2013 Favs: If You’re Looking for Me, You’ll Find Me Standing With the Pope

I doubt that they’re interested in what I think, but I want to send a message to the charlatans out there in the blogosphere. If you’re looking for me, you’ll find me standing with the Pope.

If you are a Catholic, and you have been joining in the orgy of Pope bashing that is coming from the right wing of American politics, then you need to get in line right behind Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden and all those other Catholics you love to hate. Because you are one of them. Get yourself a cafeteria card and get that baby punched.

If you are a Catholic, and you are not outraged by the river of slime being dumped on our Pope by vicious right-wing pundits, then you need some spiritual smelling salts.

Wake up Catholics. Stand with your Pope.

American politicians and their minions in the media love to bash the pope.

Remember the attacks from the left wing against Pope Benedict XVI? They couldn’t/wouldn’t stop cracking their verbal knuckles over what this 80-year-old man had been forced to do against his will when he was a boy. The same crowd that calls foul if you hold any of their heroes accountable for what they said or did five minutes ago, wanted to proclaim that the entire sweep of this Godly man’s life was worthless because of something that had happened when he was a child.

Remember the bullets raining down on Pope John II? They were fired from a gun held by a paid assassin.

Politicians envy the moral voice of the Pope because, alone of all the great religious voices of our day, his is the one they cannot control. Left or right, it doesn’t matter; they all hate and fear the Pope.

That is because he is not one of their toady religious leaders that they have co-opted for their own purposes of gaining and keeping power. The Pope is not answerable to politicians, including American politicians, American politics or America’s self-deified tin gods of the media.

That enrages them.

Politics in this country has endeavored for the past four decades to slice and dice, buy and sell Christianity. It has, with the eager help of its pet clergy, narrowed the revolutionary message of the Gospels down into neat, easily-controllable little sound bites that it can use in campaign ads.

Christianity in America has become a politicized, bastardized mumbo-jumbo of apologetics for both right and left wing politics. Religious leaders have cut the Gospels into political shapes that do not in any way resemble the Gospel that has the words that lead to eternal life. Instead of leading their flocks on the Narrow Way, they are misleading them along the political way.

I have seen these religious leaders bow down before political power. I have witnessed them change their positions when their political masters yank their chains, even on issues of grave moral concern such as abortion. They have bartered Christ in the political marketplace. The fact that at least some of them were paid considerably more than 30 pieces of silver does not change the nature of the transaction.

Political power brokers in the media have not hesitated to use religious language to condemn the political opponents of the power column that is paying their salaries. Toady preachers have not hesitated to back them up. This has become such an unadulterated heresy that large segments of the Christian believers of this nation actually think that following one or the other political party and its “teachings” is tantamount to following Christ.

How did people come to this heretical viewpoint?

They came to it because their religious leaders sold out the Gospels to political power brokers and used their prophetic and moral voice to go whoring for either the Rs or the Ds. They have sold not only the Christian message but themselves in the bargain. They have become the things of the politicians and when they occasionally try to exert themselves as if they were actual men and women of God, they are quickly told to sit down and do as they are instructed, and they do it. 

I have witnessed these things and argued in vain with some of the religious leaders, urging them to grow spines and stand for what they say they believe. I have heard their excuses. I have also seen how whipped and meek they are in their dealings with these politicians.

I’ve seen them back off and back down about the one issue they claimed was number one with them: The issue of abortion. I’ve even had pro-life leaders lie to me in a failed attempt to try to keep me from taking a stand against legislative initiatives that were enabling abortion rather than shutting it down.

These political leaders are the religious leaders’ masters, and they are not at all shy about yanking back on the reins if the religious leaders forget this.

I believe that this prevailing relationship of religious corruption and political abuse has created an expectation on the part of right-wing leaders in all venues, including the media, that religious leaders are under their thumb. This public adulation of a Christ-less christianity of the political is coupled with a private contempt for its practitioners that has become so rife in American politics that they aren’t hiding it anymore.

The Pope is the great exception to this. He is not owned or dictated to by either the minions of the right or minions of the left.

The Catholic Church does not trim its teachings to suit the fancy of American politicians. For all their arrogance and power, these political forces and their operatives cannot control or dictate to the Pope.

There is nothing more frightening and enraging to political power brokers than a genuine man or woman of God. They are no different in that than the political power of the first century. Their instincts, which are always honed in the service of getting and keeping power, go ding-ding-ding like a fire alarm when they encounter a religious leader they can’t buy-bully-destroy.

That is why they are attacking our Holy Father today. They can’t control him. They can’t make him teach a two-sin Christianity that deifies them and their politics. They can’t get him, as they have so many other religious leaders, to comb through the scriptures to find verses that will exempt their actions, particularly their actions concerning economics, from moral scrutiny.

That is why the right-wing blogosphere has been littered the past few days with attacks from Breitbart, Limbaugh, Fox News, et al; all claiming that Pope Francis is a Marxist, or something worse, an Obamaist. They use ridiculous headlines such as Pope Francis Attacks Capitalism, Calls for State Control, (Breitbart) Pope Francis’ Latest Document is Pure Marxism (Limbaugh) Pope Francis is Giving Obama an Orgasm (Limbaugh again), Pope Francis is the Catholic Church’s Obama. God Help Us (Fox News) and CNN’s entry from the left, The Pope as Marxist: Is Limbaugh Right?

These people have become so arrogant that they think they can talk to the Pope the way they talk to their toady political religious leaders that they’ve bought and own. Since they can’t even get an audience with the Pope, they are going directly to their cult-like following among their readers and listeners and are doing their best to get them riled up into a froth of Pope-hating.

These attacks on the pope serve a two-pronged political purpose. First, they are an attempt to weaken the Holy Father’s moral leadership in America. Second, they are a method of damage control among the pundits’ Protestant followers.

Evangelii Gaudium does not say anything new in terms of Catholic teaching and economics. But its total lack of obeisance to the political powers in one wing of American politics both affronts and angers them. The Pope is a problem.

The last thing the political powers that be want is for religious leaders to start behaving as if Jesus Christ was actually the arbiter of their teachings. The scary thing about Pope Francis’ independence and total unconcern about them and their power is not only that tens of millions of American Catholics might follow him, but worse, that their toady religious leaders might consider preaching the Gospels of Christ instead of political expedience along with him.

Courage breeds courage. There is just the glimmer of a possibility that these had men of the fallen collar class might decide to become real men of God and start standing for Christ. What would happen if, instead of bending over and apologizing to their political masters for disagreeing with them, the religious leaders these political parties depend on for their moral cover actually stood for Christ?

Thus we are being treated to the sorry spectacle of tawdry attacks on the Vicar of Christ by people who have made their excellent livings promoting fealty to political christianity.

The pope attackers are trying to use the same thing that President Obama has used in pushing the HHS Mandate. They are counting — probably correctly — on the latent anti-Catholicism in our society, in particular in certain conservative Protestant circles.

Not only do these outlandish slanders against the Pope feed them red Catholic blood to whet their anti-Catholicism, they demonstrate what can happen to those who don’t do what they are told. The Pope might be able to shrug off their insults, but lesser clergy would have their reputations and careers wrecked by an onslaught like this.

In short, since they can’t bully and coerce the Pope, they will try as much as possible to isolate him and render his moral teachings insignificant among those religious leaders they can bully and coerce.

