Vatican: Lots of people exploiting Pope Francis for their own ideological agendas, huh?

posted at 2:41 pm on January 7, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Well, if Allahpundit gets to write a post about a statue of Satan arriving in Oklahoma, let’s open up a thread nearer the other end of the spectrum. For Catholics around the world, the embrace of Pope Francis has been a heady change from the normal coverage the Church receives from the media, but his popularity has had an interesting side effect, too. The impulse of ideologues across the spectrum to seize on the Pontiff’s soundbites to validate their own agendas might pay testimony to the truth of the Gospel and Catholic teachings, which haven’t changed at all under Francis, but it’s the kind of exploitation that the Vatican would prefer to avoid, as John Allen reports:

A recent comment by Pope Francis about educating the children of homosexual couples is being twisted both by the political right and left to suggest that the pontiff has waded into a debate over same-sex unions, according to a key papal confidante.

Jesuit Fr. Antonio Spadaro, editor of the influential journal Civiltà Cattolica, published a front-page essay in today’s Corriere della Sera, Italy’s paper of record, responding to widespread claims in the Italian media of an “opening” by Francis to legal recognition of same-sex relationships.

In fact, Spadaro wrote, Francis has no intention of “legitimizing any behavior that’s inconsistent with the doctrine of the church.”

The effort to twist the pope’s words, Spadaro wrote, comes both “from his ‘detractors’ on the right, as well as those who exalt him in order to take advantage of him on the left.” He called those efforts “misleading” and a form of “manipulation.”

This was a particularly amusing episode in this trend of papal sound-biting. This is what Pope Francis actually said in a lengthy exhortation to religious orders about welcoming all to the Church:

The pope told the leaders of religious orders that a great challenge for the Church would be to reach out to children living in difficult or unorthodox domestic situations.

“The situation in which we live now provides us with new challenges which sometimes are difficult for us to understand,” the pope said, according to the transcript of the conversation.

“How can we proclaim Christ to these boys and girls? How can we proclaim Christ to a generation that is changing? We must be careful not to administer a vaccine against faith to them,” he said.

This didn’t have much to do with same-sex unions themselves, actually, but the children who live in non-traditional families. How should the Church preach the Gospel in love to these boys and girls in a way that attracts them to faith, rather than insult their family structures needlessly? The Italian media leaped on this in the context of a political debate over same-sex marriage, and the interpretation spread rapidly. Those who favor its establishment seized on the remarks to vindicate that position, while those who fear the shift in pastoral focus found reasons to worry that the Vatican was about to make radical changes.  Neither of these are the case.

That doesn’t stop people from using Francis as a prop for their political arguments, though. The New York Times provided its perspective on this phenomenon in Washington DC over the weekend:

As lawmakers return to the capital this week and mark the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s declaration of a “war on poverty,” Democrats — including those Catholics whose politics have put them at odds with a conservative church hierarchy — are seizing on Francis’ words as a rare opportunity to use the pope’s moral force to advance issues like extending unemployment benefits and raising the minimum wage.

“He has given a number of us in the political ranks encouragement, and really a challenge, to step up and remember many of the values that brought us to public life,” Mr. Durbin said.

Francis’ denunciation of an “economy of exclusion” goes to the heart of the debate between the two parties over the role of government. Democrats like Mr. Durbin and President Obama — whose administration is facing off against Catholic nuns in the Supreme Court over birth control provisions in his health law — quote the pope in speeches, using his words to reinforce their positions. Republicans find themselves forced to justify votes to cut food stamps and unemployment benefits even as they try to counter the perception that they are indifferent to the poor.

But though the pope has caused unease among Republicans as they reconcile his critique of capitalism and “trickle-down theories” with their free-market views, some Catholic Republicans see opportunity in his words.

Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, a potential 2016 presidential candidate who speaks of poverty in the context of his faith, has praised Francis for “breathing new life into the fight against poverty,” and is working on a Republican plan to address the issue. Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker and now a co-host of CNN’s “Crossfire,” said he would talk more about poverty on the program.

“I think every Republican should embrace the pope’s core critique that you do not want to live on a planet with billionaires and people who do not have any food,” Mr. Gingrich said. “I think the pope may, in fact, be starting a conversation at the exact moment the Republican Party itself needs to have that conversation.”

