ve already binned a few comments out of the moderation queue. For the benefit of new commenters, the rules around here about comments are quite simple – keep it lucid, keep it polite and if you can’t manage to do either of those, into the bin you go.

    Pointman

    • Old Rooster says:

      I know Nietzsche said that God is dead but I’ve heard he is still alive and well and working—but on much less ambitious projects. Age slows everyone it seems😉‼️

  3. JabbaTheCat says:

    ;o))

  4. climanrecon says:

    I hope you have copyright on this brilliant paragraph:

    The Judeo-Christian tradition has now become the love that no longer dares to speak its name. It’s been mashed and mellowed, homogenised and pasteurised, rinsed and spun dry, fucked, bollocked and buggered over to the point where it’s now fit for nothing more than daytime TV. Atop St. Peter’s rock, now sits a new and terrible Earth goddess. Her name is Gaia and she demands the blood sacrifice of the most vulnerable in our world to preserve her new and improved version of the Garden of Eden, and if you don’t know it, that’s the one without any people in it.

  5. Reblogged this on gottadobetterthanthis and commented:

    Pointman hits the nail on the head.

    I was born and raised Pentecostal, and thank God I’ve grown out of the fundamentalists aspects of it. I’m inherently a Wesleyan, at least as I know him and his work. Though, mostly, I’m committed to truth. Jesus took the title of truth. I follow Jesus, so absolute commitment to truth seems the absolute requirement. Truth above all. Not dogma, truth. Not man’s interpretation of scripture, truth. Not scripture, since one can set the Bible up as an idol. No idolatry, truth. Truth that can be worked over and found to remain true, over and over, and revised as necessary in order to maintain commitment to the highest possible truth.

    I haven’t lost my faith. (Pointy hasn’t either, but he has abandoned all sense of religion. And honestly, I prefer Pointman’s brand of irreligion greatly over a couple like Katherine Hayhoe and Andrew Farley and their “church without religion.” I find Pointman a much better example of Christ and what Christianity is to be.) My faith, though, now rests in the goodness of God and not much else. Like Pointman says, if it is going to get fixed, it is up to us. I suspect if asked, Jesus would have affirmed that God helps those who help themselves, at least when they have internalized Micah 8:6 and Ecclesiastes 12:13, and Jesus’ oft repeated command to love one another.

    As to losing faith in general, I have never actually seen it. Everyone has faith in the ultimate, in reason, in some sense of purpose. Most of all, we must retain our faith in love. The greatest of these, truly, is love. Without love, I am sound and fury, signifying nothing. Some people become cynical, but all retain a sense of the significance of love.

    As to seeing God’s hand in life, well, that is kinda the point. He that comes to God must believe. You cannot figure it until you believe it. It requires the leap first, the leap of faith. I don’t disagree with Pointman regarding his not having that-something for the leap. I’m not the judge, and I don’t know.

    Honest people trust in goodness and truth, even though they know they will sometimes be disappointed, sometimes even fatally so. That is life. There is a poem by Robert Browning Hamilton about how sorrow teaches us, Barry McGuire recorded a version on the To the Bride album. This link is to a poor recording of a live performance. YouTube doesn’t seem to have a better rendering. (Spotify does.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilBRJ70LRXs

    As Pointy points out, “life is a simple but roughty toughty business.”

    As to intellectual reasons, well, it is irrefutable that most of the greatest minds of all of history have retained faith. Of course, majority and consensus just don’t hold water as arguments. Despite being in good company, if the ship is going down, all drown. It is, absolutely, a matter of personal belief. Each must follow his own heart. That is the essence of liberty, freedom.

    Here is my touchstone: on that day, the books will be balanced. The scores will be settled. Justice will be fully satisfied, but so will Mercy. All will stand, one on one, face to face and answer. Each will know. All will affirm justice with mercy was done. Our religious notions, no matter how deep or shallow, just don’t matter in this context. It is where we are going, and we will know that the outcome was just and merciful. Mother Teresa was right to assert that Love is the key. From memory, she said God will not ask what you did, but whether what you did, you did in love. Trust in God. Act in love. I think the key is do you insist on living for self, or do you strive for something more, something as far above self as the heavens are above the earth.