That is what is causing the outrageous attacks on the Pope. The claims that these pundits are making about Evangelii Gaudium are baseless lies. I’ve read the document and I can tell you that it is consistent with Catholic teaching on economics going back at least to the 19th century. I know this because I’ve also read the encyclicals of previous popes on this subject.

The Pope is a Marxist??? If you believe that, I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn I want to sell you.

In case I haven’t made myself understood, I’ll explain this caterwauling and attacking of the Holy Father in outline form:

  1. It’s about power.
  2. It’s about politics.
  3. It has nothing to do with morality, truth, the facts, Marxism or even Obama.
  4. It is about these punsters using your fidelity to them to destroy your fidelity to your Church so that when the Pope disagrees with them, it won’t matter. It is about them appealing to anti-Catholicism within the body of Christ to divide us and scatter us so that we cannot stand for Our Lord with one united voice.
  5. These things they’re saying about Pope Francis are not true. They either did not read Evangelii Gaudium, or they are deliberately distorting what it says. When they say that the Holy Father “attacked capitalism, called for government control and is a Marxist,” I am hard-pressed to call it anything other than a slanderous lie.

I’m going to go over what the Pope actually said in a series of Cliff Notes posts. I’ve done one already. But I’m not going to spend a lot of time on this economic issue for the simple reason that it’s not that important to the overall message of Evangelii Gaudium. You can either take it from me, or read the document for yourself. These attacks on the Holy Father are absolute garbage.

From some of the comments I’ve seen, I would guess that a number of Public Catholic readers are drinking this Pope-hating Kool Aid. This is the small first test in what is coming people. If you allow these crude and vulgar attacks to shear you away from your Church, then you are the lowest of the low hanging fruit on the apostasy tree.

As for me, I am a Catholic woman. This is a Catholic blog. If you’re looking for me, you’ll find me standing with the Pope.

  • James Patton

    I think when mixing religion and politics is ALWAYS a bad recipe. I find that Pope Francis does not politicize agendas yet and has nothing at this particular moment to worry about. He actually is leading by His example and it is to be commended.

  • jenny

    I pray for the Pope every day, many times a day…that’s all I can do for the time being.

    • hamiltonr

      That beautiful Jenny. Prayer is not a small thing. It’s the most important thing.

    • bosco49

      Great subliminal support for your lead, Rebecca, with those photographs, irrelevant though they may be to the logic of the proposition you argue.
      A Pope could be a non-telegenic sourpuss and holy or a real crowd-pleaser and doctrinally or pastorally problematic.
      For my part, if your looking for Me, I will be standing with the 2000 year Deposit of Faith and with Jesus Christ and his Bride, the Catholic Church.
      It’s ok to give the benefit of the doubt but slavering is another thing altogether.
      Peace.

      • http://wasteyourtime.mtgames.org/ Scaevola

        Nice–that means you’re standing with the Pope.

  • John Barba

    Nice – Conservatives explaining the Pope and liberals explaining the Pope. He knows no label :). Thanks

  • Karl Leinfelder

    Congratulations Rebecca on an excellent article as it relates to the
    opposition to the pope. It amazes me that while one could almost expect
    opposition and mean spiritedness from the left, one could hardly expect so much
    animosity from the right. For anyone interested the three on top of the list
    (at least the ones with which I am familiar) include 1) Mostly Family
    Monastery, 2) SSPX (Society of Saint Pius X) and 3) Rorate Caeli. These all are
    Catholic oriented organizations which are in deep opposition to Pope
    Francis. It really is so sad that when we have a pope that is so exceptionally talented and one that speaks the language of Christ that he has so much opposition. And opposition from those who belong to the same faith. I am convinced now more than ever that much of the world is spinning away from the moral references that we are all expected to possess..

  • Augustine

    http://www.integratedcatholiclife.org/2013/11/rummelsburg-pope-francis-and-the-wisdom-of-kings/
    I don’t know if this guy got it all right, but he got a lot of it right.

  • Peschken

    As practicing Catholic it’s a no brainer. I stand with our Holy Father..vicar of Christ.. successor of Peter.

  • johnnysc

    Thank you Rep. Hamilton. Too many Catholics look at the Church’s teachings
    as political ideologies (e.g. liberal, conservative) to be debated instead of as the
    teachings of Jesus. Jesus and His Church, the Catholic Church, are One
    and the Same. I believe Catholics in any country should identify as
    Catholic first….. Catholic American, Catholic Mexican, etc. instead of the
    other
    way around. Too many are also using the popularity of the Pope as some
    sort of evangelization tool (the Pope Francis effect) and much of the
    ‘effect’ is erroneously based on misconceptions (thinking Church
    teaching will be changed to one’s political ideology). The Pope is a
    servant of Jesus’s Church. We should be focusing on the Truth of the
    Church’s teachings and salvation through Jesus who founded the Catholic
    Church.

  • Gary Beckwith

    Thank you for writing this, and God bless you.
    Since converting to the Catholic faith 5 years ago, I find that I don’t really fit neatly into any political party. Too much moral degeneracy on the left, and too much free market worship on the right. In this case, I find through my own experience that the people that are howling the most, are usually those with which you’ve struck a nerve. On some level, they know that he spoke the truth.

    • DeaconJohnMBresnahan

      I fully agree with the analysis Gary B. gives here. “Too much moral degeneracy on the left and too much market worship on the right” I stand with the pope, but it is rather weird that a pope, has to reassure Catholics that he is a “son of the Church” because of words he used that are easy to misinterpret and be exploited by people in the media pushing an anti-Catholic agenda on social and family moral issues. I expect more of a Jesuit.
      I can understand why some people on the “right” are upset. They have publicly borne the heat of the day in defending a number of Catholic moral positions on social issues. Now the pope uses injudicious words that can easily be twisted to attack those upholding Catholic pro-life, pro-family, pro -marriage teachings.
      Yet he is right on the fact that our primary focus should be on Christ and not on politics. For if we focus on Christ, and convert people to His teachings the politics will take care of themselves.

      • hamiltonr

        Deacon, I’m just a small-time public figure, while the Holy Father is a the leader of the largest Church in the world.

        But even I have found myself misinterpreted and misquoted more times than I can count. Sometimes it was an honest mistake. Sometimes, I expressed myself in such a way that it led to confusion. Other times, it was malicious.

        When you correct an error and the person who misquoted you follows through with a correction of their own, then all is well. But when you correct the error and they just repeat the original misquote or misinterpretation, then it’s on them, not you.

        The latter is what the press has done with Pope Francis. They have done the same thing with every Pope for decades now. They have an agenda, and when they misquote and misinterpret according to that agenda, and refuse to correct it when correction is given, it is not the Holy Father’s fault. It is theirs.

        Stand by the Pope, Deacon. (And keep up the fight for life and family.)

      • FW Ken

        People who have never understood the Catholic Faith as expressed by any pope don’t get a pass because they don’t understand this pope.

  • James_Locke

    I find that Conservative Catholics are not really attacking him so much as Conservative Protestants are.

  • Adsphe

    It’s a Western disease that is recognised in the Pisa assessment report. The West is on a spiral while Asia is above average. And that’s the different between social objectives and material development of secularism. In the West, religion is rooted in culture and not the other way round.

