If You Want to Get a Sense of How a Pope from a Developing Nation Will *Really* Received by Western Media

…look no further than the incredulity, horror, and mockery that greets a Salon reprint of a piece by Mahatma Gandhi opposing artificial contraception. The notion that the West is, in any serious way, “multicultural” is a complete, smug, self-congratulating fiction. We are a culture that is not only profoundly intolerant of ideas outside a narrow bandwidth and ready, at the drop of a hat, to sneer at those ignorant primitives who think differently from our middle class suburban enlightened selves, but we are also a people ready, willing, and able to go to war to impose our “values” on backward peoples in the name of spreading hedonistic democratic capitalism. And if that means the extermination or exile of, say, the Chaldean Christians in our quest for Enduring Freedom, well hey! You have to break a few eggs to make an omelette.

Gandhi is hip and cool as a picture on a T shirt or a Barnes and Noble bag for our cultured despisers. But *listen* to him when he says things that would not play on “All Things Considered”? Fuggedaboudit.

Exactly the same thing will happen with a Pope from a developing nation. When we get one (as I presume we will sooner or later, though I think not this time) there will be a few days of wonder that an African or Asian is doing the job, and then the hand-wringing will start about the Pope suffering from post-colonial false consciousness (meaning “he believes the Catholic faith”), outdated “tribal” sexism (and by “tribal” we think you catch our drift, hint, hint), “backward” superstitions and so forth. This will come far more from racists on the Left than on the Right. Because the racism of the Left will be played out by pop atheists and similar shallow pundits who make no distinctions between the Catholic faith and the natives of Skull Island doing the Kong Dance. It’s all just primitive savagery and mystical mumbo jumbo, as we are constantly assured. A Pope who says, well, what the Church says and what Gandhi says will not be received like some new Nelson Mandela by the Western press. He will be derided as an emissary from backward lands who need enlightened Westerners to teach them shallow atheism and cull their numbers with the blessings of birth control.

Here’s the deal: the world will always hate the gospel. Always. Nothing the Church does will ever change that. And certainly not the election of a Pope from a developing country. We are dealing with forces far beyond the merely cultural or political. We’re talking principalities and powers.  The devil will hate a faithful African, Brazilian, or Chinese as much as he hated a faithful Pole who was also from an oppressed people. Our task is to pray for a faithful Pope, not a popular one. Seek first the Kingdom and all else we need will be added as well.

Kevin O’Brien, who sent me the link, has some further remarks on Gandhi’s piece.

  • Marthe Lépine

    By the way, I had been wondering if you had seen the following article:
    From: http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/nigeria-to-western-nations-wed-sooner-refuse-aid-than-legalize-same-sex-mar
    Nigeria to Western nations: We’d sooner refuse aid than legalize same-sex “marriage”
    by Kirsten Andersen, Mon Dec 10, 2012 20:35 EST
    It is several weeks old, but it gives a good idea of what Africa would have to offer to our supposedly advanced Western culture… If and when we ever see an African cardinal elected to be Pope.

  • vox borealis

    My first attempt was deemed too short. But all I wanted to say was:

    Spot on.

  • meunke

    Like that horrid, animated Beowulf movie, Ghandi has been carefully castrated by the west to fit modern sensibilities.

  • bob cratchit

    Well put guv’nah! Well put.

  • midwestlady

    Mark, sometimes you’re all wet, but today your piece is on the money. If they get an African who is actually a Catholic Christian, they won’t have any clue what to do next. There are no stereotypes for that. Along about the time he says in a thick accent with a big smile, no birth control, no abortion, bless and keep you, the MSM will have a collective seizure. It might we worth electing someone like Arinze just for the entertainment value alone.

    • Andy, Bad Person

      There are many, many good reasons to elect Arinze. It’s too bad that he’ll likely be perceived as too old.

      • Dustin

        It’s not that he’s “perceived” as too old. He is, in fact, at 80, too old. What possible sense does it make to follow the retirement of an octogenarian, who stepped down specifically because of his advanced age, with the election of another octogenarian?

    • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

      In fact, they know quite well what to do with him. Look at what happens to black Republicans in the US to get a glimpse of the template, or even a straying fellow traveler like Juan Williams.

      Minorities in the US are not allowed, unmolested, to have the same diversity of opinion as whites. The Pope would come under the same grinding attack.

  • Andrew K.

    Here’s the deal: the world will always hate the gospel. Always. Nothing the Church does will ever change that.

    Mark, please do not identify the Gospel with the Church. If you do, then the Gospel was responsible for the Magdalene laundries, Vatican cover-ups and intrigues, and the Borgias, among other disasters. I really do not think you want to go there. Or maybe you do. I stopped trying to figure out Catholic rationalizations a long time ago.

