Fox News opinion piece BLASTS Pope Francis as “the Catholic Church’s Obama”

It seems that not everyone in the MSM is an adoring fan of Pope Francis.

This is an … interesting op-ed on the site of Fox News, which is, yes, pretty much MSM now:

Pope Francis is the Catholic Church’s Obama – God help us

by Adam Shaw [I admit that I haven’t heard of Mr. Shaw.  I looked him up on Fox and did not discover much writing about matters having to do with the Church. See below.]

Pope Francis is undergoing a popularity surge comparable to the way Barack Obama was greeted by the world in 2008. And just as President Obama has been a disappointment for America, Pope Francis will prove a disaster for the Catholic Church. [I guess that is a “no” vote.  It also strikes me as hyperbole.  There have been really bad Popes in the Church’s history, but she pulled through.  Moreover, there is the role of the Holy Spirit.  I, like Joseph Card. Ratzinger before me, don’t believe that the Holy Spirit chooses Popes.  I do believe that Holy Spirit prevents the elevation of a man who would be a total disaster for the Church.  As Catholics, we know that one of the marks of the Church is her indefectibility.  No attack on the Church, from within or without, will completely bring her down.  There is no guarantee from the Lord that Hell and hellish minions won’t bring down the Church in certain places, but the Church is indefectible.]

My fellow Catholics should be suspicious when bastions of anti-Catholicism in the left-wing media are in love with him.  [True enough, but they will eventually turn on him.]


But Francis is beating a retreat for the Catholic Church, and making sure its controversial doctrines are whispered, not yelled – no wonder the New York Times is in love.

Just like President Obama loved apologizing for America, Pope Francis likes to apologize for the Catholic Church, thinking that the Church is at its best when it is passive and not offending anyone’s sensibilities. [Is that what the Pope is doing?  Is the writer psychic?  I think I could be counted as an experience top Pope-watcher, but I can’t figure out what Francis is up to most of the time.  I don’t always like what I see, but I am not ready to come down on any one square yet.]

In his interviews with those in the left-wing media he seeks to impress, [I sense the writer is not a fan!] Francis has said that the Church needs to stop being ‘obsessed’ with abortion and gay marriage, and instead of seeking to convert people, “we need to get to know each other, listen to each other and improve our knowledge of the world around us.”

This softly-softly approach of not making a fuss has been tried before, and failed. The Second Vatican Council of the 1960’s aimed to “open the windows” of the Church to the modern world by doing just this. [I am beginning to wonder if, perhaps, the writer attends a certain kind of chapel.]

The result was the Catholic version of New Coke. [Okay.  The gloves are really off now!] Across the West where the effects were felt, seminaries and convents emptied, church attendance plummeted, and adherence to Church doctrine diminished.

John Paul II and Benedict XVI worked hard to turn this trend around, but now Pope Francis wants the bad old days to resume.

Proof of this is Francis’ aforementioned statement of the Church being obsessed with controversial issues and the need to rebalance by talking about it less.

That Francis didn’t see that this would be translated into headlines of “Pope tells Catholics to shut up about things that offend Sandra Fluke” by every left-wing media outlet shows a terrifying naivety.

Nor do his comments reflect reality.

For years, the majority of priests didn’t dare cover controversial topics in their homilies in fear of getting angry letters from pick-and-choose Catholics outraged that their pastor dared to say something out of line with the Democratic Party.  [Yes, the writer is correct on this point.  When Pope Francis has spoken about all these people, especially priests, who are obsessed about rules and preaching only about abortion, etc., I had to scratch my head.  Where are these people?  Who are they?  I sure haven’t met them.]


In trying to please the media and the modern world, Francis mistakes their glee for respect. Just like Obama thought he’d won over Putin by promising a reset, Francis thinks by talking vacuously about the poor, he will be respected. And it is vacuous — the pontiff recently asked why it’s news that the stock market drops but not when an old person dies. When your leader is asking, “Why isn’t the newspaper a laundry list of obituaries?” you know you elected the wrong guy. [Okay. It’s official.  He is definitely not a fan.]

What effect is this having? [And now we get to The Francis Effect™.] For all we’re being told about how ‘disenfranchised’ Catholics are being brought back by Francis ‘reaching out,’ a recent Pew Research study showed that in America, the number of people who identify as Catholic has actually decreased. Lesson: rubbing the egos of Church-hating left-wingers doesn’t make more Catholics, it just makes the Church less respected.  [Do I hear an “Amen!”?  I mean… he’s right, right?  We can debate whether Francis is doing that, but the point is right.]

Francis not only panders to enemies and professional grievance mongers, but also attacks his allies. Just as Obama snubs Britain and Israel, Pope Francis swipes at practicing Catholics.  [Well… he … welll…. ]

So not only has he insulted, and severely damaged the work of, pro-life and pro-marriage groups with his comments, he has also gone on the attack, dismissing Catholics who attend the older rites in Latin as ‘ideologizing’ and being guilty of ‘exploitation.’ Apparently “Who am I to judge?” doesn’t apply here.

On world matters, Francis’ statements are embarrassing. About communism, a destructive ideology that slaughtered millions of Catholics, he said:

“Learning about it through a courageous and honest person was helpful. I realized…an aspect of the social, which I then found in the social doctrine of the Church.”

Not such kind words for the free market, however. In his recent apostolic exhortation he slammed unfettered capitalism, [I don’t think the Pope used that phrase in Evangelii gaudium.] calling it ‘a new tyranny.’

Apart from the fact that there is no major nation practicing unfettered capitalism (like Obama, Francis loves attacking straw men) there is more real tyranny in socialist cesspools like Francis’ home of Argentina than in places where capitalism is predominant.  [If only the writer were less inhibited!  C’mon, Adam!  What do you really think?]


As a Catholic, I do hope Francis’ papacy is a successful one, but from his first months he seems hell-bent on a path to undo the great work of Benedict XVI and John Paul II, and to repeat critical mistakes of the past.

Adam Shaw is a News Editor for and has written on Anglo-American issues as well as topics related to the Roman Catholic Church. He lives in New Jersey and can be reached here[I looked up Mr. Shaw at the site of Fox News and didn’t find much credited to him on “topics related to the Roman Catholic Church”.  Perhaps he writes copy and doesn’t get credited.  He does, however, have a lot to say about video games.  HERE]

I wonder if we are seeing a new trend.

Did Rush’s criticism of Evangelii gaudium the other day give “permission”, as it were, to conservative newsies, etc., to start blasting away?

In any event, Shaw’s piece needed to be read.

I wonder if what sparked his was Pres. Obama’s nightmare speech on income inequality in which he quoted Pope Francis.  Obama’s use of the Pope’s words was utterly slimy, of course.  USA Today has it:

During his income inequality speech on Wednesday, President Obama invoked one of the hottest names in public life: Pope Francis.