  • Nicole Resweber

    *applause*

  • daveofthetowers

    Wonderful, wonderful piece of writing Mrs. Hamilton. I wish the main stream media would take up your thoughtful and truthful description of the way things stand in American Political and Religious circles. But… I fear that will never happen because as you’ve so eloquently hinted…the truth is the farthest thing on their minds (or agenda). The “enemy” is in control of so many of our religious and political power brokers and the main stream media has succummed to being his “mouth”. Thank the Lord that our Pope “is” who he is and that in the face of the corruption of the world he is able to spread the truth as Jesus taught us. God Bless You.

  • Marc

    Rebecca, I agree that we should always stand with the Pope. He is the “sweet Christ on earth”. One distinction that you should mention is that the so-called “right wing pundits” that are criticizing Pope Francis are not Catholic. Specifically Limbaugh, Breitbart and the owners and the majority of the editors and executives of Fox News. I have not heard any conservative Catholics publicly attack the Pope. I cannot say the same about Catholics on the left. In addition, the Pope and the Church have infallibility only on matters that pertain to Faith and Morals. They have no more competence in matters of “economics” than you or I. Yes, as faithful Catholics we should seek to understand and pray about those social teachings but they don’t arise to dogmatic teaching binding on conscience. We are free to disagree in those areas. We are not free to disagree on matters of Faith and intrinsic moral evils. Capitalism is not a moral evil or some sinful structure. Original Sin and the personal sins of those who engage in the system are the cause of abuse, not the system. In addition, there is no such thing as unregulated, unbridled capitalism anywhere in the world. If the sinfulness of certain capitalist mean abolishing the system, the same logic would apply to abolishing of the Catholic Church because of the horrific evil of the sexual abuse crisis that was allowed and participated in by many Bishops and Priests. Lastly, the greatest abuses of so-called capitalism have occurred in the countries Pope Francis is most familiar with, South America and Central America. The political systems in those countries are so corrupt it is almost unimaginable. The poor suffer because of corruption. The third world countries exhibit in the most part nothing but crony capitalism and at best totalitarian socialist states. There is a need for conversion of the rich and poor not abolishing capitalism. Conversion and sanctity are the only answers.

    • hamiltonr

      I think the editor who wrote the article for Fox News is Catholic. At least, that what he says. However, your point is still well taken. Thanks for bringing Marc.

      • AnneG

        I wrote earlier to the Fox editor, asking him to read a couple of blogs and not to read excerpts in English, rather the Spanish. We’ll see what he says. Part of the problem is us Catholics. Most of us are not well enough formed to explain much less defend our faith. Good job.

    • AuthenticBioethics

      I basically agree with you – an abusive capitalism gives rise to a reactionary socialism, and between the two, countries get ravaged. The two extremes of godless selfishness. The best thing capitalists can do to stave off socialism and attract Catholics is be virtuous – as you say, “conversion and sanctity.”

    • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

      You’re wrong about Fox. The loathsome Rupert Murdoch, who is its effective boss whoever else holds shares, is from a Catholic family and has even managed to get himself a papal decoration – I gather that was through that other exemplary figure, Cardinal Mahoney.

  • $43808970

    God bless you Rebecca. If only America had more stalwart Catholic politicians like you American morals would not be in the mess they are today. I honestly cannot understand how people who say they are Catholics can keep bashing our dear Pope Francis. Do we believe the Holy Spirit was at work at the Conclave or not? I certainly do and I believe God gave us the best Pope for our times, as He always does. So I hope these ‘Catholics’ respect and follow up on the Pope’s invitation to to start truly living the Gospel. That is the only way we can ever be true servants to our Lord and a light in a world that I fear is turning darker as secular relativistic humanism spreads its seemingly benign errors around the world. We need to be honest and humble and forget political squabbling. Jesus is Lord and as is said in Shema Israel, we need to put God before everything else, especially our over inflated egos and judgemental behaviours.

  • Gordis85

    “From some of the comments I’ve seen, I would guess that a number of Public Catholic readers are drinking this Pope-hating Kool Aid.”

    One of the many reasons I no longer visit this website is because of these so-called Catholics who bash Papa Francis every chance they get.
    I returned today to stand with you, Rebecca, in defense of our Holy Father, against those who are ridiculing and smearing his good person.

    The beauty is that despite all of the hot air Papa Francis leans on the Cross of Jesus, carries it with great devotion and weathers the storm with dignity, calm, and complete trust in Jesus.
    He will be the one to remain victorious because he proclaims the truth and those who cannot bear it will clench their teeth and wail loudly…and these days, it comes from both sides.

    Thank you for your fine article. May the Lord bless you and yours this Christmas season and may He also continue to protect Papa Francis as he goes about proclaiming the Good News.

  • UAWildcatx2

    Well said! You’ve put into words everything a lot of us are thinking. Keep up the good work! God Bless.

  • Ray Glennon

    Thank you for your frank, honest, balanced, and totally justified critique of the events of the past week or so. Your commentary is blistering and and shines a bright light into a dark corner of our nation’s politics today. Well done.

    And you are not the only one calling the Right to task for their arguments with Pope Francis. For those interested on similar voices, I recommend Patrick Deneen’s comment here: http://www.theamericanconservative.com/would-someone-just-shut-that-pope-up/

    And Fr. Bob Barron has a wonderful piece on Pope Francis and what Joy of the Gospel means for the Church here http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/column.php?n=2754#.UqC3y1sby8G.twitter

    It would be an honor and a privilege to stand with you at the side of Pope Francis.

    May God’s peace be with you.

    Twitter @RayGlennon

    • hamiltonr

      Thank you for the information Ray.

  • 2001Sacrament

    The veil is always there to fall, or be pulled, over our eyes – you are right to make a hard point Ms. Hamilton and to make the connection between apostasy and this loyalty to political “sides” and ridiculous labels. The tide pulls us away, destroying our footing, unless we have built our house on rock. St. Michael, defend us in battle.

  • Maggie Goff

    Preach it, Rebecca!! I’m standing shoulder to shoulder with you, alongside Pope Francis! Thank you!

  • crazylikeknoxes

    Amen. Amen. Well said. Amen.

  • Norman Dollar

    Your words joined with the images make a compelling yet civil and quite beautiful statement. Thanks Rep. Hamilton for the great example of how to speak our faith into the public square – strong, reasoned and full of heart. As for me, too, I can be found standing with the Pope!

  • $17785354

    Thank you Rebecca! The Catholic Church was already extremely ancient before the terms ‘liberal’ or ‘conservative’, ‘Left’ or ‘Right’ had any meaning. Pray for the Holy Father every morning and every evening. He has the hardest job in the world and he’s doing fine, and needs our support.

  • Stevelsn

    I heard Rush’s show that day and thought it was pathetic. I was surprised that he even used one of the two most classical statements you hear from the bigots out there. He made some crack about all the wealth the church holds but, at least he didn’t say anything about pedophile priests, the other favorite of your average bigot. I like Rush most of the time and he is a very generous person giving a lot of time and treasure to charitable causes. He is also usually a defender of the Catholic church and faith generally. He should have read the “exhortation” instead of sounding off based on a few cherry-picked quotes from CNN. I’m about 3/4 of the way through it and I agree that there is nothing very controversial about it. The Pope decries the lack of an ethical or moral foundation that results in predatory capitalism and corrupt governments but also infects so many people and societies at the individual level. It is the most basic essence of Christianity to Love and serve your neighbor that he exhorts. He never suggests that socialism is in any way superior to capitalism. Rather, both are guaranteed to be tyrannical in a people that rejects the Golden Rule.

