Ethics Quote Of The Month: George Will, On The Pope’s Visit

Hi Pope Francis! I couldn't care less what you think about global warming, air conditioning, gay marriage, redistribution of wealth or world peace, but have a great time on your trip!"

Hi Pope Francis! I couldn’t care less what you think about global warming, air conditioning, gay marriage, redistribution of wealth or world peace, but have a great time on your trip!”

“Francis’s fact-free flamboyance reduces him to a shepherd whose selectively reverent flock, genuflecting only at green altars, is tiny relative to the publicity it receives from media otherwise disdainful of his church. Secular people with anti-Catholic agendas drain his prestige, a dwindling asset, into promotion of policies inimical to the most vulnerable people and unrelated to what once was the papacy’s very different salvific mission. He stands against modernity, rationality, science and, ultimately, the spontaneous creativity of open societies in which people and their desires are not problems but precious resources. Americans cannot simultaneously honor him and celebrate their nation’s premises.”

—–Columnist George Will, appropriately cutting through the hypocrisy and hype surrounding Pope Francis’s visit, as well as his irrelevant policy advocacy for which he possesses neither the credibility nor the authority to receive the attention it will receive.

Thank you, George.

Oh, there are lots of wonderful and much-needed statements in Will’s piece; I could have justified making the whole column a Quote Of The Month. This one might be even better:

“In his June encyclical and elsewhere, Francis lectures about our responsibilities, but neglects the duty to be as intelligent as one can be. This man who says “the Church does not presume to settle scientific questions” proceeds as though everything about which he declaims is settled, from imperiled plankton to air conditioning being among humanity’s “harmful habits.” The church that thought it was settled science that Galileo was heretical should be attentive to all evidence.”

Bingo. I have had to reschedule two seminars in Washington, D.C. because the Pope is literally shutting down the city. Why? Why should any aspect of our lives as Americans grind to a halt because a man who claims a divine wisdom that most of the American public does not attribute to him (and should not) presumes to lecture us?  He is pontificating (literally!) regarding matters that neither his own background nor the position he occupies provides legitimate reason to regard him as having sufficient expertise, perspective, or moral standing beyond the humblest blogger or citizen toting a sign.

Most galling of all, why isn’t the exploitation of the Pope’s archaic influence by progressive activists who spend the rest of the year mocking Christianity discredited in the news media as the cynical exercise it is?

“Americans cannot simultaneously honor him and celebrate their nation’s premises.”

Exactly.

 

54 thoughts on “Ethics Quote Of The Month: George Will, On The Pope’s Visit

  1. Dear Pope Francis:
    Until you can keep your priests’ hand off of our little boys, you have no right to lecture the world on anything. Anything. You are the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, and I think you have enough problems to address in your own realm before you can presume to reach out into areas where you have no expertise, no plan, no power except for exhortations. Clean your own house first.

  2. Plain and simple: the Pope’s a Commie. And yes, you’ve picked out the high lights of Will’s piece. Thank you for doing so. His piece is spot on. And thanks for pointing out the absurdity of the media’s love affair with this guy. When did they stop laughing at anything a Pope ever said?

  3. Thank you for your objective perspective. It both sad and refreshing. How? The press label him as Christian, which he is not. Secondly, as a sinful man (Rom. 3:23), like the rest of us, how can he “pontificate” about “works,” in the name of God, when the Bible clearly states that the Lord does not require nor wants our works (i Sam. 15:22). Christians are saved by Grace faith alone (Eph. 2:8-9). The Americans going crazy over his upcoming visit mirrors the Biblical-illiteracy of the last presidential election when all the “Christians” voted for Romney…because he was “a man of faith.” Evidently, for the American people, it doesn’t matter where one’s faith lays, it just maters that you claim the magical word “Faith” as your own. (I know your not interested in faith, but for those who are, cf. Jn. 14:6; Heb. 10:4) The Pope is as “christian” as a jihadist is Muslim, to call him such is the greatest of hypocrisies and it shows us the underbelly of the beast of American media as it focuses on every word leaving his mouth. Meanwhile, children are washing up dead on the shores of the very lands where Christianity first left Jerusalem.