“Across the developed world, inequality has increased,” Obama said. “Some of you may have seen just last week, the pope himself spoke about this at eloquent length.”

Obama than quoted Francis: “How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?”

Don’t be shocked to see a president-pope meeting in the coming months.

Blech.  Reading Obama quote Francis gives me the same feeling as the sight of a slug crawl.

I have the combox open, but the moderation queue is switched on.  This could get pretty ugly, and I have a busy day tomorrow.

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  1. Geoffrey says:

    “Pope Francis likes to apologize for the Catholic Church”.

    Actually, this is the one thing His Holiness has not done!

    I learned long ago that Fox News cannot be relied on 100% for “balanced” reporting when it comes to the Church. Shepherd Smith was downright unbearable to listen to during the recent conclave.

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  3. AnimatedCatholic says:

    now I’m really concerned that the pope is a favorite of the Obama. I’m really do hope his flirting with the secularists and the bashing of the faithful ends soon. Because now I’m convinced his relationship with the media won’t go until his passing or his resignation.

    I hope I’m wrong with what I just said.

  4. Scott Alt says:

    Fr., I suspect this kind of nonsense about Francis will continue, and the reason to keep exposing it is precisely because a lot of decent and well-intentioned Catholics will be taken in by it and get angry and disillusioned and flummoxed. The problem is that people with political axes to grind are USING the pope as a weapon in the Culture Wars.

  5. anna 6 says:

    This is a harsh, and at times probably an unfair assessment of Pope Francis, but I hope that Adam Shaw’s former Fox News colleague, Greg Burke, the current PR guy at the Vatican reads this. It is really important that Pope Francis and his “handlers” understand how he is being perceived by some people in the Church.

    I had been praying that the new pope would be able to help bring us together, but I fear that the situation is getting even more divisive.

    I miss that dear old “Pope of Christian Unity”.

  6. Phil_NL says:

    It would be good to check if Mr Shaw’s more usual beat includes politics, as it sure looks like he’s seeing His Holiness more from the perspective of a politician – where he’d like to see a warrior politician in the culture wars as well as the economic arena at that – than a shepard.

    For the record, I find any comparison of the Pope with Obama to be beyond the pale, really, no matter his – partially justified – complaints.

    Partially, as most of what he writes about is purely image. I see no reason why one should conclude that the defence of life has been abandoned by the Church; but it surely looks like the valliant culture warriors have been relegated to a back seat. And that brings us back to politics: even if that is not factually the case, the impression among a wider audience is a relevant fact in itself, and not one without adverse consequences. The culture wars are a battle where ‘frapper toujours’ is the norm, especially in the US – the focal point.
    Similarly, the impressions of Papa Bergoglio in the area of economic policy lend themselves to an interpretation that seems to rebuke conservatives and generally, anyone right-of-centre (from an European perspective, more likely, which means a decidedly more leftist flavor of the ‘centre’ economically than in the US). Upon careful reading, virtually nothing remains of that, but as I said before, it all sounds so very left-wing.

    Add a few gripes about the – again, probably more in image than anything else – fall from favor of the more liturgically traditional Catholics, and you have a perfect storm. A quite understandable storm then, and correct insofar that images do have an impact – in that sense the papal office and politics are alike. But blaming the pope for this is akin to suggesting he does all of it for the sake of the image, just like a politician. That’s an implicit accusation I find too crass.
    I think we have to conclude that, for better or worse, Francis can only ‘be Pope’ in this way. A man cannot radically rewire his modes of thinking and acting in his seventies. His style has benefits, and it has downsides. We’ll just have to learn to live with the latter, which will be a whole lot easier if we realise that while it can sound dreadful, in reality it’s far less dire. And for the rest, those images are just a cross we – and sadly, particularly the socially and economically right-wingers and traditionaly minded of us – have to bear.

    And, with Fr Z., I’m pretty sure the image will be reversed quite quickly when the MSM starts realising the substance hasn’t changed. Their vengance will be brutal, the images will be reversed. It won’t be pretty.

  7. Priam1184 says:

    Division in the ranks of the Church, whether it comes from the Right or the Left, is the fruit of the labors of the enemy of mankind. Other than that I don’t think that I can recall one instance where the Holy Father has ‘apologized’ for the Church. In the case of the abortion issue I have to agree with Fr. Z that often times I really don’t know what Francis means when he talks about ‘obsession’, but if what he is saying is that our tactics for the last half century on the issue of abortion and sexual immorality in general have been a complete and total failure and that we need to find a better way then I agree with him wholeheartedly.

  8. Obama quotes Francis. isn’t this the same Obama who is attacking the Catholic Church and shows a real disdain for Christianity in general? He doesn’t listen to the Church any other time. This is Obama though-there isn’t a tactic beneath him.Meantime someone needs to have an honest and upfront talk with our new Pope. He doesn’t seem to grasp the reality here in the United States. His world view seems to be limited to his own country.

  9. Saint1106 says:

    I highly recommend the new book by Angus Deaton of Princeton, called The Great Escape. It is about poverty, health, development, and inequality. Contrary to Pope Francis and President Obama, if we measure inequality by income distributed across people as citizens of the world as a whole, not in one particular country or region, inequality is decreasing. Ok, it is because hundreds of millions of Chinese and Indians have moved out of poverty into the middle class through economic growth. The same is not true for Africa. But other indicators show improvement: people are living longer across the world, infant mortality rates are falling. The world as a whole has made progress since 1960. Put another way, the world was much more unequal 50 years ago. We can do better, of course. But the way to do better is through careful, critical research and policy evaluation, finding out what works in particular circumstances, and what does not. Blindly attacking one economic system, or looking for a global solution, or dumping massing amounts of money as foreign aid to governments, do not help. The process of reducing global poverty (and improving global health) is a long-term, search and learning endeavor, paying careful attention to what works in specific localities. I wish both the Vatican folks (likely Pope Francis was advised by the Justice and Peace Council) and Obama would realize that many people have been carefully working on these issues for decades. As much as we might like a quick universal solution, reality is more complex.

  10. Muv says:

    Whatever the Pope says, we need to check the text in Italian and get the correct translation, make sure it hasn’t gone through too many Babel processes in the meantime, and if confusion still reigns, just toss the dog a biscuit and be patient.

  11. trad catholic mom says:

    Well he is certainly right about the cult of personality.

  12. Michaeleus says:

    We are a minority…I mean this in the sense that we just don’t jump to conclusions when we read or see something about Pope Francis in the MSM, and how they report it. Every time I see or hear something I always think to myself, “I wonder what Father Z says about this”, and, usually what is reported is well translated on this site here. I appreciate the blog and the comments by the other readers here as well.

