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Thursday, July 18, 2019

Topsy and Tuptim Read Part 2 Chapter 1 of the Instrumentum Laboris and Plan to Send Pope Francis a Chicken Little Hat.

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The library meeting room has nothing scheduled so Topsy and Tuptim spread out and make themselves comfortable at the conference table. Tuptim disappears and comes back with two steaming cups of coffee.

Tuptim: I volunteer here so I have coffee privileges. The gal who does the coffee actually buys a good brand of Columbian dark roast. You'll like it.

Topsy: (smiling) Even if I do ruin it with cream?

Tuptim: (shrugs, sits, and turns to Part II of the document.) I had to shake my head when I looked at the Table of Contents for Part 2 and saw how long it is -- NINE CHAPTERS! That's more than twice as long as Part 1. And then there's Part 3. This thing isn't a sprint; it's a marathon!


Topsy: Yeah....I was pretty bummed. It's not exactly riveting reading. And all this eco-hysteria gets boring.

Tuptim: Hmm....I guess the "cry of the earth" yells louder than the "voice of the Amazon" people. Not too surprising considering all the focus this pope puts on the environment and the horrors of global warming and climate change. He names anti-life people to the pontifical council for life. He honors abortionists. He gives millions of dollars to a scandal-ridden dermatology hospital. Good grief, he embraces all the leftwing propaganda as if it's church doctrine.

Pope Francis getting in the mood for the synod.
Topsy: (With a scathing look...) Seriously, Tuptim? If he treated it like Church doctrine he'd be accusing the climate change fanatics of being "rigid" in their beliefs instead of jumping on their bandwagon screaming, (shaking her arms), "The sky is falling!"

Tuptim: (Brightening...) Hey, we should send the pope a Chicken Little hat. He never seems to mind putting on sombreros and other crazy head gear. I can crochet a chicken little hat for him.

Topsy: (Laughing...) Great idea! Let's do it. I can make miter for the chicken to wear.

Tuptim: As a matter of fact I was just looking at animal hats on a crochet site. Thought I might make some for grandchildren.  (Pulls it up and shows it to Topsy.) What do you think? I'll just have to make it bigger.

Topsy: Perfect. And I'll make the miter. Think he'll call us on the phone to say thank you? They say he calls ordinary folks all the time.

Tuptim: I doubt if rigid believers like us who happen to like the Traditional Latin Mass are likely to get a personal phone call. But who knows? (Laughing) One guy he phoned thought it was a prank call and hung up on him.

Topsy: (pointing to the document) Shall we get to it? (Sighs...) At the rate we're going the synod will be over before we finish reading this 45,000 word monstrosity. I found a website that lists the word count of the books in the Bible. This document is longer than every single one of them, including the longest, Jeremiah, which is only 33,002. It's more than twice as long as any of the gospels. In fact, it's more than four times longer than the Gospel of Mark!

Tuptim: Well, after all, if you bury people in words, especially words that are undefined and confusing, they aren't likely to read the document. Their eyes will glaze over and they'll start babbling. Makes me think of Obamacare -- you know, pass the bill so you can find out what's in it.

Topsy: Speaking of which -- we need to stop stalling and get down to it. As I was reading, I wondered how much of the document is true. The Vatican doesn't have any expertise in environmental science or geology or weather. And South America is so immersed in liberation theology it makes me wonder whether you can trust anything about the local politics. Obviously, there are greedy and dishonest people who make money and power their gods. But that includes all people, including the indigenous people. We are all in the same boat with fallen human natures. We certainly saw injustice against the native Americans, so I don't dispute the likely reality of evil against the Amazonians, but what's true in the document, what's exaggeration, and what's just plain wrong?

Tuptim: I get what you're saying. I thought about that when I was reading the part criticizing huge developmental projects, like hydroelectric plants. How can anyone not familiar with South America even know what the situation is? Not everyone in the world chooses to live like the Amish or like the indigenous people in the farthest reaches of the rain forest without electricity. In some ways, this document reminds me of the Green New Deal. Let's all go back to living like people in the first century.

Topsy: Is Pope Francis going to preach by example and start using oil lamps or candles at the Vatican instead of electric lights. Will he have his housekeeper wash in a bucket and tell his cook to use an open fire?

Tuptim: Hey, maybe the South American bishops will volunteer to live without air conditioning or inside plumbing? You can't have electricity or a lot of modern conveniences without development.

Topsy: Besides...development is not a moral evil per se any more than fire is. You can use a fire to cook or you can burn down someone's house. Everything needs to be used in a moral way to advance the true, the good, and the beautiful. God told Adam to be fruitful and multiply and subdue the earth. We need to be good stewards, but what that means is open to interpretation. And all this emphasis on "integral ecology" makes man sound like he is on the same level as the plants and animals.

Tuptim: A lot of people in the Green Movement believe exactly that...with all their talk about "specie-ism".  Chapter 37 and 38 sure sound like they were written by PETA with input from Pete Singer who thinks baby pigs are more valuable than human babies.

Topsy: He's crazy. He doesn't think man is superior to the animals and is all in for killing babies for population control among other reasons.