    • Chris M

      The Church brings the Gospel. The are not the same.. but neither can they be separated.

    • Maiki

      Of course they are not the same. The gospel is the message brought by the very human and sinful emissaries of the Church, that despite their failings still teach the gospel. The Borgias did not preach the encyclical: “On the validity of orgies”, nor does the current Catechism praise lying.

      (dunno what the Magdalene Laundries are beyond the wikipedia article i just read. Doesn’t sound like it was an exclusively Catholic deal, though? Seems more like a British Isles thing, protestant and Catholic — a bad solution to a social problem).

    • LUKE1732

      The Magdalene laundries were recently in the news:

      http://www.themediareport.com/2013/02/19/truth-about-irelands-magdalene-laundries/

      Maybe the lesson is to not identify media about the Church with the Church.

      • Andrew K.

        Well, THAT looks like an unbiased source!
        I will certainly follow up on what is written there. I think it likely they set out to find that the Magdalene laundries were benign, and lo, they were.

        • Blog Goliard

          What’s being talked about is the McAleese Report (see http://justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/MagdalenRpt2013), which is most certainly not a biased source that set out to find that the Magdalene laundries were benign.

          • Andrew K.

            Actually, that is NOT what they found, but read it however you like. While I have not read the entire report, summaries do suggest acknowledgement of “verbal and physical abuse.”

            Also, the report is being challenged:
            A week that promised so much for the survivors of Magdalene Laundries ended up delivering little.

            Despite the McAleese report finally rubber-stamping a fact that has been known for years — that the State was involved in all aspects of the Magdalene Laundries — no State apology has been forthcoming.

            The Government and Taoiseach Enda Kenny parsed and prevaricated, clinging to the razor-thin argument that just 26% of women in the laundries were sent by the State.

            The key point here is: Regardless of how women came to be there, the fact the State monitored, inspected, and had State contracts with the laundries make it responsible for all the women who worked for no pay in these institutions.

            However, the more unsettling aspect of the McAleese report is the rewriting of a narrative that has long been accepted through testimony — that these were places where women suffered physical abuse. It is noteworthy that this was not the job of Martin McAleese.

            What he presented in this regard is wildly at odds with what was established in the Ryan report, in more than 700 pages of survivor testimony presented to his committee — which is rapidly being treated as the historical narrative of what went on in these institutions.

            As he gave no public briefing, it has not been possible to question Mr McAleese on these findings.

            On Prime Time earlier this week, an angry Maeve O’Rourke, a human rights lawyer and member of the Justice for Magdalenes group, said Mr McAleese’s claim that little physical abuse occurred in the laundries was “an outrage”.

            “It has been accepted for a long time that these were abusive institutions and the idea that they were not physically abusive — the thing that is coming out from this report — I think is an outrage. Martin McAleese did not refute that the women earned no money and that they were locked in,” she said.

            “He spoke of the vast majority of women and girls never knowing when they would get out, if ever, and if they would ever see their families again. That was not refuted. If unpaid labour behind locked doors is not physical abuse, then I do not know what is.”

            The fact remains that the Catholic Church in Ireland acted as a private prison and slave labor system for decades. Wish that away all you want. Making the claim that “It was not that bad” is like looking at a alcohol related injury car accident and noting that no decapitations took place. Huzzah!

          • Andrew K.
            • http://www.vatican.va CatholicScoob

              Dude, chill out.

    • midwestlady

      To Andrew K,
      May I remind you that a) God did not run the Magdalene Laundries, and b) neither did millions of other Catholics, including clergy, who weren’t even in the vicinity.
      My question to you: What do you propose as an alternative, hotshot?

      • Andrew K.

        I am not sure what “alternative” you are asking me about. If you mean to the Catholic Church, we have alternatives for the preaching of the Gospel. Pointing out corruption does not require me to propose alternatives, although it seems that the alternative is self-evident. Hotshot.

        • midwestlady

          Whining about something that happened in a 1st world country, which is what you’re doing, is off-topic anyway. Check the article.

      • Andrew K.

        If you refer to the alternative to what the Catholic Church did in Ireland, as a blogger once pointed out, “The Catholic Church, if it were what it sold itself as, and sells itself as, could have wrought all the wonders it promised, and promises, in Ireland post 1922.” Regardless of how benign the forced imprisonment of women was, it remained the wrong thing to do. Again, I do not need to propose an alternative to point out how absurd the status quo was.

    • MB

      Andrew, who determined that the Gospels were inspired, and when? And before this point, what did the centuries of Christians without a canon do to learn and form their faith?

      Hint: the Bible did not fall from the sky (it was indeed canonized by men, despite its inspired content), and millions of Christian men and women lived without any concrete form of a bible for centuries. Furthermore, before the four Gospels were canonized, there were approximately 50 gospels in circulation by that point in history, and many of the canonized letters in the bible today were disputed for centuries.