    I really don’t think the pope has said anything differently than Benedict or John Paul II, his style is different…more, if you forgive the expression, American, since he is the first pope from this side of the world, his upbringing and education is much, much different that our European popes. I agree with most here, the commie in the liberal media will soon turn on him…but we must always, whether he says something that makes us scratch our heads, or makes us jump up and down with glee, pray for him and for Holy Mother Church.

  13. Lin says:

    This is very disturbing! I pray this is overstated but the jury is still out! I miss Pope Benedict XVI more each day! Much prayer and fasting is required!

  14. We have a wonderful word in Australia, namely ‘drongo’. This Adam Shaw fits the bill nicely.

    This media beatup of the poor Holy Father is just our cross for now. But hey, it beats being thrown to the lions.

  15. RJHighland says:

    I think the article is pretty spot on and pray the Holy Spirit guides our Holy Father in a different direction than he has been going. The Catholic Churches Obama I pray it is not true but very possible. Just like Paul VI is our Wilson and FDR. Paul VI planted the progressive seed with Vatican II and the Novus Ordo as Wilson and FDR enbedded the seed of socialism with federal income tax, federal welfare and a federal retirement safety net. As the Catholic Church marches off to help create a non-Catholic one world Church, America gallops off to create a one world socialist government.

  16. Quanah says:

    Mr. Shaw seems like one of those people whose faith is informed by his politics, not the other way around. He sounds like a child and should be ashamed of publishing something that is little better than an emotional outburst. There are valid points to be debated, but he’s just being a hot-head. A journalist needs to be better than this. Shame.

  17. Long-Skirts says:

    “Proof of this is Francis’ aforementioned statement of the Church being obsessed with controversial issues and the need to rebalance by talking about it less.”

    H/T Standing On My Head:
    Rod Dreher “makes the good point that the mainstream media was all over a story when a few traditionalists daubed the cathedral in Buenos Aires in protest, but not a word about this horrible, violent and sexist outrage”

    Hopefully our Holy Father will address the horror of what just happened last week in Argentina and that the Catholic Media will too, but I doubt it.
    These 1500 Catholic men should be praised for their sacrifice…they have caused a “mess” because of their Catholic “obsession” !


    Fifteen hundred
    Solid men
    Faced the gates
    Of Hell and then

    Faced the dogs
    Who eat their vomit
    With chain-linked Rosaries
    A grace-ringed grommet

    Protecting Holy
    Mother’s portal
    Their deed will ever
    Be immortal

    Fifteen hundred
    Rosaries prayed
    As cursing curs
    Their hate displayed

    Dog-like flesh
    Eating mammals
    She hyenas
    Cud-chew camels

    Five thousand mongrels
    Diablo’s dames
    Sex slaves reliath

    But fifteen hundred
    Solid men
    Each decade prayed
    Were stones of ten

    Aimed at half-bloods
    Like David before
    Each Ave slung
    Gainst hellion’s whore

    Fifteen hundred
    Solid men
    “As it was in the beginning,
    Is now…” Amen!!

  18. Scott W. says:

    *Yawn* Another neo-con having a panic attack.

  19. Long-Skirts says:

    I forgot to add the You/Tube video URL of these brave young Catholic men. If you don’t know about this then you need to watch some YOU/TUBE!

  20. Venerator Sti Lot says:


    I apologize if this shows rabbit-holean symptoms amd hope you will consider permitting it to appear.

    Before this post, I had been wondering if you had seen Daren Jonescu’s 3 Dec. post, “Catholics and Communists”, at the American Thinker blog, and if so, what you thought of it.

    It seems in its way a more trenchant ‘blast’, yet not a sufficiently balanced and discriminating one (and I have not read enough of him – though his John Dewey essay, for instance, was fascinating! – to know where he has gone from being “baptized and raised Catholic”: I feared ‘Straussian’ in the worst sense, when I saw an earlier title about Allen Bloom, but it does not seem obviously that, though, again, with respect to the ‘Straussian’/’Bloomian’ it fails to grapple with the full depth of self, thought, and writings, and how their writings may very intentionally be subtly serving a very corrosive, corrupting end).

  21. Imrahil says:

    What the dear @Anna 6 said. And what the dear @Phil_NL said.

    Rev’d dear @Fr. Z,
    I am beginning to wonder if, perhaps, the writer attends a certain kind of chapel.
    I guess it is safe to say that if he did, he would not have written that “John Paul II and Benedict XVI worked hard to turn this trend around”.

  22. pmullane says:

    ” Pope Francis will prove a disaster for the Catholic Church”

    Yeah yeah. I’m reminded of a college professor who po facedly pronounced (as only those who will never have to answer for their theoies can po facedly pronounce) that the Cathiolic Church ‘will not survive the death of John Paul II’ who would prove to be ‘the last ever Pope’. Hows that one working out then, prof?

    As so many of those who misread Francis (as they misread Benedict, John Paul, etc), this author has looked at Francis through the prism of the Amercan Political scene. Funnily enough, an Argentinian Bishop of Italian parentage living in Rome who happens to be the Head of the Holy Church of God does not necesserily see things through the Left/Right, Liberal/Conservative, Neocon/paleocon, statist/libertarian, republican/democrat, Utd/Rovers world view that many others, such as Rush Limbaugh, have.

    Even more tellingly, the similarities between statements made by Francis and Benedict on many of these same issues are remarkably similar. But Benedict was a super ‘conservative’ and Francis is ultra ‘Liberal’. Well, actually, no. Both men are, however, profoundly Catholic.

  23. Eliane says:

    So Adam Shaw makes a little lio. Isn’t that what the pope wants? To make some Catholics uncomfortable in their comfort zones? Or does he really want to make anti-Catholics comfortable in their comfort zones? That is my burning question.

  24. jenne says:

    The Pope is stirring us all up. But we all miss the point. It is Christ first and no one likes when it is like that. This Pope is obviously going to be misread completely. But doesn’t that make us more responsible to seek Christ and do His will? I think when the Pope says we need to quit our obsession with abortion he doesn’t mean give up the fight but let our obsession be with Christ. I have met different zealous families that homeschool and are in the trenches fighting for the unborn’s right to live only to bash illegal immigrants and lump all poor hispanics together. I am hispanic, i know what it took for my very poor family to get here and they came with papers. They were harassed and my uncle almost deported simply for not having his documents on his person one day. Most are citizens now too. But where i am living now, i don’t wonder if i am still lumped into a group and not really looked at. It can be hard for me to work along side some of these folks if it weren’t for a great many who are truly moved to pity as the Lord is. Christ is communicated through a person, beauty yes, but a living beauty of a soul for Christ can’t be pinned down. In fact I would guess that person would be very attractive until you find yourself very uncomfortable unless you know who is generating such a person. When I returned to my faith I needed a beautiful place to worship but what pins it all together is the person of Christ. Beautiful buildings and liturgy yes, but more mobile is the person that also reflects Christ and not because they can speak all the right words but because they are uncomfortably attractive. I am glad to have met a few of these. There really aren’t many. Nice orthodox people I meet often. But uncomfortably attractive people not so much.

    This poor writer got himself published but I am not sure he won’t suffer for it. In a very uncomfortable way.

    Not our time, God’s time.

    Fr Z I truly appreciate your help in all these matters. I just think that the reason the Pope can’t get pinned down is because he does make us uncomfortable. You do too! Praise be to God.

  25. Mandy P. says:

    I still think it’s way too early to tell how the current Pontiff’s reign will effect the Church. There are some bad signs, but there are some really good signs, too. My mother-in-law, a life-long agnostic who has set foot inside a church exactly twice in the past forty years (to see my children receive baptism in 2011, and once this fall for a women’s ensemble concert I performed in) just about floored me when she told me at Thanksgiving she read the new exhortation. Apparently, she saw a blurb about it on CNN, remembered my insistence that she couldn’t just take the news stations’ words at face value, and pulled up the Vatican website to read the entire thing for herself. She said she was very impressed, actually, and has been favorably impressed with the Pope himself thus far. So, Papa Francis is definitely making people who would otherwise just pretend we don’t exist sit up and take notice. That’s a good thing.

    The bad I see is that I still think our Papa is too unclear in his language. Pope Emeritus Benedict was so precise in his writings and public speaking and yet even he was taken out of context by the jackals in the media whenever the opportunity presented itself (which, thankfully, wasn’t too very often).

    Reading the new exhortation for myself (after checking out your very helpful posts on the mistranslations , Father) it seems to me that even in those controversial paragraphs he was largely talking about our behavior and obligations as Catholics, even in those controversial sections about economics. But if you’re several pages into the document it’s easy to forget the contextualization paragraphs in the preface section at the very beginning that make that fairly plain. That, of course, gives the media an opportunity for a field day. And that is what I see as Pope Francis’ downfall thus far: his style leaves him too open to misinterpretation (intentional or otherwise).

  26. Quanah says:
    5 December 2013 at 6:41 am
    Mr. Shaw seems like one of those people whose faith is informed by his politics, not the other way around.

    Quanah, you said it! This is just as much a problem on the right as the left.

  27. tcreek says:

    Loose ‘canon’ = Unpredictable statements likely to cause damage unless moderated by others.

    It seems that very many people attribute the above definition to Pope Francis. Rightly so (?), time will tell, but thoughtful Catholics of a traditional bent should not have been placed in this quandary. It is not of their doing.

  28. Rushintuit says:

    Barque of Peter, sail on!

  29. Evovae says:

    This piece and Rush’s tirade make me VERY nervous.

    Right now, totally regardless of his actual meaning, Pope Francis is POPULAR.

    Liberals want to harness that popularity and use it for PR purposes to win an identity war among low-information catholics and others who are newly interested in the pope. If they can align themselves in the pope in their minds first, that’s the most powerful impression and it will stick. This is why the president used the pope’s words–attach yourself to things that are popular, appropriate them, and leverage that popularity for your own purposes. I’m sorry, Father, but I think you’re wrong; Liberals in general will not turn on the pope until the public in general stops liking/being interested in him. Until then, he’s to be used as a recruitment tool, and conservatives, by blasting the pope and being so negative and nit-picky, conservatives like Rush and this Fox guy risk alienating all these new people and losing the popular mantle of concern for religion, and that will be VERY bad in terms of our public leverage for other matters where public image of morality is key (e.g., abortion). In other words, this is another “seamless garment” debacle in the making. We have to be careful with our words and not let ourselves be cast as negative.

  30. John of Chicago says:

    In a speech some years before World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt said something like:
    “Don’t just judge me by my friends, judge me by the enemies that I make.” It’s interesting to note on whose “enemies list” the name of Pope Francis has begun to appear–Wall Street, Mr. Limbaugh, former Gov. Palin, et al. He must be doing something right… Deo Gratias.

  31. Suburbanbanshee says:

    People would understand “Evangelii Gaudium” a lot better if the competent translator had done the whole thing, and they’d left out the mistranslations by Grumpy, Snoozy, and Hippie.

  32. Dr. Eric says:

    I think this article serves to remind us that Fox News isn’t necessarily a friend of Holy Mother Church.

  33. L. says:

    Fr. Z, regarding your comment, “When Pope Francis has spoken about all these people, especially priests, who are obsessed about rules and preaching only about abortion, etc., I had to scratch my head. Where are these people? Who are they? I sure haven’t met them,” I can say that my parish Priest was like this- he actually was pastor of two parishes, never took a vacation or a day off, celebrated Mass publicly at least once per day, was very involved in the parish school, and spoke often about abortion and the government’s abortifacient mandate. [That doesn’t sound like obsessed.]

    He’s not our pastor anymore. Our Bishop, who at his installation Mass acknowledged our Governor who was in the congregation by saying that he was glad to be Bishop in a diocese with a Democratic Governor, transferred him to Siberia.

  34. Siculum says:

    “[Yes, the writer is correct on this point. When Pope Francis has spoken about all these people, especially priests, who are obsessed about rules and preaching only about abortion, etc., I had to scratch my head. Where are these people? Who are they? I sure haven’t met them.]”

    I’d like to meet them, too.

    That being said, however, thank goodness that our Holy Father’s alleged “obsession” comment was only from some interview whose source was/has now been deemed questionable. We’re not seeing a pattern here or anything.

  35. AnimatedCatholic says:

    I think Evovae is right. I don’t think this popularity won’t go away until he bets bent on criticizing the moral issues.

    Thanks to this Pope the Catholics in the west are now even more divided on whether to support the pro homosexual, pro abortion anti religious secularist left, the pro war, neo-con right or the pro ridiculing of traditionalist, heretic embracing, Pope.

    We are completely divided, My faith is broken and I’m not sure of who or what to believe in anymore.

  36. Del says:

    Wouldn’t we all love to see a summit meeting of Pres. Obama with Pope Francis?

  37. euphemos says:


    Are there any media outlets you typically find you can count upon to deliver something resembling news? Fox News has definitely trended MSM the past several years, and I can’t visit their website anymore without it becoming a near occasion of sin (_for me_) now that they’ve moved their “Pop Tart” type “coverage” higher and higher on the front page, and made it more difficult to find the news buried under all that gossip.

  38. Just as the progressive swooning is overboard, so the…er, regressive* (?) gnashing of teeth is too.

    * Not sure what is the fair term. Self-described progressives seem to be all together in their swoon and their agenda; but I’m not so sure that’s fair to say of “conservatives” or “traditionalists”–because for a lot of us, we don’t want to bash the pope like this; and we don’t worry so much about some of these things, for the reasons our genial host explained about the indefectability of the Church.

    On papal commentary on economics, people should read more. There’s a whole bunch of encyclicals, many of which were issued to commemorate Rerum Novarum, and in my judgment, some of the observations by various popes, through the years, have been open to criticism where their evocation of a right valuation of human dignity intersected with their observations or expectations of what public authority might or ought to do. Most papal statements over the years seem, to me, not to have much appreciation for either the workings of markets or the American style political system. Pope John Paul II, in Centesimus Annus was the first one who really dove into these topics and grappled with them.

    But even then, Pope John Paul II offered many of the very same criticisms of market economics, and entertained similar notions about public authority addressing problems in a top-down fashion, particularly in other writings of his, apart from Centesimus Annus.

    For my part, I’ve tried to imagine what a papal statement might say, if it was going to address how Catholic social teaching actually works itself out in the political arena, and public policy is now being framed not only in terms of overarching vision and humanistic values, but also, considerations of government overreach and whether a policy actually works.

    Example: Obamacare. We Catholics want everyone to have adequate health care; we want public policy to be directed toward fostering that. At some point, waiting for someday isn’t good enough. So it’s easy to see how the bishops, and many Catholics, might feel the need to support something like the Affordable Care Act — isn’t that pretty much what Cardinal Dolan just said?

    So the law goes through, and the bishops’ sole role in all of that was to insist on language regarding abortion and conscience — which they didn’t get, hence the intervention of the Catholic Health Association at the 11th hour.

    So then, when the HHS contraceptive mandate comes out, the bishops are aghast; but a lot of politically active people of conservative/libertarian bent said–out loud: why are you surprised? We told you that when you give all this power to the politicians, this is exactly the sort of thing they’d do!

    In other words, where I think at least some bishops understand the pitfalls–better now, no doubt–they still feel it’s their job to do more than mumble about this. They had to enunciate some broad principles on health care. And the more qualifications you add, the more it seems like magisterial mumbling.

    Who knows? Maybe when we come through the current age of the omnicompetent state, we will see some deeper exploration by the Magisterium of the principle of subsidiarity and the reality of original sin, and sinful structures, as they work out in politics.

  39. Netmilsmom says:

    Euphemos, May I give my opinions on “News sites”?
    I go to Drudgereort first, then to Weasel Zippers (run by a great Catholic guy, but not a “Catholic” site) The Blaze (some fluff but you can ignore it), Breitbart and keep an eye on Twitter. If you follow the right people on Twitter (thanks Father Z!) you don’t have to frequent the “news sites” at all. They will Tweet the top news then you can go directly to articles and avoid “sites”.

    I saw this FoxNews article on Drudge. I don’t even bother with Fox anymore.

  40. Netmilsmom says:

    Yikes! It’s Drudgereport. Forgot a ‘p’

  41. Rich says:

    Shaw shows himself to be unqualified to write on such matters for his sheer obliviousness to the fact that much of what the Pope has said or done has been completely spun by the mainstream media. [Okay… I’ll bite. What did he write that is obviously, glaringly wrong?]

  42. Breitbart news had a similar column, and the politically conservative readership has really unmasked their anti-Catholic bigotry in the combox. And I say this as a VERY conservative (politicaly and theologically) Catholic. (Just search “Obama” on my blog and see what turns up.) The right-wingers tend to believe, as do their counterparts on the other end of the spectrum, that Catholics are mindless sheep who should stop mindlessly following the Pope and mindlessly follow them instead and shut up. We have also become a nation of flash-readers and pontificators, who form quick opinions based on cursory scans of what others say and hold to those opinions with a self-righteous tenacity disproportionate to the honest level of certitude that we should have. You read the Gospels and the recent Apostolic Exhortation and keep in mind that above all the nations and governments sit the capitalistic banks who care not whether or not a nation is socialist, capitalist, or whatever, as long as the nations are dependent upon and in debt up to their ears to THEM, then the Pope has some good points to make. I think I’m going to register Independent. I am tired of being driven away by US political parties. If Republicans want my Catholic vote, then persuade me – but trash the pope and my religion and you discredit your positions on the issues, and you give me permission to vote for someone else. And if your candidate loses don’t blame ME. The race in Virginia for governor is the future of the Republican party – losing to loser liberals because you are driving away voters, who, if they had voted for your guy, would have given you the victory. They’re all angry about the Libertarian candidate and the people who voted for him, instead of figuring out ways to unify those votes under one candidate. It’s sheer stupidity.
    At any rate, I’m gonna stand with the Pope – not because I agree with everything he says or does – but because he is the Pope. And if I’m gonna be faulted, let me be faulted for rejecting both Adam Smith (not Shaw) and Karl Marx neither of whom were especially Christian, and the US President (whoever may eventually hold that office), and siding with the Pope. Being Catholic, not being American, is the way to heaven.

  43. tsearles102 says:

    I’m not saying that I either am or am not troubled by some of the Pope’s comments and the way he goes about doing things. Like many others here, I am reserving judgment. But all of us who consider ourselves politically “conservative” should consider what some posters mean when they talk about our religion being informed by our politics. It really can be a problem.

    I am a “free market” guy, in many respects a fan of people like Ron and Rand Paul. However, when I read a book called “The Church and the Libertarian” by Christopher Ferrara I realized the underlying, inherent conflicts between what we politically call “conservativism” and perhaps even “capitalism” and some of the Church’s teachings. Though such political/economic concepts can (and often have) work wonderfully, they are not to take the place of dogma in our minds.

  44. Sonshine135 says:

    I believe that you cannot compare the political ideology of a person to the dogma of the Catholic Faith. The Pope, even if he wanted to change the church to be more liberal, really can’t. Established dogma prevents him from doing so. On the other hand, governments can change the fundumental laws and rules that they live by, and this President seems to go even beyond that by deciding which laws or rules will be enforced.

    It is as different as night and day to me.

  45. tsearles102 says:

    I think my overall point is – don’t come down too hard on a Pope who criticizes political/economic constructs such as capitalism. There are legitimate criticisms of any and all of these things, though of course I do not believe there is any legitimate way to support socialism/communism. [Sort of like, capitalism is the worst system except for all the others.]

  46. sw85 says:

    Certainly Mr. Shaw’s words evince a misapprehension of what Pope Francis is actually saying / has actually said …

    … on the other hand, is it reasonable to expect Catholics to spend an hour on Google hunting down transcripts for much-needed context every time the Pope wanders off-script?