      • Yep, he reads like a Christian who thinks earthly coexistence of his church with Islam is possible. He’s got more growing to do. He isn’t alone. I still have a lot more to learn about how best to use what weapons I have to best serve the Kingdom Of Christ. I’ll probably be making a lot more mistakes in what’s left of my earthly life; if that alone doesn’t strike terror in Muslims, it’s at their even greater peril. I don’t expect many, if any, of them to believe, confess and repent as Christ Commands. So – like the poster I saw the other day – I exhort my fellow soldiers for righteousness: “These [Muslim] boys want to meet virgins in heaven; let’s get ’em all laid NOW.” I wonder what the jihadists are saying about Señor Francis’s take on the weather and humanity’s obligation not to screw it up. [stifling a belly laugh]

  4. What aggravates me most about the Catholic Church (of which he is in charge) is their extravagant wealth, but inability to help those who most need it. In my town, the Catholic church is rather large and has 2 full-time priests (a church with two full-time clergy is big in my town). When one of their parishoners needs help (with food, basic items) they are often unable to help, and they bring them to my church. We are glad that we can help them, but it kind of irks me when this large church, backed by the worldwide wealth of Rome has to come ask an 80 member church for help with such basic things so often. I recently found out about one of their lifelong parishioners. The bank messed up her account, so she won’t get her SS check for a month (her only income). She has no food. We got her food last week and I bought more for her at the grocery store this weekend. She said she wasn’t allowed to ask her church for help because she had already asked once that month.

    Sorry, but it burns me up when I see a lifelong parishioner that spent their lives donating their time and money to the church ignored in their time of need, especially in their waning years. How dare a pope that allows such things to happen lecture me. Oh well, I guess I am supposed to feel grateful that he begrudgingly admits that I might NOT go to hell for failing to bow to his authority.

  5. Pope is literally shutting down the city. Why? Why should any aspect of our lives as Americans grind to a halt because a man who claims a divine wisdom that most of the American public does not attribute to him (and should not) presumes to lecture us?

    This has an easy answer: incompetent, lazy Secret Service. The Pope cannot (and would not want to) shutdown the entire city.

  6. George’s letter is a mixed bag. He throws several accusations, many true, some themselves, “demonstrably false”. How is condemning “compulsive consumerism,” not relevant to helping the 1.3 billion persons “without even electricity”. When a country of 300 million throws out enough food each year to feed 200 million, there is a problem. When 140 million people are earning less than a dollar day, and suffering poor nutrition as a result, there is a problem that wealthy nations are wasting food, and building homes on arable land, and using tons of gasoline to drive to work from way out in suburbia.

    Modest estimates show that nearly every energy source that can be developed over the next few decades would be needed to be used to raise the world to a minimum standard of living to that of rural Poland. Unnecessarily increasing one countries energy use, to live in a big home, on a lot that used to be a cornfield, is a problem. There is not necessarily a solution to the balance act between personal autonomy and the greater good, but there is a problem.

    There is a problem when wealthy countries import trendy foods from poor, vulnerable areas. In the 1800’s the English imported many crops from the Irish; that would not be a problem had they stopped when few crops left for the Irish failed. In the United States, Quinoa is considered a miracle food, because it is high in protein, fiber, and anti-oxidants. This was also why the natives in Argentina depended on it. Now we are buying up their staple foods, leaving them with cheap junk food, while we keep building homes on our owns farms! (We lament the loss of rain forest, which is being chopped down to create marginal farmland, but we are building suburbs on land that is the among the most productive farm land in the world!)

    I do not claim that Pope Francis is making a coherent argument regarding anything. I simply take issue with Will’s blanket denial that there is anything wrong. Will correctly points out that technology has done tremendous things to end poverty worldwide. Sound social policy, however, could do so much more with what we already have.

    • Neither Will nor I deny that anything is wrong. The point is that the Pope 1) is not a useful one to diagnose the problems; 2) he’s a hypocrite, 3) his values are unrelatable to reality, and 4) he’s anti-capitalism and pro-totalitarianism.

      The problem you refer to is reality and life. The Church is no more able to live up to its ideals than anyone else, and the Pope just blithely ignores human nature and simplifies the complex to spread guilt and cliches.