      This is why good historians tend to be good Catholics.

    • jmt

      andrew, poor thing, perhaps you’d also like a pair of scissors to cut out Peter’s denial, judas’ betrayal, Thomas’s skepticism….. then your gospel would be exactly the way you want it…..as fake as that would be…..

    • Antonio A. Badilla

      “Mark, please do not identify the Gospel with the Church.” Be careful Andrew. One can’t separate the Body (the Church) from its head (Christ). When Saul was struck by a blinding light he heard the words of Christ, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?” Christ did not say, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute the Christians?” It is dangerous territory when we try to separate Christ from His Church, or the Church from His Gospel.

    • Chris

      The gospel & the church are one & the same. Jesus founded the Catholic Church. Just because there have been grave sinners among its members does not trump the power of Christ & the sacraments to redeem willing individuals and societies. Mark’s use of “the world” is meant to depict the world of people who refuse the gospel message. Look how many turned away when Christ was actually walking on this Earth, performing miracles, calling sinners to repent, & sadly, many turned away.

  • The Deuce

    Yup. “Multiculturalism” doesn’t actually entail knowledge or respect for other cultures, but merely contempt for the morals and traditions that have defined our own civilization.

  • Scott W.

    As an example of progressivist lunacy, there was an interview with my local ordinary Bishop Malone who said he thought a non-European pope would bring certain welcome advantages. Some chucklehead in the comments rebuked him saying, “Distinctions, however so slight, with regard to race, ethnicity or geographic origin are made in the minds of biased individuals.” Get that? If you acknowledge the existence of common-sense things like race, ethnicity, etc., you are a bigot. But the whole premise of multiculturalism is celebrating those differences. It’s an impoverished substitute religion with a third-rate kluge of the doctrine of Original Sin to make sure that one is guilty no matter which view you choose.

    • midwestlady

      Scott, it’s a post-modern Western enthusiasm, born of ignorance about how people in 3rd world countries really live. Most of the people who yell about this the most would have a nervous breakdown if they couldn’t recharge their cell phones and take a bath once in a while. The lack of low-fat lattes alone would probably wreck them.

  • “joe”

    “the western media”
    “racists on the Left”

    i thought this blog was about ideas, not talking points and monolithic strawmen.
    sorry to waste my time.

    • Brian

      “goodbye”, “joe”

      • Dale Price

        His bubble keeps him warm.

    • midwestlady

      If I’m not mistaken, accusing us of talking about monolithic strawmen without actually making a point is a monolithic strawman. Correct me if I’m wrong.

    • Scott W.

      Show me one mainstream media editorial by a non-Catholic that isn’t some variation of “They need to pick a pope that will bring the Church up to date”

  • http://www.catholicbandita.com Lisa Graas

    Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God! That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

  • Philip

    Mark, I hate to say it, but you are absolutely right. I think it was a momentary romantic fantasy which made me think the world might be taken aback and admire the Church for electing a non-European Pope, but your analysis just blasted that notion to pieces.

    What a shame. I am not clamoring for an African or Asian Pope (thought I think Cardinal Ranjith would be a wonderful Pope), but I certainly would follow any such Pope to the cross of martyrdom with joy.

  • Dante Aligheri

    This is so true. The Western world sanitizes people to make them fit for consumption in present day value systems. Just look what the United States educational system has done to Martin Luther King, Jr. They gave him a holiday but do not bother to look at his religious or economic visions or his hard stance against the Vietnam War. Conservatives and liberals – whatever those mean – claim him as their own, and they can’t both be right.

  • fats
    • Andrew K.

      Well, this makes forced labor and imprisonment all right, then! Thanks. I feel much better.

  • David Naas

    The thing about Gandhi was, unlike his Western Admirers, he loved his opponents, even as he was resisting them. I do not perceive these Moderns loving those they oppose. Rather, their actions, like perpetuating lies and myths deliberately, for the purpose of “Liberating” a suffering humanity (ignorant wretched peasants who need the guidance of the sophisticated cultural elites) more evince a deep smouldering hate for anything — or any one — “Not Us”. But, they DO have an Excuse, and an Out — “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

  • Mike

    Gandhi thought masturbation was wrong. The Dalai Lhama thinks homosexuality is very very bad. Buddhism sees no value in it whatsoever. And yet they get a pass, I wonder why? BTW I know why.

  • CK

    This is a great observation. You should read what Martin Luther King said about “white moderates” in his monumental “Letter in Birmingham Jail.”