  47. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    When I read Quanah saying “He sounds like a child and should be ashamed of publishing something that is little better than an emotional outburst”, I wondered how close this could come to being plausibly applied to some things attributed to the Holy Father (including in Vatican fervorino reports) or even to some (well-translated) parts of “Evangelii Gaudium”?

    And, while the idea of a Twenty-first-century Pope (or Cardinal Archbishop) having a distinctly ‘sassy’ style has it appeals, I am still wondering about those (interview) remarks about scatophilia and scatophagy, for instance.

  48. sw85 says:

    A second thought: I wonder how much of the rage/animus against Pope Francis is motivated by the sense that he embodies the Church’s recent failure or even refusal to consistently witness effectively against leftism in the name of an overweening “openness to the world” and its toxic values which the Council inaugurated?

  49. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Following on from Evovae’s remarks, including “We have to be careful with our words and not let ourselves be cast as negative”, among the problems are the ease with which anything ‘targeted’ can “be cast as negative” (no matter how positive it may be in fact) , while anything not ‘useful’ where “things that are popular” are concerned, in the effort to “appropriate them, and leverage that popularity for your own purposes”, can be ignored, secluded from view, etc.

  50. tcreek says:

    Shouldn’t this be a concern?
    In 2005 Joseph Ratzinger was elected pope to the joy of those Catholics (including Pope John Paul II) attentive to the need of restoring traditional Catholic teaching on faith and morals. Those opposed to the Ratzinger agenda voted for Jorge Bergoglio.

  51. Adam Shaw is no better than Pat Buchannan (spelling). He uses the pope for his own propaganda. [?!?] St. Francis of Asissi (spelling ) said that unless he’s a heretic, we must obey the pope under pain of grave sin!

  52. Ignatius says:

    A synthesis of the article:

    “Be very afraid! The Pope says and does things that make us neocons look bad. Therefore, the Pope must be a Marxist and a disaster for the Church. Bad, bad, Pope!”

    And I find highly offensive -I really do- the part when he calls my country a cesspool. This sounds, t my ears, as the quintaessential North-american arrogance that makes USA look bad in the world. Mr. Shaw, I could remind you of a few things your contry has done and does which are nothing to be proud of.

  53. StephenGolay says:

    Read the article, “Catholics and Communists”, over at American Thinker (12/03/13). It pertains. Highly recommend. You do not need to agree to invest time with his aargument. Worth it.

  54. tsearles102 says:

    Romancrusader – have to take issue with you Pat Buchanan statement. What has he done or said that makes you think he uses the pope for his own propoganda? He’s expressed some concern over the pope, but it seemed pretty reserved and not at all like what Shaw wrote.

  55. defenderofTruth says:

    I think the issue that most conservatives have with what the Pope said (or what the Catechism says ) is that we are using the terms “capitalism” and “the free market” interchangeably, when that is not the case. Adam Smith’s description of “the free market” is greatly different than any example of “capitalism”, a term coined by Karl Marx. I can think of a good example of each. For the free market: doctors opting out of Obamacare and insurance altogether and moving toward a “health co-op” model, in which their patients pay a monthly fee and get (nearly) unlimited access to the doctors in the co-op…including house calls. For capitalism, Bill Gates promoting Common Core and pushing it on state and federal governments…all the while describing it as a “a bunch of new markets that will open.” In the former, the doctors are concerned with their patients’ health, and so will adopt a business model to best meet their needs; in the latter, Gates is promoting a horridly statist and unpopular “education” initiative to create new markets (where none existed) AND provide mindless workers for the corporations of the future. The doctors will save lives and positively impact people, whereas Gates will make (more) money, at the expense of everyone else.

  56. SKAY says:

    There are certain shows on Fox I watch–and some I do not watch. I cannot watch the other networks since they have just become re-election arms of the pro abortion Democrat Party. Along with that, they treat Washington as a never ending soap opera with Obama as the star. It has nothing to do with the best interests of the people and the future of this country. They are pushing the cult of personality. They know the attention span of the younger audience that they covet is very short so honesty is not important.
    Whether we like it or not — politics affects our lives and our freedom to practice our faith as we are called to do.
    Considering the war on the true Catholic Church within this administration, Obama’s reference to Pope Frances was particularly transparent–even malevolent.
    I try to pray every day for Pope Emeritus Benedict and Pope Francis (and of course Father Z) along with all the faithful priests, nuns and other callings within the Church.

    Rush is not a Catholic and as such is probably not aware of what is going on within the left wing church and the Church. He does say how much he admires the Church and the Popes. It is more a matter of disappointment about what he understands that the Pope has said on certain issues. Even Catholics are confused. Apparently two George Soros funded groups ( Catholics United for the Common Good and Catholics United) who worked to get Obama elected–are trying to use Rush’s comments to accomplish exactly what Evovae’s comment suggested about the motives and of the Democrat’s( think Pelosi, Biden, Sebelius) tactics.. Since I have personal experience with CU for the CG — that in itself makes me suspicious of their motives.
    I do wish Mr. Shaw would read and listen to Father Z.’s wise counsel after reading some of the translations of the Pope’s words. I know I can’t get here fast enough when my hair is on fire.
    Mr. Shaw is a Catholic who is upset–but he is not the enemy.

  57. Robbie says:

    I should also add I believe many people have their heads stuck in the sand when it comes to Francis. I’d be the first to admit I take a tone that is probably too harsh when it comes to Francis, but many seem to believe he really isn’t anything close to the liberal/progressive his statements seem to suggest. Maybe I’m way off base, but I’m just judging him on the words he, himself, has spoken.

    I understand many, many people want and feel we must give the Pope every benefit of the doubt, but eyes wide shut isn’t a good strategy. Francis, in my view, is a South American revolutionary in almost every sense of the word. He speaks against “trickle down” economics while essentially praising socialism. He also seeks “pastoral” solutions to the world’s problems like handing out money to the poor ( as if that will solve poverty). By the way, is “pastoral solution” the new code words for social justice?

    The one thing that really concerns me is when Francis is given credit for adhering and espousing Catholic doctrine. It sometimes is celebrated as a big moment, but for goodness sakes he’s the Pope. Shouldn’t we expect him to promote and espouse the doctrine of the Church he leads? And if it’s a relief to learn he believes in the doctrine, doesn’t that suggest many feared he might not have?

    Maybe the author of this piece was a bit too tough, but the broad strokes of what he wrote certainly have been on my mind since March. I have no doubt Francis will maintain the doctrine of the faith, but I also think his “pastoral approach” suggests all other areas are up for grabs. Synodality, collegiality, ecumenism, and a whole host of other things are likely in store for some serious reordering. VCII was a pastoral council that changed no doctrine and I think that is just who he is.

