PopeWatch: Populism

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The Pope continues his war on populism.  From remarks he made at the Youth Synod:

The Pope distinguished between “populism” and “popular”, saying that “popular is the culture of the people, the culture of each of your peoples that is expressed in art, in culture, in the science of the people, in celebration”. Populism, he said “is the opposite: it is the closure of this model. We are closed, we are alone. And when we are closed we can’t go on”. Love, he concluded, “is the word that opens all doors”.

Go here to read the rest.  For a Pope who has said kind words about Communists, and who recently stuck a shiv in the “Underground Church” in China, his concern about populism is predictable.  Like most political movements, judgments on a populist movement, and defining what populism means tends to be a thorny question, depends upon the circumstances surrounding the movement, what the movement stands for and the character of the leaders of the movement.  The Pope’s Argentina has long been dominated by populist movements, most notably the endless variants of Peronism, and if the Pope truly had a general abhorrence of all populist movements, well, Argentina has not been a great showplace for benign populism.  However, the Pope seems to have quite a bit of tolerance for populist movements if they mouth Left wing pieties.  His sponsorship of the World Meeting of Populist Movements, go here to read about it, is evidence of that, as is his good relations with Leftist caudillos in Latin America.  The Pope despises populist movements if they are conservative, and particularly if they oppose his disastrous endorsement of mass immigration from Islamic countries.  For centuries the popes joined themselves at the hip with Catholic monarchies.  Long term this policy proved disastrous as the Catholic monarchs sought, often successfully, to control the Church within their realm, and the Church became associated with regimes and their policies, and suffered when those regimes fell.  The Pope seems eager to replicate this misbegotten policy, with the glaring difference that the regimes he wishes to associate the Church with are often quite hostile to the Church and do not pretend otherwise.

 

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6 Comments

  1. I have often thought the first Populist of modern times was the Abbé Emmanuel-Joseph Sieyes, whom Lord Acton described as the only statesman the Revolution produced.

    When Louis XVI summoned the States-General in 1789, they met on 5 May, as was customary, in 3 houses or “estates” : the nobility, the clergy and the Third Estate (“that part of no part” as it has been called)

    It was the Abbé Sieyès who persuaded the Third Estate on 17 June, to take the momentous decision of declaring themselves the National Assembly. “You,” he told the deputies, “are the representatives of the Nation; the nobility and clergy represent only themselves and their private interests.” Henceforth, the citizens were those, and only those, who bore the public burdens of taxation and conscription, not those who were exempted from them by their special privileges.

    It was a remarkable moment in the history of modern Europe, pregnant with possibilities.

  2. For centuries the popes joined themselves at the hip with Catholic monarchies. Long term this policy proved disastrous as the Catholic monarchs sought, often successfully, to control the Church within their realm, and the Church became associated with regimes and their policies, and suffered when those regimes fell.

    I’ve wondered sometimes if this tendency has its roots in the same desire governments have for big businesses. In this case, I could see that it would be easier for the Pope and Cardinals to deal with a hundred kings around the world than try and convince 50 governors and thousands of legislatures to be pious just in the united states. Or as Jonah Goldberg once put it: Easier to manage a few dozen elephants than herd a thousand cats.

    Though I’ve seen some lay catholics argue that monarchy is really the only acceptable government per the faith.

  3. Though I’ve seen some lay catholics argue that monarchy is really the only acceptable government per the faith.

    Was that John Rao or Thomas Droleskey? There are aspects of Traditionalist discussion that are rather twee. And that’s ‘ere you get to the page where Robert Sungenis is promoting geocentrism.

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