PopeWatch: Too Soft on Communism?

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PopeWatch2-199x300-199x300

 

Well this is interesting.  CNN (!) has a piece that asks the question of whether Pope Francis is too soft on Communism.

 

On Sunday, at a huge Mass in Havana’s Revolution Square, Francis told 200,000 Cubans to serve people, not ideas, which again was seen as a “subtle critique” of Cuba’s socialist revolution.

But for the most part, the Pope has steered clear of overt political statements — much more so than his predecessors, says veteran Vatican-watcher John Thavis. And some conservatives are accusing Francis of going soft on communism.

During his trip to Cuba in 1998, St. John Paul II called for “great change” and urged greater respect for religious and other human rights, Thavis said. Pope Benedict XVI echoed that call in 2012.

Aboard the papal airplane on the way to Cuba, Benedict said, “It is obvious that the Marxist ideology as it was conceived no longer corresponds to reality: it is no longer possible to respond to or to build up a society in this way. New models must be found, patiently and constructively.”

 

Despite his frequent critiques of capitalism, Pope Francis says he is no Marxist. “Marxist ideology is wrong,” he told an Italian newspaper in 2013.

Thavis notes that the Pope could be critiquing communism behind the scenes in Cuba, in his meetings with Raul Castro.

But it will be interesting to watch, in his remaining hours in Cuba, whether Francis — who is rarely shy about sharing his political opinions — will say anything to the Cuban people about the system they’ve endured since 1959.

Go here to read the rest.  It isn’t so much that Pope Francis is soft on Communism, but rather that he acts as if it has not existed.  In his constant savaging of markets and his constant calls for government intervention, Pope Francis acts as if Communism did not have almost a century of failure with a system where markets were destroyed by the State and the State sought to replace markets with command economies.  The mass poverty produced by such systems, along with their loss of all freedom, seems to have left no impact on the mind of the Pope.  Instead, he is supportive of regimes that mouth leftist platitudes and replace free markets with the worst features of command economies and crony capitalism.  With the Pope, it sometimes feel as if we have entered a time warp and the year is 1925 with Marxism the wave of the future.

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18 Comments

  1. Kind of amazing, isn’t it. This pope thinks a job is a right. Yet, he never praises job creators. Something that’s actually difficult to do and something he certainly has never done. On the other hand, he embraces every communist he can find and even allows himself to literally be draped in their ideology. An ideology that, officially, is atheistic. God of surprises? No, just the pope fashioning God in his own image.

  2. He doesn’t bash communism, and carries their blasphemous cross without repulsion, but he openly bashes capitalism (profit itself seems to be an evil–as if St Joseph gave his carpentry products away at or below cost)
    There’s faith and there’s politics, and it becomes exceedingly difficult to tell how this shepherd melds the two into his teachings.
    What I long to see is as much energy allocated to “repenting from sin for salvation” as I do for any earthly political, economic, and eco-worshipping “ideologies’ as solutions to man’s condition.

  3. With the Pope, it sometimes feel as if we have entered a time warp and the year is 1925 with Marxism the wave of the future.

    Wouldn’t say that. His dispositions seem more characteristic of late Cold War liberal or red haze opinion journalism, shorn of the histrionic babble about nuclear weapons. Think of some insipid article by Thomas Byrne Edsall or Elizabeth Drew in the New York Review of Books and transpose it into a different idiom.

  4. Parting words to the ‘young’ people were to the effect that they remain in union with one another, putting differing ideas aside, to pray for him and, if atheist, to think good thoughts of him; the afterthought for applause that he would pray for them. Disturbing, in the way that he urges people to herd together without pointing out that their help is not in the pontiff’s name or any initiative in education and religion. Seemed like advice to the forlorn-to-be.

  5. I don’t see this as surprising. The Church, at least what I have experienced of it, is no fan of wealth or the wealthy, but a huge fan of “the poor.”
    .
    We recently tried to give a stock gift to our church. Our priest didn’t understand why we couldn’t just sell it off and give him the cash (“capital gains taxes? what’s that?”). When we finally got a receipt for the gift, it was for the wrong amount–no one (including the people on the church finance board) bothered to read the church’s own stock broker report properly. “Money is the root of evil”, so why soil ones hands in it?
    .
    Perhaps if we were on welfare and needed the Pope and the hierarchy to lobby for greater welfare benefits, I might be more excited at his coming to the US and hang on his every word. As it is, through the exhaustive and exhausting efforts of my spouse and the family who came before us, we are decently off and don’t get welfare or charity. I can’t afford to go to DC to take part in the parade, or Philly to support families and catch a glimpse of the Pope. And even if I could, I still probably wouldn’t go since we are busy working trying to keep above the economic tides and have enough left over to put in the collection plate to pay for the Pope’s and hierarchy’s upkeep. The desire to do so gets smaller with every day.

