Patrick Deneen at The American Conservative

…gets it re: Pope Francis. He’s a big sign of hope, as is the generally positive feedback I’ve been getting for the fisk of the FOX hit piece on the pope. The sheep know the shepherd’s voice and will not follow a stranger.

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  • CatholicJames##Scott+~

    Dude call it Shaw’s hit piece. It would help Mark if you would keep your knee-jerk partisan anti-fox lunacy to yourself.

    Like I said save it for those who deserve it.

    • People who would never, in private conversation, call someone else’s point of view “lunacy”, let themselves go on the Net. Anonymity.

      Most of us would be ashamed to use language like that.

      • CatholicJames##Scott+~

        The irony! Someone on Mark Shea’s Blog of all places telling me I should be ashamed of my use of language.
        **Eye Roll**

        • Tu quoque is not an impressive retort.

          • James Scott

            Neither is your ironic use of shame.

            • I thought I was being direct. But if you feel offended and combative, imagine how Mark might feel. Could we in fact all try to consider other people’s feelings?

              • CatholicJames##Scott+~

                I am not offended I merely note the Chuzpah.

                • James, I’ll be 75 next month. Really, nothing people do or say surprises me, but I begin to value kindness and gentleness, patience and humility more and more. Not that I’m any paragon, of course.

                  • CatholicJames##Scott+~

                    But if calling Mark’s political lunacy mere “lunacy” is the line crossed that merits rebuke of moi on your part then your standards are high indeed considering that it is way more benign then the four letter Anglo-Saxon metaphors I’ve hurled at him in the past & ironic considering it is no more unkind then how Mark characterizes those he disagrees with politically.

                    Mark is not exactly a shining example of charity in this manner in fact he is infamous. It’s like being accused of being angry and aggressive toward BenYachov(moi) or snarky & condescending toward James White.

    • Dan C

      American Catholic conservativism has many well-funded arms dedicated to undermining current social teachings of the Church and re-orienting them to libertarianism. We have Michael Novak of AEI, and George Weigel of EPPC, and Acton. These folks have catechetized folks like Kudlow to saying such things as “the pope should get back to teaching faith and morals” indicating he is not to continue with this line of thought.

      Fox and NRO and have prominently displayed their differences with Francis. Fox has a point if view. I think it is good to recognize that point of view and note that not one of their political commentators is really in line with the pope.

      I think it is ok to disagree with the pope, that is not my point. But it is fair , like the Deneen article points out, that this is not exactly unpredictable and has high level backing.

      • CatholicJames##Scott+~

        If by “well-funded arms dedicated to undermining current social teachings of the Church” you mean premoting an ideology that is at odds with the Church teaching I have no beef with that.
        If you mean this in a conspiracy theory sort of meme then fair warning I will give you an eye roll.
        Just so we are clear,

        • Dan C

          No need to launch a conspiracy theory. But I do believe in the powers of darkness. Why do I need any more powerful a conspiracy?

          • CatholicJames##Scott+~

            Conspiracies are something only humans can really do IMHO in the human world.

      • CatholicJames##Scott+~

        > I think it is good to recognize that point of view and note that not one of their political commentators is really in line with the pope.

        So Fr. Morrison is not in line with the Pope?
        You asked for it.
        **Eye Roll**

  • Steve

    What drives me nuts is that if you only rely on the mass-media reports on Evangelii Gaudium, you’d think it was an enormous screed against global corporate capitalism. And while it contains just such a critique, the comparison of paragraphs devoted to each topic reveals the following pie-chart.

    When it came out, the first thing I did was read the parts about homilies. But all anyone wants to talk about is the economics portion. I hope that Pope Francis didn’t spend all that time writing hundreds of paragraphs about evangelizing in vain.

    • Dan C

      I label this as part of the false narrative that the media is “getting Francis wrong.”

      Paragraphs 177-185 describe the theological underpinnings of the specifics of the next sections on justice and peace (which is just all out ignored). Paragraphs 185-196 specifically talk on those vulnerable economically. This is closer to 10% dedicated to punch lines that state that justice for the poor, working toward this, and evangelization are intimately linked. This is very very different than the conversations dominating any example of evangelization on, for example, First Things, or in George Weigel’s book (or Sherry Weddell’s). This is now linking work for the poor with evangelization. This should be understood as one of the few novel thinkings of this pope. And without getting into his concerns about peace or the environment (also linked to evangelization) which are more paragraphs, this is 10% of the exhortation.

