PopeWatch: Pope Peron



The Washington Post has an interesting look at the Pope’s life in Argentina:

In recent months, the pope’s indictment of unfettered capitalism as “the devil’s dung” and his calls for sweeping cultural and lifestyle changes to reduce global warming have fueled a perception among some conservatives that Francis is a leftist, with Marxist views dressed up in white vestments.

Here in Argentina, where Francis had a reputation as a conservative, those who have known him for decades find such characterizations risible, throwing their hands in the air, as if told the Brazilians were better at soccer or Chile had better wine.

“Absurd,” said Julio Barbaro, a former Argentine congressman who studied at the San Miguel Jesuit college with Francis in the 1960s.

The pope, Barbaro said, is a “Peronist” whose views don’t fit into the left-right boxes of the U.S. political divide.

Gen. Juan Perón ruled Argentina from 1946 to 1955, and again briefly in the 1970s, and Peronism has endured as a dominant force in the country’s political life. It attempts to bridge class divides through the combination of a strong, authoritative leader, a highly centralized and generous social welfare state, and heavy doses of quasi-religious nationalist sentiment. Even after her death in 1952, Perón’s wife Evita was a figure of adoration among the country’s working poor.

Go here to read the rest.  PopeWatch is increasingly convinced that the current pontificate is largely the application of Peronist methods and beliefs:

1.  A cult following of a charismatic leader is fostered.

2.  The leader is always right and is above and beyond criticism.

3.  A strong devotion to ludicrous economic nostrums.

4.  Reliance on cronies in carrying out the tasks of the regime.

5.  The poor operate as an excuse for the policies of the regime, whatever the impact on the poor the actual policies may have.

6.  Demonization of the opponents of the regime.

7.  Ostensibly trying to chart a middle course between capitalism and communism while cronies of the regime fatten themselves with lucrative insider deals.

8.  Sudden shifts in policies which lend an air of chaos and keep adversaries off balance.

9.  The regime fosters a permanent campaign mode where enemies of the regime are to be kept constantly in defense mode.

10. Leaving devastation behind?

The interesting aspect of Peronism is that while the time in power of Juan and Evita Peron was a disaster for Argentina, it has spawned an amorphous political movement that has long been the dominant faction in Argentinian politics, with politicians of all ideological stripes claiming to be the true Peronists.  PopeWatch wonders whether the longest lasting legacy of Pope Francis will be to leave within the Church a Franciscan “party” that under the banner of Pope Francis will fight to gain, and retain, power within the Church for years to come.  If so, this will be a most pernicious legacy.


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  1. So, let me just get this straight. A Peronist is a Communist who professes to have religious faith. If that’s what makes one a “conservative” in Argentina, no wonder the country is in such poor shape.

  2. What’s next, a gift of a crucifix with a hammer and sickle that plays “Evita” when you lift it up?
    I won’t ask what we did to deserve this confusion and discord, because we ll know that we did this to ourselves. Sin has consequences.

  3. Ezekiel chapter 34 is a stinging rebuke against Peronist shepherds. In the long run, they end up where all shepherds who feed themselves on the sheep end up.

  4. The Washington Pravda, as reliable a friend of the left, can be relied upon to buttress the sagging support for Pope Peron: Any anti-capitalist-socialist is an ally (which also explains Obama’s and PF’s coziness). However, Jesus Christ, who once was the central authority in the Catholic Church, is left in the dust as well. Instead of the Vicar of IHS, better the Vicar of Marx. Laudato Si spent only 4 paragraphs on Jesus Christ (about 6 on the OT Scriptures) and the rest of its 246 neo-Leninist diatribe on re-distribution theory.
    And just to show how an enemy of freedom, private property, and prosperity is also a friend of the feckless left, in a related event today, an Indonesian foundation awarded Kim Jong Un its peace prize for 2015. According to APF news 8/3/2015:

    “A daughter of Indonesia’s founding president has defended honoring North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un with an award for statesmanship, dismissing criticisms of his human rights record as “Western propaganda”.

    Rachmawati Sukarnoputri confirmed the leader would receive an award from her organisation, the Sukarno Education Foundation, in September for his “peace, justice and humanity”.

    Sukarnoputri brushed aside questions of Kim’s suitability for the award, saying the young leader “should be honored for his fight against neo-colonialist imperialism.”‘”
    Hmmm. The “fight against neo-colonialist imperialism”: words right out of the American Communist Party’s publications, and they also ring much like the words of a US president who spent his formative boyhood years in Djakarta, Indonesia. Obama, PF, Peron, Washington Post: all the same.

  5. The article informs us Francis was influenced by many
    Latin American Marxists who had different approaches
    to establish a Latin American Marxist paradise, which
    leaves one with the question what role did Christ’s
    teachings played in Francis’ theological development.
    Obviously, Francis has ignored Christ or reinterpret
    His teachings from a Marxist perceptive.

    Recently I have read Francis has sacked Benedict’s
    doctor. I wonder if Benedict regrets his retirement.

  6. Where ever he goes Pope Francis sings the same tune. Note From Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church%E2%80%93state_relations_in_Argentina

    On November 12, 2005 the Argentine bishops presided by Jorge Bergoglio, gathered in the 90th Assembly of the Argentine Episcopal held in Pilar, Buenos Aires, issued a document that includes, as usual, a critical appraisal of socio-political issues. The document claimed that Argentina suffers a “scandalous growth of the inequality of income distribution”. On the following day, the Argentine Head of Cabinet, Alberto Fernández, replied that this “does not correspond with reality” and that the Church had “ignored much data provided by current statistics” which showed a decrease in poverty since the beginning of the Kirchner administration in 2003.

    President Kirchner himself replied on November 16, commenting that the statements of the Church “look more like those of a political party, more like earthly affairs, than like the task they should be performing”, and that the bishops were “absolutely wrong in their diagnosis of the situation of the country”.

    President Kirchner got it right: the Church looks more like a political party….than the task it should be performing.”

  7. that Argentina suffers a “scandalous growth of the inequality of income distribution”.

    Unless I’ve confounded my denominators, social security spending (which does not include much in the way of customary welfare expenditure) accounts for about 11% of gross domestic product in Argentina. Financing such with a flat income tax and then evenly allocating it across all income classes would be sufficient to increase the disposable income adhering to the most impecunious 30% of the population by half-again on average (depending on a country’s baseline income distribution). Of course, the burdens and benefits could be suboptimally allocated, but you would not preface such a discussion by babbling about ‘inequality’ (a phenomenon which is inevitable in any society more complex than an agricultural village).

  8. So, let me just get this straight. A Peronist is a Communist who professes to have religious faith.

    No, a Peronist is a votary of a political economy wherein labor meatheads and political bosses are key allocators, operating through the conduit of public bureaucracies. Private enterprse remains, as a victim of shakedowns. Peronism lacks the elaborate theoretical political economy of Marxism, the comprehensive planning, and the universal state ownership. Also, in Peronism, feeding clientele tends to run well ahead of one’s capacity to allocate costs and enforce those allocations, so you borrow money and print money. Peronism is not Communist. It’s more like the Teamster’s union under Jimmy Hoffa.

  9. Good description Art. Given that it would seem that Peronism could be defines as a form of neo-corporatism.

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