In many respects, Francis’ economic views are consistent with church doctrine and the views of previous popes, though John Paul II spoke more about the benefits of capitalism in the context of his anti-Communist views. But with his humble style and off-the-cuff remarks, Francis is seen as shifting the church’s emphasis and tone.

By playing down issues like abortion and same-sex marriage, the pope has also upended an order in Washington, where conservatives have long viewed the church as an ally.

Except Pope Francis hasn’t played down abortion in his pontificate. The more accurate analysis is that the media doesn’t give nearly as much attention to his sharp remarks on that topic. Here’s Francis in September, speaking powerfully against both abortion and euthanasia:

Even before the interview was published, some conservatives had voiced disappointment that Francis had shied away from restating such church rules. Francis explained his reason for doing so in the interview with the Jesuit journal La Civilta Cattolica, saying church teaching on such issues is well-known, he supports it, but that he doesn’t feel it necessary to repeat it constantly.

He did repeat it on Friday, however. In his comments, Francis denounced today’s “throw-away culture” that justifies disposing of lives, and said doctors in particular had been forced into situations where they are called to “not respect life.”

“Every child that isn’t born, but is unjustly condemned to be aborted, has the face of Jesus Christ, has the face of the Lord,” he said.

He urged the gynecologists to abide by their consciences and help bring lives into the world. “Things have a price and can be for sale, but people have a dignity that is priceless and worth far more than things,” he said.

And again in November, even more powerfully in his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium:

Entitled “Evangelii Gaudium” (The Joy of the Gospel), the Apostolic Exhortation – a document which, while important, is of less weight than an encyclical – noted, “Among the vulnerable for whom the Church wishes to care with particular love and concern are unborn children, the most defenceless and innocent among us.”

He lamented that, “Nowadays efforts are made to deny them their human dignity and to do with them whatever one pleases, taking their lives and passing laws preventing anyone from standing in the way of this.”

“Frequently, as a way of ridiculing the Church’s effort to defend their lives, attempts are made to present her position as ideological, obscurantist and conservative. Yet this defence of unborn life is closely linked to the defence of each and every other human right.”

“It involves the conviction that a human being is always sacred and inviolable, in any situation and at every stage of development,” he said. “Human beings are ends in themselves and never a means of resolving other problems. Once this conviction disappears, so do solid and lasting foundations for the defence of human rights, which would always be subject to the passing whims of the powers that be.” …

“Reason alone is sufficient to recognize the inviolable value of each single human life, but if we also look at the issue from the standpoint of faith, ‘every violation of the personal dignity of the human being cries out in vengeance to God and is an offence against the creator of the individual,’” he said, quoting a previous Apostolic Exhortation by Pope John Paul II.

So why doesn’t the media give more attention to Francis’ outspoken teachings on these issues? The charitable conclusion would be that it’s a “dog bites man” story to have a Pope oppose abortion and euthanasia, as well as same-sex marriage and any sexual activity outside of a sacramental marriage. A less charitable explanation is that it would interfere with the narrative that the media and ideologues want to build on Pope Francis for their own purposes. I’d say it’s a little of both.

Nothing in Evangelii Gaudium would surprise anyone familiar with Catholic teaching, or the Catechism. As I wrote at the time, Pope Francis wrote the exhortation (“The Joy of the Gospel”) as a roadmap for Catholics to evangelize the Gospel while remaining cognizant of the difficulties faced in doing so — among them cultural, economic, and persecutorial trends. The treatise was not intended to be a recalculation of doctrine, and it isn’t that at all, but a pastoral teaching from the shepherd to the flock as to how to go about proclaiming and living the Gospel in a fallen world.

Let’s go back to Allen’s report at NCR and Fr. Spaddaro, who explained it exactly that way:

The real point Francis wanted to make, Spadaro wrote, is that “the church is called to respond to an enormous anthropological challenge” created by changing social situations and norms.

“The Christian educational challenge,” Spadaro wrote, “consists in avoiding that the light of Christ remains only a distant memory for many, or, worse yet, that it stays in the hands of a small and elect crowd of the ‘pure,’ which would transform the church into a sect.”

Spadaro’s suggestion appeared to be that the pope does not intend to change doctrine, but rather to find new language to express that doctrine to people who no longer respond to traditional formulae.

Exactly. Pope Francis is a pastoral pontiff emphasizing evangelization out of love, not Pharasaical divisions — and not a watering down of the Gospel, either. The closest parallel that I can make is Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, which instructed a wayward church to adhere to the Gospel rather than allow it to get watered down by a corrupt culture or to fall into a closed-off sect that did not spread its truth beyond its own membership. That’s why I think this image of Pope Francis may be the best expression of who he is, and what his pontificate will mean.


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Given it’s almost impossible to tell the difference between Latin American Catholics and Latin American Communists,….

Steve Eggleston on January 7, 2014 at 2:51 PM

If there is indeed an anti-christ then this pope is likely it. Why? Because he seems to appeal to all sides.

DethMetalCookieMonst on January 7, 2014 at 2:54 PM

Thumbs up on the picture.

Like JP II, “This Pope really know how to Pope!”

WisRich on January 7, 2014 at 2:55 PM

So the Pope is still Catholic?

gwelf on January 7, 2014 at 2:57 PM

let’s open up a thread nearer the other end of the spectrum.

Not everyone would agree that satan and the Pope fall on opposite ends of the same spectrum. But to your bigger point, it does seem as if the Pontiff’s words are being skewed for specific agendas. Were he to cough in public, I have no doubt Sebelius as a “good Catholic” would claim it to be an endorsement of Obamacare and the HHS mandate.

The bigger question is this. Is the Vatican prepared for a populist Pope who engages the world? The “interpretations” of what he says will not change. There needs to be a better strategy than having Vatican officials continually denying that Francis came out in favor of [whatever].

Happy Nomad on January 7, 2014 at 2:57 PM

Well, if Francis didn’t give both sides so much ‘ammo’…

annoyinglittletwerp on January 7, 2014 at 2:57 PM

The Pope is a socialist… I will not be surprised if he eventually endorse homosexual marriage and some type of abortion all in the name of Christian compassion…

mnjg on January 7, 2014 at 3:03 PM

Vatican: Lots of people exploiting Pope Francis for their own ideological agendas, huh?

Exactly. Which is why I always preface any response to someone using the pope with a caveat that I do not concede that the pope has said or implied what the person has attributed to him.

besser tot als rot on January 7, 2014 at 3:08 PM

So the Pope is still Catholic?

gwelf on January 7, 2014 at 2:57 PM

Is the Pope still Catholic?

Fallon on January 7, 2014 at 3:11 PM

Catholics.

Murphy9 on January 7, 2014 at 3:17 PM

Meant to link.

Fallon on January 7, 2014 at 3:18 PM

The Pope is Catholic, and I wonder about the right-wingers[*] who want to call him a socialist. Where do they think Obama was born?

[*]I deliberately use right-wingers in contrast to Conservatives in this sentence.

thuja on January 7, 2014 at 3:20 PM

Not everyone would agree that satan and the Pope fall on opposite ends of the same spectrum.

Happy Nomad on January 7, 2014 at 2:57 PM

No need to suffer fools.

philoquin on January 7, 2014 at 3:23 PM

While Cardinal in Argentina now Pope Francis spoke out against homosexual “marriage” legislation.

“Let us not be naive: this is not simply a political struggle, but it is an attempt to destroy God’s plan. It is not just a bill (a mere instrument) but a ‘move’ of the father of lies who seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.”

Rather direct, what? How will the homosexual propagandists be able to nuance that?

Mason on January 7, 2014 at 3:25 PM

There are lots of social justice issues needing clarification, explanations and defenders. Understandably, the diabolical will distort anything not perfectly clear that is spoken by this pope. In this day and age, there is little excuse for lack of clarity of his message.

Hopefully this pope, in his charitable zeal for the poor, will not lose sight of what the prime mission of the Church is-the salvation of souls–a mission that has been all too often ignored since Vatican II..

Don L on January 7, 2014 at 3:28 PM

The Pope is Catholic, and I wonder about the right-wingers[*] who want to call him a socialist. Where do they think Obama was born?

[*]I deliberately use right-wingers in contrast to Conservatives in this sentence. herp derp.

thuja on January 7, 2014 at 3:20 PM

Murphy9 on January 7, 2014 at 3:32 PM

Hopefully this pope, in his charitable zeal for the poor, will not lose sight of what the prime mission of the Church is-the salvation of souls–a mission that has been all too often ignored since Vatican II..