    C.S. Lewis addressed that face-to-face factor:
    “When the time comes to you at which you will be forced at last to utter the speech which has lain at the center of your soul for years, which you have, all that time, idiot-like, been saying over and over, you’ll not talk about the joy of words. I saw well why the gods do not speak to us openly, nor let us answer. Till that word can be dug out of us, why should they hear the babble that we think we mean? How can they meet us face to face till we have faces?” 
    ― C.S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces

    Our road here is short, but it is essential. Make the most of it.

    I’ve found more of my theology in the underpinnings of fiction than in theological works, especially the fiction of C.S. Lewis. I’ll mention Madeleine L’Engle as well.

    Back to Pointy’s article, I just gotta repeat this: “give my fippence worth of opinion on the head honcho in the poncho’s cycling piece.” Beauty.

    I’ve been so busy reading how people are reacting to the encyclical, that I still haven’t read it, but I think it is safe to use the word “anodyne” as a descriptor. Well, good, but sometimes offense is necessary. Even Jesus knew that.

    Pointman knows too, and he spares no punch in his next few lines. I’d like to disagree, but he’s too close to define the miss.

    Regarding responses to the encyclical, spot on!

    To Pointman’s closing comments, I can only say the amen. Amen, brother, amen!

  6. Blackswan says:

    Pointman,

    Gaia is holding an auction. It’s being held on the back of a bandwagon. The glossy catalogues have been printed, and the bids are coming in thick and fast from the pillars of society. Does it matter that the pics have been photo-shopped, the descriptions of the goods are wildly exaggerated and the items will fall to pieces before they’re even shipped?

    Mother Gaia doesn’t care, having all the sensibilities of a lump of rock hurtling through space – while she’s riding high on the mountain of cash that’s being thrown at her.

    You’re regrettably right P – the usurers and money changers are busily plying their trade in the temples again. It’s those bastards’ hides I’d rather be nailing to the cathedral doors.

  7. diogenese2 says:

    Pointman, you are too hard on Francis. Perhaps you feel a betrayal despite being an apostate or even because. Consider the price of becoming Pope, or for that matter, any leader. It is a long hard road contested by a multitude of competitors. Each step requires a compromise which costs a part of your self belief (or if you like, your soul). When the pinnacle is achieved you are so depleted that you find yourself incapable of asserting what little is left of your ideals. In this case the fisherman has set sail on a sea of platitude and his net has yielded only sound bites. But, as a shepherd, he has accepted the vision of unbelievers as truth and subordinated his flock to those who despise his faith and spit upon his credo. In making this judgement he has closed his eyes to the mass of mendacity,deception, outright theft, selfishness and blatant hypocrisy that drives the global warming narrative. He acknowledges (and goes on at length) that the core issue is population and the distribution of diminishing resources and that the world is divided in two camps on this.
    But, in this modern complex world, how little do these figureheads actually achieve. At best they are remembered for their failures and mistakes. How many, though, reflect like Richard II “I live with bread like you, feel want, taste grief, need friends, subjected thus how can you say to me, I am a king?”

    • Blackswan says:

      Diogenese2 – you’re right. Each step to the top of any world leader’s ivory tower required compromise; compromise of every principle of truth and integrity they might have ever held. Not a single one of them is an ‘innocent abroad’.

      In respect of the Pope you acknowledge that … “In making this judgement he has closed his eyes to the mass of mendacity,deception, outright theft, selfishness and blatant hypocrisy that drives the global warming narrative.”

      Any spiritual leader who closes his eyes to such corruption is guilty of the worst kind of betrayal. Any political leader who ignores the very principles of freedom and rule of law upon which his democracy was founded is also guilty of such a betrayal.

      Why should any of them not be held accountable to the very people whose lives they presume to control? This isn’t a discussion about spirituality and the human soul; we’re discussing what religious institutions are about, and always have been … power, politics and money. Always the money, and always other people’s money.

