“Sorry, liberals: Pope Francis is not….”

With a big hug for Reese and Winters over at National Schismatic Reporter, there is an article from the NY Post that deserves your attention.

Also, I ask you readers for a favor, below.

My trademark emphases and comments:

Meet the new pope — same as the old pope
By Kyle Smith

Sorry, liberals: Pope Francis is not the Barack Obama of the Vatican.  [You might recall that some even on the conservative side of things call him that. HERE]

The media’s fantasy that the new pope is a revolutionary determined to steer the Church left reached a new level of fatuousness this week when Rolling Stone gave Francis the full Lady Gaga treatment, placing him on its cover with the headline, “The Times They Are a-Changin’.”

No, they ain’t.  [RIGHT!]

Rolling Stone joined Time (which crowned Francis its Person of the Year for 2013), The Advocate (ditto) and The New York Times in a group self-delusion [well said] that the pope is coming around to their views on economics, homosexuality and ordination of women.

The basis for all this is a misreading of a few out-of-context quotations, ignorance of longstanding church doctrine and (perhaps most of all) a frenzy to enlist the pope against the left’s favorite bogeymen, Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh. [I wouldn’t make the list that narrow.]

In Rolling Stone, writer Mark Binelli swooned, [Thrills up your leg will do that to you I hear.] noting that Palin called Pope Francis “kind of a liberal” (before backtracking) and Limbaugh denounced the pope’s views as “pure Marxism.” With enemies like those, the left thinks, Francis must be OK.

But MSNBC shouldn’t go booking the pope to co-host the Rachel Maddow Show just yet.

It’s hard for liberals (and maybe some conservatives) to wrap their heads around this, but Catholic doctrine doesn’t line up neatly with American views of left and right. The church is steadfastly pro-life on abortion (we associate that with conservatives) but equally pro-life on capital punishment (a view we call liberal). Nor has the Vatican altered its commitment to uplifting the poor or its related suspicion of capitalism.

Yes, Pope Francis critiqued “trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market alone, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice.” [Alas, here the writer stumbled.  We are back to that faulty English translation.  That “inevitably” should read “by themselves”.]
But (pace Limbaugh), Francis also blasted Marxism, if not in the same speech: “The ideology of Marxism is wrong,” he said in December.

It’s not like Benedict XVI (whom Binelli compared to Freddy Krueger) was an apostle of Milton Friedman either: “Both capitalism and Marxism promised to point out the path for the creation of just structures,” he said in 2007. “And this ideological promise has proven false.  [The former Pope probably veered toward Socialism.]

Capitalism, Benedict continued, left a “distance between rich and poor” and is “giving rise to a worrying degradation of personal dignity.”

Pope John Paul II showed perhaps the most enthusiasm for capitalism of any pope, yet even he said, “There are many human needs which find no place on the market. It is a strict duty of justice and truth not to allow fundamental human needs to remain unsatisfied.” He warned against a “radical capitalistic ideology” that lacks an “ethical and religious” core. [How refreshing.  He bothered to do some homework!]

Did Francis (as the Times proclaimed last September) complain that the church was “obsessed” with gays, abortion and birth control? Not quite. [Do I hear an “Amen!”?]

Here’s what he said: “The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently.”

Nothing new here, either: The pope was just focusing on the big picture. [PAY ATTENTION…]Benedict said the same thing, [Winner! Winner!] albeit more directly, in 2006, noting that, for press interviews, “I always knew the questions in advance. They concerned the ordination of women, contraception, abortion.?.?. If we let ourselves be drawn into these discussions, the church is then identified with certain commandments or prohibitions; we give the impression that we are moralists with a few somewhat antiquated convictions, and not even a hint of the true greatness of the faith appears.” [It’s official.  The next time I am in NYC, if that is where he is, I’ll buy this guy a beer.]

Yes, Pope Francis said, “Who am I to judge a gay person of goodwill who seeks the Lord?” But this is consistent with the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which states that gays “must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.”

In 2010, while still just a cardinal, he called gay marriage “a destructive attack on God’s plan” and last year Francis was “shocked” by a gay-adoption bill, according to a bishop who discussed the matter with him. [I wrote about that HERE.  I am not sure, but I don’t think Fishwrap mentioned that story.] Ordination of women? Francis said in November that this was “not a question open for discussion.” Abortion? “Horrifying,” he said on Jan. 13.

There is a Bob Dylan song that encapsulates the media’s coverage of Pope Francis, but it isn’t “The Times They Are a-Changin’.” It’s “Idiot Wind.[Perfect.]

Take it away Bob!  HERE

“Someone’s got it in for me, they’re planting stories in the press….

Fr. Z kudos, Kyle.  Well done.

Do me a favor.  Go right now to visit this fellow’s personal blog HERE and spike his numbers a bit.  Tell him Fr. Z sent you.

Finally, please show this piece to your liberal acquaintances.

And now for you young’uns, “Idiot Wind” is on the album Blood On The Trackswhich could be his best album.

Gotta love that Hammond organ!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Fr. Z KUDOS, Francis, Liberals, Our Catholic Identity, The Drill and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. terryprest says:

    Re Pope Francis said, “Who am I to judge a gay person of goodwill who seeks the Lord?”

    Possibly journalists had not listened to or read the talk by Pope Benedict XVI on 21st March 2010
    at http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/angelus/2010/documents/hf_ben-xvi_ang_20100321_en.html.

  2. Unwilling says:

    For every alarming thing this pope says, he says a hundred (or so) good ones.
    A shirt with one tiny splash of tomato sauce on it is not fit to wear in public.

    [First, I guess that depends on whether or not you have a choice, another shirt. Second, it depends on where the splash is. Third, the only true Holy One, the only perfect High Priest, is our Lord.]

  3. These are pieces of comments I wrote somewhere else with some slight changes, and I think both of them apply here:

    It’s nice, but too little too late…Although the Pope may very well be fine doctrinally, etc, the perception that he isn’t has caused more damage than if he actually were to change anything (which of course he can’t do). Perception might not be reality at times, but the perception often is worse.

    It does not bring anyone joy to point out things with Pope Francis, One can’t pretend that things are all unicorns, sunshine and rainbows, when they’re not. Pope Francis does say things that are good and solid, at the same time he doesn’t. Praise where praise is due, correction, where correction is due…but the vast majority of time it’s the latter rather than the former, whether it’s the “who am I to judge” (TM) , “little monsters” (TM) , intentionally disobeying Holy Thursday rubrics, or “the miracle is a sharing” when referring to the feeding of the 5 000. Not nipping things before they get worse always undercuts whatever authority or intention someone is trying to do. Especially for the Pope.

    It’s good to not despair or constantly focus on the negative things, it’s quite taxing. As I like to say, while I’m not as far to the right as the traditional blogs in their criticisms of Pope Francis. (I genuinely think he doesn’t know), I’m not in the super sunshine and rainbows camp of the lefties either. It’s a day by day thing.

    Let us pray for our Holy Father Francis, Pope of Rome, Lord have mercy.

  4. Nancy D. says:

    With all due respect, Marxism and Socialism are a form of government where the State is father, whereas capitalism is an economic system that without an ethical core, can become corrupted.
    That being said, “Who am I to judge”, is the battle cry of those persons who do not desire to call sin, sin, including those persons who dismiss the harmful nature of same-sex sexual relationships that are “private”, do not include children, and are not called marriage, and thus, according to pope Francis, do not affect society. (See page 117 of the book On Heaven and Earth, and while your at it, take a look at page 124 where pope Francis talks about the autonomy of Science even though it is a self-evident truth that The Laws of Nature were created by Nature’s God, The Blessed Trinity.)

    Pope Benedict would never identify someone as a “gay” person, in fact, he went to great lengths to say that a person is not a sexual inclination.

    Regarding the feeding of the 5,000, Love multiplies.

  5. donato2 says:

    “Shelter From The Storm” is fascinating for its Christian and Trinitarian overtones. The title is from Isaiah (Isaiah 4:6, 25:4). In the stanza that begins “in a little hill top village they gambled for my clothes” the narrator is Christ (“I bargained for salvation/she gave me a lethal dose”); same for the stanza with “she took my crown of thorns.” The woman at times evokes the Holy Spirit (“when God and her were born”).

  6. Dimitri_Cavalli says:

    Actually, here’s the punchline: Kyle Smith, who served in the Persian Gulf War and who normally reviews films for the NY Post, is actually an atheist of yhe libertarian/Reason magazine bent.

    He seems to understand Catholicism better than some Catholics.

  7. Imrahil says:

    As an annotation,

    it can by no means be said that the Church is “equally” on the right with abortion as it is on the left with capital punishment.

    Abortion is an utterly intrinsic evil deed, and – while I won’t go in here for the precise definition of the terms – a crime.

    Capital punishment is the hardest of all morally threatenable punishments (to which it belongs), the use of the bearers of the Church’s Magisterium have judged to be unnecessary.

    We do indeed not share the belief sometimes uttered by conservatives, i.e. that some crimes are that heinous that nothing can be done except exterminate the offender. The Church always spoke out against that – a murderer, like any other sinner, can go to Confession and be absolved. But as for the other considerations involved in penal legislation, such as deterrence, proportionality and the like, the question becomes less easy. Indeed, while it does be the Church’s policy that today capital punishments should not be, most arguments heard by “the Left” as to capital punishment are still not Catholically valid. For the Church’s position derives for considerations for today; it is not Catholically correct to say (as “the Left” does seem to say) that capital punishment is wrong at any time in past, present, and future.

    And even if the State of today which applies capital punishment does punish harder than necessary, it is still downright false that “the State makes itself equal to the murderer”. Which, however, “the Left” says at any time it arguments about the topic.

  8. Imrahil says:

    A in my view better example where the Church and American conservatism are at odds are principal considerations about the State in economy.

    For the Church says that the State, though it must abide to the principle of subsidiarity, has, when all is said and done, still a vital and decisive role in national economy. Which to deny seems to be a shibboleth for (some tendencies of) American conservatism.

  9. Legisperitus says:

    Very good. He didn’t quite get capital punishment right (sort of went all Bernardin on that), but if he’s not a Catholic he shouldn’t be expected to understand all the nuances.

  10. Kerry says:

    Great words from Idiot Wind, “There’s a lone soldier on the cross, smoke pourin’ out of a boxcar door, you didn’t know it, you didn’t think it could be done, but in the final end He won the wars, after losin’ every battle”.

    Although it is “a wonder we can even feed ourselves”.

  11. yatzer says:

    I totally respect Pope Francis and pray for him, but have difficulty understanding what he means sometimes. It seems so murky, at least to me, so often. I pay attention as much as I can, but wish he would be more clear about what is expected of us in a world that is becoming so strange and hostile. The result is that I often don’t read what he says because I figure there is a good likelihood I won’t get what it is he really intends anyway. And that is depressing since it feels like we are dog paddling around the edge of a cultural whirlpool and need real direction.

  12. jm says:

    “There is a Bob Dylan song that encapsulates the media’s coverage of Pope Francis, but it isn’t “The Times They Are a-Changin’.” It’s “Idiot Wind.” [Perfect.]”

    Actually I think it is “Same Change” by Sam Phillips:
    “The camera angles and the name campaigns
    The stare cuts and the latest extremes…
    Fascist slogans and the movie of the week
    Popular opinion, cars that drive you mad…”

    Read more: Sam Phillips – Same Changes Lyrics | MetroLyrics

  13. Iacobus M says:

    EXTRA! EXTRA! The Pope is Catholic! Sometimes you just gotta laugh. And Blood on the Tracks is definitely Dylan’s best album, in my book. As a number of comments above point out, you can already see that Slow Train Comin’.
    -Iacobus M


  14. Dimitri_Cavalli says:

    Here is an address, “Market Economy and Ethics,” delivered in 1985 by then-Cardinal Ratzinger, http://acton.org/global/article/market-economy-and-ethics

    as posted on the Web site of the Acton Institute.

  15. Geoffrey says:

    We need to make copies of this article and drop it from the skies.

  16. Mr. Green says:

    Joe of St Thérèse: Praise where praise is due, correction, where correction is due…but the vast majority of time it’s the latter rather than the former

    “The vast majority of the time”?!?

    Is that something you got from Rolling Stone magazine?

  17. Mr Green, nope, it’s the culmination of the past 10 months….and I’m not just speaking of the things that make the news.

  18. Mr. Green says:

    Joe of St Thérèse: Mr Green, nope, it’s the culmination of the past 10 months….and I’m not just speaking of the things that make the news.

    Well, you didn’t say what you spent those ten months doing [or smoking…]. But I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt that you weren’t just trying to be rude and have actually been working on a ten-month research project to evaluate all the Pope’s words. We look forward to seeing the detailed statistical breakdown by topic and context and the credentials of your team of papal-correcting theologians.

Comments are closed.