  • Jason Miller

    So Andrew, is that media link biased in its report about the Magdalene laundries or are you just biased because you’re a Catholic hater? Those ad hominem attacks cut both ways. You accuse our thoughts on these mattets as being rationalizations, yet you offer no reasoned response, just accusations. My guess if you revealed something about your particular faith, we could easily do the same as well – all people are sinners. You seem to enjoy casting stones though.

  • http://na Aloysius Duque

    get behind me satan…. you are thinking like the world thinks…

    The Pope of God is our Pope regARDLESS….

  • John Iliff

    Outstanding piece, Mark!

  • Kristina

    I do not pretend to know the future. Or what will happen in the future.

    I’m not saying I disagree. I’m just saying is all.

    Thanks for the shout-out to the Chaldean Christians ! We rarely get it outside of news reports of us being killed (which this is in reference to : (

  • Kenneth

    Why is it hypocritical to admire the overall actions and philosophy of someone like Gandhi or the Dalai Lama while disagreeing with some of their views? The implication seems to be (if you’re a liberal), that you are a racist for “expecting third worlders to conform to your white suburban values”. On the other hand, if you admit that disagreement but continue to admire the person in any measure, you’re “giving them a pass.” Well, which is it?

    No reporter, or anyone who knows anything about the world outside of our borders would ever expect an African or Latin American pope to be politically or theologically liberal. We would certainly not expect an African pope to favor gay marriage. This is the same continent where countries are drafting the death penalty just for BEING gay (with no small encouragement from certain American Christian missionaries.)

    The idea that darker skin color confers a genetic pre-disposition to leftist/progressive politics is an artifact of America’s warped political dynamic. Blacks tend to be Democrat because the GOP narrative since the 80s has been rooted in the politics of white millionaire entitlement. The Republican narrative has heavily spun black folk as “welfare queens”, dangerous criminals and people just looking for a handout. Latinos have been alienated by the virulently anti-immigrant bent of the GOP. Muslims, who are a natural constituency for Republicans, have been treated as congenital terrorists or sympathizers.

    It is because of those conditions that liberals tend to see any person of color as “one of ours” and conservatives tend to label people of color as “them.” Unfortunately, there’s a grain of truth to this self-created political apartheid, but it has no applicability to the wider world nor the politics of non-U.S. Catholicism.

    • Mark Shea

      Not sure how this became a rant about GOP immigration backwardness (a charge I fully agree with, by the way), but I am amused that a “continent” is somehow implicated in the barbarism of some of its inhabitants. Kinda illustrates my point. Should an African pope reiterate the rejection of the moral licitness of homosex, he will indeed be lumped in with the savages of Ooga Booga who want to murder gays. A very useful and common trope among first worlders who like their racism PC flavored.

      • Kenneth

        I’ll reserve judgement on what an African pope or anyone says before I judge whether their position on gays is rooted in hate. It’s one thing to maintain loyalty to a theological position. On the other hand, when people speak of gays as “disordered” or a “scourge” as some are wont to do, or drive the debate to a tenor designed to encourage hate, that’s something else. I don’t think a pope is obligated to support gay marriage or approve of sex of any kind. My point is that in this country, at least, it should not matter. The case for gay marriage in this country is rooted in our country’s legal traditions of equality before the law and the burden a government must meet before properly outlawing something. The opposition of a pope does not negate that, and his support would not really lend anything to the legitimacy of the gay claim to marriage as far as I’m concerned.

        • Mark Shea

          The Church does not and never has spoken of homosexuals as “disordered”. It does speak of their appetite (for sexual congress with someone of the same sex) as disordered, for the same reason it speaks of my appetites (for too much food) as disordered: because such appetites are not rightly ordered toward their proper object. One thing you can do in the future to cease speaking false regurgitated web memes is to stop repeating the lie that the Church “singles out gays as disordered”. There is a distinction between the person and the disordered appetite. Homosexual desires are but one form of concupiscence. Heterosexuals are plenty disordered too.

          And no, the case for gay marriage in this country is rooted in the will to overturn our country’s legal tradition and make the word “marriage” mean whatever we please. Indeed, in an ironic way, they seek to invent and impose de novo ideas on the older tradition of marriage just as miscegenation laws did: http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2010/05/1324/

          That said, once again you are reverting to American politics. This too is a harbinger of what to expect should we get a pope from the Third World. Because Americans, being fake “multiculturalists”, tend to read all other cultures according to how they measure up to the middle class suburban opinions and to reject without trial any view that does not conform to that narrow and bigoted template.

          • Nobody

            “according to how they measure up to the middle class suburban opinions ”

            I think rather that the standard is the coastal urban liberal opinions of the vast majority of corporate media. Middle class Americans, at least in my 53 years of experience, basically want to be left alone, do not want to know about other peoples’ sex lives, and want their kids to do better than they themselves have managed to do. Nothing PC about that.

            But that’s just my experience in flyover country.

