Saturday, February 7, 2015

At War With the Pope?

I continually must remind myself that I am a Catholic first, and an American second, something difficult to do for my boomer generation, raised as we were in the school of American exceptionalism by the greatest generation. So it is with great interest that I now observe a gentleman by the name of Damon Linker taking on the Holy Father here in matters he has pronounced on recently. The article may be summarized thus: (If you check out the links in the Damon article, his evidence for the war is sparse)He begins with a piece from Ross Douthat about internal Church issues regarding divorce and Communion. Next he cites four more pieces, two of which were actually defending the pope and only one of which went beyond subject-specific criticism in personally criticizing the Holy Father himself. This entry created such an uproar that Reno felt it necessary to publish his own criticism just bring peace to the dialogue. 

It appears the progressive ideologues envision a standoff between American conservatives and the Pope, especially as a soon-to-appear encyclical on the environment is predicted to  “deepen conservatives’ mistrust” of the Pope. The political Right’s perception seems to be that Francis’ public policy pronouncements on economics and the environment are a “complete disaster,” indicating he has “allied himself with the far left and has embraced an ideology that would make people poorer and less free.” 

First, recall the Pope’s “Who Am I to Judge?” remark. Then recall too that Evangelii Gaudium on first read contains harsh words for capitalism and trickle-down economics. With his pronouncement on the environment, are American Catholics in the position of having to choose between Francis and the Republican Party? If so, as a faithful Catholic who is pro-life, and opposed to people who desire sex with people of the same sex being allowed to wed, where does that leave me?

With the release of an encyclical that will challenge the climate-change deniers, American political conservatives seem to have reached a moment of decision: Should they side with the party or the pontiff?

Robert George is committed to the strategy of explaining away the difficulties — of telling Catholic Republicans that there’s no need to choose, because GOP principles and Catholic social teaching still coincide. The only obstacle here is that, "increasingly, they don’t — as more and more Catholic Republicans are coming to understand,: The battle has commenced- whose side will you be on?