Friday, October 19, 2007

Populorum Progressio, and more fluff from the hierarchy

Irish prelate urges idealism in politics

New York, Oct. 18, 2007 ( - Pope Paul VI would support the work of the UN, but would also press for reform of the international body, if he were alive today. That was the message brought to the UN headquarters in New York by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, Ireland.

In his talk at a UN conference marking the 40th anniversary of Pope Paul's encyclical, Populorum Progressio, the Irish archbishop said that the papal document was aimed at "establishing a new way of looking at the relationship between the Church and the world." "Were Pope Paul here with us today he would certainly be saying thanks to all those who have given themselves in the service of humanity within the UN system," Archbishop Martin said. "He would surely also certainly be making remarks on the slow progress of U.N. reform."

The archbishop called for a "new revival" in political life, to be led by "a new generation of politicians inspired by ideals, but also capable of taking the risks involved in transmitting those ideals into the possible."

This is a news story? It says nothing. The grand-sounding words of archbishop Martin likewise say nothing. What, precisely, is the political “idealism” that the archbishop is urging? After all, your grace, idealism is not wanting even among the socialists, but we don’t want to encourage them now, do we? Furthermore, what does your grace mean by “new revival” in political life? What are the “ideals” to which your grace refers? They can be anything the archbishop’s hearers/readers want them to be. Melancholicus finds this deplorable. In post-conciliar times the ecclesia docens has perfected to a fine art the practice of using as lofty and elevated a discourse as possible while not actually teaching anything. This reduction of the Church’s teaching role to vacuous soundbites devoid of actual content is one of the most deplorable features of the malaise that grips the conciliar church, and which distinguishes the latter from the Catholic Church. Solid, precise teaching is a characteristic of the Catholic religion. Vague and grandiose utterances devoid of meaning are a characteristic of the new religion.

Populorum Progressio is one of the more ‘difficult’ papal encyclicals of modern times, and it is best to let it die a quiet death than to resurrect it now. We would do much better to base Catholic political theory instead on Quas Primas, but where can be found today the prelates who have the courage to address the impious United Nations with the teaching of that magisterial document?

The full text of archbishop Martin’s address to the UN can be read here.

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