Tuptim: Yeah. One of his comments is that, “The notion that human life is sacred just because it is human life is medieval.” Ironically, he also said, “We have to speak up on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves.” He was talking about chickens and pigs though not babies being aborted. He's all in favor of killing off humans to save the trees.  Is that the "integral ecology" we're talking about?

Topsy: Who knows? Here's what the doc says:
47. Integral ecology is based on the recognition of being-in-relationships as a fundamental human category. This means that we develop as human beings on the basis of our relationships with ourselves, with others, with society in general, with nature/ environment, and with God. This integral connectivity was regularly emphasized during the consultations with the communities of the Amazon.
Explain to me what kind of a "relationship" I can have with a tree or a rock or society in general? This is one more nonsense paragraph. (Continues reading...):
48. The Encyclical Laudato Si' (nn. 137-142) introduces this relational paradigm of integral ecology as the fundamental articulation of the bonds that make true human development possible. Human beings are part of the ecosystems that facilitate the relationships that give life to our planet; therefore the care of these ecosystems is essential. And it is fundamental both for promoting the dignity of the human person and the common good of society, and for environmental care.
Tuptim: I thought it was the family that was the "fundamental articulation of the bonds that make true human development possible." When I was a kid we had a civics book that showed the nuclear family as the basic building block of the community. Now, according to this crazy synod, it's our relationship with the ecosystem and the planet. Give me a break!

Topsy: Well, you're just medieval, Tuptim. Get with the times. The family has been redefined and who are you to say what it is? It's just a community of luv. And you are such a Neanderthal, I bet you think it's faith in God that promotes the "dignity of the human person." How medieval!

Tuptim: There's nothing new about Singer's ideas. He's cloning some of the tyrants who came before him. They illustrate how "integral ecology" and equalizing man with his environment leads to the death camps. Hitler was a vivisectionist. Animals were worth more than the people he labeled subhuman. This kind of talk leads straight to the gulags and the death camps!

Topsy: Can you explain paragraph 50 to me? (Reading...):
Is the planet a person?
50. However, in order to promote integral ecology in the daily life of the Amazon, it is also necessary to understand the notion of intergenerational communication and justice, which includes the transmission of ancestral experience, cosmologies, spiritualities and theologies of the indigenous peoples in terms of care for our common home.[21] “In the struggle we must trust in God’s power, because creation is of God, because God continues his work. The struggle of our ancestors to fight for these rivers, for our territories, to fight for a better world for our children.”[22]
Tuptim: I have no idea! I can see talking about history, because, as Ecclesiastes says, "There's nothing new under the sun." We can save ourselves a lot of grief by not repeating the mistakes of the past. For example, socialism has been tried over and over again and always leads to poverty, persecution, and tyranny. But I still haven't figured out what "integral ecology" is. And the whole idea of the planet as a person creeps me out. The quote about Pope Francis calling the Amazon and the Congo the "lungs of the planet" suggests that the planet is equivalent to a person. If you take that far enough, and many people do, then if someone is endangering the planet, attacking that person becomes a moral good doesn't it?

Topsy: I hadn't thought of that, but I think you're right. Population control becomes a positive good to protect the planet-person. what do you think of this quote from paragraph 55?
“This [the Genesis account of creation] implies a relationship of mutual responsibility between human beings and nature” (LS 67) which entails acknowledging the proper limit of creatureliness and therefore an attitude of humility since we are not outright owners (Gn 3:3).
Tuptim: There's a lot of new age ideas in the document if you ask me. How can there be mutual responsibility "between human beings and nature?" Nature can't be held accountable. Nature can't think. This reminds me of the old commercial for margarine where Mother Nature tastes the margarine, proclaims it's butter, then gets angry when she's corrected and says, "It's not nice to fool Mother Nature" with booming thunder in the background. It's just not true. Nature does what God ordained it to do. We can't "dialogue" with nature. It's a dangerous notion to personify the planet. We are stewards and caretakers, and that does involve responsibility.

Is this how to be in relationship with the planet?
Topsy: But we are NOT in relationship with the trees and rocks and bugs. The closest we come to a relationship with nature is with the higher order of animals. I loved my dog, a really smart border collie. When we had to put her to sleep I cried. And the vet made it worse because he commented that we should be able to do that with people who are suffering. All I could do was respond that animals can't understand suffering and its value, but people can. He's a Seventh Day Adventist. Unfortunately, his attitude is growing with the push for assisted suicide and even deliberate euthanasia.

Tuptim: Yeah, it's scary. And the suggestions that end this chapter totally ignore any spiritual approach. It's all human action -- training programs and denunciations of the "extractavists," whatever that means. Demonizing coal miners and lumber companies plays right in to the hands of environmental extremists! This would have been a perfect place to bring in a discussion of the monastic tradition of care for their homes. There's more wisdom in the Carthusian silence and work than in all the noise of this idiotic document. It sure doesn't bode well for the upcoming synod.

Topsy: (Sighing...) Well, really. It's not about caring for the Amazon or the planet, is it? It's about Francis and his cronies using another synod to advance a "new" Catholic Church that will hardly be recognizable if they get what they want. This synod is tilling the ground for married priests, female deacons, and women's ordination. Let's go home via St. John's and spend an hour at adoration.

Tuptim: Good idea. I can use the silence to restore my peace. Reading this document gets me so agitated!

To be continued...

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