Center for Strategic Communication

[ by Charles Cameron — two guest posts posted, a forthcoming book chapter written, and more to come ]

I very much enjoy 3 Quarks Daily, it’s my aggregator of choice, and so I was particularly delighted and honored when my friend Bill Benzon of New Savanna invited me to guest blog on his monthly 3QD spot today, with the very recent papal encyclical about climate change as my topic: Pontifex as Bridge Builder: the Encyclical Laudato Si’

Here’s a sample:

I propose that in his recent encyclical Laudato Si’, Pope Francis is exercising his function as Supreme Pontiff, or @pontifex as he calls himself on Twitter – a pontifex being literally a bridge builder. It is my contention that in his encyclical he bridges a number of divides, between Catholic and Orthodox, sacramental and social, liberal and conservative, religious and scientific, even Christian and Muslim, traditional and of the fast advancing moment, in a manner which will impact our world in ways yet unforeseen.

It is my contention, also, that his pontificate provides the third step in a momentous journey.

The first step, as I see it, was taken by Christ himself in the Beatitudes – blessed are the poor in spirit, they that mourn, the meek, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers – and in his doctrine of forgiveness, not once only but a myriad of times. The second was taken by Francis of Assisi, in his Canticle of Creatures – praised be you, my Lord, with all your creatures, especially Sir Brother Sun, through Sister Moon and the stars, praised be You, my Lord, through our Sister Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us.. blessed those who endure in peace.. – and in his crossing the front lines of war during the crusades to greet in peace the Sultan Malik Al-Kamil in Damietta, Egypt. And in taking the name Francis, in washing and kissing on Maundy Thursday the feet of both male and female, Christian and Muslim juvenile offenders in prison, and in issuing this encyclical, I would suggest Pope Francis, born Jorge Mario Bergoglio, is taking the third step.

The line, the transmission, is of sheer humility. It begins with the Founder of the line, Christ himself, lapses, which all high inspirations must as routine replaces charisma, only to emerge brilliantly a millennium later in the saintly maverick, Francis, lapses again though still fermenting in the imagination of church and humankind, and now at last shows itself once more, in that most unexpected of places: in the heart of the bureaucracy, at the head of the hierarchy, atop the curia, simple, idealistic, practical – a pontifex building bridges.

And in all this, there is lyricism.

It is characteristic of St Francis that he is lyrical …

Read the rest here.

As noted in that piece, I’d also addressed the encyclical in a guest blog on LapidoMedia, where I’m temporarily the web-editor — Poetry, controversy and praise in Pope Francis’ Encyclical. There’s quite a bit of overlap between the two posts, but they are also complementary.


Speaking of complementarity, I just completed a 6,000 word essay for a forthcoming volume edited by Robert Bunker, to which Mark “Zenpundit” Safranski has also contributed a chapter. My piece is titled The Dark Sacred — watch this space!

And Dr Edwin Bakker, whose fine Coursera course on Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism I have been a CT for, held a Google Hangout today, in part to celebrate his new book. I managed to sneak in or a few minutes despite my computer woes, and if interested, you can find us here: