Unpopular though it may be to say so, I, for one, grew exhausted by the non-stop pronouncements /commentaries of Pope Francis. The spiritual leader of 1 billion Catholics — roughly half of the world’s Christians — Francis just completed a high-profile, endlessly publicized visit to the United States.
But unlike past visiting pontiffs, the Argentine-born Francis weighed in on a number of hot-button U.S. social, domestic, and foreign-policy issues during a heated presidential-election cycle.
Francis, in characteristic cryptic language, pontificated about climate change. He lectured on illegal immigration. He harped on the harshness of capitalism, as well as abortion and capital punishment.
A fair-minded person might infer from his advice that capitalism is more prone to impoverish than to create enough wealth to bring the underclass out of poverty. Yet the poor in the free-market United States are mostly better off than the middle classes in Pope Francis’ homeland. Argentina’s statism has transformed one of the most resource-rich countries in the world into an impoverished nation. Are the wages of socialism therefore less than Christian?
Authoritarian regimes such as the Castro dynasty in Cuba or Iran’s theocracy do not receive much criticism from the pope for their administration of state justice. Yet Francis blasted capital punishment, which in America is mostly reserved for first-degree murderers, not the perpetrators of thought crimes as in Cuba and Iran.
Francis believes — and ipso facto puts the church behind the creed — that global warming is man-caused. It is supposedly ongoing and can be addressed only though radical state intervention.
Francis, who arrived in the U.S. in a carbon-spewing jet, seems to leave no room for other views. If the climate really is becoming warmer, it cannot be because of naturally occurring cycles of long duration.
Hundreds of thousands of migrants are now swarming illegally into the West, whether into Europe mostly from the Middle East, or into America from Latin America. They arrive in numbers that make them difficult to assimilate and integrate, with radical repercussions on the host country’s ability to serve the social needs of its own poorer citizens.
Yet Francis reserves most of his advice for host countries to ensure that they treat the often-impoverished and mostly young male newcomers with Christian humanity. That advice is admirable. But the pope might have likewise lectured the leaders of countries such as Syria and Mexico to stop whatever they are doing to heartlessly drive out millions of their own citizens from their homes.
Or he might have suggested that migrants seek lawful immigration and thereby more charitably not harm the interests of immigrants who wait patiently until they can resettle lawfully.
Or he might have praised the West for uniquely creating conditions that draw in, rather than repel, the world’s migrants.
In sum, Francis did not fully understand a country founded on the principle of separation of church and state. And he has tragically harmed that delicate American equilibrium.
If a Christian truly believes that capitalism is the world’s only hope, that illegal immigration is detrimental to all involved, or that the Iranian nuke deal is a prelude to either war or nuclear proliferation, is he thereby somewhat less Christian or Catholic?
Is Francis aware of age-old hospitality adages about guests and hosts, or warnings about those who live in glass houses?
Would an American president dare to visit the Vatican to lecture the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church about their blatant sex and age discrimination, and to advise Francis that his successor should be female or under 50?
Should Americans urge the pope to adopt the supposedly enlightened Western doctrine of disparate impact, which might fault senior Vatican clergymen for failing to promote diversity in matters of sex, race, or age?
In this new freewheeling climate of frank exchange, should Protestant friends now advise Catholic dioceses to open their aggregate 200 million acres of global church lands to help house current migrants? Or should Francis first deplore the capitalist business practices in the administration of the so-called Vatican Bank?
Should the Church turn over to prosecuting attorneys all the names of past and present clergy accused of criminal sexual abuse, and cede all investigation and punishment entirely to the state?
Lots of hypocrisy inevitably follows when churches and their leaders politick.
Conservatives who object to Francis’s sermonizing often enjoy it when the moral majority and born-again Evangelicals stamp their own social agendas with Protestant piety.
Liberals might applaud the pope when he weighs in on global warming and cutthroat capitalism but perhaps want him to stick to religion when he frowns on abortions or female priests.
Because Pope Francis has shed the Catholic Church’s historic immunity from American politics, for good or bad, he and the church are fair game for political pushback.
