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Update: The Pope Is A Mensch

"Marxist ideology is wrong. But I have met many Marxists in my life who are good people, so I don't feel offended."

by
Andrew Klavan

Bio

December 16, 2013 - 10:05 am

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I don’t mean to make a profession out of commenting on the Pope, but since I put up a post about his first exhortation last week, it seems only fair to update it. In the previous post, I put forward the opinion that — notwithstanding a range of defenses from loyal Catholics, and some virulent attacks from conservative commentators — the new Big Hat Guy had been a bit unwise in his remarks. It was impossible to tell from the text whether he was attacking free markets or simply criticizing them, and given that free markets help the poor far more than Marxism, clarity is important. Well, since the Pope and I are like this, Francis immediately responded by clarifying his comments. This, I feel, is in keeping with the ancient church doctrine of Menschliness — which is to say, he did the right thing and good on him.

According to my friends at Truth Revolt, Francis responded to accusations he was a Marxist or some kind of South American Social Justice type by telling the Italian newspaper La Stampa, “Marxist ideology is wrong. But I have met many Marxists in my life who are good people, so I don’t feel offended.”

There is nothing in the Exhortation that cannot be found in the social Doctrine of the Church. I wasn’t speaking from a technical point of view, what I was trying to do was to give a picture of what is going on. The only specific quote I used was the one regarding the “trickle-down theories” which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and social inclusiveness in the world. The promise was that when the glass was full, it would overflow, benefitting the poor. But what happens instead, is that when the glass is full, it magically gets bigger nothing ever comes out for the poor. This was the only reference to a specific theory. I was not, I repeat, speaking from a technical point of view but according to the Church’s social doctrine. This does not mean being a Marxist.

This, in turn, means that Peggy Noonan — whose Pope column I criticized — pretty much got it right when she pointed out the Pope was not speaking as an economist.

Priests are like soldiers. I’ve never met a member of the military who cared much about taxing and spending. Their general view is that taxes should be high enough to allow a great nation to support a first-rate military to keep you safe, end of story…  Priests tend to be like that, too…  How high should taxes be? High enough for a first-rate country to help its citizens get the good things they need, end of story.

Having criticized Noonan, I (following the menschly papal path) have to give her props for “Coming Closest To Papal Intentions,” in her interpretation of the exhortation.

Mostly, I think, the story is a good reminder that you simply can’t see everything through a political or economic lens. For one thing, it makes you crabbed and angry all the time which isn’t good for you. And also, it distorts the points of view of people who are speaking from another perspective, like the Pope. If you read some of the comments under my previous post, you’ll see what I mean.

Finally, to all those who attacked me for criticizing Ayn Rand, I double checked my facts and I’m right and you’re wrong. Glad we could clear that up.

 

*****

Cross-posted from Klavan on the Culture

Andrew Klavan’s newest novel is Nightmare City.

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I doubt that you, Mr. Klavan, know what is going on in the Catholic Church, particularly for "traditionalists". There is an uproar in America, Germany, France and ... enough. Look up Gloria.tv and just watch the contributions in English and read also the comments (other languages possible), particularly those of some days ago (you will find me in two languages), and you'll find an unending unease, criticism and sense of betrayal. The Pope has a nasty habit, not worthy of a Pope, even as a Mensch, of insulting viciously the integrity of those who are not pushing his line. Indeed, the papally initiated surpression going on of the Franciscans of the Immaculate can only be described in soviet terms. The Pope is not just a Mensch who will kiss you, rather, disagree, and he will kiss you off. Enough of such "trickle down" theology. Let us examine Pope Francis's not being offended if he is called a Marxist, because "I have met many Marxist in my life who are good people".

What is going on here? No offense is taken by the Pope for being called a Marxist because, well, many are just plain "good people". Let me flash before your eyes some scenes from a documantary in German tv on Hermann Göring. I presume you have heard the name. He was personally "the friendly face" of Nazism, gave out presents to the poor for Christmas, a jolly good fellow with whom to share a beer or two, and an excellent conversationalist to accompany on a hunt for wild swine (on Göring's own property), particularly if you had happened to be a British politician of the day. I could hardly believe my eyes watching film of the hunting party and all those charmed Brits. What is the point of this?

Piux XII was post WW II accused of antisemitism (cf. Susan Goldberg's article, based on Gen. Paceba's explanation of Soviet disinformation), even had Hochmut's drama "The Deputy" accusing him. What if that Pope had said: "Well, I am no anti-Jew, let along a krypto-Nazi, but, I do know many Nazis who, like Göring, are nice people. So, I am not offended by the charges".

I do hope the comparison is self-evident. Conslute "The Black Book on Communism" for what even nice guy (and Stalin could be a charmer at times) Marxist could do in the name of Marxist ideology. The Soviet experiment (along with other horrendus marxistic events) is a logically plausible application of Marxism to praxis. Bertolt Brecht in his commie days wrote "The Measures Taken" in which MARXIST morality is manfest in: "Reach down and embrace the butcher, but change the world it needs it". Yes, "BUTCHER ethics", be it Nazi or Marxist, is EVIL!!! Agreed? I personally would be offend in the heart of my Christian or Mensch heart, to be called a Marxist. Pope Francis is NOT offended because there are nice guy Marxists (just as there were nice guy Nazis).

I am seeking to show that the foils of Pope Francis are not just because he is a Mensch (why the heck German at this point?), rather that he lacks a fundamental sense of objectivity, being bounded up in his sentimentalisms and feelings (which I cannot describe here). I suggest that there is something fundamentally amiss in that Mensch's person such that he is NOT offened at being equated with nice guy "butchers".

Problems with Pope Francis go way beyond his ignorance re Marxism (I say that as a person who wrote two volumes on the evolution of Marx's Marxism) and reach into fundamental views, particularly on modernity or, better, post-modernity. Without substantiation, I understand why Bishop Fellay of the Pius Brotherhood interprets Pope Francis as a "modernist", though I tend towards "post-modernist". Mr. Klavan you are entering terrritory about which, I suspect, you know little. Thanks for the try anyway.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Nothing new. As the Decree read, the world should be taxed. Even the pregnant get no exemption from travel.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
So, right in front of you the Pope dives into class-envy rhetoric, and still he's "not a Marxist".

"The only specific quote I used was the one regarding the “trickle-down theories” which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and social inclusiveness in the world. The promise was that when the glass was full, it would overflow, benefitting the poor. But what happens instead, is that when the glass is full, it magically gets bigger nothing ever comes out for the poor."

Perhaps you agree with him so readily in his assertion, that you can't see what's right before you?

Then you go on, Andrew, to state that everything can't be viewed through a political or economic lens. Pardon me, Andrew, but that's the THE MOST idiotic thing I've ever read from you.

Everything in your life - every single thing - is political and economic, all at once. There's not a single decision you take, not a thing you own/carry/wear/consume, that isn't also political and economic with respect to your ownership, it's origin, and it's ultimate destination.

Shame on you.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
You did the honorable thing in admitting that you stand corrected...your a mensch! The Yiddish language has so many good words and expressions I think people who are not exposed to it are somehow missing out on something.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
No.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
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