    • hamiltonr

      Great comment! I agree completely.

    • Chesire11

      I hope that when you, and a lot of his other listeners hear him attacking other public figures, you will bear in mind how he attacked our Holy Father, and consider that his other attacks might be similarly dishonest.

      • FW Ken

        When Clinton was president, Limbaugh had a TV show where he would show a clip of Bill or Hillary saying something. Then he would say what they “really” said and the audience would cheer and clap. After a bit, I noticed that what he said was said bore no relationship to what was said. NONE. That’s when I decided Rush was a phony and I’ve never paid attention to him since.

        All of which is to say that his misrepresenting the pope is not a surprise.

        • Chesire11

          He is a demagogue committed to confirming his audience in whatever they want to believe. His role is to resolve any cognitive dissonance that may trouble them in moments of weakness. I don’t trust any “opinionator” on either side of the political spectrum, but Limbaugh is especially brazen, and shameless, and apparently (though it eludes my sensibilities, I’m afraid) pretty good at it, in my opinion.

        • john smith

          I remember that show. It was on around 1991 or 1992. I was a kid when it was broadcast.

          I didn’t have any real political opinions. I read Limbaugh’s book, The Way Things Ought to Be.

          There’s actually a picture of me, as a kid, wearing a Clinton/Gore campaign button in 1992.

          Then I grew up a little.

          Limbaugh was right about Clinton.

      • Chesire11

        BTW, I really hope that didn’t come across as scolding, or condescending because it certainly wasn’t meant that way, though reading it now, it kind of strikes me that way. My sincere apologies if it does!

      • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

        He didn’t attack him. He criticized something he said.

        • hamiltonr

          I disagree with you Manny. That nonsense was an attack, not a comment. The fact that Mr Limbaugh may normally couch his “criticisms” in this kind of explosive language does not change it. Also, Mr Limbaugh, if he read Evangelii Gaudium, did not bother to quote it. What he quoted in his criticism was an interpretation of the Pope’s writing from a secular newspaper.

          • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

            Ok. I agree with you on the last part.

        • Chesire11

          Calling the Pope’s moral teaching “pure Marxism” is an attack.

    • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

      I can vouch for it. Rush is a huge admirer of the Catholic Church. Marxists ideas always triggers a reaction from him. And frankly I don’t blame him. What he should see is that the Pope was somewhat mistranslated and frankly uninformed.

      • FW Ken

        Except that the pope said nothing remotely marxist. I’m fact, he explicitly affirms the right to private property.

  • AuthenticBioethics

    I am totally with you. I enaged the folks at Breitbart – because I sympathize politically with that outlets perspective in general, I’ll admit it – and I have become increasingly uncomfortable with the vitriol in the comboxes. It’s disgusting.

    As I say in my own blog, error comes in pairs – pairs of extremes. “If” socialism is evil that doesn’t mean its opposite is good – quite possibly the opposite is evil, too. And somewhere in the middle you’ll find the Gospel.
    And I said something similar, also, although you were more explicit about it – that what the right is doing is the exact same thing as the left – they both seem to believe Catholics are mindless sheep who need to stop following the Pope and start following them and shut up. The venom for stepping out of line!
    I think your bio says you’re a democrat – sorry, but I object to your party overall and I’m a limited government kind of guy – but I do agree with you here. Wanna start a new party based on Catholic principles (principles, not doctrines) of governance?

    • john smith

      “As I say in my own blog, error comes in pairs – pairs of extremes.”

      This seems like a really excellent quote.

      “And somewhere in the middle you’ll find the Gospel.”

      This reminds me of Revelation 3:16

  • Amatorem Veritatis

    Whew…take a breath…please. I have read all the articles you reference, and listened to Rush, and I find your rebuttal no less emotional and uninformed than the cherry picked criticisms you selected. There also happens to be a significant amount of reasoned concern (and apologia) from serious Catholic sources regarding the Holy Father’s somewhat imprecise wording on several minor themes of Evangelii Gaudium. Try Fr. Robert Sirico and his colleagues at Acton for some real balance.

    http://blog.acton.org/archives/63151-economic-moralism-clases-reality.html

    So the Pope is again selectively quoted, and misunderstood as relates to the specifics of Catholic teaching. Hardly qualifies as news, and worthy of outrage. In fact, it has happened nearly every week since Francis became Pope. The Holy Spirit appears to be guiding Francis to provide a very interesting, and different style of leadership for the Church Militant. His unique approach generates continuous debate and comment and discussion. Perhaps not what we might see as traditional evangelism, but it works. And I have no doubt that nothing whatsoever in Church doctrine is at risk. So, although I (again) had a bit of a cringe at some of the wording, I considered those somewhat imprecise formulations in the overall context of the letter and the Magisterium.

    So relax, the only person of any importance in your reference examples is Limbaugh (from the standpoint of influence), and he is already back-tracking. The other people have no real audience, and are therefore not worth the excitement.

  • Chesire11

    I feel like standing up and cheering right now!

  • http://nebraskaenergyobserver.wordpress.com/ D. A. Christianson

    Well. I have read the document, several times in fact. As far as the theology goes, it is superlative. As you know, I’m Lutheran and I couldn’t agree with him more.

    But the economics are part of it as well, and from a perspective that says America and/or any of the other English speaking countries have ever done any thing in their histories to help anybody, it is appalling.

    Too bad, you have been one of my favorite bloggers for quite a while, but I see no particular reason to come here so you can attack me.

    Good luck, Rebecca, I’ve enjoyed reading your work

    • hamiltonr

      When have I attacked you and why would I? This is an odd comment DA.

      • http://nebraskaenergyobserver.wordpress.com/ D. A. Christianson

        Ach, maybe I’m overreacting (I do sometimes, to be sure) but given than I had just done three posts quite critical of the economics in the document, it felt like it. Not that I particularly want to get lumped in with Rush et. al.

        But I had worked quite hard to be fair in those, and yours hurt. Probably all on my side, really :-)

        Carry on, and forget, my friend.

        Neo

        • hamiltonr

          I still don’t understand DA. I only know you are welcome and valued here.

          • http://nebraskaenergyobserver.wordpress.com/ D. A. Christianson

            I can’t explain much better, Rebecca. Maybe best if we just left it that I (rather badly) overreacted. I’m a bit overtired, fighting off a cold, and generally in a funk. In other words, I suspect it’s a trick in my mind.

            I’m sorry. And I’m really sorry I wrote it. Try to forget it and I will as well, because I really do value your insight about many things. Case of running keyboard before engaging mind, mostly. And beside, I would really miss this place! And that’s the best I can do for an excuse, cause you know me, I don’t really believe in them.

            And beside, other than the econ, I agree with you on what’s being said, and even the econ, i think is more cultural than anything else.

            Neo

            • hamiltonr

              I get overtired and exasperated by other things in my life sometimes DA. If I said something that came across angry or dismissive, rest assured I didn’t mean it that way. I am glad you’re here.

              • http://nebraskaenergyobserver.wordpress.com/ D. A. Christianson

                It happens, it shouldn’t but it does, to all of us. I know you didn’t. Thank you for understanding and the time you’ve wasted with me today. I’m very glad to be here

                • hamiltonr

                  :-)

  • bonaventure

    It’s not the right that is really attacking Pope Francis, although some U.S. conservative are mislead by the spin that the liberal media are trying to put on the Pope’s teaching.

