Pope Foolcis I
In a rather devastating article over at The Weekly Standard, Jonathan Last wonders whether Pope Francis’s Papacy is a farce or a Menace:
It’s only been two and a half years since Francis assumed the chair of St. Peter, yet he’s already compiled an entire dossier’s worth of . . . interesting . . . incidents.
For instance, the Holy Father seems to have a habit of appearing to endorse all sorts of left-wing political causes. There was the time he posed with environmental activists holding an a crucifix made from a hammer and a sickle. And the time he held up a poster calling for the British to hand the Falkland Islands back to Argentina. In each instance, the official Vatican response has been to suggest that Francis didn’t mean to endorse anything because he’ll pretty much smile and pick up anything you hand him, like some sort of consecrated Ron Burgundy.
But it isn’t always the spontaneous moments that cause confusion for Francis….
Some examples, as cited by Mr. Last:
As Andrew Ferguson noted in reviewing Evangelii Gaudium, this pope tends to insist on notions that are factually untrue. For instance, “Never has the use of violence brought peace in its wake.” Or that the benefits of free-market growth have “never been confirmed by the facts.” Note—the Holy Father is not saying that the free market has excesses, or that consumerism can debase the human person, or that the ruthlessness of markets can, left unchecked, lead to real evils. No. He is insisting that there is no factual evidence to support claims that free-market growth can be socially beneficial. It’s as if he does not know what the letters “GDP” stand for.
And truth be told, maybe he doesn’t. In 2013, Francis told an Italian magazine that “The most serious of the evils that afflict the world these days are youth unemployment and the loneliness of the old.” That might strike you as odd, but so be it.
It strikes me as the words of, frankly, a Simpleton.
And when confronted with the Syrian migration crisis now roiling Europe, the pope weighed in on that, too, this time commingling economics with ecology:
We see these refugees, these poor people who are escaping from war, escaping from hunger, but that’s the tip of the iceberg. But underlying that is the cause, and the cause is a socio-economic system that is bad, unjust, because within an economic system, within everything, within the world, speaking of the ecological problem, within the socio-economic society, in politics, the person always has to be the center.
Yes: For Francis, Syria’s great problem isn’t a blood-thirsty autocracy which gasses its own citizens—it’s a “socio-economic system.” He then goes on to blame the great migration to Europe not merely on an unjust economic system, but on deforestation. The migrants are, he said, “the people who come from the country because they have been deforested.”
Such remarks make you wonder if the Holy Father has ever seen an aerial view of Syria—where the first thing he would notice is that the country has almost no trees. This is not a recent development.
Such remarks make me wonder if this man, this Pontiff, is not very intelligent. Or if, perhaps, he lacks the curiosity required to be worthy of the descriptor: Learned.
More [it gets worse]…
Pope Francis has some interesting views about Catholic teachings, too. In January, he criticized Catholics who have what he considers too many children. “Some think, excuse me if I use the word, that in order to be good Catholics, we have to be like rabbits—but no,” he said. The push-back from within the Church was hard enough that the pope apologized a week later.
He has never apologized for criticizing Catholics whom he deems to be “obsessed” with abortion, contraception, and gay marriage:
“We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.
His message being . . . well, it’s not clear what, exactly. After all, in America, at least, the question of abortion seems somewhat important, since 55 million children have been killed in utero since 1973. And as for contraception and gay marriage, it is the U.S. government which is seeking to force its view of these regimes on the Catholic Church, and not the other way around. The pope’s position seems remarkably like blaming the victim.
As did his remarks following the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris. Francis held forth saying, “Every religion has its dignity. I cannot mock a religion that respects human life and the human person.” And then he went somewhat further:
“If my good friend Dr. Gasparri says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch,” Francis said, throwing a pretend punch his way. “It’s normal. You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others.” . . .
“There are so many people who speak badly about religions or other religions, who make fun of them, who make a game out of the religions of others,” he said. “They are provocateurs. And what happens to them is what would happen to Dr. Gasparri if he says a curse word against my mother. There is a limit.”
As you might expect, a week later the Vatican rushed yet another spokesman out to clarify the real meaning of the Holy Father’s words because he absolutely, positively, didn’t mean what he said. Or didn’t say what he meant.
[Bob shakes his head in unbelief — and said shaking gets worse when he recalls the majesty and intelligence of the words and actions of the two previous Popes.]
Is Francis a farcical character or is he merely being deceptive and hiding his true, Leftist [and, therefore, anti-Catholic] intentions?
Mr. Last weighs in, after quoting the Pope’s odd response when asked if he has a message for the Middle Class:
…One gets the sense that the leader of the Roman Catholic Church understands neither the origins, nor the development, nor status of the middle class. He does not know who the middle class is, or what they do, or what challenges are facing them. By his own accounting, this 78-year-old man has never given this group of people—who comprise the vast majority of the developed world and are the ambition of the rest of the planet—any real thought.
It was an astonishing admission of provincialism. And in its way, it might tell us more about Francis than all the rest, combined.
It tells me that Pope Francis is a fool, a simple Dupe — a puppet being manipulated by the Forces Of The Left, which, in the context of Catholic Teaching, means by Satanic Forces. They are the Menace.
God help us.