            • Mark Shea

              Fair enough.

          • Kenneth

            You may or may not agree with the values used by the liberal media or middle class America used to judge other cultures, but to say we cannot judge at all is to endorse moral relativism. I break company with liberals who say that multiculturalism requires a judgment free zone where other cultures are concerned. Some things about other cultures – Africa, the Middle East, you name it, just suck. Homophobia, child brides, witch burning, female circumcision, killing albinos (seriously), executing people for apostasy, these things just suck. They are savage and backwards, and I’m not afraid to call them out as such out of fear that someone will label me a white privileged Western chauvanist. Some of the values that are cultural norms in some African societies suck, as do some of the values within our own. Any future African pope is not responsible for all of those things, and may or may not reflect those values himself, just as any of us may or may not buy into our own culture’s conventional wisdom.

          • Claude

            In the discussion which followed the publication of the Declaration, however, an overly benign interpretation was given to the homosexual condition itself, some going so far as to call it neutral, or even good. Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.

            Therefore special concern and pastoral attention should be directed toward those who have this condition, lest they be led to believe that the living out of this orientation in homosexual activity is a morally acceptable option. It is not.

            JOSEPH CARDINAL RATZINGER
            October 1, 1986

            • Rosemarie

              +J.M.J+

              Note he says that the *inclination* toward same sex attraction is a disorder, not that the *person* is disordered. The Church distinguishes between the person and the inclination. The person is a human being made in the image of God with innate human dignity that is to be respected. The inclination is a result of original sin, which affects us all in one way or another.

              The Catholic Church refuses to define the individual by his inclinations or his sins. In modern Western society, OTOH, people with same sex attraction (SSA) are encouraged to do just that – to self-identify as “gay,” to define their very selves by their sexual proclivities. This is where the confusion sets in. When people who have been taught to see their SSA as central to their identity hear the Church saying that SSA is “disordered,” their response is “So you’re saying I’M disordered!!!”

              Incorrect; the Church is saying that you are human, and like all humans, you have been affected by original sin which disorders our desires and appetites. In your case, that disorder is manifested in attraction to members of the same sex, in others it may be manifested differently. Yet that is not essential to who you are.

              • Claude

                Rosemarie, thank you for your lucid explanation. I tried to write a thoughtful reply, but it was rejected as being too “spammy.” Interesting.

      • Mike

        Exactly! We, me, upper middle class whites love our racism PC. Oh those uncivilized darkies, look at the way you they squirm at the mention of anything oooh homosexual! How uncivilized, how dark, yuk. They need white man’s liberation!

    • Will

      But the Culturally Dominant Demogogues do NOT “admit that disagreement”, but simply bury it.
      In this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eI3r6otl53o) John Safran cites a number of statements about … sexual practices and asks passers-by whether they were made by the Pope or the Dalai Lama. The questioned guess wrong in every case.

      • Mike

        WHY HAVE I NOT SEEN THIS BEFORE!!! Awesome!

    • midwestlady

      No, the democrats don’t see “people of color” as one of theirs; rather, they see them as a vote, bought and paid for. That’s coalition politics and anyone that doesn’t realize that has misunderstood at least half a century of American politics.

      • Claude

        Have you not heard of the Southern Strategy in the midwest, lady?

      • Kenneth

        Every politician and both parties see their votes and bought and paid for. All sides play their base constituencies for absolute fools, and the bet has paid off 100% of the time. Both parties convince their voters that they are their only true advocates and that the other guy is Satan incarnate. The guys in charge, all from the same ruling class, split up the proceeds, sell our jobs off overseas, and laugh at our collective stupidity.

        The scam is as easy as the old bit where someone puts a paper bag over a dog’s head and watch it race in circle frantically. The dog might get angry, but they’ll fall for it the 500th time as easily as the first. So do we, and it’s even more pathetic because we theoretically have the brainpower to see through it, and because they have us trained to put the bag over our own heads.

    • enness

      “Why is it hypocritical to admire the overall actions and philosophy of someone like Gandhi or the Dalai Lama while disagreeing with some of their views?”

      I suspect it’s more that they are having a freakout because few of them actually had any knowledge of his having written it (heck, I didn’t).

  • Kenneth

    For what it’s worth, I think non-Catholics, or the media in general, have no real business caring what the next pope thinks about gay marriage, women priests, birth control or anything else. That’s the beauty of church-state separation. As long as that is maintained, I don’t care if the next pope is so theologically conservative that he makes Benedict look like a pot-smoking pony-tailed Liberation Theology Carmelite.

    • Mark Shea

      Works for me. i wish more non-Catholics took your view.