      Politics, religion and CAGW may well be viewed as a 21st century triumvirate, though it’s shaping up to be more of a sweaty ménage à trois in the darkness of ignorance and avarice. It’s up to the rest of us to turn on the lights and break up the party.

  8. Truthseeker says:

    Faith is a powerful thing, but it is an individual thing. You can have faith in whatever you want, the Divine, the Universe, humanity as a whole, family, friends … whatever. No-one gets to tell you what to have faith in or what is right or wrong about it. No, priest, monk, rabbi, mullah or holy person of any designation gets to tell you what you should have faith in or how to express it. No-one.

    Religion is an entirely human construct that was created so that a smaller group of people can have power over a larger group of people. It has no other function and serves no other purpose. It was created to control faith because you cannot allow individuals any power. It must be taken away from them at all oppurtunities.

    Religion is to faith what paedophilia is to raising a child with love. One is a perversion of the other.

    • diogenese2 says:

      Thruthseeker you are entirely wrong. Religion was not “created” it evolved along with human society. Its function was enable groups to remain cohesive and survive in a hostile world in competition with others. Religion was as much subject to selective pressure as any other social device or technique. A power structure that is too prescriptive will be weak, by suppressing creativity, and unstable. What fails becomes extinct, its extinction defining failure in a cruel and unreasoning environment. Faith is humanities way of containing uncertainty. If you like it creates an illusion of control over anxiety and paranoia. You can have faith in whatever you want but your peace comes from your fellows.

      • Truthseeker says:

        diogenese2,

        Faith is individual but can be co-operative. As soon as it becomes a collective, a power structure forms. As soon as you have a power structure, you have dogma, you have inclusions and exclusions. In short you get religion. Religion is about power. Faith may well be a defense mechanism against uncertainty. Religion uses guilt and fear to prey on that uncertainty to build power for itself. Only people make rules and those rules generally tend to the consolidation of power. Politics is the same and religion is politics where the spokespeople are self-appointed. Anyone who does not see this is ignoring the lessions of history.

  9. nofixedaddress says:

    “A long time ago, a man walked into a house of worship and seeing what it had allowed itself to become, became enraged. He found usurers and money changers busily plying their trade within it, so he attacked them. He went ballistic, he totally lost it. He beat them, he kicked their ass, he overturned their tables and raged as he whipped them out of the temple. ”

    AND

    “The abiding love and the care still within us apostates demands we need someone to start nailing a more human way forward to the door of the cathedral. In the meantime, God has no other hands on this Earth but ours.”

    It hurts but “forgive them for what they do.”

  10. Pete Ross says:

    “I have good reason to suspect I’ll need all the help that’s going when I eventually run out of road.”

    Pointman, you may not have faith in God, but God has faith in you. He provides us with the truth-seekers and good men that we need on earth under many forms, faiths or apostasies. Similarly evil men come under various forms, including in priestly garb and dog collars.

    As Padre Pio once said to his good doctor friend, an atheist, who was giving his all in saving the lives of the poor, “You may not believe in Him, but He believes in you.”

    Keep up the good work. Keep chasing the truth.

    And b.t.w., thanks for your thoughts.

  11. Santa's Little Helper says:

    The only way to ‘personal salvation’ is through a personal study of the mind. Everything comes to us through our senses and these sensations are interpreted by the mind. Your mind can be changed therefore it is impermanent. It has been ‘constructed’ by your interactions with the world since the day you were conceived. Therefore it cannot last death, the great reset button. The truth is not out there. Its behind the mind. Free your ‘mind’ and your ass will follow.

  12. If you don’t believe in God and think we all got here accidentally. If your smarter than nothing, then make me a hummingbird.

    • Pointman says:

      Robert, I must confess to being profoundly nonplussed at your comment. Was it about an article here? Perchance this one? If so, you obviously didn’t manage to struggle past the first paragraph or two before rushing to judgement.

      Strangely enough, I did once try to create a hummingbird and with some modicum of success, though I say it myself. I did the breathing of life into it and it dutifully came to life, and I’m not sure to this day which of us was more surprised. Anyway, it flapped its wings, took off and soared around the place.

