Argumentum ex umbris verborum

Over at Rorate Coeli, folks seemed to know what they thought of Pope Francis’s new encyclical the moment it came out.  All they had to do was pump the encyclical through a word cloud generator and shazam!  The truth was out:

LaudatosiwordcloudThey add this little note:  “Word Cloud of the Encyclical: Not exactly, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (Jn 3:30)”  The biggest word in the whole cloud is “human”–and notice the little arrow they put in, pointing to the tiny word “Jesus”?  Cute!

Now that we have the master method for determining the catholicity of papal encyclicals, I wonder what would happen if we generated a word cloud for some old classic?  Let’s try Libertas praestantissimum, by Leo XIII:

Leo Libertas

Shoot.  The biggest word is “liberty”–and Jesus doesn’t even appear in the cloud!  And did you notice that “reason” has huge letters, while “faith” is nowhere to be seen?  Now that we know the secret to judging magisterial documents, we may need to re-write the history of doctrine….

[A tip of the hat to Peter Kwasniewski, who both found the Rorate link and created the Libertas word cloud.]

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Author: Dr. Holmes

Dr. Jeremy Holmes teaches Theology at Wyoming Catholic College. He lives in Wyoming with his wife, Jacinta, and their eight children.

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7 years ago

haha – awesome.

Harry Flynn
Harry Flynn
7 years ago

Doesn’t Kwasniewski write for Rorate Caeli?