      And why, pray tell, does anyone bother to make estimates like “Modest estimates show that nearly every energy source that can be developed over the next few decades would be needed to be used to raise the world to a minimum standard of living to that of rural Poland”? What does that have to do with the Pope? Or actual policy? Or anything?

      • And why, pray tell, does anyone bother to make estimates like “Modest estimates … rural Poland

        Dr. Daniel G. Nocera from MIT used rural Poland as the minimum threshold for decent standard of living, to provide a ballpark estimate for how much energy a poverty-free world would use. This include high level productions of coal, oil and gas for the foreseeable future, as “clean energy”, even nuclear, simply cannot be developed fast enough. (http://www.jstor.org/stable/20028080?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents)

        As to its relevance to public policy, if we have rough idea that we will need to develop nearly all energy production towards eliminating poverty, allowing unnecessary energy use become detrimental to this goal. Building suburbs out on prime land, for instance, takes that land away from future food production forever, and increases energy use with little improvement in level of comfort. In fill in existing towns, for instance, could produce nearly identical lifestyle. Policy endorsing such poor land use works against eliminating poverty.

        As to its relevance to the Pope, Will used Francis’ teaching against “compulsive consumerism” as an example of teaching that made no sense. Yet this is a passage that discussed personal responsibility toward uses of world resources; responsible personal use could eliminate the wasteful and selfish lifestyle choices. The teaching is that individuals collectively are free to choose to help end poverty if they freely choose to set selfish urges aside; what exactly is Will criticizing about the Pope’s teaching here? Perhaps not this passage itself, but the overall lack of a coherent relations between teachings.

        The rural Poland passage is meant to provide a view of how small policy changes can have a larger impact. Thousands of small choices that do not have a disproportion economic or quality of life impact could accelerate the elimination of energy by not tying up indefinitely energy produced in the future.

        I criticize America’s disproportionate energy use, because as the greatest country in the world, everyone will emulate us eventually. The poorest would bear the brunt as other countries use arbitrarily high amounts of energy to emulate the most frivolous aspects of American life. This would an example of rationalization 1B America Does It. If the United States could develop a non-partisan energy policy that did not wreak havoc with the economy, the world would adopt that too, to everyone’s benefit.

        • So, all of the currupt governments of these impoverished nations who mismanage and misappropriate vast sums of money and resources already thrown at them, how do you get them onboard?

        • Have you ever wonder why the owners of the prime land would sell that land to people who would build suburbs on it?

          Have you ever wondered why the owners of the energy sources would sell them to people who would “waste” it?

          Maybe if there was a science, a field of study, that was about how people use scarce resources that have alternative uses…

        • Well, I certainly don’t want to offend Daniel Nocera, I am a fan of his work. However, there are alternatives, we just don’t have the political will to accomplish them. Thorium reactors, for instance, hold great promise to bring virtually limitless and almost free energy everywhere with almost no risk of nuclear proliferation. There have been great advances in solar energy and solar fuels since that 2006 paper. The global warming crowd wants you to think things are hopeless and we need to let them be in charge of the planet. They hate progress, hate technology, and think we can somehow revert to some simpler time without killing off a large percentage of the world’s population.

          The truth is that we are not too far away from giving everyone the standard of living Americans enjoy. The biggest obstacle isn’t scientific or technological, it is political and societal. We had our cellulosic ethanol plants ready to go, a solution of local, renewable energy and President Obama killed them because he didn’t want Bush to be responsible for a successful alternative fuel initiative. We could have thorium reactors right now, but it would have made building our nuclear arsenal politically difficult. We have new solar panels that we could stretch across the desert to power our cities, but the environmentalists would shut it down.

          Isn’t it interesting how the environmental lobby is against all alternative, renewable fuel sources? They are one of the main reason we are so dependent on fossil fuels. They lobby against wind, solar, hydroelectric, ethanol, nuclear… It is like they are paid by big petroleum.

          • That makes it almost sound like the Environmentalist lobby is less interested in bringing people UP (like Free Market Capitalism historically will do naturally) but rather, it sounds more like they are interested in bringing everyone DOWN to the same level…

    • Realists recognize that the problem isn’t that “better off” countries consume *more* or an *assumedly* unfair amount of resources while “worse off” countries just can’t get what they need.