      I called him Cecil and we became one of those solid Dad and son things. He looked up to me, which was nice, and was such a happy dear soul but just a little bit on the large side. Instead of being hummingbird-sized, certain unchristian souls said he inclined a bit more to the rhamphorhynchoid pterosaur. Okay, fair enough, he was a bit largish, but that was just puppy fat, a phase I assured him he was going to get through.

      Frankly, I think that sort of putdown smacks of sizeism. He was never the prettiest, I’ll grant you that, but he was still my baby. Their cruelty and the cutting remarks of his peers, despite the school’s so-called bullying policy, eventually drove him from his nest atop my house, which was an especially bitter blow after all the money we’d lashed out to get the roof reinforced.

      I like to think he’s still soaring aloft out there somewhere, puissant mais solitaire – I shudda created a Missus for the poor thing. If I ever get my breathing life into things mojo back, I will.

      Perhaps I’m doing you an injustice, you’re just a bit challenged on the attention span or reading skills front. If so, my humblest apologies.

      Pointman.

      BTW. There is actually a subtle distinction between there, their and they’re which even Cecil could explain to you. Just don’t approach him for the explanation when he’s feeling peckish.

  13. John Boles says:

    Faith is not a way of knowing anything. Organized religion is based in fear and intolerance and supernaturalism. If there is a “god” then the only way to “know” this being is to study the hard sciences, physics, chemistry, biology, math, engineering, etc. because holy books are bollocks, written by people, not gods.

  14. nofixedaddress says:

    I only came across this article, and all praise to the author, but some folk that visit thePointman may like to read and reflect the following,

    http://thefederalist.com/2015/06/24/where-did-pope-franciss-extravagant-rant-come-from/

    • Blackswan says:

      Thanks for the link NFA, now bookmarked – a brilliant reality check.

      Resurgent Islam and the spread of Sharia are the church’s enemies, not oil, coal, and gas. None are poorer than those who live, despised, in the path of ISIS. Where, then, is the encyclical calling for the conversion of Islam away from its murderous climate of hatred? Instead, the Vicar of Christ calls all the world—intending primarily the West—to “ecological conversion.”

    • Old Rooster says:

      A somewhat harsh assessment but not fundamentally off the mark either. There is some weird and wonderful theology gaining the ascent in Christianity today and Pope Francis comes from the time and place a lot of it was developed.

  15. Old Rooster says:

    Well over half a century ago, in Chapter Twenty-Six: RETURN OF THE GODDESS of ‘The White Goddess”, Robert Graves essayed to answer, in a rambling almost Joycean prose, his own question—”What, then, is to be the future of religion in the West?”

    It isn’t the briefest of excursions so I will limit myself to quoting only a little of his material that still has relevant, in my mind, insight into much that confronts us today. Therefore I proffer the following passages as food for thought or reflection:

    “We are now at the stage where the common people of Christendom, spurred on by their demagogues, have grown so proud that they are no longer content to be the hands and feet and trunk of the body politic, but demand to be the intellect as well—or, as much intellect as is needed to satisfy their simple appetites. As a result, all but a very few have discarded their religious idealism, Roman Catholics as well as Protestants, and come to the private conclusion that money, though the root of all evil, is the sole practical means of expressing value or of determining social precedence; that science is the only accurate means of describing phenomena; and that a morality of common honesty is not relevant either to love, war, business or politics. Yet they feel guilty about their backsliding, send their children to Sunday School, maintain the Churches, and look with alarm towards the East, where a younger and more fanatic faith threatens.”

    “Though the West is still nominally Christian, we have come to be governed, in practice, by the unholy triumdivate of Pluto god of wealth, Apollo god of science, and Mercury god of thieves. To make matters worse, dissension and jealousy rage openly between these three, with Mercury and Pluto blackguarding each other, while Apollo wields the atomic bomb as if it were a thunderbolt; for since the Age of Reason was heralded by his eighteenth century philosophers, he has seated himself on the vacant throne of Zeus (temporarily indisposed) as Triumdival Regent.”

