Saturday, August 14, 2021

Archfather Comments on Current Societal Situation – New Encyclical

By A. DiNardo

FIRENZE-NUOVA ROMA 14 August 2021 (NRom)

His Holiness and Eminence the Archfather released a new encyclical addressing different pressing issues challenging society now. These include social infrastructure, healthcare, government and institutions, and more. The Holy Father wrote that so many people have squared off against each other in harmful ways during the present debates. He called for everyone to display kindness and empathy during these difficult times and urged cautious restraint in policy decisions. His Holiness also wrote that religion and authentic science are not incompatible. He also expressed significant concern that apparent agendas may be clouding judgment and causing more suffering and confusion. The encyclical ended with an assertion that society must look to God to know what is right. The full text of the encyclical by the Holy Father is given below.u


Encyclical “The Present Societal Conditions”
Within the Octave of Saint Lawrence the Deacon and Martyr

Carissimi, the present societal conditions of the pandemic have exposed some of the darkest aspects of human nature. Modern society in its hubris thinks itself to have progressed so much from earlier eras in world history, yet again and again whenever humanity thinks thusly, it proves itself to be no different and no better. While technology and various aspects of life may change, the hearts of man remain constant, stubbornly refusing to love others in the example of Christ.

During this pandemic we have seen an intense breakdown in social infrastructure; we have seen winners and losers be chosen by government decree; we have seen many people with other diseases not receive proper treatment because society acts as if the current pandemic’s disease is the only one that matters; and we have seen the rights of countless individuals and even the sovereignty and rights of Holy Mother the Church trampled underfoot.

Indeed, we have seen countless acts of man’s inhumanity to man, as people choose sides in the various pandemic-related debates and are often willing not only simply not to listen to those on the other side, but to do harm of various types to those who do not think the same. That harm has taken the form of verbal abuse, employment-related damage, financial damage, and even physical assault. Truly society shows itself to have the same dreadful base instincts that it pretends it does not have but has always had.

Also during this pandemic we have seen the darkness of those who seek to control others, even on a large scale. There are those of what is arguably an oligarchy – major businesses and banks that exercise a tremendous amount of direct or indirect political influence – who have profited and are continuing to profit immensely from the conditions imposed by governments during the pandemic. The head of one such company is apparently now poised to become the world’s first personal trillionaire – an amount of money that no individual needs. We see open calls for what has been termed the “great reset,” a complete reordering of society dictated by the virus, not by the doctrine of faith that underlies society. The great technology that has improved so many aspects of life and has even multiplied the ability of Holy Mother the Church to exercise Her earthly ministry ironically has not only enabled fear and panic to spread at a lightning pace over a vast geographical area, but also enabled control mechanisms to be employed much more quickly and efficiently on a wide scale.

The attempt to exercise such control, no matter the stated reason, is nothing more than the arrogance of mankind seeking to play God. Mankind, having turned its back on its Creator, seeks to control that which cannot be controlled. Ultimately such attempts must fail in time, but that does not prevent them from doing massive amounts of harm to others and to society in the process.

Health and even public health must be balanced against other important considerations. Fear and panic must not govern. Groupthink must not drive decision-making, for right is right, even if no one is right, and wrong is wrong, even if everyone is wrong. Government leaders and even individuals must not put on blinders and focus only on one issue. Issues must not be solved with a short-term mentality. Faith must be put in God and in God alone. Mankind in its arrogance must not think itself to be equal to God and attempt to control, for it will fall in the process.

At the centre of the debate now is the widespread presence of vaccine mandates in many countries around the world – a trend that no doubt will grow. In Italy, for example, the so-called Green Pass, a document that proves one has been vaccinated against COVID-19, has been mandated to go to a growing list of public places. This has turned many business owners effectively into policeman, which is problematic. It also restricts those who have not been vaccinated from a normal life – apparently potentially even from going to the grocery store. It has even been said that those who are unvaccinated should remain effectively under house arrest. Many churches in Italy are banning those who are unvaccinated, even going so far as to say they are unwelcome. In fact, Our Roman brother the Bishop of Rome is imposed the same restriction on the Vatican City-State, including the Basilica of St. Peter, the very church of the Prince of the Apostles of whom in humility We are temporal successor. Truly We cannot imagine St. Peter or any of our other most holy predecessors making such an abhorrent decision. Certainly We expect they would have been prudent, but not slam shut the doors of the church to any group of people, for the church is for everyone – especially those who are suffering and who are ill. We Ourselves have blessed the sick and the suffering in the Basilica of St. Peter and in St. Peter’s Square within Our city of Rome. That Our brother the Bishop of Rome would impose such a policy is unthinkable to Us. That any of Our brother priests would impose such a policy is likewise unthinkable to Us.