Don L on January 7, 2014 at 3:28 PM

This pope should start acting on helping the poor rather than just talking… The Vatican has billions of dollars in assets it can use to help the poor and the needy…

mnjg on January 7, 2014 at 3:37 PM

The Pope is a socialist… I will not be surprised if he eventually endorse homosexual marriage and some type of abortion all in the name of Christian compassion…

He can’t. Abortion, homosexual marriage and ordaining women violate Catholic Dogma (Dogma is written stone, encased in diamond). He cannot change it even if he wanted to. The only thing he might do is allow priests to marry. That is Discipline as opposed to Dogma. Discipline can change, Dogma cannot. The other thing he could do is allow women Cardinals. FYI, Cardinal is a title. Right now a Cardinal has to be a Bishop (clergy) but that is a Discipline, not Dogma. In fact the title of Cardinal is discipline, not Dogma.

kimbergrl on January 7, 2014 at 3:44 PM

Thumbs up on the picture.

Like JP II, “This Pope really know how to Pope!”

WisRich on January 7, 2014 at 2:55 PM

A much younger JPII. JPII was sadly very weakened by Parkinson’s in later years. I remember seeing him in Rome in 1998 and he was already very weak.

The bigger question is this. Is the Vatican prepared for a populist Pope who engages the world? The “interpretations” of what he says will not change. There needs to be a better strategy than having Vatican officials continually denying that Francis came out in favor of [whatever].

Happy Nomad on January 7, 2014 at 2:57 PM

The Vatican communication is much better because of Greg Burke and Father Lombardi. And the only time that the Vatican has clarified things with Francis is with the Scalfari interview and the gay civil unions thing. I think that the atheist reporter guy might be suffering from the early stages of dementia based on that incident. (Veteran reporters just don’t make stuff up.) And there is no way that the comment that Francis made about the little girl with a lesbian mother could have been interpreted as an endorsement of any law. I do think that Francis isn’t heavily invested in fighting against any initiative in Italy toward civil unions, which is in itself should be considered a peace offering for gay activists.

And not all of more liberal ideologues are misrepresenting Francis for their own purposes. I get heartburn over someone like Obama appropriating Pope Francis’ message to help his sagging popularity. (Does this mean that Barry is going to stop with the lavish vacays and celebrity parties? Because Francis’ modest lifestyle is the reason that he has so much moral authority on poverty.) However, the Advocate is very realistic in their assessment of Pope Francis on gay issues. On the comment that set off the firestorm in Italy, the Advocate commended Francis for being pastoral toward the children of gay parents and didn’t suggest that he was endorsing civil unions.

Illinidiva on January 7, 2014 at 3:45 PM

Abortion, homosexual marriage and ordaining women violate Catholic Dogma (Dogma is written stone, encased in diamond).

It doesn’t matter what official teaching says if it doesn’t come from the pulpit.

And our pulpits haven’t exactly been ringing with calls for political and economic liberty along with a defense of life.

Church leaders’ indifference to life and hostility to liberty are seized upon by libs both within and without the church…

shinty on January 7, 2014 at 3:52 PM

The Left really, really, really loves you.

Schadenfreude on January 7, 2014 at 3:59 PM

Contemplate this

Schadenfreude on January 7, 2014 at 3:59 PM

Contemplate this

Schadenfreude on January 7, 2014 at 3:59 PM

Obama’s people advancing the agenda that he desires.

Murphy9 on January 7, 2014 at 4:01 PM

Is this pope a communist? Some saying about waddling, quacking and ducks comes to mind. I apologize the statements clarifying his remarks are unconvincing.

thuja on January 7, 2014 at 3:20 PM

No one has proven where Zero was born. The only documents we have are faked and you will have to pardon me for not accepting the word of a couple socialists in Hawaii.

dogsoldier on January 7, 2014 at 4:03 PM

I have never heard a homily touching on abortion, contraception, homosexuality, assisted reproduction, civil unions or anything of the like. Yet I’ve never had a doubt about the teaching and beliefs of my Deacon(s), Priest(s), Bishop(s) the Pope(s) and the Church.

People that advocate for these aberrant notions either mistakenly believe that this is all we talk about or misrepresent us as a shot in the propaganda war. Would that we actually had more teaching on these issues from the pulpit.

Mason on January 7, 2014 at 4:08 PM

This is the first pope in decades that does not speak english. With little chance of sound bites being played to refute their lies, the propagandists in the media are freely filling in their own words.