    “The propaganda services of the West perpetually announce that the only way out of our present troubles is a return to religion, but assume that religion ought not to be defined in any precise sense: that no good can come from publicizing either the contradictions between the main revealed religions and their mutually hostile sects, or the factual mis-statements contained in their doctrines, or the shameful actions which they have all, at one time or another, been used to cloak. What is really being urged is an improvement in national and international ethics, not everyone’s sudden return to the beliefs of his childhood—which, if undertaken with true religious enthusiasm, would obviously lead to a renewal of religious wars: only since belief weakened all round have the priests of rival religions consented to adopt a good-neighbourly policy.”

    “Law which, though backed by force, has grown so hopelessly inflated and complex that not even a trained lawyer can hope to be conversant with more than a single branch of it. Willingness to do right can be inculcated in most people if they are caught early enough, but so few have the capacity to make a proper moral choice between circumstances or actions which at first sight are equally valid, that the main religious problem of the Western world, is briefly, how to exchange demagogracy, disguised as democracy, for a non-hereditary aristocracy whose leaders will be inspired to choose righdy on every occasion, instead of blindly following authoritarian procedure. The Russian Communist Party has confused the issue by presenting itself as such an aristocracy and claiming to be inspired in its choice of policy; but its decisions bear little relation to truth, wisdom or virtue—they are wholly authoritarian and merely concern the eventual fulfilment of Karl Marx’s economic prophecies.”

    “Meanwhile, Science itself is in difficulties. Scientific research has become so complicated and demands such enormous apparatus that only the State or immensely rich patrons can pay for it, which in practice means that a disinterested search for knowledge is cramped by the demand for results that will justify the expense: the scientist must turn showman. Also, a huge body of technical administrators is needed to implement his ideas, and these too rank as scientists; yet, as Professor Lancelot Hogben points out, [The New Authoritarianism, Conway Memorial Lecture, 1949.] (and he is exceptional in being an F.R.S. with sufficient knowledge of history and the humanities to be able to view science objectively) they are no more than ‘fellow-travellers’—careerists, opportunists, and civil-service-minded authoritarians. A non-commercial benevolent institution like the Nuffield Foundation, he says, is as high-handed in its treatment of scientists as a Treasury-controlled Government department. In consequence, pure mathematics is almost the only free field of science left. Moreover, the corpus of scientific knowledge, like that of law, has grown so unwieldy that not only are most scientists ignorant of even the rudiments of more than one specialized study, but they cannot keep up with the publications in their own field, and are forced to take on trust findings which they should properly test by personal experiment. Apollo the Organizer, in fact, seated on Zeus’s throne, is beginning to find his ministers obstructive, his courtiers boring, his regalia tawdry, his quasiroyal responsibilities irksome, and the system of government breaking down from over-organization: he regrets having enlarged the realm to such absurd proportions and given his uncle Pluto and his half-brother Mercury a share in the Regency, yet dares not quarrel with these unreliable wretches for fear of worse to come, or even attempt to re-write the constitution with their help. The Goddess smiles grimly at his predicament.”

    Beyond about this point Graves returns to his rather esoteric theme of the work as a whole concerning the nature of poetry so don’t feel obliged to continue.

  16. John Haddock says:

    Any CEO will tell you that communicating clearly and effectively is absolutely essential in today’s world full of towers of Babel. This is particularly true for CEOs of large organizations where it’s rarely possible to engage people one-on-one. On that score, the encyclical fails miserably. It’s too long and tortuous for ordinary folks to read. They’ll most likely assign it to their “blah, blah, blah” dustbin.
    Even if they do read it, it will likely have little impact. The Catholic laity have, historically, shown a remarkable capacity to hear the words of a Pope and then do something very different. It’s the only way to explain the fact that the birth rate in Italy is now below the replacement rate. Births per 1,000 people living in Italy was 8.4 last year, down from 38.3 150 years ago. Clearly, the environment isn’t the only area in which the Vatican struggles to get its message across.

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