These are not the only such restrictions, though. In some places like the United States, where government mandates, particularly at a federal level, are difficult or impossible, mandates are still going into effect. Rather than being imposed by government, they are imposed by private institutions and employers. In some cases, the choice given is either to get the vaccine or not to work in a particular company, which can easily have career and financial implications. In other cases, employment without the vaccine may still be continued, but there are significant penalties and restrictions imposed.

Such restrictions do not allow for choice of conscience, either, for a significant penalty placed upon a given preferred choice is not in fact real and free choice. Such restrictions and mandates also failed to take into account the many other factors beyond the current issue of the pandemic.

These mandates also bring to the forefront the aforementioned issue of widespread control in the arrogance of mankind. Humanity with all of its technology and all of its scientific advancement has widely abandoned God and sought to replace religion with a vapid humanistic form of scientific philosophy to guide life. This is both sad and ironic since religion and science are not incompatible. Indeed, authentic science is nothing more than an explanation in human language of God’s universe and the way He created it to function. That science progresses and builds on prior knowledge, even sometimes finding that earlier ideas were incorrect, is a result of the vastness of the mind of God, which humanity is incapable of knowing in its entirety. That science is a complex process over time, and new knowledge may demonstrate that old ideas and scientific thought were incorrect should give any rational person pause when serious decisions are made by government and industry that can have wide-reaching, dramatic consequences based on rapidly changing data and science. That a variety of political and other agendas are intertwined with scientific research should give further pause. Many times it is better to exercise prudent and cautious restraint.

Now, We must reiterate that We in general are in favour of vaccines and encourage those who wish to take them to do so, with proper consultation with their own physicians. Yet, in charity we must all be kind and respect those who have hesitancy to take any given vaccine or who refuse them all together – even if we vehemently disagree with the reasons. There are in fact, however, many valid reasons for which some people choose not to take a given vaccine. For example, no Catholic may rightly take a vaccine that is made directly with aborted fetal tissue under any circumstances. We have already spoken on this given Our direction on the matter, including which of the present vaccines are morally acceptable. Others may have medical reasons by which they may not take a vaccine. Yet in the present zeal to vaccinate one and all, exceptions are being challenged – even those who object on religious grounds. Again, a desired choice that comes with a negative consequence is not a free choice at all.

It seems that society is using a stick and honey approach, which should give rational people of faith even more pause. First came the encouragement campaigns, with even some local governments paying people to get vaccines. Then there were certain discretionary recreational activities that some cases required vaccines. Educational campaigns were launched, and various public figures used their popularity to promote getting the vaccine. That was the so-called honey – which failed to produce the results that government perhaps the population wanted. Now has come the stick. Around the world those who fail to comply, even if they have what they believe is a valid reason for not wanting to get the vaccine, suffer often serious consequences. That should give yet again pause to any rational person of faith.

We must therefore insist and encourage caution and rational restraint in mandates, whether they are for vaccines in the present pandemic or for anything else determined by anyone to be, in their opinion, in the best interests of society. One need only look to history to know where this can lead and where it has led. Even if the present vaccine campaign were to be itself positive or at least benign in impact, the precedent it sets to force anything on anyone, even if it goes against their conscience or own determination about what is best for them, sets a dangerous precedent that is quite concerning. It is not that long ago that forced sterilization in the United States was a common practice, for example. That, too, was deemed to be in the best interest of society. And, any society that allows the wholesale murder of millions of unborn children cannot claim that it is making policies in the best interests of society, of health, and of life.

Once again, We commend and applaud all of Our brother clerics and all healthcare workers and others who seek to improve and save life on earth, for the right to life is the most fundamental of all rights – the right upon which all other rights are necessarily dependent. Yet society must not seek to play God, arrogantly attempting to control. Matters of health must be balanced against other factors. We must be skeptical of any policy that seeks, directly or indirectly, to force people to violate their conscience, no matter the real or stated good intentions of that policy. What is good is not defined by government or by popular vote or by an angry mob. It is God and God alone that determines what is good. We look to science to know what to do, it will be to no avail if we do not simultaneously look to God to know what is right.