      The significance of these sections has rightly alarmed those who have tainted American Catholicism with their libertarian theology. The significance of these paragraphs is not small and they constitute substantial areas of the exhortation. Trying to say “the MSM has it wrong” is incorrect. The MSM noted these portions of this exhortation and the alarm raised by the libertarian theologians. One cannot downplay the alarm raised by the highly funded propaganda arms of American conservative Catholicism. From Kudlow to Sirico to the National Review the word is out: everything ignored by the right that was in (the reviled) Paul the 6th’s, JP2’s, and Benedict’s teachings are now being presented in a way that cannot be ignored.

      • Bill

        Although I don’t disagree with you Dan, I think Steve is right.

        The primary focus of this is Christ and the Gospels. Not any political/economic system. Francis’ primary theme is repudiating idols. Just as NR and others on the Right are framing this through the lens of politics, you’re doing the same thing here.

        • Dan C

          Repudiating idols is the theme of the entire Judeo-Christian tradition.

          Francis, like those before him, note especially C in V by Benedict, have enormous trouble with the current economic system: the rich get richer as the gap and needs of the poor increase (this is in the 1979 speech by JP2 to Puebla), the poor are owed justice, evangelization is tied to the poor and their care, and the consumerist system is godless and fails for the poor.

          This is prominent, linked to Evangelization intimately in this document, and this is novel.

          I am repudiating the taint of libertarian economics, and yes, I am pointing out that Francis is specifically noting certain evaluative schema for economic systems. I think that avoiding that Francis is speaking of this is the next technique of conservatives to avoid the critiques of capitalism and the focus of the Christian in an economic system.

          I am open to the conversation, but the novelty of Francis’s positions of discussions of peace and justice relative to Evangelization is a major theme of this document.

      • Steve

        You are the first Catholic I’ve encountered who has claimed that the mass-media has gotten Pope Francis completely right. That said, my complaint is not that they’ve misrepresented the 7 paragraphs about economics. Rather, that by only publicizing those paragraphs to the exclusion of all others, they’ve missed out on telling the public about the rest of the good stuff in there. Evangelii Gaudium was primarily about evangelization, and I think people ought to know that.

        • Dan C

          And I think you misrepresent the proportion devoted to the social gospel in this document.

        • Dan C

          Let me also say that comparatively to say….The American Catholic, or even the actual representation of the pope’s meaning and intent as explained by someone like Jimmy Akin or Katherine Lopez, who work overtime saying what they claim Francis said or using clever techniques to assert what Francis didn’t say. The ones best representing the pope are the outraged or defensive conservatives.
          Rick Garnett has bowed out of the commentary this August noting that he and the pope part ways on economics and politics, which he respects and will use to teach him.
          My claim is that the media has represented him better than the more routine assured sources of “orthodox” Catholicism. Even “Get Religion” can’t keep its biases under control.

          • Steve

            Some might look skeptically at your claim to be more level-headed and unbiased than Jimmy Akin… I wouldn’t dare comment.

            • Dan C

              Jimmy Akin has run the “what Francis didn’t say about atheists getting into heaven” which was true to the word, in a legalistic way. What was absent was the spirit of the discussion and how this fits into how previous popes viewed it. Benedict was clear for decades, time and time again that those not in the Church get into Heaven. Akin, unable to cough that out, danced around the subject presenting Francis as avoiding the definitive answer that those outside the Church can enter Heaven. When the MSM announces that Francis indicates that those outside the Church can get into heaven, they are closer than Mr. Akin’s presentation to Francis’s meaning.

              Looking at Mr. Akins presentation of EG, he again avoids confronting his audience with some of the hard details that may cause dissonance from EG and quotes, like Robert George, the paragraph against abortion.

              So yes, I call him out on this.

              • CatholicJames##Scott+~

                Precise definitions and meanings are important. For example there is no contradiction between the Infallible Dogma that Outside the Church there is no salvation & the proposition(taught by St Justin Martyr. Pope Alexander VIII. Pius IX, St Pius X, V2 etc) that non-believers by negation who follow the extra-ordinary grace given to them by God can be saved.

                Thus I see no reason to believe in the media’s interpretation of Francis over Jimmy’s.

                It seems the Pope is not teaching free markets are bad but that free markets alone sans Gospel principles are bad.