  6. I can’t afford to go to DC . . . or Philly[.] And even if I could, I still probably wouldn’t go since we are busy working trying to keep above the economic tides and have enough left over to put in the collection plate to pay for the Pope’s and hierarchy’s upkeep. The desire to do so gets smaller with every day.

    But Boxer, you must work harder!

    More seriously, you’re doing your part to help the poor by not becoming one of them. And as I recall, it was the poor in spirit who were blessed.

  7. When we finally got a receipt for the gift, it was for the wrong amount–no one (including the people on the church finance board) bothered to read the church’s own stock broker report properly.

    I’ll wager the task was delegated to the flummoxed church secretary, who had never looked at the brokerage statements before.

  8. DJ Hesselius wrote “The Church, at least what I have experienced of it, is no fan of wealth or the wealthy, but a huge fan of “the poor.””
    Père Henri-Dominique Lacordaire OP, the great preacher who restored the Dominican Order in France after the Revolution remarked that Christ did not come to make the poor rich and the rich richer, but to make the rich poor and the poor holy.

  9. If Christ came to make the rich poor (and the poor holy) then I am not sure why anyone is bothered that the Pope despises free markets and prefers command economies such as currently exits in Venezuela, where I believe there is a toilet paper shortage. In fact, the Pope is doing his job by promoting economic systems that destroy wealth.
    .
    Alas, the flawed receipt was the fault of the finance board, not the secretary (we received an admission of that.) And the person who didn’t bother to read it has a business degree. No really. That’s what he said.
    .
    The Church may very well teach that “the poor in spirit” are those blessed, but I do not hear that often. Just that the poor are blessed and the rich/money are evil (as oppose to the “love of money is the root of all evil.”) I’ve heard this for going on 20 years now, ever since I converted. As someone who knows quite a few poor people, material as well as spiritually, and who has a learning disabled son who’s economic future is very uncertain, I’m not too happy to be supporting a man (and a group of men) who know nothing about the markets or how money is made, or even what it is.
    .
    Greed on my part? Perhaps, but St. Paul did note in Corinthians that wives tend to be concerned about worldly affairs. I find it difficult to believe God desires unemployment and welfare handouts for my son, which is all its seems the Pope and Church has to offer.
    .

  10. The Church has never been very sharp on the subject of economics. These days, the Holy See has embraced Argentine economic lunacy.

    If the Roman Pontiff is not discussing the need to pray and repent, I pay no attention.

    Let the Roman Pontiff speak of the nice Communists he has known when he visits Poland next year.

  11. our idea of subsidiarity counts here too! yes – “poor in spirit” that’s OUR ticket- to learn and strengthen our detachment from riches. but also
    Matthew 25:37-40
    Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family,* you did it to me.”
    .
    That makes it personal – close up– not systematic through the long arm of the governemnt

  12. After being greeted by America’s communist leaders, Francis
    left the airport in a small Fiat as a gesture to the world’s
    downtrodden proletariat that modern Catholics are morally
    superior to the self-absorbed, promethean neo-pelagian,
    breeder Catholics.

    Undoubtedly, Francis is eager to show America’s communist
    leaders his treasured commie crucifix. Francis may cause a
    joyous Pelosi to suffer fainting spells, should he display
    his commie crucifix during his address to congress.

  13. Many Catholics are excited about the papal visit. I will be excited when it is over.
    Pray for the Holy Father. I do not like him or much of what he has said or done, but his words and deeds are no reason to stop trying to be good Catholics. I am not going Mark Shea. Just go about being Catholic and tune out the noise.
    FWIW, no Latin American in any position of authority will criticize the Castros. Not ever. It just isn’t done.

  14. Is not the goal to open Cuba to allow more true Catholicism to enter in for the people …. not to make political “ism’s” statements?

  15. “Is not the goal to open Cuba to allow more true Catholicism to enter in for the people …. not to make political “ism’s” statements?”

    The goal should be to free the Cuban people from Castro and his grisly crew, not to give aid and comfort to their oppressors.

  16. Is not the goal to open Cuba to allow more true Catholicism to enter in for the people …. not to make political “ism’s” statements?

    Supposedly, the primate has been suborned, and explicitly loathes the exile community in greater Miami. Francis has not asked for his resignation. You only do that for real miscreants, like promoters of the 1962 missal.

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