    • MT

      I was once surprised by how many non-Catholics, particularly atheists, took such such strong interest in the goings-on in Church. So many of my atheist friends took interest in everything from who the new priest in my church was going to be, to who the next archbishop of the archdiocese was going to be; and the new pope, well, that’s about as important to the highly-educated and politically savvy atheists I know as it is to any fellow Catholic I know. When my smug atheist brother-in-law expressed such concern over our newly appointed “conservative” archbishop, stating, “he’s no good,” (knowing nothing of the man outside of his unacceptable orthodoxy), I was at first surprised. No more. He and other non-Catholics do indeed have a strong interest in what the Church does. The reason, as I see it, is that they adhere to the maxim, “know thine enemy.” They rightly understand that the only real obstacle standing in the way of the full implementation of their worldview is the Holy Catholic Church.

      • enness

        Love it or hate it, people just can’t seem to be indifferent. I could suggest reasons it holds such a fascination. :)

  • Richard M

    Once more, we have proof: In the world of the Sexual Revolution, sexual “liberty” will trump all other concerns, no matter how dearly held on the Left.

    That includes not only multi-culturalism (“we’re in favor of and cherish other cultures, so long as they accept our moral premises”) but environmentalism, social democracy…you name it.

  • Matthew J. Ogden

    I don’t know about you, Mark (or anyone commenting on here), but I think this sense of “inclusion” (a clearly abused term) influences the attitude of non-Catholics about how they think the Church should be. They want to be inclusive, so they think that since it’s all one world and one humanity, everyone is in it together, and they have a “right” (another clearly abused term) to tell people in groups to which they don’t belong what they think those groups should do.

    My attitude towards this is best summed up by British PM Harold Wilson: “Get your tanks off my lawn.” There has to be some distinction between “us” and “them.” This is not an excuse to treat others uncharitably, and never can be. But let’s not be crazy and assume everyone has the “right” (see above parenthetical note) to intrude upon everyone else’s business.

  • Julia

    “The case for gay marriage in this country is rooted in our country’s legal traditions of equality before the law and the burden a government must meet before properly outlawing something.”
    Nobody is trying to overturn and outlaw marriages between same-sex people that already existed. Where is that coming from? Marriage between same-sex people has never been the settled law. Civil unions were invented to give gays the rights they wanted. Now they want to invent a new kind of “marriage” which has always been between opposite sex people.

    – See more at: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/markshea/2013/03/if-you-want-to-get-a-sense-of-how-a-pope-from-a-developing-nation-will-really-received-by-western-media.html#sthash.yIVSkE9i.dpuf

    • Mark Shea

      Radical innovators perpetually talk as though the innovation is the settled law of the ages that somebody is suddenly trying to change. So we hear about people trying to “outlaw” same sex marriage when it was never legal to start with. It’s remarkably perverse.

  • Katt

    I really don’t see a problem with an African pope, he will do what is required for the church, remember that they are going to discuss before beginning conclave on the kind of leader that is required now for the church, and the Holy Spirit will be there guiding them to choose the right one. As for gays, I yearn for the day the church realises that homosexuality, and the practise thereof(when done in a chaste-like manner), is not and cannot be sinful, as it is intrinsically part of the nature of those who identify themselves as such. Sede vacante, now we pray!!!

    • enness

      How does one “practice” it in a “chaste-like” (what is that supposed to mean? You’re either chaste, or you’re not) manner?
      Consider that there is some evidence that certain people are genetically predispositioned to alcoholism. Consider that many recovering alcoholics don’t drink at all anymore, lest they fall into their old way of life.

  • midwestlady

    Katt,
    I know that you’re probably a Catholic, but it doesn’t give you a pass to be as abysmally ignorant about Scripture as your comment indicates. Please, please, please look this up in scripture and stop embarrassing yourself in public.
    Use any version you like. This is the NAB which is a Catholic translation: http://www.bible.catholic.net/home.php?id_lib2=0&palabra=homosexual&tipo=frase#

    • Claude

      This is certainly the first time I’ve seen the translation “practicing homosexuals.” If I recall correctly Paul invented the word in question. I suppose that gives Catholic.net license to decide it means “practicing homosexuals,” a term that would have been bewildering to Paul.

      Regardless, so what if Paul thought gays would not enter the Kingdom? He also thought the Kingdom was “at hand.”

      • midwestlady

        That’s the New American Bible, Claude. If you want to argue with St. Paul, have at it. ROFLOL.

        • Claude

          Thanks, now I know to avoid the NAB next time I buy a Bible. And of course I’d like to argue with St. Paul, who wouldn’t.

          • Hezekiah Garrett

            Being a Pharisee rabbi trained by the great Gamaliel, only a fool or an incredibly prideful bastard would want to argue with St. Paul. Chances are, he’d hand you your arse, after he stitched a nice canvas tote for it with the spare attention he wasn’t using to swat down your arguments.

