Pope Francis rides into town

Pope Francis rides into town Religion in the News

Sure, conservative anxiety about Pope Francis has been building for months, but since His Holiness exhorted the faithful with his “Joy of the Gospel” there has been a serious outbreak of Francis Derangement Syndrome (FDS).

Rush Limbaugh, of course, was the canary in the cave, accusing Francis of emitting “pure Marxism” back on November 27. A few days later, Larry Kudlow wanted to know why the pope wasn’t “harping on” the dangers of secularism and leaving economics to the experts. And so it’s gone.

Over at the American Spectator, George Neumayr now declares, “It was clear from day one that Francis never took canon law all that seriously.” In the bosom of the Vatican, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, the longtime secretary of ex-Pope Benedict and current prefect of the papal household, feels impelled to smack down Francis enthusiasts, saying that “their jubilation will remain stuck in their throats.” Et tu, Georg? (H/Ts MSW and Pray Tell)

“Dr. Silk,” I can hear some of you asking me, “What can we do to rid ourselves of this dread disease? Unfortunately, there is no cure in sight for FDS. However, I do believe a careful course of reading can relieve the symptoms.

Begin with the Sermon on the Mount,  and particularly do not overlook Matthew 7:1. (“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.”) Then turn to Matthew 19:24 — you know, where Jesus says it’s harder for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Go next to Part II, chapter 4 of the Little Flowers of St. Francis, which tells how Brother Juniper couldn’t be constrained from giving all he had to the poor.

Proceed thence to Rerum Novarum, the 1891 encyclical in which Pope Leo XIII makes the case for labor unions. Finally, take up and read Gaudium et Spes, the Vatican II constitution on the church in the modern world that discusses how “strenuous efforts must be made, without disregarding the rights of persons or the natural qualities of each country, to remove as quickly as possible the immense economic inequalities, which now exist and in many cases are growing and which are connected with individual and social discrimination.”

Then say two Hail Marys and call me in the morning.

Categories: Beliefs

Beliefs:

Mark Silk

Mark Silk

Mark Silk is Professor of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College and director of the college's Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life. He is a Contributing Editor of the Religion News Service

8 Comments

  1. Three of the gospel narratives have Jesus saying that we will always have the poor among us. This does not mean that we as Christians should do nothing to help the poor, but it can be read to mean that despite our best efforts we’ll not get the job done of lifting all the poor out of poverty, that there always will be “the poor.”

    Certainly, the huge sum spent over half a century (well over 7 trillion dollars) on “poverty programs” by our own federal government has virtually nothing to show for it all beyond regular paychecks for the hundreds of thousands employed by that same government.

    That the Catholic Church through the pope’s words and directives make this a priority is consistent with the teachings of Christ. That does not mean, however, that the taxpayers must keep upping the ante in each budget, especially when there’s scant evidence of any success.

    When the bishops encourage that the taxpayers do more, they are stepping outside the teachings of Christ, who made helping the poor a religious imperative, not a political one.

    In a democratic society, such as ours is supposed to be, the people through their elected representatives can set a certain standard for addressing poverty in the country. That is a political decision regarding the public welfare. That is not, however, a response to a religious imperative.

    .

  2. When Cardinal Wuerhl is getting smacked down by conservatives as being some sort of liberal, dangerous Francis appointment we have entreated into a twilight zone.

  3. I’d much rather see a Marxist pope than a Gay-Marriage Pople.

    I honestly don’t know if Francis is the former, but it’s really clear now that (de facto) he IS the latter.

    Otherwise America’s top gay-activist magazine “The Advocate” would never have honored Francis as their Man of the Year — the first time in history that they or any other homosexual periodical has ever honored a Catholic Pope in that manner.

  4. Forgive me, another typo correction! The sentence should read, “I’d much rather see a Marxist pope than a Gay-Marriage Pope.”

    No disrespect intended to the Pope or the Pope’s title.

    But both Catholics and Protestants need a Pope that hasn’t surrendered to the gay marriage activists.

  5. ANITA KHALDY KEHMEIER

    Finally…a pope after my own heart…He walks the walk…And has done so much to reach out to the less fortunate…This man is a wonderful role model,and a much needed voice of hope for the young.

  6. How do you know virtually none were helped by 7 trillion in poverty aid? How do you know how many people or were not were not saved from homelessness? How do you know or not know how many children were saved or not saved from being hungry or malnourished. With all due respect, I think you simply choose not to believe.

    • samuel Johnston

      Hi Marion,
      D.L. said “virtually nothing to show for it”, which is not the same as saying no one benefited. Dropping money from airplanes would certainly benefit some, but it is not what was intended by the “war on poverty”. It was proposed that the government could establish affordable programs that would reduce the number and proportion of the poor and disadvantaged in America. The burden of proof is on those who claim success, not on the skeptics.

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