    In reality — and by trying to make him look like a liberal and a socialist — it’s the LEFT that is attacking the Pope the most.

    But that’s not a surprise, considering that the left has always wanted to “fundamentally transform” (i.e. destroy) Christianity in general, and the Catholic Church in particular.

    • hamiltonr

      I agree that the left is mis-interpreting what the Pope says and spinning it to fit their agenda. I also know that they left demonized Pope Benedict. But it’s the right that is demonizing and defaming the Pope Francis. There are no good guys in either of these camps. They’re both about power and nothing else.

      • bonaventure

        I disagree. For the most part, those conservatives in the U.S. who are not Catholic are unfamiliar with the Catholic Church’s language on social & economic issues.

        So, when the liberal media spins Francis’ words, they have every reason to fear… however unjustified that fear is.

        I only blame them for actually believing what they read/hear in the very media that, on other occasions, they rightly condemn as liars and spin-masters.

        • hamiltonr

          That may be true of the rank and file. But Mr Limbaugh and an editor at Fox News, as well as any number of others, are professionals who know better.

          • bonaventure

            Now, I can agree with you. If anything — i.e., if the Catholic language about social and economic issues in EG is so foreign and scary to them — these personalities on the right should have invited a reliable Catholic commentator to clarify things.

    • Chesire11

      So, when the political left demonized Benedict XVI, they were attacking the Pope by attacking him…when they applaud Francis, they are attacking him by agreeing with him…presumably, when they ignore a pope, they will be attacking him by trivializing him, right?

      Conversely, of course, when conservatives praised Benedict XVI, they were applauding him by applauding him…when they attack Francis, they are really applauding him by attacking what some people think he is, and I would have to guess, when they ignore a pope it’s because they agree with him so much, they have nothing to add.

      So essentially, conservatism is Catholic, and liberalism is infernal.

      Thanks for clearing that up for me.

      • DeniseL.

        That’s not what is being said at all.

        • Chesire11

          Effectively, it is. Balancing the liberal impulse to secularize politics and culture is a very strong, and disturbing tendency on the right to politicize religion, thereby sanctifying conservative political positions. The indictment of all things liberal, and excusing of all conservative transgressions is a form of idolatry.

          Though my politics are center-left, I am also conservative on a number of issues (abortion, school choice, the HHS mandate…), and my faith informs my politics. What I object to is allowing political interests, whether liberal or conservative to coopt the faith.

          • FW Ken

            Bravo, although I would add that prior to the advent of the religious right, there was a religious left (think: William Sloan Coffin), where were just as ready to “politicize” their religion as Jerry Falwell. This is bi-partisan idolatry.

            Actually, there is still a religious left, who never seem to get accused of advocating a “theocracy”. Oddly enough.

            • Chesire11

              I would guess it’s because much of the political left is so adamantly secular that they are uncomfortable embracing the religious left. As a rule of thumb, I would say that it your Catholicism fits neatly into any secular political category, that should be a HUGE red flag, since politics is about the things of this world, and serves its master, not the Lord.

      • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

        I hope this comment is on Bonaventure’s statement and not on Rebecca’s post..

        • Chesire11

          Yes, it was in reply to Bonaventure.

    • Jacob Suggs

      It may be that the left is making up lies, but the right is following along with them – and since anyone with half a brain who is prepared to use it should be able to see through the lies, this seems to imply that the right are complicit in the defamation.

      I tend to lean more right than left, but I am disgusted with the way Pope Francis is being bashed, and I don’t think there is anything that can excuse a media outlet from representing the Pope as a marxist or as disbelieving Catholic doctrine. The choices here are criminal stupidity, criminal negligence, or criminal ill will.

      • hamiltonr

        Thank you Jacob. One thing I don’t think too many people are aware of is that Mr Limbaugh was not quoting Evangelii Gaudium when he lambasted Pope Francis. He was quoting a story about it from a newspaper. It was totally inaccurate and he did not bother to check his facts. This is happening to the Pope a lot.

        • Gordis85

          Poor Mr. Limbaugh…not checking his facts and putting it our there at the risk of his reputation. I hope someone calls him out on that aside from you, Rebecca. Your article is one of the best in defending the Holy Father.

          Anyway, here is a website with some thoughtful Catholic commentary as well. I hope you will look it over when you have some free time.

          http://ethikapolitika.org/2013/12/06/catholic-memory-loss-response-evangelii-gaudium/

        • bonaventure

          Thanks, Rebecca, for the clarification on the Limbaugh controversy. Limbaugh should have done much better research than to rely on a newspaper article. In fact, it’s a pity that he probably didn’t read Evangelii Gaudium.

          As I wrote in my original comment, some on the right just aren’t familiar enough with Catholic language, and what gets to them is filtered through the liberal media, and it is scary.

          But I agree that nothing is a substitute to real and honest research. Limbaugh should have asked a reliable Catholic commentator to clarify things for him on his show.

  • Kaitlin Jean Finn

    oh yes. so much yes. also, i want that last picture framed for my house. end.

  • James Scott

    Right On Sister!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Breitbart is the worst! If Andrew where alive today he would vomit!

  • DeniseL.

    Thank you for having the courage to speak the truth. It is a shame to see the right behave no better than the left when they feel threatened. I find it refreshing to see at least one person who isn’t afraid to call it like they see it.

    • AugustineThomas

      Um, no.. The right didn’t start murdering babies over the idiocy of Jose.

      • DeniseL.

        Ah, yes…lacking a better response, respond with an extreme that is not relevant to the comment posted.

        Listen to the vile nastiness from the left. Listen to the vile nastiness from the right. The only difference is the side of the political spectrum it is from.

  • haggis95

    Meanwhile, inside the ranks of our own Church we have those claiming that Pope Francis is teaching heresy.

    • http://wasteyourtime.mtgames.org/ Scaevola

      Few things sicken me as much as what you describe. The goats in sheeps’ clothing are weeding themselves out. The real shame is that I’m sure many are well-intentioned in their excessive piety.

  • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

    Nothing to do with this, but I want this crime known as widely as I can make it, and I thought you might be interested: http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/11/how_islamists_stole_a_congressional_hearing.html

    Incidentally, that photo of the Pope kissing the man with the defacing disease is what finally sold me completely on Pope Francis. A man who can do that is a man who is living the Gospel and leading by example. God give him a long and triumphant reign.

  • John Bostock

    Our Lord instituted the Catholic Church. She is His Church as the spotless Bride of Christ. We must always remember that our Lord is our one and only true Master. Since this is His Church, we must wholeheartedly endorse its work unless we have serious and well-founded reasons for speaking out about some injustice it may have committed in His name. Remember with whom your final fealty lies my fellow Catholics: it lies with our Lord Jesus Christ and not the powers of this world. We bend our knee to Him and none else. The Church is Jesus Christ’s. We must obey and support it.

  • Patriotic_Eagle

    Ms. Hamilton, thank you for this blog and I agree with what you’re saying and the message that you are sending whole-heartedly, with just a few exceptions. I believe that you give the politicians too much credit for the problem…they are just another pawn for Satan or “AntiChrist” if you prefer.