            Ignore? Sure. Argue with? Idiocy.

            • Claude

              It is by no means certain that Paul was trained by Gamaliel. Paul never asserted as much; since he was generally anxious to establish credibility, you’d think he would have mentioned it. Luke’s story may well be an embellishment or simply legend.

              Paul was obviously a creative thinker driven to debate. Despite his passionate beliefs he might well have approached engagement in a spirit of love rather than one of hostility as you, Hezekiah Garrett, are pleased to do.

          • midwestlady

            Yeah, well, go to Bible Gateway and try some other versions. They all say the same thing.

            • Claude

              I have a translation by a classicist that translates Paul’s made-up word as “pederasts.” This would make sense since pederasty, that is, man-boy sexual relations, was an identified practice among the Greeks. To my knowledge, “homosexual,” in the sense of one born into a sexual orientation, was not acknowledged in Paul’s time.

              Regardless of translation, it’s clear that Paul the Pharisee had a deeply ingrained abhorrence of homosexual activity. But I see no reason to elevate Paul’s prejudice to dogma. Paul himself often insisted that Jesus rendered the Law obsolete, and indeed modern Christians pick and choose which elements of the Law to observe and which to discard.

              • midwestlady

                Still arguing with St. Paul, I see.

              • enness

                “Paul himself often insisted that Jesus rendered the Law obsolete, and indeed modern Christians pick and choose which elements of the Law to observe and which to discard.”
                For a while there I thought you might have an original argument to make (or at least one I haven’t heard). Too bad…

                • Claude

                  Sorry; you do have a point.

  • bong b

    that is our prayer… the west do not have the monopoly of everything… god created us all equal especially in dignity, in HIs very image and likeness whatever culture or race we belong….

  • http://soulsagabooks.blogspot.com/ Brian Niemeier

    The left’s misguided adoption of Gandhi as a poster boy is much like their misperception of Bob Marley. College students plaster their walls with pictures of both while conducting their lives in ways that both would condemn.

    I don’t know how often I’ve heard the phrase, “God has no religion,” misattributed to Gandhi, the man who wept before the crucifix.

  • Dixibehr

    How would the press and outside world react if the plot of SHOES OF THE FISHERMEN were brought to life, and Patriarch Sviatoslav of the Ukrainian Greek Catholics were elected Pope? Or one of the other Eastern Catholic primates?

    Would they–or the rad-trads–say, “NON-CATHOLIC ELECTED POPE!”?

    • Beccolina

      Most likely. I think the only pope that would make US media happy would be an anti-pope.

      • Kenneth

        Would an anti-pope be made of antimatter? If so, I’m against it. As soon as he touched anything in our world, there would be utter annihilation and a release of energy equivalent to all of the above-ground nuclear tests we ever conducted, in rough figures.

        • midwestlady

          Wow, vintage 7th grade comment.

        • Hezekiah Garrett

          Nothing beats an ignorant and childish reply for humor!!! Thanks!

  • Reader
  • Matt

    Mark, I, too, fell victim to this temptation to think the world would love us for electing a third world pope. Thanks for the wake up call. I do appreciate it.

    • Rosemarie

      +J.M.J+

      I never thought the world would love us for it. I thought it might be a teaching moment for some people who might be inclined to think of Christianity as a white-man’s religion. But there’s no sense in expecting the world to love us for anything; they hated Christ so they will always hate His followers as well, as He Himself said.

  • Gabrielle

    What would happen to the Catholic church if all Africans decided to go on strike!

  • Gabrielle

    What would happen to the church if all African Catholics decided to go on strike??!! You should have just said it straight..’forget snow African pope!”. But it is God’s decision if it is Africa’s time.

  • Gabrielle

    What would happen to the church if all African Catholics decided to go on strike??!! You should have just said it straight..’forget about an African pope!”. But it is God’s decision if it is Africa’s time.

    • midwestlady

      Only someone steeped in American politics could take Mark’s original post the way you have. The point is that IF there is an African pope chosen, THEN the news media will be beside itself with joy, which will turn into shock as soon as said African pope opens his mouth on moral issues. Christians in the Southern hemisphere and the East tend to be much more direct about moral matters, particularly those involved with sexual issues.

      • Claude

        I doubt there will be much “shock” when the Pope, wherever he may come from, turns out to be every bit as reactionary as Benedict XVI. The deck is stacked.

        • midwestlady

          Yup, stacked in favor of revelation and tradition. That’s how the Church works, and how it’s always worked. What did you expect?

          • Claude

            Like I said, I don’t think there will be much shock when the new Pope turns out to be much like the Pope Emeritus.

            In which case, we shall see if the American and European Catholic churches continue to hemorrhage the people of God.

