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Did the Pope Speak Unwisely?

Hey, the guy's still a rookie.

by
Andrew Klavan

Bio

December 9, 2013 - 4:00 pm
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Only Resembles the Pope!

As a non-Catholic fan of the last two Popes — one a hero, one a genius — I’ve been following with interest the controversy over the new Pope’s first exhortation. Pope Francis’s Evangelii Gaudium sparked a firestorm with its criticism of free markets and “trickle down theories,” and its apparent call for the state to take action against them. The great Rush Limbaugh confessed himself “befuddled” by the message which sounded to him like “pure Marxism,” and Breitbart’s Big Peace site had a post headlined, “Pope Francis Attacks Capitalism, Calls for State Control.” In response, Peggy Noonan wrote what I thought was one of her weaker columns defending the Pope as a non-economist and saying, “I don’t think he’s saying be a leftist but something more revolutionary and fundamental: Be a saint. Be better, kinder, more serious and loving, and help create systems that reflect good, kind, loving people.” I much preferred the touchingly ferocious and loyal post from Rebecca Hamilton at Patheos, “If You’re Looking for Me, You’ll Find Me Standing With the Pope.” She lets go with both barrels at commentators on the left and right who try to tailor Catholicism to fit their political point of view:

These people have become so arrogant that they think they can talk to the Pope the way they talk to their toady political religious leaders that they’ve bought and own. Since they can’t even get an audience with the Pope, they are going directly to their cult-like following among their readers and listeners and are doing their best to get them riled up into a froth of Pope-hating.

Yowza!

Best of all, by my lights, was the scholarly Michael Novak’s piece “Agreeing With Pope Francis,” over at NRO. Novak points out that the original Spanish of the Pope’s message is more nuanced than the English translation, and that Francis’s South American experience might have given him a different view of capitalism than he would have gotten here in the states.  Novak feels that what the Pope means is that capitalism alone won’t help the poor without restraints of both law and conscience.

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All Comments   (7)
All Comments   (7)
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what happened to the original comments thread?
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ayn Randian blather that excludes the necessity for charity and compassion...

... would not be very accurate about Ayn Rand. OTOH even if she didn't really go that far, perhaps even so she went too far in that general direction. The thing (I assume) about being the Pope is that you don't want to speak in Ayn Randian terms, or even in Adam Smith terms, you want to speak in traditional Christian terms which don't much recognize a middle class or market mechanics. So maybe the Pope isn't as familiar with some of those concepts as he might be, and even insofar as he does know them might not feel he can refer to them.

Which is not to disagree, that maybe he did speak unwisely - but with sort of an excuse. Infallible but awkward, perhaps.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
wasnt there something in the bible about "give a man a fish and teach the man to fish?"

the left has infiltrated the religious institutions and the rot is deep
i have little trust in religious leaders who are unwilling and unable to link natural law, liberty, individual rights, and other merits of our american system (as founded) with the core teachings/beliefs of judeo/christians

33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
This pope continually speaks unwisely--not just in this recent document. He has spoken unwisely about abortion, gay marriage, traditional Catholics, evil, conscience and economics. Being a rookie is no excuse. The cardinals should have picked someone with sound theological sense, an understanding of good and evil, and basic good sense. This guy doesn't seem to have much of any of that.

One can see parallels with Obama--someone not terribly bright or sensible thrust into a position way over his head, someone who plays up to the left-wing media, and someone who encourages a cult of personality--in Francis's case, by his very, very loud "humility" and his attempts to court those who hate Christ, while undermining the message of Christ. Jesus tried to attract all kinds of people, but He didn't compromise about right and wrong. Francis seems to continually be compromising, in very bad ways.

The following article also brings up the Francis-Obama similarities:

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2013/12/04/pope-francis-is-catholic-churchs-obama-god-help-us/
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
Food for thought: Even if the current pope is the kind of person you suggest, an assertion I neither accept nor deny here, this would put him in the same category of human material as the original apostles.

Peter (of whom the pope is the successor) in particular was known for speaking rashly and exhibiting multiple failures of good common sense. He was also an uneducated fisherman, so I suspect the he was not terribly refined in his theology.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
Freedom is something to fight for, markets not so much. Now, with regard to free markets, how many of us emphasize the "free" part and how many the "market" part?

Regardless of his intent, he is making us think.

Greed is bad.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
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