    First, this has been ongoing for longer than you stated and in my corporate memory at least 50 years since LB Johnson took office after Kennedy’s assassination. Things that I recall that are credited to his administration are 1) birth control legalized, which leant credence to Helen Gurley-Brown’s book that “enabled” women to be more promiscuous about sex and Gloria Steinem’s women liberation movement; 2) escalated our involvement in Vietnam, which in turn made the United States a debtor nation and the debt has grown since to $16-17 Trillion today…a weakened economy tends to turn people’s focus from their “Christian values” to materialistic and economic survival preoccupation. There are many other things that Johnson did to hurt our country but these two seem to be predominate in my mind.

    Then 10 years later Roe v. Wade…what a shame!!! One thing I want to point out about this decision…the justice who wrote the dissenting opinion stated that if it were ever proven scientifically that the fetus was a human person, then it would be protected under the Fourteenth Amendment. I was in school at the time and just a week before the decision was announced we had watched a video of an ovum being fertilized by spermatozoa under an electron microscope. Life begins at conception without a doubt but you have those who will lie to protect their livelihood in research or medicine, etc. The rest as they say is history.

    Then in about 1981 or 1982 we began having all of the law suits against the priest pedophiles and rightly so…here again we hear all about the bad priests because of who they are and who they represent and work for…but does the press include all of the ministers from the other denominations that are also accused of pedophilia? No. Do we hear about all of the men and women who are married or cohabiting that abuse their children? No, not unless it is associated with a really perverted incident. There is so much we (the public and Church fathers) need to know and understand about pedophilia and ephebophilia…that is another story for another time.

    And now comes the attacks on the Holy Father, the Vicar of Christ, the priest superior of the Church, if you will…what I have been trying to point out is that Satan is very deceitful and is undermining the Church and its teachings world wide but especially in the United states because we were once the leading nation in economy and morality for other nations to follow…but now we are lacking behind.

    But if you look closely at what I have pointed out, Satan is undermining the family unit by getting the women to leave their homes and going out into the work force, to be “independent of their husbands” as Steinem once said, which diametrically opposes what St. Paul taught the Ephesians. If the women become promiscuous, then they have no need to be married and raise a family. Why? Where do priestly vocations begin or come from…the family, the parents and especially the mother. Who is the first “catechist” that each of us come in contact with in our lives? 99% of the time it is our mother…she bore us in her womb for 9 months, breast fed us until we could start eating more normal food and if she is at home with us, then she is the one who is basically teaching us and forming our moral and faith foundation and personality to live life.

    The reason why abortion is very wrong is obvious and apparent but just to reemphasize the importance is the life that it prevents and the mortal sin it places on our souls…it is a sin against the 5th Commandment of God! In the past 40 years there has been approximately 60 million abortions committed…and so biological probability dictates that about 1/3 of those or 20 million babies would be male and following world demographics about 37% of those would probably be Catholic so that is roughly 7.4 million possible priests that were innocently murdered. Why is this important? Keep that question in mind…

    Now we factor in the prosecution of the pedophile priests. Keep in mind that these priests represent only about 3% of the total amount of priests…we are not all perverted and have lost our way…but the poor publicity has taken its toll on the priesthood just by the decrease in vocations and lack of respect for the priests in general. And now as I said before the attacks are being directed at the Holy Father…so again I ask the question, “Why is this important to understand?” Because Satan is attacking the Church’s foundation at its core…the doctrines, the Sacraments and the Commandments but especially the Sacrament of Holy Orders, the priesthood, because if he can destroy the priests then you will not have the Eucharist, and subsequently the strength and presence of Christ in our lives, which we need to keep us focused on the ultimate goal of life, Heaven.

    Yes, I am a Roman Catholic priest and proud of it as I am also a service connected disabled veteran (Navy pilot) and raised in an agricultural lifestyle. I preach the Gospel and scriptures, the doctrines of the Church and the Catechism but still have been threatened with law suits on different occasions because the parishioners misunderstood my catechetical teaching for “promoting political ideals” or candidates during election years. Currently I am on the disabled retired list in my diocese because 3 years ago someone fed me some tainted food causing a severe Streptococcus infection in my liver. I will never know who, where or when it happened but for this particular type of infection to have happened the perpetrator had to have either spat or deficated in my food…but I am praying to go back on active ministry if possible.

    Sometimes it is not so much that the priest has no “backbone” but does not have the support of his bishop. I honestly cannot remember if it is Canon Law or just local policy, but we are not allowed to preach politics or against politicians and their political party affiliations/beliefs. As I mentioned before the only way we can get around that is by preaching what is written in scripture, doctrine (including encyclicals) and the catechism. But in regard to those who claim to be “Faithful Catholics” but who also claim that abortion is OK or other such apostates, are what the Bible refers to as “False Prophets”. And so it follows that we should not put much belief into what they say because they are not trustworthy! The same goes for those who want to present false statements against the Holy Father…well, what I have found in my priestly life is that when someone lies about another person they are merely trying to make them look bad so that they themselves might look better or greater to others. But it usually backfires on them when they get caught in their lies and people get to see them for what they are…liars!

    What really has me troubled and I would not have believed it if I had not seen and heard it for myself…but if you remember, last August a year ago on the opening day of the National Democratic Convention, I was watching on CBS News and Bob Scheiffer and Norah O’Donnell were hosting the morning coverage before the official opening of the convention…and Norah was reporting that the central committee or Board of directors, whatever they are called, had to “vote on whether to place God back on the [Democratic] platform.” The cameras were scanning the people who were present in the convention hall already and some of them were visibly angry and upset because the committee had replaced God on the platform! I was appalled, first because the DNC had taken God off in the first place and secondly the angry reaction of some of it members because He had been put back on the platform. To me, this indicates the mindset of the liberal-progressive movement in this country…forget God, our morals and whatever is right and do whatever we want or feels good…hedonistic and socialist society?

    Thank you for allowing me to air my thoughts and concerns. Padre J

    • irena mangone

      God bless you

  • John Bostock

    Jesus Christ instituted the Catholic Church. She is His Bride for the wedding feast to take place in Heaven and also His spotless Bride on earth. We must as Catholics obey the Church’s teachings and support its work because it is His spotless Bride. Thank you for speaking up for our Holy Father. He needs our love and support. This is our Lord’s Church.

  • Mama Kelly

    Thank you for this post!! Since Pope Frances arrived, numerous family members and friends (all non-Catholics) have been singing his praise. It has been exciting to have a conversation starter about the Church and our beliefs. Praise God! The only negative comments have been from fellow Catholics or religious conservatives. It’s deeply saddening, since we should be supporting our Holy See. How he is being attacked reminds me of St. John of the Cross’ warning of falling into the Seven Deadly Spiritual Sins. Those who think they are spiritually superior to our Pope or do not need to follow him, could be falling into this trap: http://theologyforum.wordpress.com/2009/01/13/the-seven-deadly-spiritual-sins/

  • Tom Quiner

    Bravo !

  • AugustineThomas

    Popes have always kissed the sick.. You all just stopped denying it like evil demons because you think Francis is a leftist who will change the Church.

  • Rhetor

    Amen. We must stop letting secular thinkers define our faith in secular terms. To speak of the pope as right-wing or left-wing is not simply to miss the point. Through this sort of speech, the City of Man tries to annex yet another part of the City of God. Secularism grows by claiming for its own what once belonged to religion. Secularism certainly does not need any help from us Catholics. We should avoid applying secular categories to the pope, the Church, and Her teachings. The answer to “Is the pope Catholic?” should remain obvious. Thank you for fighting the good fight.