  58. Burt says:

    All I want to say having read this is BRAVO Mr Shaw!

  59. jc464 says:

    Allow me to make an observation: when was the last time the Church, clergy and laity, had to be on constant alert regarding what a Pope might do or say? We are all loyal Catholics. And here we are defending/questioning the Supereme Pontiff. We didn’t do this w/ John Paul or Benedict or any Pope in the 20th century. This is worrisome in itself. The Holy Father is, in effect, requiring others to defend and explain his words and actions – over and over again. Any orthodox Catholic would be concerned.

  60. Supertradmum says:

    Well, the Evil One is jumping up and down with glee at the splitting up into divisions of the conservative, politically right and those of us in the Church. I detest the main-stream media and avoid watching it. What surprises me is that much of what is said, including in the article above, is taken out of theological contexts, as if the commentators understand the entire background of the Pope concerning economics.

    The Pope and other clergy and us, the laity, should not be separating serious issues, causing groups, and my guess, if I have a right to do this, is to think that the Pope does not want the divisions between the so-called social justice Catholics and the pro-lifers. Sadly, the opposite is occurring. Satan rejoices in divisions and is cause of all this chaos. And, I hate to say this, but my guess is that he is in charge of the msm at this point.

    We need more clarity, which many of us have been saying since April.
    What people think is more important than what they know, and most people are to lazy to actually study and read.

    Thanks for this good commentary, Father Z. Hard days ahead….

  61. jmgarciajr says:

    Fr. Z.,

    Preemptive apologies if this runs overlong.

    I have been following, and for the benefit of my monolingual friends, translating homilies and talks by then-Cdl. Bergoglio for at least the last five years and posted these translations on my blog. I also, for professional reasons, wind up translating mountains of reports, analyses, etc. between Latin American and Anglosphere clients.

    Charity forbids me from accurately expressing exactly how abysmal the Official Vatican English translation AND ONLY the English translation happens to be. (This, of course, is nothing new.) I, personally, do not find it credible to say such a travesty of a translation is the result of simple carelessness, or ineptitude. To me – and this is only my opinion – in comparing both the English to the (presumably original) Spanish and back again, it seems decidedly deliberate.

    In fact, I am so incensed by this, that I have taken the liberty to begin retranslating Evangelii Gaudium on my blog. (It’s up there now at for anyone who’d like to read it, with the caveat it’s in very much a work-in-progress.)

    When someone who is native-level fluent in both languages (as I am) contrasts the two versions, the differences are staggering. The Holy Father extols entrepreneurship, the increase of goods, demands that groups within the Church actually help the poor instead of talking or lobbying, decries the accumulation of national debt. The list goes on and on.

    Insofar as I can tell, there are many on “the right” who are using Evangelii Gaudium to beat up on Francis, just like many on “the left” who are using Evangelii Gaudium to beat up on “the right.” But none of this is supported by an accurate translation.

    When I see progressive politicians quoting the (mistranslated) Holy Father, something tells me that this is something which the more cynical among us might say is by design.

    Sancte Ignatius, ora pro nobis!

  62. tioedong says:

    Here in the Philippines, our bishops frequently criticize the corrupt families who run the place and want more spreading around of the wealth by giving more charity to the poor.
    So the church is keeping the very rich happy by letting them feel good by “helping’ the poor with handouts, but losing the hard working middle class, who notice the rich being coddled by the bishops, and therefore become protestants.

    It is the Protestants who are teaching the middle class moral behavior such as honesty and not stealing everything in sight or not asking for bribes or not diverting money into their own pocket…,and therefore it is the many small Protestant businessmen who are producing jobs to get people out of poverty…

    For example, the Catholic church, like the “greens” opposes all mining and legal logging… but the result is that the poor do it illegally anyway, and so destroy the environment anyway…. A better way would be sustainable mining and logging, that does not destroy the environment, but that takes officials who don’t take bribes and companies willing to pay a slightly higher price to do business. Yet the church’s elites don’t even seem to notice there is a third way to do things.

  63. desertcatholic says:

    American Catholics represent only FIVE PERCENT of the world’s Catholics. Fox News is upset because of the Pope’s comments on the increasing gap between the rich and the poor. The Pope speaks for the entire Church, not the upper, noisy five percent elite .When a hurricane hit New York Bill O’Reilly flew off to Bermuda because he couldn’t get his $10,000 generator to work. Everyone in the Media are elitists. The word obsession” was directed to the American Bishops, and I think expresses the Pope’s disdain for the USCCB. He is not changing church teaching on faith and morals. This Pope is all about decentralization and more effective management. The Church needs a new strategy for evangelism, not more “marketing” strategies. Americans and their Media have not accepted the fact that the West is no longer the center of Christianity.

  64. lana says:

    Mr. Shaw is only repeating what many people on this blog have been saying all along. I was expecting to see a lot more ‘dittoes’.

    What ever happened to the ‘due respect’ we owe to those whom Our Father has placed over us?

  65. JKnott says:

    Don’t know if you saw this Father,

    Judi McLoed over at “Canada Free Press”.

    “As someone rooting for the pope from this humble corner, I’ve been waiting for someone of note from the Catholic world to step up to take Francis’ side.

    I found him this morning in Father John Zuhlsdorf, the ‘Fr. Z’ of one of the internet’s most popular Catholic blogs.”

    She has some very kind words.

  66. mlmc says:

    I haven’t heard Rush Limbaugh’s criticism nor read the Fox article- but I do worry about Papal pronouncements on economics since the Pope has little expertise in the area- it is an area of prudential judgement where the laity are more expert. I hope his point is that the best economic system, ie capitalism, is not the be all & end all- it is merely a means to provide the resources for what is important- our mission on earth given us by the Lord. Most of life has little to do with profit & loss. Pope Francis comes from Argentina, which has a toxic cronyist economic system, so he has little experience with capitalism as it is practiced in most of the West. The Pope’s choice of words is a big issue since he is coming from an usual perspective in Argentina & addressing a large & diverse audience. Greg Mankiw’s critic seems to have merit where he states the Pope’s choice of loaded words (like trickle down) is problematic when describing controversial economic theories, he would be better served using proper economic terms.

  67. pjthom81 says:

    Hi everyone,

    I have given this a lot of thought and here’s where I come down for what it is worth. I am still optimistic about this Pope. He appears to be perfectly orthodox in his beliefs and is heartening a good portion of the Church, particularly overseas if reports are to be believed. He is not dismantling Benedict’s reforms which means that many (such as the new translation) will become consolidated during his pontificate. He may even reform the liturgy further and his fondness of Byzantine liturgy gives me hope of further progress given the reverence in that tradition.

