PopeWatch: Too Argentinian

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Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa has the first part of an examination of Laudato Si by an Australian priest and theologian:

What’s wrong with “Laudato si'”?

by Paul Anthony McGavin

I generally pay attention to in-flight interviews by the Holy Father, because I’m interested to notice a text with lesser editing and without the voice of a “ghost writer”, as occurs with papal encyclicals. The conversations are often cursory, and sometimes tendentious. One paragraph in “Africa surprises us” text in “L’Osservatore Romano” of 4 december 2015 stood out for me. The pope was asked about the recent regime change in Argentina, and replied:

“I have heard some opinions, but really this geopolitical question at this time, I just don’t know what to say, really. I just don’t know. Because there are problems in many countries along these lines, but I really do not know why or how it began, I do not know why. Really, there are many Latin American countries in these changing situations, this is true, but I am not really able to explain it”.

I impute tendentiousness here, because the relationship of Jorge Mario Bergoglio with the Kirchner regime seems to have been conflictual, while the rise of a Macri regime is unlikely to accord with Bergoglio’s clearly left-of-centre worldview. The worldview of the pope and of his ghost writer(s) is played-out in “Laudato si'”, with the writers seemingly unaware of the dysfunctionality of their positions for their declared agenda. If only the pope had sustained an “I really do not know” line, “Laudato si'” may have been a more credible document.

“Laudato si'” clearly has a Bergoglio hand (for example, the most cited non-ecclesial text is “The End of the Modern World” by Romano Guardini, on whose writings Bergoglio commenced doctoral studies) but evidence of lack of integration suggests more than one ghost writer. What quite stands out in the document is its Latin American culture – reading the nations of Central and South Americas that arose from Iberian Catholic imperialism as “Latin America”. Broadly speaking, Latin America is notable internationally for economic backwardness and opportunistic behaviours that prevail under weak governance regimes.

The pope and his ghostwriters (and hereafter I shall simply say “the pope”) would not like to hear such a description of his cultural milieu, but sadly it is so. At the time of federation of the six self-governing British colonies that formed Australia in 1901, per person incomes in Argentina exceeded those of Australia. IMF international parity data for 2014 show Argentinian average incomes at 48% of those in Australia. The latest World Bank estimates of the skew in income distribution (the Gini coefficient) show for Argentina a skew in favour of higher incomes that is 39% greater than the estimate for Australia – that is, in relative terms “the poor” are more than a third worse-off in Argentina than in Australia. Taking the homicide rate per 100,000 persons, the latest UN data show the murder rate in Argentina to be 5 times the rate in Australia – that is, Argentina is a far more violent society.

In citing these data, my purpose is not to promote Australia (although I believe that our British-style governance model performs better than the alternatives), nor to disparage Argentina. My purpose is to show that the pope, in adopting of a prevalent Latin American ideological position, aligns himself in a way that inhibits a rational appreciation of instrumentality in addressing the issues for which these data act as surrogates – the human and environmental ecology and issues such as poverty, equality, and justice.






Go here to read the rest.  The Pope’s economic views are no mystery if one understands that they are what one would expect from a left wing, Argentinian Jesuit.  As the Universal Pontiff we have a man of very crabbed provincial views who gazes upon the world through an Argentinian prism.




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  1. Here is another way to look at the Pope’s reply.

    He could have made a very positive statement along the lines of “It is always good to see a democracy peacefully had the reins of power from one party to another”. This is perhaps the best thing to say when one is conflicted about the outcome and when one knows that the incoming party is not a threat to democracy. If one cannot praise the outcome then praise the process.

    These comments show that the Pope doesn’t care about the process, only the outcome.

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