But do we really want a priest in the role of Bernie Sanders or Ted Cruz, dressed in ancient Roman miter and vestments, addressing hot-button issues with divine sanction?
© 2015 Tribune Media Services, Inc.
20 thoughts on “Pope Francis’s Hypocritical Politicking”
First, when Jesus and the Bible warn that Saint Peter is a knucklehead, why would we be surprised with knuckleheaded Christian leadership?
Second, in the larger context of our post-logical human mental ecosystem where we remain enslaved by the “truth” that is defined as what contradicts fact and logic, there are no known real time Solutions, aka effective responses to this Reality. @hnmsci
I couldn’t stand to listen after the first day. Tuned into my Netflix for the remainder of his visit.
Unfortunately Francis has reduced himself to a popeagandist.
I have been very disappointed with Pope Francis. His rhetoric is so…bland. He seems a garden-variety liberal/progressive done up in finery.
I don’t mind *what* his stances are nearly as much as lack of depth to them. I expect some thoughtfulness from a Pope.
Re: “But do we really want a priest in the role of Bernie Sanders or Ted Cruz, dressed in ancient Roman miter and vestments, addressing hot-button issues with divine sanction?”
i think that is a compelling question in our tumultuous days where we see a definite slinking to the ‘immoral’ as we see despots and vicious autocrats trash democracy, human rights and experiencing extremists as ISIS proclaim their coming with outright murder with beheadings and mass killings.
Francis is not speaking in a way such as a ‘Sanders’ or a ‘Cruz’ and the like but as a personage of an institution that is in direct opposition to what passes as an example of the actions human beings in the global community. He in his opposition highlights the secular failure in coming to grips with the problems of our time. That is a man not looking for votes but for a consensus in focusing on grave problems in our society. To not listen to what he has to say is foolishness.
Truly with his criticisms he carries the mantle of democracy, human rights and human potential. He I believe realizes we are world in great transition both in the secular and spiritual phase. And finally as a great moral authority it arguably would be better if he would have his ‘chat’s from the lectern rather than ISIS and their immoral ilk.
“But do we really want a priest in the role of Bernie Sanders or Ted Cruz, dressed in ancient Roman miter and vestments, addressing hot-button issues with divine sanction?”
Basically YES. When churches were strongest they chirped with all kinds of politicking on the hot button issue of the week. Repeating generic niceties such as “love thy neighbor” for decades does not actually increase the love shown to neighbors.
FYI Popes do condemn terrorism and Latin American dictators all the time; it’s just not news worthy.
Bring back Benedict 16.
It’s amusing and disturbing to see people like Boehner weeping and acting like they are in the presence of a god. The pope is nothing but a cardinal elected by his peers to run the church, a job that somebody has to do. If only these weepy people knew about all the unsavory characters who have in various periods of history held the title of Bishop of Rome perhaps they would exercise a little more common sense and skepticism.
At least we can be grateful that Catholics are a minority in America.
The Pope bashes capitalism and wealth accumulation, but is silent concerning the enormous wealth of his church. Anyone who has toured the Vatican Museum looks upon gold, gems and art works so valuable no one can really put a Euro dollar price tag on the mountain of riches housed there. Throw in the church’s global land holdings and now we are talking a global conglomerate. Your article sheds much light on the hypocrisy of the Roman Catholic Pontif. It was interesting to see both Liberals and Conservatives hyping the Pope’s comments that aligned with their ideology. It appears Francis had something for everyone. I tired of the constant press coverage and finally tuned it out to pursue my capitalist way of life.
If he were truly worried about climate change he would support contraception and abortions. Instead, sticking to dogma…in the act of procreation, there must always be the potential for life…and each life has a soul and we have the potential of sending that soul to the Lord…Allah be praised!
One can therefore casually forget the details of living in the here and now.
Maybe the pope will return all the gold stolen from peasants in the middle ages and open the gates of Vatican City for these poor refugees? When he does that then I’l know he is serious.
