The Pearl of Great Price

The Pearl of Great Price June 18, 2015

I have been told for years that the Five Non-Negotiables are the things to focus on in Catholic social teaching. So the pope has now written an encyclical which, yet again, affirms these non-negotiables quite clearly. And yet FOX is declaring him the most dangerous man on the planet and a Malthusian. Limbaugh and Gateway Pundit have denounced him as a communist. And Pewsitter has abandoned the passive-aggressive question mark headline, taken the gloves off, and begun punching themselves in the face hard with headlines like

– Judas preached the ‘poverty Gospel’ too …
– What the Pope and Thousands of Pagans Have in Common …
– Legal Group: Pope’s environmentalism is ‘unjust’ and ‘disgrace,’ will make energy bills unpayable …
– FrancisEffect? – Americans’ confidence in religion hits a new low …

The leadership of the Right, beginning with pre-emptive strikes from the GOP leadership, lead by Catholics Santorum and Bush, is coming completely unglued over this encyclical. And what is absolutely clear now is that despite the fact the pope makes plain that he opposes abortion and population control, that doesn’t matter to the Right that claims abortion is a “non-negotiable and that all other issues must bow before that one. He is still being violently denounced. Why? Because the real pearl of great price for the leadership of the Right has nothing to do with abortion or population control. The unborn are simply human shields for the real passions of the leadership of the Right, which center on mammon. Francis threatens very powerful revenue streams and that is the real reason he is so hated by the Right.

This is a very clarifying moment for well-meaning prolife Catholics who have had trouble in the past making the distinction between Movement Conservatism and the Magisterium. The Manufacturers of Conservative Opinion in the Right Wing Noise Machine have made clear that Francis is their enemy and has been excommunicated from the Church of Movement Conservatism. The crude brutality of their attack on Holy Church (because this encyclical is, make no mistake, a magisterial act and a teaching of Holy Church and not just Francis’ person opinion) has brought American Movement Conservatism (and Catholics who look to it for their views) to a watershed moment. My hope (buoyed by the response of many conservative Catholic readers to the unhinged malice that the RWNM is unleashing at the Church) is that serious damage has been done to the perception that American Movement Conservatism is any kind of friend to the Church. I take that as a net win. An open and naked enemy is much less dangerous to the soul than a seductive faux friend.

On the bright side, First Things has three intelligent essays that seriously engage the encyclical from Abp. Chaput, R.R. Reno, and Josiah Neeley.

"A kooky, superstitous fraudster like yourself is in no position to speak of weak minds.For ..."

First Things: Against the Living Consensus
"Ad hominem insults are the resort of weak minds. I notice you take refuge there ..."

First Things: Against the Living Consensus
"So sayeth the dissident. Martin Luther is rolling in his grave."

First Things: Against the Living Consensus
"If people like you are the real testament of that power, then I'd sooner serve ..."

First Things: Against the Living Consensus

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