12 January 2021, The Tablet

Senior Catholic cleric attacks Fratelli Tutti

Senior Catholic cleric attacks Fratelli Tutti

Pope Francis signed his encyclical Fratelli tutti during a visit to Assisi, Italy in October last year.

Mgr Patrick Burke, a former CDF official and current Vicar General of the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh, has written an article criticising Pope Francis’ recent encyclical Fratelli Tutti, calling it “lacking in detailed analysis” and arguing that “Pope Francis’ understanding of economic theory can be a bit shallow and uncritical”.

In the article, written for Faith, the magazine of the Faith Movement, Mgr Burke says that the Pope “implies that he does not see it [Fratelli Tutti] as a magisterial document” and thus “we should not be afraid to take him at his word and respond to it in those terms”.

Referring to Pope Francis’ condemnation in the encyclical of “ridicule, suspicion and relentless criticism”, Mgr Burke says that many “on the receiving end of fierce criticism in recent years (for such sins as ‘clericalism’, for example) might raise an eyebrow, but the point is well made”.

He accuses the Pope of lacking “intellectual rigour and consistency” and takes issue with his use of the term “human dignity”, suggesting that it risks leading to “a humanist utopianism”.

Papal biographer Austen Ivereigh told The Tablet: “The whole article is marked by snark, derision, and cheap point-scoring. Senior diocesan officials should be models of how papal teaching should be received, not how it can be uncharitably rejected.”

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