Diary

On behalf of my fellow Catholics, I apologize to my fellow conservatives for the Pope's misrepresentation of our views on poverty and economics.

The bishops and cardinals wanted to pick a cardinal from latin america to be the next pope, and that’s good, they just picked the wrong one. Pope Francis isn’t representing Catholicism, he’s representing progressivism. Initially I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt, but after one statement over another came out showing clearly that he meant what he’s been saying about the environment, economics, and marriage, I could no longer do so.

https://reason.com/reasontv/2015/09/20/judge-napolitano-us-pope-francis-papal

I agree 100% with this. Pope Francis is the anti-John Paul 2. JP2 fought against and eventually brought down communism, while Francis embraces communist leaders like Castro, while railing against capitalism, which has done more than any system or gov’t to bring people out of poverty.

Pope Francis has chosen to represent the misguided ideology of Argentina that says the gov’t must control the economy for the sake of fairness and to help the poor, rather than representing what the Church has always taught about poverty. The Church has always reflected what Jesus said, which is that “you will always have the poor with you”, and “blessed are those who are poor in spirit”.

We don’t neglect the poor, in fact we do everything we can to help them, but we also don’t focus all of our efforts on them because it’s just as important for the Church to reach out and help those who are spiritually poor. In fact you could argue that it’s more important to help them because their souls are more in danger of going to hell than the people who are materially poor, since that kind of poverty tends to bring one closer to God due to the fact that it forces you to rely on Him instead of yourself.

This is what Francis is missing, and I believe it’s because he’s being blinded by the ideology and ideas that formed him and that surrounded him in the political environment of Argentina.
This ideology emphasizes the environment and a country’s government over each person’s individual needs and their relationship with God.

Not only is Pope Francis factually wrong about the environment and economics, as many writers have pointed out, but the more important point is that it’s not his job to mix politics and religion the way he has, and to focus on political issues instead of the spiritual and moral issues facing the Church and her members. At first I thought he was just talking about these issues in passing and that the american media and pundits were making his statements political, but then I realized he was choosing to focus on the most controversial and political topics, while ignoring or not emphasizing things like abortion and the breakdown of the family which are at the heart of the cultural battles we face in America and other industrialized countries.

Again, this goes back to his roots in Argentina. There, and in other latin american countries, religion and politics are routinely mixed, and there’s a blurring of the lines between the Church and the State. This is bad both for the Church and the State, and we can’t afford to spread it around the world, which is what Francis seems bent on doing. Just look at what it’s done to Argentina . . .http://www.wnd.com/2015/09/the-left-has-its-pope/

Furthermore, Pope Francis’ belief in a bigger gov’t to help the poor and pick the winners and losers in society directly contradicts the long-held belief in Catholic social teaching that when it comes to government, it’s best to deal with it as close to the people as possible, which means at the local and state levels before getting the federal gov’t involved. This is called the principle of subsidiarity, and it seems Pope Francis has forgotten it, or rejects it outright. There’s a reason why the Church has always promoted this principle: because a large, top-down gov’t is less effective at actually helping the poor, but more importantly, it replaces the role of communities and the family, which is the core building block of society and where we’re supposed to learn our faith and values.

We’ve seen this happen in the US already, but Pope Francis wouldn’t know this because he clearly hasn’t studied american politics or our history and system of gov’t. If he did he would have known that every time big gov’t policies have been tried, they’ve failed, and that what made us so prosperous in the first place is that our founders rejected the imperialism and centralized control of gov’t that they escaped from in England and throughout Europe. Our nation became so strong and wealthy because of the Constitution and the 10th amendment, which gave every power that wasn’t specifically given to the federal gov’t to state and local governments. This ultimately gave more power and freedom to families and individuals, and prevented the massive corruption and control that gov’t rulers and bureaucrats had known throughout all of human history.

The American approach to gov’t was the first of its kind in human history, and it lifted millions out of poverty and into the middle and upper classes, who then were able to pay more taxes, give more to charitable organizations, and lift even more poor people out of poverty. This was only possible through our system of free markets and capitalism, not socialism and crony capitalism, which I would note is the kind of system Pope Francis came from in Argentina.

As Catholics, we believe that the pope is infallible when it comes to issues of faith and morals, but nothing else.  That means that when it comes to economics or climate science, he can be just as wrong as the rest of us, and he clearly is wrong on those issues.  That’s why traditionally, popes have stuck to issues of faith and morals, and spiritual matters, while only commenting on the most pressing issues of the day in terms of current events.  They knew it wasn’t their place to be a political commentator or to lecture other countries about how best to serve their poor.  Apparently Pope Francis didn’t get that memo.

Pope John Paul 2 showed that a pope can be charismatic and open-minded without watering down the central dogmas of the faith or ignoring the most controversial ones in order to appear “modern” or “hip”. Ideally, we need a pope who combines the courage and charisma of JP2, the theological depth and brilliance, and spiritual challenges of Benedict, and the message of mercy, tolerance, and outreach of Francis. I pray that our next pope will have a combination of these things, while remaining true to the teachings of the Church, and spreading the Church’s teachings rather than his own preferred ideas and political ideology.