                • foulweatherfan

                  i agree with that conclusion. It seems to me though that what is causing consternation is the question of whether or to what extent the Holy Father is suggesting that those Gospel principles should be exercised by state action to aggressively interfere with the free operation of such markets. It seems that Akin and others say no whereas the MSM et al say yes. I’ve read various translations, though not all in their entireity, and I confess uncertainty. That said, to the extent the Holy Father is simply stating that free markets alone do not ensure justice for God’s children, then the exhortation is something of a straw man insomuch as the number of libertarians in the Randian objectivist camp is tiny and essentially inconsequential — and non-existent among Catholics. To the extent the Holy Father is suggesting that to ensure just treatement for the vulnerable nation states must either execute some type of massive redistribution of wealth or replace market economies with command economies, or both, I think he is making what is essentially a prudential claim that is naive and dangerous for those he earnestly seeks to help. I have long believed that the Church should be cautious in its prudential claims, because it should not want to commit reckless errors that cause harm to the vulnerable. Man’s economic actions, like all man’s actions, cannot escape moral dimensions, but exhorting the faithful to treat each other fairly and with kindness is quite different from exhorting the faithful to support massive government programs to serve the poor. The first is plainly a gospel mandate, the second is an application of that mandate the efficacy of which is a matter of prudence.

    • $2346491

      Well, of course the media is going to focus on the public policy portions of the document. These are the parts that are important to the wider public policy debate. The larger non-Catholic readers at the New York Times don’t care about Pope Francis’ discussion of homilies or popular devotions or the liturgy wars. Francis’ discussion of economics, however, is important to them because he is a popular world leader and his words could impact public policy.

  • Would someone please explain what “Give unto Caesar…” means?

    I think it means: Return his property to him, since it has his picture on it, and live for what is truly valuable.

    • IRVCath

      Right. We should pay our taxes, insofar as it’s the right of the civil authority to levy them generally. In fact, in all things not sinful we should obey the civil authority.

      • Except that even St. Paul preferred decapitation to casting a bit of incense before the image of the Emperor.

        Such guts are rare.

        • IRVCath

          Ah, but that would be idolatry, which is forbidden under the First Commandment. We are in no wise bound to obey commands that are sinful.

          • Amen.

            • IRVCath

              But paying a levied tax is not sinful. Now forcing me to buy something so I can give it to others for the purpose of committing sin arguably is (I’m sure you know of what I speak) but if they taxed you and then spent the money on immoral pursuits? Not a sin – that’s on those who did the spending.

              • Four Line Stanzas:

                ANGEL OF MY SOUL

                Night has fallen slowly, winter night;

                Now the brittle striking of the sleet

                Ticks against the windows and the walls;

                Invisible except the against the street

                Shut the light and stand in utter darkness,

                Press against the window cheek and face;

                Angel of my soul who stands alone

                From here the wild abandonment of grace

                The angel of my spirit wrapped his wings

                To hide the robe of glory that he wears:

                Come and stand beside me, feel the cold,

                One who loves the glory in me shares


                6, 2013

              • CatholicJames##Scott+~

                You are correct sir.

                It’s called in moral theology speak “being a distant material participant in evil.”

                I owe a guy who does work for me a wage. I cannot withhold it from him even if I know he will use it for immoral purposes.

                But that is not the same as being forced to remunerate him with immoral things.

                If I pay him $5 to mow my lawn lovely. If he uses the $5 bucks to buy a dirty magazine I am not at fault nor may I not pay him. But I should not be forced to compensate his for mowing my lawn with a $5 dirty magazine.

                That is what is means when the jerks who worship Obama want to force me to buy birth control for the usual suspects.

                • IRVCath

                  You want to know the irony? The uses of the Pill, for example, outside of family planning? Not covered by Sebelius. So they can’t even claim that it’ll help women with other conditions in a backhanded manner. It’s an attempt by the ruling classes to not-quite-strangle nearly the only institution that they haven’t managed to suborn yet.

  • ivan_the_mad

    “This is a stripped-down Catholicism that doesn’t challenge fundamental articles of economic faith.”

    What excellent insight! Implicit is the idolatry of this particular configuration of cafeteria Catholicism. His diagnosis as he expounds on this is beyond reproach.

  • CatholicJames##Scott+~

    Today’s economic mechanisms promote inordinate consumption, yet it is evident that unbridled consumerism combined with inequality proves doubly damaging to the social fabric. -Pope Francis

    There we have it. The Pope didn’t condemn capitalism or even general Conservative political ideology per say(nor promote it either FYI).

    He condemned consumerism. Which is the pursuit of the purchase of material goods & things as end in itself for it’s own sake.

    Our purpose in in life is to pursue God & the Life of Grace & Faith.

    So conservative morons be ye Paleocons, Necons, libertarians, Free Market or moderates.



    • capaxdei

      I haven’t seen anyone complain about the Pope’s criticism of “unbridled consumerism,” or of “inordinate consumption.” The adjectives make the claims appear to be tautologies. Too much of anything is bad, right?

      I think it’s his criticism of “today’s economic mechanisms” that people are choking on.