Everyone must be aware of this problem as activists at propaganda sources, like the Associated Press, race to put out LIES as fast as possible.

Freddy on January 7, 2014 at 4:08 PM

…is he going to become the JugEars of the Papacy?

KOOLAID2 on January 7, 2014 at 4:09 PM

Another note.. My initial post was going on for too long, so I am splitting it up. Pope Francis might not be marrying gays in St. Peter’s, but he is advocating for a more moderate approach on gay issues and other hot button social issues. The quote that was wrongly inferred as being in favor of gay civil unions does seem to suggest that Francis is for outreach and tolerance toward the children of gay couples. This should be a no-brainer, but conservative Catholics in the U.S. have been okay with ostracizing these children. There was an incident a few years back where Charles Chaput, then the Archbishop of Denver and now of Philadelphia, allowed a Catholic school to kick out the daughter of a lesbian couple. The rules in Denver (and I bet in many other diocese in the country) forbid the children of gay couples from attending parochial schools. There have also been one case recently where a beloved high school teacher from an Oregon Catholic school was fired for marrying his boyfriend. Firing gay teachers and disallowing gays from participating in parish ministries is unfortunately a growing trend in many conservative Catholic parishes. One IL bishop held an “exorcism” against the gay marriage bill that passed here. Want me to go on?

The more conservative Catholic message boards and blogs that I’ve read have generally been in favor of these sorts of punitive actions and ridiculous gestures. I’ve even read some comments suggesting that the children of gays (and even remarried divorcees) should be denied baptism. And the language of even some bloggers toward gays has been over-the-top. One blog popular among the traditionalist set written by “Father” Z suggested that gays were extra violent and prone to murder.

Illinidiva on January 7, 2014 at 4:16 PM

I have never heard a homily touching on abortion, contraception, homosexuality, assisted reproduction, civil unions or anything of the like. Yet I’ve never had a doubt about the teaching and beliefs of my Deacon(s), Priest(s), Bishop(s) the Pope(s) and the Church.

People that advocate for these aberrant notions either mistakenly believe that this is all we talk about or misrepresent us as a shot in the propaganda war. Would that we actually had more teaching on these issues from the pulpit.

Mason on January 7, 2014 at 4:08 PM

Really? That was about all Benedict talked about namely abortion and gay marriage (and the evils of Vatican II). He devoted his Christmas messages to the evils of gay marriage. And I’m assuming that you have never had Burke or his BurkeClone friends or another foaming at the mouth culture warrior type like Chaput or Paprocki as your bishop. I think that most Catholics would think that you are very blessed indeed.

Illinidiva on January 7, 2014 at 4:23 PM

Illinidiva on January 7, 2014 at 3:45 PM
Illinidiva on January 7, 2014 at 4:16 PM

Your comments were very thoughtful.

They actually lead to another question. It is clear that others are attaching themselves to Francis’s popularity for advocacy of their own ideological agenda. But what exactly is the Pope’s agenda (by which I mean what are his priorities). I’m quite sure continually fighting about gay Catholics isn’t part of it. But what is?

I’m not sure we know yet. Nor do I think that he necessarily knows how to articulate it- given his clear (if unintentional) praise of socialism.

Happy Nomad on January 7, 2014 at 4:46 PM

The Pope is a socialist… I will not be surprised if he eventually endorse homosexual marriage and some type of abortion all in the name of Christian compassion…

mnjg on January 7, 2014 at 3:03 PM

What do abortion or same sex marriage have to do with socialism? They are progressive evils.

rockmom on January 7, 2014 at 5:08 PM

I have never heard a homily touching on abortion, contraception, homosexuality, assisted reproduction, civil unions or anything of the like. Yet I’ve never had a doubt about the teaching and beliefs of my Deacon(s), Priest(s), Bishop(s) the Pope(s) and the Church.

People that advocate for these aberrant notions either mistakenly believe that this is all we talk about or misrepresent us as a shot in the propaganda war. Would that we actually had more teaching on these issues from the pulpit.

Mason on January 7, 2014 at 4:08 PM

I rceently attended a Catholic funeral in New Jersey in which a young Hispanic priest preached against abortion in his homily. Perhaps there is hope for the future.

rockmom on January 7, 2014 at 5:09 PM

Francis is the Obama of Popes.