  • littleeif

    From the bleachers I must comment that to be a Catholic does not mean one must surrendur one’s critical thinking, nor does it mean one must hold the Pope and his other than ex-cathedra statements above all scrutiny. Furthermore, to act as if the Pope can make comments in the context of morality that do not have momentous political implications is as vacuous as to act as if poliics can be conducted without moral implications. I am increasingly uneasy with the cheerleading of the papacy some seem to find necessary. I am also distured that so much of what the Pope has had to say is alleged to be so nuanced that the faithful commentators I respect are constantly going out into the weeds to explain what he “really means”.
    Again, from the bleachers, it is hurtful and feels llike betrayal to have the Pope seem to say that the church is too pro-life focused – or is that what he really said? Is that what he meant? Or what did he mean and say? And there’s the problem – not only what the Pope said but who says what the Pope said and what he meant and who says what he meant. Same applies to his remarks concerning Capitalism. This is the situation created by a Pope who apparently desires to converse informally on the record and formally off the cuff with media. And honestly it feels from here like a denial of the gravity of the office and the significance accorded every word he utters. Who would want to be the Pope? But that is exactly the cross that must be carried.

    And from these distant pews where faithful Catholics just try to get on with their daily lives as best they can, a Pope who tries so hard to be colloquial, who desires to be so much less in his role as the Supreme Pontiff and so much more the country priest, as quaint and endearing as that might sound presents problems we are only now beginning to grapple with.

  • hamiltonr

    Note to commenters: If you want to debate economics, go up here http://www.patheos.com/blogs/publiccatholic/2013/12/my-take-not-pope-francis-on-a-christian-approach-to-economics-and-government/

    and take it out on me. I just can’t handle people jumping on the Pope right now. I mean that personally. I can’t handle it. But if you want to take a swing at me instead, I’m ok with that. Go up there and go to it. :-)

  • Matt

    I wouldn’t waste your time on those who put politics above their faith. Limbaugh and other political commentators are just that — political commentators — not an alternate Magesterium.

    To those Catholics bashing our Pope, I suggest that you read the words he actually wrote rather than relying on the interpretations of political commentators.

    The same Church that spent 80 years fighting Marxism is not now going to be suddenly for it.

    • GKC40

      A great, common sense response, Matt. It’s so infuriating watching good, reasonable people get sucked in so easily by a nice looking “news” piece, so I always appreciate those who can see through the media’s BS.

  • Jennifer Hartline

    Just one question about a photo you used here. Is that a picture of the Pope hearing a young man’s confession? If so, why was that allowed to be photographed at all? Seem very wrong.

    • hamiltonr

      I don’t know the answer to that Jennifer.

      • Stefanie

        I’m guessing, but like all public photos, pretty sure it has to be done via permission so the penitent and the pope must have been approached (in advance) by the photographer. Both certainly were asked if they could be photographed during confession. Notice the person is in profile. The name has never been revealed. (And there are other photos on the internet which are more obscure of this same man with Pope Francis. It is traditional to have a WYD photo of the pope hearing confessions — this time, yes, it was unusual that the penitent was also revealed. This particular photo was published in the “Roman Observer” newspaper that daily writes of the Vatican. BTW, the photo moves me more because its focus is on the attentive and compassionate face of the confessor Pope Francis.

        • Dale

          I agree with Stephanie. The consent of both people were necessary for the photo to be released. In addition to the Roman Observer, the photo was also distributed by the AFP/Getty Images wire service. The caption for the image said: “Pope Francis listens to a person confessing at the Quinta da Boa Vista on July 26 in Rio de Janeiro.”

          The photographer may have been close enough to overhear a conversation, so I am guessing it was staged as a photo-op before the actual confession. If so, I don’t see any problem with privacy. What information would have been compromised? That the young man is Catholic? That Catholics go to confession?

  • GKC40

    Great post, and I completely agree. Trying to climb as high up the apostasy tree as I can in standing with the pope.

    http://anothermattsblog.wordpress.com/2013/12/04/its-not-that-simple/
    http://anothermattsblog.wordpress.com/2013/12/06/it-is-that-simple/

  • Stefanie

    Amen, Rebecca! I am still reading through Pope Francis’ letter — haven’t found anything more awful than his constant quoting of nearly 2,000 years of continuous Church teachings. As the Anchoress pointed out a couple weeks ago, it is not a quick read and one must read it best in short bites. And wonder of wonders, Pope Francis has more footnotes per page than Pope Benedict — and that’s saying something!
    Anyway, I’ll keep reading it though it may be until long past January before I’m finished. I refuse to get “comment-y” about it until I’ve finished that read. And it is good to dwell quietly with the words of our pope while contemplating the last 9 months of his activities.

    • hamiltonr

      Wonderful, faithful comment Stefanie. Thank you.

  • RufusChoate

    Personally, having read and accepted the truth and beauty of the exhortation, I will be standing with the Pope ahead of you because you’ll have some difficulty resolving your political entanglements with the tenets of the faith.

    Quixotically, I would also never belong to the Political Party of Slavery,Segregation, Jim Crow, unlimited Abortion, Homosexual “Marriage”, organized legal opposition to the Church, tolerance of very wide spectrum of evil policies and finally Socialism (try reading Rerum Novarum) but you’re clearly morally superior to me and think it is your moral and intellectual prerogative as a democrat to beat up your political opponents most of whom aren’t Catholic commenting and misunderstanding the long standing social teaching of the Church based on quotes of the exhortation of Pope Francis rather wasting time to instruct them.

    The whole glass house and rock metaphor springs to mind.

    • hamiltonr

      Rufus, I don’t normally allow comments such as this, but since you at least are standing with the Pope, I will let it through. However, if you try to post any other comments as rude and ugly as this in the future, I will delete them..

      • hamiltonr

        Rufus, it was late, and I was tired when I answered you. Here’s what I should have said. You are making the mistake of thinking that righteousness comes from politics. You are also making the mistake of judging another person entirely by whether they have an R or a D on their voter ID card.

        This is something that fallen clergy have been teaching Christians to do for several decades now, so I understand how you could be so entangled in this thinking. But it is heretical and it separates you from God.

        Raging at me is symptomatic of this.

        Follow Christ Rufus, not political parties. The reason that mediabots on the right are attacking Pope Francis is because he is doing exactly that. When he points out areas where they are sinning — not that he called out anyone in particular, he just told people how to follow the Sermon on the Mount — they call him names and attack him.

        That is because neither political party has anything to do with Christianity. They are about getting power and keeping power. Following them, or allowing yourself to think that they are the source of goodness, will lead you away from Christ, not to him.

        I know from hard personal experience that following Christ will put you at odds with your political party. If you are an elected official there is a price to pay for doing that. However, for people who simply trying to use political affiliation as a form of righteousness, there is also a price to pay for following Christ.

        That price is giving up the easy comfort of thinking that you can trust your political party to lead you to righteousness or to practice righteousness in its own actions. You can’t follow Jesus and follow either political party. Jesus Himself told us that when He said, you can’t serve two masters.

        As for your rudeness, I meant what I said. I don’t allow people to attack and defame others on this blog, and that includes me.

        • Chesire11

          Politicizing the faith is indeed a form of idolatry. A person’s politics should be informed by their faith, their faith should never be shaped by their politics, but this has all too often become the case in American politics, and with predictably ugly result.

        • RufusChoate

          I think you are confused. Someone who remains with a political party even when they oppose substantive and substantial portions of your religious creed is idolatry because it is a false and counterfeit belief in an evil philosophy.

