Several months ago I wrote two posts on Pope Francis and his pending climate change encyclical (see here and here). I had every expectation then, which is receiving confirmation in the media now, that the document would arouse a significant amount of controversy. It’s hard to miss the fact that the same conservative Catholic excuses for ignoring the Pope’s environmental teaching parallel those of who dissent from papal instruction on political economy. Smokescreen statements, such as the Pope should stick to religion and stay out of science, are intended to cover what has become commonplace for most American Catholics: frequent outings to the cafeteria. For years conservatives have heaped scorn upon a certain class of their coreligionists who pay no mind to Humanae Vitae all the while they pay no mind to Rerum Novarum. Some will no doubt defend this discrepancy by claiming the two encyclicals do not carry equal magisterial authority. Fine. But what about the cumulative weight of the Catholic Church’s entire body of social teaching? How lightly can that be passed by? Given the range of social issues Laudato Sii is expected to address, surely it will have to be read (or ignored) in continuity with the entire social-magisterium deposit, yes?