      No, realists recognize that the problem is almost always cultural/governmental (in the “worse off” countries). It isn’t coincidental at all that the impoverished little crap-hole countries DON’T have free markets, DON’T have decentralized economies, DON’T have decentralized polities, DO have strong man cultures, DO have cultures predisposed to tribalism/violence, DO have governments that are mostly built around those predispositions…etc.

      It’s just the “teach a man to fish” principle on the national level. We throw as much food and foreign aid at the “worse off” countries that we want to…THEY WON’T GET BETTER because of it. Diseases don’t go away by fighting symptoms.

      • I should note that the only way we managed to “teach [Germany] to fish” was to occupy Germany. And we only did that to stop the western half of Germany from being taken over by the Soviets.

        We would have been perfectly content to leave Germany a crap-hole country absent the Soviet threat.

        • https://www.lewrockwell.com/2015/09/thomas-sowell/pope-francis-the-question-is-not-why-poverty/

          It is not poverty, but prosperity, that needs explaining. Poverty is automatic, but prosperity requires many things — none of which is equally distributed around the world or even within a given society.

          Geographic settings are radically different, both among nations and within nations. So are demographic differences, with some nations and groups having a median age over 40 and others having a median age under 20. This means that some groups have several times as much adult work experience as others. Cultures are also radically different in many ways.

          As distinguished economic historian David S. Landes put it, “The world has never been a level playing field.” But which has a better track record of helping the less fortunate — fighting for a bigger slice of the economic pie, or producing a bigger pie?

          In 1900, only 3 percent of American homes had electric lights but more than 99 percent had them before the end of the century. Infant mortality rates were 165 per thousand in 1900 and 7 per thousand by 1997. By 2001, most Americans living below the official poverty line had central air conditioning, a motor vehicle, cable television with multiple TV sets, and other amenities.

          A scholar specializing in the study of Latin America said that the official poverty level in the United States is the upper middle class in Mexico. The much criticized market economy of the United States has done far more for the poor than the ideology of the left.

    • When a country of 300 million throws out enough food each year to feed 200 million, there is a problem.

      This does beg a question.

      Why do people throw out some things but not others? Last time I checked, there is very little gold thrown out each year.

      When 140 million people are earning less than a dollar day, and suffering poor nutrition as a result

      what is stopping them from getting a better job?

      what is stopping them from becoming doctors? Or nurses? Or bankers? Or pro athletes?

      there is a problem that wealthy nations are wasting food, and building homes on arable land, and using tons of gasoline to drive to work from way out in suburbia.

      This does beg the question.

      Why do people use tons of gasoline to drive to work from way out in suburbia? Why build homes on arable land instead of non-arable land?

      Unnecessarily increasing one countries energy use, to live in a big home, on a lot that used to be a cornfield, is a problem.

      This does beg the question of why people unnecessarily increase energy use.

      this does beg tyhe question of why owners of cornfields would sell their property to people who want to build homes.

      Now we are buying up their staple foods, leaving them with cheap junk food, while we keep building homes on our owns farms! (We lament the loss of rain forest, which is being chopped down to create marginal farmland, but we are building suburbs on land that is the among the most productive farm land in the world!)

      This does beg the question of why people in Argentina would sell their staple foods instead of eating them.

      With all this question begging, if only there was a science that studied how people use scarce resources which have alternative uses…

  7. Thank you for these eloquently spoken thoughts, spoken truths. He is a danger to the world when he talks in areas that he has not the educational background of and not the common sense to recognize that he does not.

    • I’m waiting for someone to stand up in the crowd at a GOP candidate’s rally and preface his question with, “We know the Pope is a Muslim…” But it is true, as you say, that this pope is a danger to the world. But first and most clearly, he is a threat to that part of the world that at the present time, has the capability (but unfortunately, not the will) to roll back the dehumanizing cancers of Islam, communism, and totalitarianism.

