Back to Grumping

“I think not caring for creation is like idolizing it, reducing it to an idol, detaching it from the gift of creation. In this sense, caring for the communal home is already ‘evangelization’.”

Pope Francis (April 3, 2022)*

“Not caring” cannot be “like idolizing” because to “idolize” a thing is to care too much about it.  We idolize when we bow down to some thing that is not worthy of being bowed down to, and this means that idolatry is never a matter of “reducing” and always a matter of aggrandizing.

I endorse “caring for the communal home,” but the pith and soul of Christian evangelization is that the earth not our “home,” but is more like a hostel for pilgrims bound for homes elsewhere.  The “good news” of Christian evangelization is that some of those pilgrims are bound for their home in heaven.  Sweeping the hostel and washing its dishes is perfectly compatible with sharing this good news, but it is in no sense whatsoever the same thing.

Pope Francis is also said to have opined that abuse of nature smacked of “paganism.”  This will bewilder anyone who understands that paganism means nature worship.  Pagan gods and goddesses are idolatrous personifications of objects and forces in nature, so abuse of nature must always be to every pagan an act of impiety.

I am just one more grump on the internet, but this is what a Pope should have said:

“We should care for creation but we must not idolize it—must not fall into the error of thinking that the Creation is as or more important than its Creator.  Caring for the communal home is good, but we should never allow it to eclipse or interfere with the better and more urgent work of ‘evangelization’.”

* * * * *

In related news, my son informs me that yesterday’s Easter homily turned on the idea that, when the resurrected Jesus sat up in the sepulcher, he “must have strapped on his Air Jordans.”  Having anticipated this kind of inanity, I was not present and cannot report any subtleties there may have been in this low-altitude flight of fancy.  Perhaps he priest hoped to capture the imagination of Youth with this hip and totally relevant scene.

He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary,” look at my shoes.

She looked at his feet and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Air Jordans”).

Jesus said, “Do not step on my coke-white jumps, for I have not yet ascended to the Father, as men will one day ascend, ball in hand, to what they will call a hoop.”


*) I am once again indebted to William Briggs for this pontifical pleasantry.  Briggs’ commentary is, as usual, on the mark and to the purpose.

7 thoughts on “Back to Grumping

  1. As for being hip, “everything not eternal is eternally out-of-date.” CS Lewis (of course)
    This pope is a generally well-meaning but woolly-headed individual. My continuing thought is that he still hearkens back to his early days in South America, remembering the earnest young people in the cafes who cared about justice and sided with the leftists solely because they could find some things terribly wrong with the rightists. Well, so can we all. He cannot escape the sense that they were the good guys somehow, because they meant well. Wanting to do good seems to mean everything to him.

    There have been worse popes, but I admit i cannot see forward at all to what God is thinking.

  2. Care for the environment? If only! Flora and fauna preservation, sewage and solid waste disposal, population stability. But the Left doesn’t want actual environmental stewardship. So we get nebulous “climate change” and inefficient, wasteful “green energy” and its related landfills full of batteries, junked windmill blades, solar cells, bird-frying mirrors (wtf!) and no opportunities to financialize “carbon credits” and other schemes.

    • I agree that “environmentalism” is a filthy business. I try to avoid using the word environment because it has such seedy associations. But I’m a great friend to wildlife, clean water, open space, etc.

  3. Is it possible he means not caring for nature is as bad as idolizing it? I can’t see you guys disagreeing with that. You could be judgmental of two different groups at the same time.

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