Catholic 101: Is the Pope a leftie? – Part Two

This is part 2 of the lengthy rant started here. It should only be accessible through Part 1 unless I have failed to hide it from the homepage. My lunch was alright, thanks for asking. We left our friend at statement no 11.

Statement 12: He has criticized his fellow priests, and past Catholic leaders.
“Heads of the Church have often been narcissists, flattered and thrilled by their courtiers. The court is the leprosy of the papacy,” he said in an October 2013 interview in Italy. This feels like the 1550s all over again. Seriously, how does this say anything about his politics? You know who he reminds me of? St Philip Neri. And not just me.
{St Philip Neri, pray for us}

Statement 13: He has discouraged evangelism of the Christian faith.
“Proselytism is solemn nonsense, it makes no sense. We need to get to know each other, listen to each other and improve our knowledge of the world around us,” he said in 2013.
I’m not even going to look for the context because the statement is as ludicrous as it gets. It also says nothing about his politics, as I have devout Catholic friends on the left (if you’re reading this, hello. We should get coffee sometimes). 
In part 1 I have mentioned his first encyclical, Evangelii Gaudium. Now, raise your hand if you ever stop to listen to the preacher with a mic on the high street shouting about your need to repent. I do, at times, but mostly out of sympathy because nobody ever stops and I know they are godly people with a big heart for Jesus and I want to support that. However, it’s not an effective way to bring people to evangelise. Now, proselytism and evangelism aren’t the same thing. Proselytism is an attempt to convert, and usually comes in one form or another of forcing your beliefs on others. Evangelising is preaching the Gospel, come what may. And something that Pope Francis is really keen on, it’s living the Gospel. Not just telling people about it. Writing this article is a form of proselytism: I’m trying to convince you that Mike Garcia is wrong. When I drop the odd quote from the Gospel in a sentence it’s evangelism: I’m telling you about the Gospel, no strings attached. When I give you a hug because you’re crying it’s a rare case of me acting like a good Christian should. The most successful missionaries have always been those attuned with the culture that was their mission field. Also, another way of respecting the human dignity of every individual is not to treat them as a box to tick on a list of people that need converting.

Statement 14: He has criticized free-market capitalism.
During a speech in Bolivia, Pope Francis called unfettered capitalism “the dung of the devil,” a comment many saw as a possible endorsement of socialism. He went on to criticize “corporations, loan agencies, certain ‘free trade’ treaties, and the imposition of measures of ‘austerity.'” U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan said the pope clearly displays a warped view of capitalism having grown up in Argentina, which is rampant with corruption and doesn’t have “a true free enterprise system.”
Thank you Paul Ryan for speaking sense. The Pope has been criticising something very specific. Crony capitalism. You know who else criticises crony capitalism? Free marketeers. He also criticised the lack of solidarity in the choices we make which I already talked about in Part 1.

Statement 15: He accepted a blasphemous crucifix from communist Bolivian President Evo Morales.
Not quite what happened, according to the UK centre-right press.

Statement 16: He has defended labor unions.
The full statement is this: Trade unions have been an essential force for social change, without which a semblance of a decent and humane society is impossible under capitalism.
You only need to open a history book at the pages for the industrial revolution to know this is true. Also trade unions are only political because they make them so. There is a Conservative Trade Union movement in the UK. The Pope isn’t a leftie, he’s just not buying into the myth that the free market is a cure for all (and I say this as someone who believes in the free market). Personal responsibility is indispensable.

Statement 17: He has criticized fruitful Catholic families.
“Some think . . . that in order to be good Catholics we have to be like rabbits. No. Responsible paternity, that is clear,” the pope said in January, contravening 2,000 years of church teaching about reproduction and birth control.
I’m not sure since when responsible reproduction has become a dominion of the left, anyway this is not quite what he said. Quoting from one of the documents of the Second Vatican Council, EWTN answers the question “Does the Church teach that a couple must have as many children as they physically can?” with “No. In decisions about family size, the married couple “will thoughtfully take into account both their own welfare and that of their children, those already born and those which may be foreseen. For this accounting they will reckon with both the material and the spiritual conditions of the times as well as of their state in life. Finally, they will consult the interests of the family group, of temporal society, and of the Church itself” (Gaudium et Spes, 50).” It’s worth noting that until the 20th century there was high infant mortality too, so a problem like this arising in the 60s isn’t due to Vatican II being set on liberalism as a certain group of Catholics would have you believe.

Statement 18: He has seemingly advocated for cultural relativism.
You are the one who was criticising him for criticising people having their own individual truths in statement 5, but now he’s changed his mind? Anyway he did not advocate for cultural relativism (which is the idea that a person’s beliefs and activities should be understood based on that person’s own culture) when he said “Every people deserves to conserve its identity without being ideologically colonized”. It seems to me the same sentiment as the pro-life woman saying that the West bringing abortion into Africa when African languages don’t even have a word for it is cultural colonialism.

Statement 19: He has encouraged more liberal academic traditions supported by many Jesuits
As the world’s first Jesuit Pope, Francis has propped up vigorous debate among Cardinals and Bishops hailing from liberal, Jesuit-run universities and colleges.
We aren’t told what these are. I defer to the Atlantic (which took a political stance like 3 times in their life span), as they have an article on the issue. According to this article, the Jesuit-run universities are 28. TWENTY-EIGHT. That’s a seismic movement in academia, eh. 

Statement 20: He has offered friendly visits to cruel dictators like Cuban President Raúl Castro
I heard this before. “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” (Mark 2:16). I’ll let you guess which characters of Jewish society said that. It starts with P. 

Statement 21: He will deliver mass in Cuba under a communist Che Guevara portrait. During his coming September visit, Pope Francis will deliver a sermon in the Plaza de la Revolución, which is presided over by an iron sculpture of the militant Guevara.
You can’t escape Guevara in Cuba so either you don’t go to Cuba or you will have to be somewhere that celebrates the dictator. Far from being a sign of approval, the presence of a Pope in Cuba is literally bringing Christ where Christ is needed. During this specific Mass, he criticised the whole foundation of the Cuban dictatorship.

Statement 22: He has softened church rules regarding divorce and remarriage.
I can’t use the H word because it’s Lent but last statement at long last. Yay. I have written enough words in this blog post to cover my dissertation chapter I should have done instead.
This goes back to the issue of communion for the divorced already mentioned and no, he has softened nothing. He issued a confusing document which received a dub (or in other words a demand for clarification) which is at the centre of the usual internal Church wars. The conservative Catholic magazine Catholic Herald wrote about it and so I shall end it here. However, as I said in the previous response to a similar topic, nowhere in Amoris Laetitia there is anything to assume the political leanings of the Pope. He’s just trying to deal with a situation that just is, not endorsing or encouraging it. If anything he has a very traditional view of the family compared to the leftist view of the state replacing its role because he’s going to great length to support, well, families.


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