Simcha Fisher, author of The Sinner’s Guide to Natural Family Planning writes for several publications and blogs daily at Aleteia. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and ten children. Without supernatural aid, she would hardly be a human being.
Laudato Si is here, and not a moment too soon. Any day now, all the pundits and politicians and armchair theologians were going to start feeling ashamed for going so berserk over an encyclical that hadn't been released yet. Any day, I'm sure of it!.
Now that it's here, should you read it? It is kind of long, and there aren't any pictures or gifs to break it up. Here's a short quiz to help you determine whether or not you should invest the time and effort. The more points you get, the more urgent it is that you read the encyclical.
Are you a faithful Catholic who feels drawn toward stewardship of the natural world, and who wishes the Church would give us some guidance about how to form our consciences about environmental issues? Give yourself ten points.
Are you fed up with the Church's refusal to acknowledge that how we treat the natural world is a moral issue? Give yourself thirty points.
Are you fed up with this liberal Pope's lopsided emphasis on environmental issues, at the expense of really important issues like the defense of the elderly and the unborn, and the centrality of the human family? Give yourself fifty points.
Are you frustrated that Francis sidesteps scripture in his magisterial writings? Give yourself a thousand points and go stand in a corner.
Are you, like Joe Biden, thrilled that we finally got "a good one" in this Pope -- that is, one who takes environmental concerns seriously? Give yourself five points, because you're clearly not much of a thinker, and we wouldn't want to tax your poor pea brain (but if you can find someone who will read to you, maybe check out the ecological stylings of that notorious Patchouli Pope, Benedict "Lefty" XVI)
Do you have a big family, and are you terrified that the Pope is going to say something that makes it even easier for everyone (Catholic and non-Catholic) to shame you for your irresponsible breeding? Give yourself fifty points and go have a glass of wine or three.
Do you think the Pope should stick to spiritual matters and leave science to the scientists? Give yourself fifty points and a swift kick in the tuchus. And lose the sweater vest.
Are you a huge fan of the Vatican website's gorgeous parchment background that forced you into a state of deep contemplative prayer because your eyes hurt too bad to keep reading? Subtract fifty points. (They kept the parchment, but the text itself now has a tidy white background.) (Of course you can buy the text in book form from Ignatius.)
Are you willing to admit that you're just plain lazy, but would like to have a general idea of what is in the document and what its context is in the rest of Catholic thought? That's totally legit. You don't have to be a scholar to be a good Catholic. Subtract all the points. But check out Tom McDonald's Twitter page, where he's live tweeting his honest and educated response as he reads.
Do you intend to tell anyone else what is in the encyclical, or to analyze it in any way? Out of sheer honesty, give yourself four billion points. Out of sheer honesty.
Now add up all your points.
How many did you get?