  8. I am unfortunately “busier than a one-armed paperhanger” at the moment and can’t adequately respond and comment. But I have a question for all here who have condemned the Pope as a hypocrite, dangerous, and other negative descriptors — have any of you actually read his encyclicals, the latter of which has some of you so apoplectic that you seem on the verge of melt down? You know, the primary documents, the tings that actual researchers and historians rely on? Or are you relying on the unreliable news media accounts of what the encyclicals say? I am including you, Jack, in this question.

    • To be certain:

      It is fair to use the entire encyclical to analyze the Pope’s ideas.

      But, I don’t think anyone has called the pope hypocritical as much as they’ve called the news media hypocritical.

      Shouldn’t it also be noteworthy that though some language is lifted out of the encyclicals to analyze the Pope’s commentary, is it not territory tthat Popes ordinarily don’t go into? Implying then that those clips of his comments ARE fair game for analysis?

          • Jack’s response above to Rich in CT:
            The point is that the Pope 1) is not a useful one to diagnose the problems; 2) he’s a hypocrite, 3) his values are unrelatable to reality, and 4) he’s anti-capitalism and pro-totalitarianism.

        • Sorry Patrice: When the Pope can’t clean up his own worldwide denomination (child abuse by priests, the scandal of the Vatican Bank, its attitude toward women in the church, admission of its own history of collaboration with totalitarian governments, ad nauseum) I think he can be called a hypocrite, especially when he promotes all love and peace and then purports to have knowledge, advice, and input on issues he’s not trained for, and which have little to do with the function of his Church’s vast wealth and influence. I would have much more respect for the Pope, and the Roman Catholic Church, if it looked internally first for needed change, then preached to us all about other matters.

          And, Pope Francis should be careful on this. Yes, as noted by a columnist in the Washington Post, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin had great respect for Islam and for the teachings of Mohammed. As soon as Islam became political, and radically so, attitudes toward that religion began to change.

          The only real way for any religious denomination to have political impact is by going by one of my favorite pastor’s quotes: “My job isn’t to make you _feel_ good, it’s to make you _be_ good.” And until I see the Roman church actual _being_ good, I don’t think it has the right to enter the political spectrum in any way.

          It _is_ hypocrisy to preach to others about vast international issues when your own small part of it is so rife with problems — problems that are fixable.

          • I don’t have time to answer all of this right now, but I challenge the notion that the Church is not working on its problems. What? You expect everything fixed overnight? No one could fix centuries of problems in a couple of years, while dealing with many, many other issues. Or have you not bothered to read about the overhaul of Vatican finances and the tightening of penalties for the pedophilia scandals? How, pray, should all of this been “fixed” in a more timely fashion? Clearly, you must have some ideas and insights into this.

            And it is facile and absurd and unrealistic for the Pope to have “fixed” such problems as women’s rights, LGBTQ issues, etc. No Pope within our lifetimes will be able to “fix” the theological underpinnings of the past. All of those people who expected him, because he is so likable, to up and sign off on a liberal/progressive agenda were indulging in magical thinking. Any large, old religion, government, or organization never changes on a dime. They turn like battleships and move like glaciers. To expect otherwise is completely unreasonable.

            The Pope, as the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, has every right to make pronouncements, give advice, and “pontificate” (if you must) on ANY issue or subject that affects the members of the Church. He has not spoken Ex Cathedra on any of these topics, nor would he. Therefore, no one is required to accept them. However, Pope Francis is holding a gigantic mirror up to the people of the world and saying Look around, people; the world’s economy and values are twisted. He has every right to remind followers of Jesus what Jesus did, what he said, and how that applies in today’s world. That is, What Would Jesus Do?

            • “However, Pope Francis is holding a gigantic mirror up to the people of the world and saying Look around, people; the world’s economy and values are twisted.”

              His opinion regarding that is no more informed than many, more biased than most. He doesn’t live in the US, and doesn’t understand it culture or values. We don’t take commands from foreign despots, and we shouldn’t give any more attention to what he says than anyone else across the ocean. If Catholics are gullible enough to take the word of a guy marinated in Argentinian totalitarian socialist culture as anything but an ill-informed opinion, good luck to them. Anyone else who pays attention is a fool, or just using the Pope to influence fools.

