Thanks to grumpyoldfart’s comment on Likely to enhance his progressive reputation I checked out Frankie the pope’s encyclical Lumen fidei aka the light of faith. One does wonder why they bother. They can’t color outside the lines, ever, so why not just re-issue the old encyclicals?
But let’s take a look at it anyway, since it’s there.
Faith is light; Jesus brought light; yadda yadda.
But then modernity. People said it’s just a fake light. Faith was associated with darkness.
Faith was thus understood either as a leap in the dark, to be taken in the absence of light, driven by blind emotion, or as a subjective light, capable perhaps of warming the heart and bringing personal consolation, but not something which could be proposed to others as an objective and shared light which points the way. Slowly but surely, however, it would become evident that the light of autonomous reason is not enough to illumine the future; ultimately the future remains shadowy and fraught with fear of the unknown.
Therefore, the thing to do is decide that you do know all about the future after all, and what you know just happens to be consoling and cheerful. Yay.
There is an urgent need, then, to see once again that faith is a light, for once the flame of faith dies out, all other lights begin to dim. The light of faith is unique, since it is capable of illuminating every aspect of human existence. A light this powerful cannot come from ourselves but from a more primordial source: in a word, it must come from God.
It must? Why must it? Why couldn’t it instead come from human imaginations, which can simply decide they have a light that is capable of illuminating every aspect of human existence.
Also, why does Frankie the pope even think that? If that light is capable of illuminating every aspect of human existence then why did the church or its employees or both do such shitty things over the centuries? Why is the church still doing shitty things? Why isn’t it obvious that the light is in fact just one more human thing, which has all the limitations that humans do have? It’s not transcendent or limitless, it’s the opposite of that, and that’s why it didn’t notice all those children imprisoned in Irish industrial schools and being told their parents were dead when they weren’t.
He said a lot more after that, but with such a bad start, I don’t see any need to read all of it.