Francis is not the Left's Pope
Apart from the recent misquote regarding Mahmoud Abbas (Pope Francis encouraged Abbas to “become an angel of mercy;” he did not say that Abbas ‘is an angel of mercy’), the silence from the Left has been pretty deafening in regard to Pope Francis lately. Perhaps the Left has finally realized that Pope Francis is not the progressive they hoped he was, and that apart from encouraging dialogue he is not going to be changing Catholic Doctrine after all.
On March 7 Breitbart noted the shift in the Left’s attitude with an article by Thomas Williams titled, “New York Times Ends Two-Year Love Affair with Pope Francis.” Williams was commenting on an article in the NY Times by Elisabetta Povoledo criticizing the Vatican for not doing more to put women in positions of authority in the Church -- an expectation that the Left itself had actually created.
In fact everything Pope Francis has said regarding marriage, family, divorce, contraception, homosexuality, women’s ordination -- and economics -- has been perfectly in line with traditional Catholic teaching. And while he is all for helping the poor and is against greed and crony capitalism, he does not support liberation theology, and he is not a socialist or a communist. All that remains for the Left to hope for is that his coming encyclical on the environment, which is due out June 18, supports manmade global warming theory. But they may be disappointed here too as well.
One clue to what he may say is in a speech he delivered to the European Parliament in November of last year:
Our earth needs constant concern and attention. Each of us has a personal responsibility to care for creation, this precious gift which God has entrusted to us. This means, on the one hand, that nature is at our disposal, to enjoy and use properly. Yet it also means that we are not its masters. Stewards, but not masters. We need to love and respect nature, but “instead we are often guided by the pride of dominating, possessing, manipulating, exploiting; we do not ‘preserve’ the earth, we do not respect it, we do not consider it as a freely-given gift to look after”. Respect for the environment, however, means more than not destroying it; it also means using it for good purposes. I am thinking above all of the agricultural sector, which provides sustenance and nourishment to our human family. It is intolerable that millions of people around the world are dying of hunger while tons of food are discarded each day from our tables. Respect for nature also calls for recognizing that man himself is a fundamental part of it. Along with an environmental ecology, there is also need of that human ecology which consists in respect for the person, which I have wanted to emphasize in addressing you today.
For those not in the know, this has been the Catholic Church’s position on the environment for quite some time. Popes St. John Paul II, Benedict, and Paul VI, all said pretty much the same thing. There’s really nothing new here at all.
But even though the Left has now written him off, many conservative pundits still seem to have problems with Francis, despite his traditional Catholic positions on just about every issue. Most of this conservative unease stems from the remark Francis’ made in his first papal exhortation Evangeli Gaudium:
“...some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.”
Because of this single statement he was branded a socialist or communist, even though he was only restating what his predecessors have also said -- any economic system needs to place people first since the economy exists to serve mankind; man does not exist to serve the economy.
Since it is apparent that some conservatives still have an ‘uneasy’ feeling about Francis, the Left is now changing its tactics. Even though it’s obvious to all except the dull-witted that Francis and is anything but a progressive, the Left is now trying to keep the fiction going, doing whatever it can to progressiveize him. A perfect example of this is a recent article in Politico -- “Pope's pronouncements making trouble for GOP Catholics” -- wherein author Ben Schreckinger states:
“Catholic Republicans are developing a pope problem. Earlier this month, Francis recognized Palestinian statehood. This summer, he’s going to issue an encyclical condemning environmental degradation. And in September, just as the GOP primary race heats up, Francis will travel to Washington to address Congress on climate change.
“Francis may be popular with the general public, but key Republican primary constituencies -- hawks, climate skeptics and religious conservatives, including some Catholics, are wary of the pope’s progressivism.”
Progressivism? What progressivism? The Pope is a traditional Catholic. Since the MSM has not been covering much of what Pope Francis has been saying lately, here is what many people may have missed.
At a May 20 general audience he told those present that parents are responsible for educating their children; that they must take back their role from the “so-called ‘experts’ ...[who] have assumed the role of parents in even the most intimate aspects of education.” He also stated some months ago that it is okay for parents to spank unruly and misbehaving children.
In April Pope Francis strongly criticized “gender theory” saying it “aims to erase sexual difference because it no longer knows how to confront it.”
In a speech in March to the diplomatic corps in Manila, he spoke out against same-sex marriage saying that traditional families are under attack “thanks to the spread of an individualistic and self-centered culture which severs human bonds and leads to a dramatic fall in birth rates, as well as legislation which benefits various forms of cohabitation rather than adequately supporting the family for the welfare of society as a whole.”
Regarding economics, in a January interview in the Italian journal La Stampa, Francis -- yet again -- clarified his views on capitalism, saying, “When money, instead of man, is at the center of the system, when money becomes an idol, men and women are reduced to simple instruments of a social and economic system.” He added that “We need ethics in the economy, and we also need ethics in politics.”
In a speech in November, 2014 to the association of Italian Catholic physicians, he condemned abortion and euthanasia as sins against God the Creator.
And shortly after being elected, Pope Francis, lest we forget, condemned secularism and moral relativism, reasserting that moral truth is rooted in human nature. He has also called on the world governments to stop the slaughter of Christians in the Mideast and to halt to the advancement of the radical Islamist extremists.
What is somewhat surprising, however, is that many AT readers seemingly have bought into the drivel the left has spewed regarding Pope Francis, as evidenced by the comments on Michael Curtis’ May 24 AT article “Pope Francis and the Palestinians”:
“The Muslims already know this Socialist Pope is weak and easily manipulated...”
“This man's intentions are completely up for questioning! He seems to be bent on destroying the Catholic Church from within... “
“This pope is an embarrassment and should be removed now.”
“This pope is concerned with creating a utopia on Earth, which as Jesus reminded his apostles can never exist. All true Christians (and I doubt this pope is one) understand quite well that their home is not here, it's the eternal life with God in the hereafter which matters. This pope rarely uses that language! He is nothing less than a Marxist in pope's vestments who was planted in the church to destroy what little moral authority remained.”
“Always excuses for this communist pope”
“This pope, like America's secular Jews, has shamelessly suborned his faith to his liberalism.”
Only two conclusions can be drawn from statements like these: 1) Some AT readers are getting their information on the Catholic Church and Pope Francis from all the wrong sources; 2) Anti-Catholicism is still alive and well in the U.S. Apparently, to paraphrase Ronald Reagan, there are even Conservatives who also know much that isn’t so.