          As I mentioned above I don’t idolize any political party or system but neither do I remain in a political party because of my tribal identity or outdated loyalty when it is antithetical to my faith and repeatedly attacks it. i really don’t understand you or your ilk but I will categorize that loyalty under the mystery of evil. .

          • hamiltonr

            Rufus, I think YOU are confused. By your definition, (“someone who remains in a political party even when they oppose substantive and substantial portions o four religious creed is idolatry”) no one could be registered in either political party and still be a Christian. You also either haven’t read or maybe have forgotten what Pope John Paul II said about things like this, which he addressed specifically.

            I think, along with him, that the issue is not which party affiliation a person chooses, but whether or not they oppose their party when they go against the teachings of the Church. By that criteria, I think I do just fine. I also think that what’s causing so many people who have chosen the Rs to be upset by Evangelii Gaudium is that he’s pointing out that they should do the same about the Republicans. This disturbs them because they’d convinced themselves that being a Republican was tantamount to following the Church, which, by the way, does verge on idolatry. When someone makes a conscious decision to follow the party platform — whichever party it is –over Church teaching, they’ve gotten there.

            Now, having said all that, if you want to condemn me, (as it appears you are determined to do) then knock yourself out. I don’t care. However, I’m not allowing you to do it over and over again to the point of boredom on this blog. You condemn me and claim that I am not a Christian because I am a Democrat but an idolator. That’s your opinion. I get it.

            Now I suggest that if you want to continue to comment on Public Catholic that you think up a new idea to discuss.

  • LeticiaVelasquez

    I saw Limbaugh’s ignorant comments about the Pope. He mentioned TWICE that he is reading about Catholicism with the possibility of converting. Someone call Fr CJ McCloskey, famous priest who converted so many of the brightest and best in Washington! The rest of us need to pray for Rush’s conversion. And send him good books on Catholicism.

  • Don Campbell

    Calm down. Has it ever been any different? You have to admit, the Pope probably aligns perfectly with American progressives’ views on economic policy. Therefore, you would expect the American right to wail and nash their teeth – particularly the non-Catholic right.

    I would be considered a “right winger” but the Pope’s economics don’t bother me a bit. What does kind of bother me is that he seems that he has a very low view of the Church as it developed under JPII and BXVI. And I was troubled by some of his early statements – e.g., the nonsense that merely following ones conscience determines the goodness or evilness of one’s actions. But it turns out maybe he didn’t really say that and the interview has been pulled down from the Vatican website.
    The Pope seems to have 4 main focuses for his pontificate: 1) proclamation of the Gospel with new urgency and in a missionary style; 2) care for the poor, the weak, the abandoned; 3) reform of the Curia and refocusing the clergy on pastoral care; 4) decentralization of power in the Church.

  • Don Campbell

    Father Dwight Longenecker had a blog post recently that I thought was very instructive. He spoke of the “synthesis of the cross.” The cross has two beams – vertical and horizontal.

    The vertical represents our relationship with God (i.e., the “first and greatest commandment” to love God). It represents a focus on prayer, liturgy, sacraments, personal holiness. It comes to the fore in politics in issues abortion, gay “marriage” etc.
    The horizontal represents our relationship with our fellow man (i.e., the “second commandment” to love our neighbor as ourselves). It represents charity, care for the poor, etc. It comes to the fore in politics in issues like welfare, food stamps, and other programs for the poor.

    The vertical beam (love of God) is first and greatest because without it there is no place to hang the horizontal beam. But, without the horizontal beam (love of neighbor), there can be no cross.
    It seems to me that right-wingers sometimes focus almost exclusively on the vertical beam, while left-wingers sometimes focus too much on the horizontal beam and refuse to acknowledge the primacy of the vertical beam. Pope Francis is preaching the importance of both, which (because of his style and because he is new) is creating a stir.
    He has everyone listening – for now. Why are people hanging on his every word and often mis-interpreting what he says? I think it is principally because the “left” wing of the Church hopes that they finally have a Pope that agrees with their view of the Church. Likewise, the “right” wing of the Church is concerned that the left wing may be correct. This leads to a) an over-exhuberant reading of each statement of the Pope by those on the left, and b) overly panicked reading of each statement of the Pope by those on the right.

    • Thomas

      Nice analogy!

  • Don Campbell

    One last thing. I dispute your position that the ecomomic message of Evangellii Gaudium is “not that important” to its overall message. It is there for a reason; there is an entire section devoted to it. I think part of Francis’ experience in South America has been that many poor people are losing their faith because it seems the Church (through its members) cares only about the “rules” but does not care about their poverty does little, if anything, to try to improve their circumstances. Meanwhile, the socialist state offers promises and plays off their envy. It is easy to insist on free market solutions when you don’t live in a hovel with no sewer or running water, no education, and no realistic means of escape.
    This exhortation is about evangelization, and the Pope clearly sees addressing the needs of the poor as a central, indepsensible, feature of evangelization. Most of the world’s people are poor. Francis clearly believes that we are going to win the poor over by caring for them, both spiritually and physically, all the while preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

  • Jimmy Martello

    The funny part is that Pope Francis is hardly the Socialist the left or the right thinks he is. He isn’t a Statist either. He has a long and illustrious history with the Communion and Liberation Movement in Italy which could be more rightly considered reasoned capitalists. That’s just historical fact that doesn’t tend to make it into our press. In fact, it troubled a fellow Jesuit friend of our current Holy Father, and a darling of the ultra-left, Cardinal Martini of Milan.

  • Mike Blackadder

    I also dislike the practice of political pundits who take shots at the Pope that are unfair. And one reason why this typically so unfair is that his instruction that informs the faith is hardly framed as a political position, but rather is typically an outlining of principle that ought to inform our politic decisions. If the Pope set out to proclaim a given political position then he can be prepared to defend that position, if not then pundits are just hitting someone who isn’t hitting back.

    There are instance in Evangelii Gaudium where we might find cause to criticize him on the basis that he seems to assert important points that are totally vague and so leave open any interpretation, but no accountability for what he seems to be suggesting. I see this is a flaw in his style, perhaps it is a form of ‘cunning’ as he describes elsewhere, or he simply is the kind of person who does not like being adversarial so hedges to avoid any possible point of contention with critics of the church.

    Though where I think that Francis crosses the line here and which invites the criticism leveled against him is that in certain instances he actually does assume specific political positions (like a blanket condemnation of trickle-down ideology). Or the assertion that inequality is a root cause of violence and must be corrected by governments, without qualification such as the moral legitimacy of the circumstance – like the origins of such violence – who it is that is not acting as a proper Christian.

    From the Doctrinal note: ‘The Participation of Catholics in Political Life’ it was previously asserted- “Political freedom is not – and cannot be – based upon the relativistic idea that all conceptions of the human person’s good have the same value and truth, but rather, on the fact that politics are concerned with very concrete realizations of the true human and social good in given historical, geographic, economic, technological and cultural contexts. From the specificity of the task at hand and the variety of circumstances, a plurality of morally acceptable policies and solutions arises. It is not the Church’s task to set forth specific political solutions – and even less to propose a single solution as the acceptable one – to temporal questions that God has left to the free and responsible judgment of each person. It is, however, the Church’s right and duty to provide a moral judgment on temporal matters when this is required by faith or the moral law.”


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