              • Geez, you’ve really got a problem with this guy.

                First of all — “He doesn’t live in the US…”
                No, but he isn’t addressing just the US when he speaks or writes — even when he is IN the US. In all of his state visits, his speeches have been meant for the world, not just that country.

                Second — “He doesn’t understand its culture or values.”
                Huh? That’s a ridiculous statement. You mean, no one from one culture/country/religion/planet can understand the culture or values of another culture/country/religion/planet? Really? How do we all EVER get along, then? Or is it just our ignoramus Pope who can’t understand such things?

                By the way, do you have ANY idea how much education is required of clergy in order to rise through the ranks from priest to bishop to cardinal to Pope? These guys really aren’t idiots, no matter what you think.

                Third — “We don’t take commands from foreign despots…”
                Nor should we. How is what he has said and written a command? He can, and has, ordered his member churches to do certain things, like take in refugees. But even that wasn’t an “order” per se. The fact that you weight your words with biased terminology — “foreign despots” — really tells me a few things, like the fact that you REALLY don’t like what the Pope — probably ANY Pope — stands for. More on this later. Meanwhile, for crying out loud, Jack — how is he a despot? You are really ranking him up there with Saddam Hussein, Adolph Hitler, Kim Jong Il, and Henry F. Potter?

                Fourth — and here’s the crux of the matter — “…we shouldn’t give any more attention to what he says than anyone else across the ocean.”
                Except that everyone else across the ocean has only the interests of their country in mind when they dare to suggest something to the all knowing U.S. Pope Francis, and I dare say any Pope addressing U.S. officials, is not concerned about Vatican City or even the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church. The Pope’s message is about the good of humanity, the “Care of Our Common Home” viz. Planet Earth. He’s not just some political hack leader from Wherever.

                Fifth — “If Catholics are gullible enough to take the word of a guy marinated in Argentinian totalitarian socialist culture as anything but an ill-informed opinion, good luck to them.” Boy, you really don’t like him. Exactly what is wrong with him suggesting that we need to take better care of the Earth so that the Earth can be a better place for everyone to live in? What is wrong with him suggesting that we need to do a better job of helping the throngs of earthlings who need help? “Ill-informed opinion” — see above about the education needed to become Pope. Oh, and regarding that totalitarian socialist bullshit — I guess that Jesus would be called a socialist if he were alive today. (Pursuant to my earlier challenge — exactly what do you know of a serious academic nature about Liberation Theology — the source of the accusations of socialistic leanings in theological circles — and the political milieu in which it thrived and which attacked it, including from within the Church?) Anyway, many Catholics, like myself, are not gullible. Do you honestly think that I am gullible? I may be Sap of the Year with regard to interpersonal relationships, but I am not gullible.

                Sixth — “Anyone else who pays attention is a fool, or just using the Pope to influence fools.” That’s a pretty cynical opinion. You don’t need to be Roman Catholic to have this Pope’s message resonate. Many non-Catholics have rejoiced in the things that this Pope has said and done.

                Finally — I’m not entirely sure why I went through all of this, considering the fact that you still haven’t answered my original question — my challenge of your actual Primary Source knowledge of what this Pope has said and written. Lacking an answer, I guess I am left to believe that you are as gullible as all of the other ill-informed reactionaries who believe what the media has fed them and the made-up stories that have gone viral. Pity.

                • The Pope’s message is about the good of humanity, the “Care of Our Common Home” viz. Planet Earth. He’s not just some political hack leader from Wherever.

                  There is nothing environmentalist about the Bible.

                • 1. I really don’t care what he has “really” said or written. I understand all of the spin about translations: fine, we have no idea what the hell he means or has said. And that’s the argument for treating his propaganda visit here like the Second Coming?

                  2. “Exactly what is wrong with him suggesting that we need to take better care of the Earth so that the Earth can be a better place for everyone to live in?” The same thing that’s wrong with John Lennon being hailed for singing “Give peace a chance.”
                  It’s simple-minded, Hallmark card pablum that is of no practical use whatsoever from a policy perspective.

                  3. “You mean, no one from one culture/country/religion/planet can understand the culture or values of another culture/country/religion/planet? Really?”