    That said, I don’t think the author was out of line, and in fact it may be good that we have someone playing devil’s advocate, even if we don’t necessarily believe the worst. It’s probably not the worst thing to have someone making his opinion clear in this manner, and so long as the opinion is honest, it’s no unhealthy thing to air doubts. From what I understand about Francis, he doesn’t mind honest criticism no matter how strident, particularly if the object in mind is how to live a more devout Catholic life. Frankly, its a good problem for the Pope to have, and its healthy to force us to think.

    Now to the merits. In my mind the job of politics is to determine what is, legally. Basically, to rule the bodies of man. One job the Church has is to say what ought to rule the consciences of man. This is why it leads to corruption to have the same person reign in the position of both (to use the terms of the middle ages) Emperor and Pope. This is why Pius IX refused Italy and why Catholics going back to the early middle ages spoke of the temporal and spiritual realms. (Yes I’m aware of the Papal States existence but my understanding is that the purpose was to prevent any temporal ruler from undue influence in the papacy. If someone more knowledgeable on this matter wishes to refute this point or extrapolate feel free.)

    With these guiding principles what Francis says may be interpreted differently. He is not, despite what our media would like to believe, endorsing the Democrats over the Republicans. It is not his job to dictate policy. Instead he speaks to what is….capitalism, and reminds people that just because capitalism can lead to great riches does not provide equity for everyone, and therefore, does not relieve us from the obligation of charity. In fact it goes further than that, for the early Christians held possessions cheap even in the circumstances of Imperial Rome. Charity and welfare are two different animals. Welfare is compelled, while charity is voluntary. I believe, and conclude, that Francis is reminding us of our individual moral obligations to those in need, and reminding us that the markets….regardless of their other merits, will not absolve us of those obligations. All in all, nothing that could not be gleamed from a reading of “A Christmas Carol”.

  68. Priam1184 says:

    @AnimatedCatholic: The Church doesn’t belong to Pope Francis, or Pope Benedict XVI, or Pope Pius XII, or Pope Gregory III, or to any pope; it belongs to Jesus Christ. Our Faith is not in the Pope, but in Jesus Christ. We do not give up the Faith because we don’t like the current occupant of the Chair of Peter, because to deny the Faith is not to deny the Pope but to deny Jesus Christ, something that I don’t think you want to do. We need to try our best to live the Gospel, because that is what we are called to do and that is hard enough all by itself, and ignore all the rest. And if you are ever curious about what Pope Francis is doing then come here to Fr. Z’s site because he has the most unbiased, thoughtful, and understanding (when anyone can understand what the Holy Father is up to) analysis of Pope Francis by far.

  69. jflare says:

    Well, I read Mr. Shaw’s piece on PewSitter first. I guess we can say he went a little farther than strictly needed, but….
    If anything, Mr. Shaw’s views seem to me a very good bit of venting. We’ve been nervous and frustrated with Pope Francis..really since his election. We’re growing weary of the ga-ga, goo-goo fawning over him that we’ve seen from the left. ..And sadly, some of Francis’ comments have been..less than helpful in terms for advocating for the right to life OR the right to exercise faith in the US.
    If Mr. Shaw’s attitude strikes some as being entirely too political, I’d say that we have a problem in this nation that..we’re not political enough. I’ve grown to be quite wary of almost anything the bishops say, in no small part because they tend to make pronouncements about what they’d like to see done based on particular premises, but they usually ignore about 2/3 of the relevant concerns.

    I could write more on THAT pretty easily, but suffice to say, I’m rather relieved that Mr. Shaw dared to write his piece. I think he provided a good outlet for what many of us have thought to ourselves, but didn’t have an outlet to speak through.

  70. jflare says:

    “For the free market: doctors opting out of Obamacare and insurance altogether and moving toward a “health co-op” model, in which their patients pay a monthly fee and get (nearly) unlimited access to the doctors in the co-op…including house calls.”

    Defender, I would contend that this description of the free market IS what capitalism IS. Capitalism tends to be a reflection of the efforts of members of society to seek the common good, while still earning profits. Or rather, that’s what REAL capitalism. I would also argue that Bill Gate’s efforts with Common Core have nothing to do with capitalism; they’re much more aimed at being monopolistic and statist; far closer to socialism or the boogeyman communism.

    Capitalism tends to require allowing for genuine choice; Gates’ efforts strike me as being aimed mostly at suppressing choices.

  71. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    What “form of control” which it is asserted to be “the right of states” (el derecho de control de los Estados),is the Holy Father calling on which “political leaders” (los gobernantes/los dirigentes políticos) as part of a “vigorous change of approach” (paras. 56-59)?

  72. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Oops! “to exercise” omitted at end!

  73. jmgarciajr says:

    Venerator Sti Lot: Here’s my understanding of what you mention. It refers to one of the current discussions, especially prevalent among free-market advocates (primarily, but not exclusively) in Latin America: that creating wealth without creating value is playing with fire. That is, the problem isn’t that some people might become rich — for the moment let’s take as a given nothing immoral has happened to achieve such wealth — but rather, that some people might become rich without having generated anything of tangible value.

    An example to illustrate: Currency exchanges exist, supposedly, to facilitate the international trade of goods and services…but 90%+ of all currency exchange transactions have no tangible trade attached to them….they are purely speculative, and rife with manipulation. If you’ve done business with, say, China you’ve witnessed this.

    But any financial entity creating “derivatives” or other highly speculative securities is not eager to see them regulated at all and, in fact, many of these financial instruments are created specifically to circumvent any oversight. The derivatives-upon-derivatives tangle is being chastised in this document, and we’ll see this critique developed further. Even in some countries where there are “regulations” those at the upper reaches of the socioeconomic scale can, through political or financial influence, skirt those regulations. (Even in the USA, such things happen, cf. the Corzine or Geithner scandals.)

    Were I to guess, the form of control to which the Holy Father alludes (and by reading further we see he is specifically making a point of NOT calling for specific actions) is something which would make commercial transactions and, especially, financial transactions both more transparent and more linked to actual commercial activity that generates goods and services.

    I don’t believe he is calling for greater intrusion in everyday economic activities. But that’s just my opinion.

  74. Pingback: PopeWatch: Deliberate Mistranslation? | The American Catholic

  75. Venerator Sti Lot says:


    Thank you for such a detailed, lucid opinion (with a good ‘verifiable’ forecast: ” we’ll see this critique developed further”)!

  76. SKAY says:

    Mr. Shaw has lost his job.
    jmgarciajr-thank you for your interesting comments about the translation problem.
    You underline even more what Father Z is pointing out.
    I wonder if the Pope is aware of this translation problem and how this shades the perception of what he is actually saying — here in the US.

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