            • Chris M

              Could you point me to some sort of statistical data showing this hemorrhaging for the US and Europe? Last I checked the US was still in growth (albeit immigration having much to do with that). If you REALLY want to see a religious body exsanguinating, take a look at the numbers for the Episcopal Church.. y’know.. the one that went ahead and did what it sounds like you’d like the Catholic Church to do?

              • Claude

                From CNN:

                According to a 2008 study by the Pew Forum on Religious Life and Public Life, 31% of Americans were raised Catholic, but only 24% now describe themselves as Catholic….

                That means about 1 in 10 Americans is an ex-Catholic. If they were a denomination they would be bigger than Methodists, Baptists, Lutherans and Presbyterians. The total U.S. Catholic population has remained at about 24%, as immigrants have filled the pews the ex-Catholics have left behind.

                The Pew Report is readily available online. Since 2008, the ongoing sex abuse scandals, Vatileaks, and liberal discontent with the authoritarianism of Emeritus Pope Benedict XVIs reign almost certainly prolonged the exodus. I read story after story about formerly rock-solid Catholic families that over the past decade became alienated from the Church.

                I didn’t realize the Episcopalians were in the same boat. Meanwhile, the number of religiously unaffiliated in America is at an all-time high (Pew again, if memory serves).

                I regularly read about the decline in Europe but will try to dig up some data.

                • Mark Shea

                  And for cultured despisers, the world ends with Europe and the coastal blue states. Except for China’s enlightened one child policy. The global south, where the Church is growing in leap and bounds?: witch doctor country.

                  • Claude

                    No, Mark, my comment concerned Catholics leaving, not joining, the Church, in the US and the Europe. It is no reflection whatsoever on the rest of the world, except as projection by someone like you always eager to unleash the least charitable spin to confirm your prejudices.

                    “Cultural despisers,” “China”; that was grotesque.

                • Chris M

                  I wouldn’t say the Episcopalians are in the same boat.. it’s a very different boat altogether. By embracing the zeitgeist, they’ve more or less become a social club with some spiritual trappings and pretty services. The 10 year decrease in ASA (Average Sunday Attendance, which is a better indicator of health than membership) has been a whopping 23%. My main point is that even IF the Catholic Church suddenly decided to ok divorce and remarriage, women priests, gay marriage, contraception and abortion etc, there is little evidence that doing so would help with the numbers.. quite the opposite.

                  Not that “marketing” ultimately figures into the equation for how the Church formulates her doctrines, I just think the idea that embracing modernism will suddenly cause those folks that left due to the Church’s teachings on those issues to return in droves is far-fetched.

                  • Claude

                    The Church certainly wouldn’t have to sign on to the entire modern humanism project to reverse the trend. It might start reorienting itself to the Gospel instead of its own bella figura. It might back off from the sexual hysteria agenda, which at this point is impossible to take seriously, and show a little concern for the many people harmed under its aegis and a little humility for its many crimes. The Vatican might stop lording it over the laity and end its campaign of suppression of liberals and dissidents, who are every bit as much of the Church as the hierarchy. A Church that excommunicated a priest for supporting women’s ordination but funds gentle retirements for child abusers has seriously lost its moral compass. Change course, and people might start coming back.

        • Andy, Bad Person

          I’m not convinced that you know what “reactionary” means.

          • Claude

            I’m not convinced that you know what “reactionary” means.

            • Chris M

              I’m convinced you’re both using different definitions of the word! :D

  • midwestlady
  • midwestlady
  • les

    seems to me that Africa is a deeply suffering continent, from pillaging of resources to the slaughter of Innocents, and yet, they persevere in their Faith … God Bless and protect them as they face the levels of evil we can only imagine ( for now). we can sit on the internet all day long, seeking to be the most witty and humerous of posters, but the reality is, much of the rest of the world , like Africa, contains our Brothers and Sisters in need of support and compassion. I, for one, would be proud to have an African Pope since they most likely know what it takes to be Catholic and Christian under times of persecution. Just my opinion

  • CW

    Oh it’s because the world hates the Gospel eh? I thought it was people hating a corrupt organization that spent centuries killing people in the name of race, faith, wealth and some convoluted notion of purity, lying to people about contraception, assisted the Nazis, blood libel, and who knows how many decades and more of child rape. Yes….it’s the Gospel that people hate. Hah!

    • Mark Shea

      You thought wrong. But thanks for your input.

    • Chris M

      I don’t know if I’d give that silly regurgitation the compliment of calling it a “thought”, but you’re far more generous than I, Mark.

  • Gabrielle

    you are proving yourself right about Americans believing the world revolves around them…an english speaking African would find it hard to understand your cliche-ridden feature! or maybe the language is deliberate….whitespeak eh?!
    otherwise nice article.


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