The Hill really wants a liberal pope

The Hill's Kevin Cirilli reported on Tuesday that "Pope Francis is increasingly driving a wedge between the GOP and the Catholic Church" – but has "sparked new enthusiasm around the world for the church [sic]."  It appears that only retrograde American conservatives can't get on board with the unprecedentedly popular pontiff, who, Cirilli details, has a 78% favorability rating among Americans and a 93% rating among American Catholics.

Maybe The Hill has a dream in which only 23% of Americans, and only 7% of American Catholics, are Republicans.  And where the Catholic Church mirrors the American political divide, and only Democrat popes can "spark enthusiasm" while Republican ones usher in decline.

The real world is a little different.  While there will always be a robust debate in the Catholic Church between traditional-leaning Catholics and progressive-leaning ones, the Church on the whole tends to defy the polarized liberal-conservative spectrum.

The Hill, in trying to cast Pope Francis as a progressive savior, ignores his hard-line stance against abortion – "horrific," "compounds the grief of many women," causes "deep physical and spiritual wounds after succumbing to the pressures of a secular culture which devalues God's gift of sexuality and the right to life of the unborn."  Francis has also spoken out against the redefinition of marriage (often referred to by the oxymoron "gay marriage"): "At stake is the total rejection of God's law engraved in our hearts," he said in 2010, in fighting a marriage-redefining bill in his homeland of Argentina.  GLAAD's stooge he is not.

But Cirilli has to ignore all this, because his narrative requires a progressive savior pope railing against an entrenched, sclerotic, and monolithic Catholic Church.  He quotes University of Dayton theology chair Vincent J. Miller: "He's modeling the church as a place for open disagreement[.]"  One wonders if Cirilli and Miller have ever heard of an ecumenical council (Vatican II, at least!), or of Saint Nicholas punching the heretic Arius in the face.  The Church has been a place for open disagreement since her inception.

At its foundation, Cirilli's story says more about The Hill – and the embarrassing ignorance that permeates liberal media outlets when it comes to Catholicism – than it does about the Church.  Pope Francis's take on anthropogenic global warming or economics or ecumenism certainly does make some conservatives uncomfortable, but to highlight that without mentioning how he discomfits liberals ("anti-gay," "anti-choice," etc.) is disingenuous.  What liberals seem to be incapable of understanding, even though this writer spelled it out at Francis's election, is that popes may be good or bad, but they are not liberal or conservative.  They are Catholic.  The same goes for the Church, a 2,000-year-old institution that can't be blamed for not fitting neatly into the political narrative of a Washington insiders' publication.

(h/t: Dustin Siggins)

Drew Belsky is American Thinker's deputy editor.  Contact him at drew@americanthinker.com, and follow him on Twitter @DJB627.

The Hill's Kevin Cirilli reported on Tuesday that "Pope Francis is increasingly driving a wedge between the GOP and the Catholic Church" – but has "sparked new enthusiasm around the world for the church [sic]."  It appears that only retrograde American conservatives can't get on board with the unprecedentedly popular pontiff, who, Cirilli details, has a 78% favorability rating among Americans and a 93% rating among American Catholics.

Maybe The Hill has a dream in which only 23% of Americans, and only 7% of American Catholics, are Republicans.  And where the Catholic Church mirrors the American political divide, and only Democrat popes can "spark enthusiasm" while Republican ones usher in decline.

The real world is a little different.  While there will always be a robust debate in the Catholic Church between traditional-leaning Catholics and progressive-leaning ones, the Church on the whole tends to defy the polarized liberal-conservative spectrum.

The Hill, in trying to cast Pope Francis as a progressive savior, ignores his hard-line stance against abortion – "horrific," "compounds the grief of many women," causes "deep physical and spiritual wounds after succumbing to the pressures of a secular culture which devalues God's gift of sexuality and the right to life of the unborn."  Francis has also spoken out against the redefinition of marriage (often referred to by the oxymoron "gay marriage"): "At stake is the total rejection of God's law engraved in our hearts," he said in 2010, in fighting a marriage-redefining bill in his homeland of Argentina.  GLAAD's stooge he is not.

But Cirilli has to ignore all this, because his narrative requires a progressive savior pope railing against an entrenched, sclerotic, and monolithic Catholic Church.  He quotes University of Dayton theology chair Vincent J. Miller: "He's modeling the church as a place for open disagreement[.]"  One wonders if Cirilli and Miller have ever heard of an ecumenical council (Vatican II, at least!), or of Saint Nicholas punching the heretic Arius in the face.  The Church has been a place for open disagreement since her inception.

At its foundation, Cirilli's story says more about The Hill – and the embarrassing ignorance that permeates liberal media outlets when it comes to Catholicism – than it does about the Church.  Pope Francis's take on anthropogenic global warming or economics or ecumenism certainly does make some conservatives uncomfortable, but to highlight that without mentioning how he discomfits liberals ("anti-gay," "anti-choice," etc.) is disingenuous.  What liberals seem to be incapable of understanding, even though this writer spelled it out at Francis's election, is that popes may be good or bad, but they are not liberal or conservative.  They are Catholic.  The same goes for the Church, a 2,000-year-old institution that can't be blamed for not fitting neatly into the political narrative of a Washington insiders' publication.

(h/t: Dustin Siggins)

Drew Belsky is American Thinker's deputy editor.  Contact him at drew@americanthinker.com, and follow him on Twitter @DJB627.