Michael Sean Winters is an Honest Man of the Left

Sez he:

If Catholics on the Left are not willing to stand up for the unborn, we have, and should have, no credibility when we stand up for the undocumented or the unemployed or the other “un’s” in our society, the very people the Holy Father has asked out to embrace.

This really is it. As a conservative writing to conservatives, I often bang the drum for the fact that we conservatives have got to get past the idea that opposition to abortion taketh away the sins of the world. That is, we cannot point to our Precious Feet pins as a sort of 007 for approving of all the other mortal sins the Thing That Used to be Conservatism wants us to back.

But that does not mean that the slaughter of the unborn is has not ceased being the most important moral issue of our day. That is exactly what it is and, as much as the Left has gotten many things correct while the Right has made itself crazy, the fact remains that the Left’s commitment to the sacrament of abortion means that it has embraced as a core value one of the gravest crimes in the history of the world.

The problem, of course, is that the sins of each ideology aggravate each other. One can always point to the other and say, “Look at the awful stuff they approve of!” The hope is that, in grace, the strengths of the one can supply the weakness of the other.

The other day, there was a piece out on HuffPo, gloating over the fact that the Catholic Right is in dissarray over Francis’ papacy. Perfectly true, of course. He’s not saying and doing the kinds of stuff that comports well with the fetishes of the Right. So you get lots of attempts to massage his comments about gays, or freak outs about beach balls, or hemming and hawing about his notions that people are more important than globocorps. Very fun to watch.

But he presents just as much of a challenge to the Left now too and Winters understands why. Here is a Pope who is broadly perceived to be a “change in tone” from Rome. (He’s not really, and Pat Archbold showed why the other day Basically, the difference is that while he likes the Extraordinary Form just fine and says the same things his predecessors have said about Catholic social teaching, his natural home is not in a seminar but in a favela or ghetto. And he’s more plain spoken and far more casual about the niceties of Romanitas. And he is, like JPII, an obvious extroverty and not an introvert like the sweet-natured and much-maligned Benedict). So while there has been zero theological change between him and his predecessors, there has been a massive change in public perception. And because of it, the Mary Hunt-style Left is now faced with the fact that they cannot keep trotting out the “out of touch conservative Pope who doesn’t see the needs of the weak and vulnerable” stuff in order to cover up the real suburban American lefty agenda of “I want to do what I want to do with my groin and nobody can stop me”. The Pelvic Left can no longer use the poor as human shields for their commitment to unlimited pan-sexual adventures.

Winters gets that and recognizes this Pope constitutes a call to conversion for Lefties too. And scanning the comboxes on the piece, there is hope that the call is being heard. It will be interesting to see if conservative prolife Catholics will be willing to find some common cause with the MSW Catholics who stand with them on life, in order to put the Church’s teaching above ideological differences.

I love this Pope.

  • Mark S. (not for Shea)

    If your views are upsetting both the Left and the Right, it’s a pretty good sign you’re doing something right.

    • R.P.R.

      Or horribly wrong — like Hitler.

      • chezami

        And, as we all can plainly see, Francis is basically Hitler.

        • Colin Gormley

          Now now, R.P.R.’s comment was clearly aimed at the notion that aggravating both sides is not automatically a sign of doing something right.

          • Andy

            Any time Hitler is mentioned it creates a problem. It is far better not to bring him up at all. By the way Hitler annoyed only one part of society for a while.

            • http://chicagoboyz.net/ TMLutas

              I have to disagree. There are lessons in poor governance that you really can’t get at because they were unique to Hitler. I’d be happy to stop bringing him up on economic matters if somebody could come up with another historical example that is comparable to the MEFO bills.

          • R.P.R.

            No, no. Francis = Hitler. Obviously the charitable and correct interpretation. Obviously.

      • wlinden

        Godwin’s Law!

        • Dave G.

          Is there a law for those who invoke Godwin’s law as soon as they see the letters Hit…? I think the point is, the whole ‘if opposites are against you, you must be doing something right’ sounds good, but it rather silly. After all, Communists and Capitalists opposed Hitler. By that logic, Hitler must have been onto something. A silly notion, just like the statement it was meant to critique.

          • R.P.R.

            Word.

      • Mark S. (not for Shea)

        Bad analogy. The Right — both in Europe and even in the U.S. — thought ol’ Adolph was just hunky dory for a while.