                  Really. Too many of our own citizens don’t understand our history and culture. Did you watch Piers Morgan make a fool of himself getting hysterical and insulting the nation because his country could ban guns and ours won’t? Classic. “I can’t understand it!” Well, it’s not just the NRA, that’s for sure. Somehow I doubt that the Pope is as well versed in American popular culture, the settlement of the West in fact and legend, the American Civil War and the way traditional American values prioritize themselves as a reasonably aware American. This stuff can’t just come from books.

                  4. Yes, the Pope has no real life interests of anyone in mind, just abstract ones that sound good. Depending on the translation, of course.

                • You know, people who spout this “Jesus was a socialist” or a liberal BULLSHIT forget the fact that Jesus pressed his followers to PERSONAL charity. He didn’t want his followers taxed to death at the tip of a Roman spear, so that wealth could then be redisttributed to the poor. That’s what liberals want (and why a better name for you is statists), and what this pope has called for. It’s one of the reasons why I, and many other non-statist catholics, don’t like him.

                  • You know, people who spout this “Jesus was a socialist” or a liberal BULLSHIT forget the fact that Jesus pressed his followers to PERSONAL charity. He didn’t want his followers taxed to death at the tip of a Roman spear, so that wealth could then be redisttributed to the poor. That’s what liberals want (and why a better name for you is statists), and what this pope has called for. It’s one of the reasons why I, and many other non-statist catholics, don’t like him.

                    In this context, many people fail to differentiate between commandments to the individuals and commandments to the state.

                    The commandments regarding charity were given to individual. The state itself was not commanded to be a charity.

                    On the flip side, Deut. 17:2-5 was addressed to the state, not to individuals. Individuals could only execute Deut. 17:2-5 when operating within the legal framework of the Law.

                    (A similar argument could be made regarding Sharia law.)

                    • Further, the state can never be a “charity”, strictly speaking. An act of charity involves an individual or organization giving of its earned profits to the needy.

            • Re your last paragraph: “What would Jesus do?” If the Pope is so concerned about the gap between rich and poor, then why not, in fact, do what Jesus would do?? Give away even about half of the vast wealth of the Vatican to the poor! (Jesus would give it all away, wouldn’t he?) That way, aside from “pontificating” and “holding up a mirror to the world,” he would be leading by example… A much more effective approach, don’t you think?

              And by the way, I don’t think it’s an insult in any way to say that Jesus was a pure Communist (a non-word in Jesus’ time) — “to each according to their needs and from each according to their abilities” — but through love, not force. An idea preceding Marx and Lenin by a millennium and based not on politics but on the grand and wonderful potential of the human spirit. A great, beautiful concept,and one to strive for, but as former experiments have proven (back to politics again), it is antagonistic to much of human nature and the function of governments and nations, at least for now. Perhaps as we evolve as human beings and cultures we can come closer to this remarkable precept. But for now, you can’t lead either a democracy or a totalitarian state with a philosopher/king.

  9. The Catholic church took a giant leap leftwards and towards secular humanism with Vatican II. It’s no longer really the same church at all.

  10. The Pope lives in Vatican City, where the 557 citizens, at last count, were 74% clergy, overwhelmingly male, and even more overwhelmingly White. Gays are not encouraged. What someone who lives in such a rarefied environment can possibly bring to the governance of a diverse, Western culture in which defining racial and gender equities is a constant and exhausting factor is dubious at best.

    And I would add, “Obviously.”

    Argentina, meanwhile, is 97% white, and 92% Catholic. Yeah, the Pope has a terrific understanding of what living in the US is like.

    • From Steve-O (Moved from another thread, where it was posted originally):

      “The Pope also spent the majority of his professional life in a nation governed by a populist fraud government that promised all kinds of justice with its rhetoric but also saw helicopters leave over the sea full and return empty and those opposed to the government disappear. That said, he should feel a certain kinship with Obama, who talks like a populist and acts like a ruthless dictator in many ways.”

    • Do you want one? As I have more than implied, I really don’t care what he says. I think it’s inappropriate for what he says to be hyped or treated as if it matters, or as if he has any special expertise or authority to warrant the coverage.

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