Not a perfect definition of him,but a pretty good summation snapshot.

Now you can defend him if you want, just as you can defend Obama if you want, but when you get through you are going to need a chiropractor to get all the twists out.

VorDaj on January 7, 2014 at 5:10 PM

I think Francis should have been excommunicated instead of being made Pope.

This is what Francis is reported to have just said: “our respect for true followers of Islam should lead us to avoid hateful generalisations (sic), for authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence.”

He basically smears any and everyone who would say anything negative about islam as a hater. Has he never heard of the admonition against bearing false witness? Has he never read the koran? Does he think he knows more about islam than every imam on the planet? Is he insane?

This bearing false witness, and such an extreme level of bearing false witness [Obama level on crack], is a far more existential threat to Christians and Christianity than “gay marriage” will ever be. So, whose sin is greater? That of “Catholics” for “gay marriage” or that of this current “Pope”?

VorDaj on January 7, 2014 at 5:16 PM

But what exactly is the Pope’s agenda (by which I mean what are his priorities). I’m quite sure continually fighting about gay Catholics isn’t part of it. But what is?

Here is the main thesis I think that Francis is operating under; he thinks that the Church has been inward focused and fighting amongst itself for fifty years ever since Vatican II in the 1960s. More liberal types have been arguing for looser rules on many things, including allowing women to be ordained priests, gay marriage, etc. Most of these types are now in old people homes. The younger types on the extreme right have been in the ascendancy for my entire life and have especially been in control for all of Benedict’s papacy. These types dislike Vatican II in its entirety and want to get rid of all the reforms, especially the liturgical reforms. Benedict basically agreed with them and seemed fairly obsessed with undoing alot of Vatican II – hence the ridiculous Renaissance papacy style, which was in complete contrast with JPII, and his obsession over nitpicky liturgical things. In 2010 when the Church was experiencing a fresh batch of sexual abuse scandals, Benedict was obsessing over the Mass translation and bringing back ridiculous vestments that made him look like a Renaissance king.

I think that Francis is saying a “pox” on both your houses. While the two sides have yelled at each other, average Joe Catholic has been stuck in the crossfire. Alot of people have left the Church because the two sides have neglected the needs of everyone else. When I was in college, lots of Catholics I know started attending evangelical Protestant ministries. Some had the same views on social issues as Catholicism, but also had pizza parties and a more cheerful atmosphere. Francis is all about bringing the Church out of the sacristy and into the street and engaging the large swath of Catholics who have been forgotten.

I’m not sure we know yet. Nor do I think that he necessarily knows how to articulate it- given his clear (if unintentional) praise of socialism.

That is standard Catholic social justice teaching. B16 wrote something similar a few years ago. The only difference is that most Catholics ignored what B16 said because it was lost in the clutter of his liturgical obsessions and culture warrior views. I think that the poor are at the heart of Francis’ mission because they are the ones who have been neglected the most by the infighting. A Brazilian mom living in a favela doesn’t care about the correct Mass translation or sparkly liturgical vestments, she is more worried about her son joining a gang or whether she can pay the rent.

Illinidiva on January 7, 2014 at 5:21 PM

I rceently attended a Catholic funeral in New Jersey in which a young Hispanic priest preached against abortion in his homily. Perhaps there is hope for the future.

rockmom on January 7, 2014 at 5:09 PM

That seems incredibly out of place for a funeral. My grandpa died this year and the priest focused on the Resurrection.

Illinidiva on January 7, 2014 at 5:23 PM

Here we have once again explaining to us what the Pope “really meant.” I mean no disrespect to the Catholics here, but I think this pope is a disgraceful socialist.

This is what Francis is reported to have just said: “our respect for true followers of Islam should lead us to avoid hateful generalisations (sic), for authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence.”
He basically smears any and everyone who would say anything negative about islam as a hater. Has he never heard of the admonition against bearing false witness? Has he never read the koran? Does he think he knows more about islam than every imam on the planet? Is he insane?

VorDaj on January 7, 2014 at 5:16 PM

Is this pope auditioning for a job on Al Jazeera or MSNBC?

bluegill on January 7, 2014 at 5:27 PM

What the hell does this pope mean when he says the Koran is opposed to every form of violence? Who can take this man seriously after a whopper like that?

bluegill on January 7, 2014 at 5:30 PM

In a world with an increasingly shrinking attention span, the Catholic Church might want to rethink anointing windbags to spread the gospel.