  • Kirs

    What’s the evidence that Francis “likes the Extraordinary Form just fine?” I mean, I really don’t care, but I am wondering what your evidence is.

    • chezami

      He made it available right away after the moto proprio. Of course, not many people are well trained in it and the priest who was assigned to offer it did not do it perfectly enough to suit the Traddy ingrates of his diocese. So they bitched and complained and accused him of trying to subvert the EF. Classy.

    • Brian

      When the bishop of Conversano and Monopoli, Domenico
      Padovano complained to the Pope about the work of division created within the Church by the defenders of the Mass in the ancient rite. Sandro Magister reported the following:

      “Francis exhorted him to be careful with the extremisms of certain Traditionalist groups, but also to treasure tradition and allow it to live in the Church along with innovation.

      “In order to better explain this last point, the Pope…brought up his own example:

      “See? They say that my Master of papal ceremonies [Guido Marini] is of a Traditionalist mold; and many, after my election, have asked me to
      remove him from his position and replace him. I have answered no,
      precisely because I myself may treasure his traditional formation, and
      at the same time he might take advantage of my more emancipated
      formation.”

      Also, in Francis’ now infamous post-WYD press conference, he gave this exchange about the Church’s sacred liturgy:

      Alexey Bukalov: “Good evening Holy Father. Holy Father, returning to ecumenism: today the Orthodox are celebrating 1,025 years of Christianity. There are great celebrations in many capitals. Would you like to comment on this event, I would be happy if you did. Thank you.”

      Pope Francis: “In the Orthodox Churches they have conserved that pristine liturgy, no? So beautiful. We [i.e., the Latin Christians]
      have lost a bit the sense of adoration, they conserve it, they praise
      God, they adore God, they sing, time does not count. The center is God
      and that is a richness that I would like to emphasize on this occasion
      as you ask me this question.

      Once, speaking of the Western Church, of Western Europe, especially the Church that has grown most, they said this phrase to me: “Lux ex oriente, ex occidente luxus.” ["Light from the East, from the West, luxury."]

      Consumerism, well-being, have done us so much harm.

      Instead you keep this beauty of God at the center, the reference.

      When one reads Dostoyevsky — I believe that for us all he must be an author to read and reread, because he has wisdom – one perceives what the Russian spirit is, the Eastern spirit. It’s something that will do us so
      much good. We are in need of this renewal, of this fresh air of the
      East, of this light from the East. John Paul II wrote it in his Letter.
      But so many times the luxus of the West makes us lose the horizon. I don’t know, it came to me to say this. Thank you.”

      I’d say that bodes well for his view of liturgy, tradition, and then need for mutual enrichment as Pope Benedict XVI taught us.

  • S7

    I agree with what Mr. Winters said.

    However, Mr. Winters has made no secret of his tremendous eagerness to support any number of pro-abortion politicians, and his opposition to any medicinal sanction–such as refusal of communion–to wake up these politicians to the gravity of their embrace of evil.

    So, to Mr. Winters, I would say, don’t lecture the rest of the left–show us how it’s done.

    • chezami

      Of course it *could* be that (just like people on the right who vote for pro-torture pols and don’t constantly run around demanding their excommunication) he does this not because he’s pro-abortion, but for what he regards as a proportional reason–much as Cardlnal Ratzinger said he could do if he liked. I disagree with that approach because I can’t find a proportional reason. But others think they can.

      • Dave G.

        Always a good way to see folks who support politicians who advocate such things.

  • Julian Barkin

    Hi mark. You made this comment “Basically, the difference is that while he likes the Extraordinary Form just fine ….” I know he prevented a bunch if Italian Bishops from abolishing Summorum Pontificum but where is there evidence he likes the EF? I haven’t sent a quotable statement from Pipe Francis he does so. Believe me if there was one, it would have been spread like a virus from both liberals and traditionalist media alike on the Catho-sphere

  • Michael Ejercito

    And because of it, the Mary Hunt-style Left is now faced with the fact
    that they cannot keep trotting out the “out of touch conservative Pope
    who doesn’t see the needs of the weak and vulnerable”

    How could they have trotted that out credibly for the past thirty-five years?

    Regardless of the extent to which John Paul II fell short of the Glory of God, he had an excellent track record of “see[ing] the needs of the weak and vulnerable”

    • chezami

      Well, they couldn’t. But they still tried.


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