The problem with any leadership convention is that someone no one wants — in this case, an old liberation-theology Marxist hack — comes up the middle.
Likewise I turned off the non stop coverage after I got the jist.
As usual you put into words many of the thoughts I’ve had about this man.
Of course you’re too much of a gentleman to say what I think:
The guys a jerk!
Why are we the bad guys for complaining about illegal immigrants?
Why give us a lecture?
Why not lecture Mexico?
Shouldn’t Mexico improve the conditions that make their people want to leave?
Why doesn’t Vatican city take in refugees and finance their relocation?
No we’re not the bad guys and Capitalism isn’t a bad system but this guy, His majesty King Emperor Pope
in his magic robes and Catholic yarmulke reflects and iterates nothing but bad thinking any way you slice it.
(I apologize for the negative internet Troll tone here but this man disgusts me. Don’t post this comment if you like, I had to vent)
Thanks for the great writing.
I DVR’ed all of the ceremoniouses and fast forwarded through most of the Fox and CNN political and otherwise broadcasts. I haven’t watched a news broadcast live in the past year. for that matter I DVR all of the shows I wish to see
Le vatican, combien de divisions ?
The ever more rapid desemination of the scientific method of establishing truth in all spheres is making increasingly irrelevant these relicts of humanity’s past. It may take another generation or two but the Catholic Church is finished.
It is precisely the Pope Francis mentality and modus operandi that forced me out of Catholicism back in 1960 when I was a high school sophomore. I never regret my metamorphosis, but Pope Francis had vindicated the event. ~> http://victorhanson.com/wordpress/?p=8698
Pingback: Pape François: Qu’ils mangent de la pauvreté ! (Why is the Pope so ignorant about capitalism: It’s his Argentine origins, stupid !) | jcdurbant
FYI, I agree with everything you have said in your columns over the year. This one should be required reading for every American. I have always wondered why our politicians (and others–like the pope) don’t take on the leaders of countries who make life so unbearable that their people are driven to leave. Most all these countries have wonderful natural resources that people could take advantage of to make a living and stay put. Thank you for your common-sense spproach to the major issues of the day.
So millions of American children are stuck in shamefully mediocre public schools while the children of the more affluent and elite get to attend decent schools. Think of these schools as “countries”, both “rich” and “poor”. What I would like to see are the poor kids stuck in Washington DC’s worst schools to simply show up at more desirable schools, like the Sidwell Friends School or any of the Archdiocese of Washington schools and simply “immigrate” there. When I say “immigrate”, I mean, just show up, unprocessed and uninvited. I think that any of these “dreamer” children who wants to go to any of these better schools should be permitted to do so, regardless of their legal or economic status.
Naturally and contrary to how they feel about our current border policy, the Progressive administrators of these schools would immediately call law enforcement and will have these “invaders” arrested for “trespassing”, and would insist that the law be enforced, the children evicted and arrested. They might also insist upon action being taken against their parents as well for encouraging and enabling the trespassing. The parents of the children attending these elite schools will insist the same. They’ll lament about the questionable health and hygiene of the “dreamer” kids, as well as the negative social influence they may have upon their precious children. They’ll be horrified, and wonder how this was allowed to happen, and will demand action against it.
Interesting and hypocritical, don’t you think? I’d love to see this happen. If we’re going to eliminate the borders, let’s eliminate all of them, or at least make the people not doing so look like hypocritical jerks.
What I’m talking about is taking it to the next, logical level to mirror what is happening in immigration. At least there’s a legal process for re-defining school boundaries. I’m talking about anarchy, which is basically what our current immigration situation is. The kids from P.S. 307 should literally invade P.S. 8. They should walk into any classroom and take any seat. If there are no seats available, they should either shove someone who has one out of it, or those with seats should be made to share. Any P.S. 8 student (or parent) who resists should be berated as xenophobic and a racist. As the Dumbo article mentions, many of the P.S. 307 kids have behavioral issues. The P.S. 8 students should be made to live with it, be it distractions from learning or physical violence.
Let’s make the President and Pope’s dream a reality for our kids and their sheltering parents.