Daemonocracy on January 7, 2014 at 5:32 PM

Not everyone would agree that satan and the Pope fall on opposite ends of the same spectrum.

Happy Nomad on January 7, 2014 at 2:57 PM

Satan, antichrist, kinda similar….

/just kidding. mostly.

There Goes the Neighborhood on January 7, 2014 at 6:06 PM

The Pope is Catholic, and I wonder about the right-wingers[*] who want to call him a socialist. Where do they think Obama was born?

[*]I deliberately use right-wingers in contrast to Conservatives in this sentence.

thuja on January 7, 2014 at 3:20 PM

When you advocate for socialist government and socialist politicians, you tend to get called a socialist.

Even when you’re Catholic.

There Goes the Neighborhood on January 7, 2014 at 6:11 PM

The world has been taking Jesus’ words and teaching out of context for 2000+ years. Welcome to the party, Vicar of Christ.

Kraken on January 7, 2014 at 6:26 PM

Bergoglio is a true son of the “spirit of Vatican II”. He follows the likes of Teilhard de Chardin, Edward Schillebeeckx and Karl Rahner in believing that the World must be affirmed and the infinite set aside and appealed to only to affirm the World. A man of fear he constantly speaks in the slogans of worldly ideologies.

wraithby on January 7, 2014 at 6:28 PM

Bergoglio is a true son of the “spirit of Vatican II”. He follows the likes of Teilhard de Chardin, Edward Schillebeeckx and Karl Rahner in believing that the World must be affirmed and the infinite set aside and appealed to only to affirm the World. A man of fear he constantly speaks in the slogans of worldly ideologies.

wraithby on January 7, 2014 at 6:28 PM

I don’t know what sedevacanist gooblegook you are spewing by I highly doubt that Francis is a man of fear.

Illinidiva on January 7, 2014 at 8:23 PM

I think the Pope is a perfect fit for this totally upside down world.

mobydutch on January 7, 2014 at 9:47 PM

The comment above was not a compliment.

mobydutch on January 7, 2014 at 9:49 PM

The progressive liberal agenda is militant and on the offensive. It is constantly looking for opportunities to exploit.
The Pope, unfortunately, has been more than willing to provide such opportunities.

MHatch on January 7, 2014 at 9:56 PM

If heaven goes by merit rather than favor, Asia Bibi will enter and Francis will not.

VorDaj on January 8, 2014 at 5:35 AM

I have never heard a homily touching on abortion, contraception, homosexuality, assisted reproduction, civil unions or anything of the like. Yet I’ve never had a doubt about the teaching and beliefs of my Deacon(s), Priest(s), Bishop(s) the Pope(s) and the Church.

Mason on January 7, 2014 at 4:08 PM

You should have doubts about what your priests, etc., choose not to mention.

Most Catholics can give no case for the gospels or the faith… They can provide no defense for traditional marriage. This is a major shortcoming of the Church’s leadership, which would rather twist into pretzels of logic to defend the socialist agenda.

And many conservative Catholics would rather quietly go along and pretend rather than rock the boat…

shinty on January 8, 2014 at 11:05 AM

Illinidiva on January 7, 2014 at 8:23 PM

I see you are quick to throw around the labels. An ideologue will always resort to the ad hominem. FYI I’m Novus Ordo to the core. The chair of Peter is not empty. It is occupied by a weak man and a sloppy thinker. Bowing before the spirit of the age is fear itself. Come up with some new talking points, your slogans are a bore.

wraithby on January 8, 2014 at 11:37 AM

And many conservative Catholics would rather quietly go along and pretend rather than rock the boat…

shinty on January 8, 2014 at 11:05 AM

The hierarchy are submissive and deferential with any outrage committed by “progressive catholycs”. However, they are lions when confronting orthodox Catholics. Bergoglio was deeply offended when a harmless “rosary bouquet” for his own prayers was sent him by traditional Catholics as bishop in Argentina. Yet he remains passive and in “who am I to judge?” mode when confronted by exploitations and distortions of the Faith by the “progressives”. The record of the American bishops and the USCCB is equally weak. Yet, professional and conservative Catholics continue with “there is nothing to see here” charade.

wraithby on January 8, 2014 at 1:14 PM