An interesting post over at Father Z’s regarding the Pope’s political views:
I saw in interesting interview at Real Clear Religion with Rocco Buttiglione, who played a role in the economic views of St. John Paul II.
RCR: Does Pope Francis have the same kind of philosophical heft that Wojty?a had?
RB: No. He is a different man.
RCR: Is that problematic for the Church?
RB: I don’t think so. We have had a pope who was a great philosopher, we had a pope who was a great theologian, and now we have a pope who has a great pastoral spirit. The Church needs all. I dare say that after those two popes we surely need a pope like Francis because the Curia is a mess and you need someone who has the capacity of clearing that mess.
RCR: You’re often credited for bringing Wojty?a to free market ideas, especially in the context of Centesimus Annus. How did you seem to persuade him?
RB: I would not put it that way, but I was a friend. As Don Ricci had done with me, I talked to Wojtyla about my friends and the things I saw in the world. Sometimes he asked me to do this or that for him, and that’s all.
RCR: Do you think Pope Francis needs a similar education on economics?
RB: Well, you had a pope from Poland who came to understand and love North America much more than anybody could imagine. Now you have a pope who comes from Latin America and in dialogue with him, we must try to explain other things. He is a pope that cannot be only Latin American, but he has to enlarge his horizons. How will he do that?
One of the first things John Paul II did when he became pope was go to Latin America. There he gave a series of homilies, which are a kind of regional encyclical. This encyclical is not against liberation theology, but it is an encyclical that says: We want a theology that is from the point of view from Latin American people. Fine. We want a theology that is written from the point of view of the Latin American poor. Even better! You think that you can produce this theology by using Marxism? That’s wrong. You need a different instrument to approach socio-economic realities from a point of view of a true liberation theology.
I remember one day Don Ricci and I were in Lima, Peru and we were talking with a group of liberation theologians. It was the day of the feast of Señor de los Milagros, and all the people were in the streets. I told the theologians: You talk about the people? Please open the door and look on the streets. They are the people! They are people who are not Marx’s proletariat; they are a people of culture and religion.
Then we started working in Latin America to create groups that wanted to make a true liberation theology. Some wanted to condemn all liberation theology, and there was the first instruction from the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, which was very harsh.
I went around visiting different countries and when I came back, John Paul II invited me to one of his “working dinners.” In the end, he asked me: There is the theoretical side, but how is Gustavo Gutiérrez as a man? Does he say Mass? Does he pray the Rosary? Does he confess people? Yes? Then we must find another solution.
After that came the second instruction on liberation theology, which made a distinction between true liberation theology and Marxist liberation theology.
RCR: Which liberation theology is Francis influenced by?
RB: He is not a Marxist. Politically, he is a Justicialista. Westerners might call it populist. Justicialismo in Argentina has been a tremendous movement, giving for the first time to the people the idea that they have dignity. They are anti-capitalist and anti-Marxist. There is an Anglo-Saxon model of capitalism, which is the “self-made man.” That’s American. But that’s not capitalism in Argentina. Capitalism there is where a few people use the contracts given by the state without taking the risk of the market make an enormous amount of money and oppress other people. It is a capitalism created by the State.
If I could suggest to Pope Francis the reading of a book, I would suggest he read Friedrich Hayek’s The Counter-Revolution of Science: Studies on the Abuse of Reason. This might help him.
Justicialismo… good grief. Who of us up here in the North can grasp what on earth has gone on in Argentina? The more I read about the place, and its modern history, the less I understand. Do you have be Argentinian to get it? Does anyone understand Perónism, with all its layers and bands along the ideological spectrum? I’d be pretty skeptical were someone to make that claim. Take a look on Google for something on Justicialismo. There is nearly nothing useful in English. I read Spanish, but… sheesh… this has been entirely ignored.
Go here to read the rest. PopeWatch thinks the best way to understand Peronism for Americans is to imagine that Huey Long had not been assassinated by a dentist, and had lived to become president running on his “Every Man a King” economic populist/demagogue platform:
Now imagine that he rules like a dictator, and ultimately is toppled by a military coup. Long is defeated but spawns a political movement in the US that becomes the dominant political party. It is broad enough to embrace both an extreme left and an extreme right, but all proclaiming allegiance to the movement started by Long.
One of Father Z’s commenters gets to the heart of Peronism that embraces different ideologies and has served primarily in Argentina as a mechanism for politicians to gain power, always, of course, for the “good” of the people :
Argentinian here. Peronismo and Justicialismo are two different names for the same thing: the “Peronista” party had to change its name due to a new law which forbade political parties to include personal references in their names, so they re-branded it “Justicialista” party.
The main idea behind justicialismo/peronismo is not about economy or politics, it is about power. The peronist leader thinks: “The best thing that can happen to the country is not freedom or development or peace or education or whatever… the best thing that can happen to the country is ME. Therefore I have to amass as much power as I can, and for that I have to amass as much wealth as I can. Once I have the power, I will bring peace and prosperity. Somehow.”
That’s why you have liberal peronists, conservative peronists, marxist peronists, keynessian peronists, libertarian peronists, and so ad nausseam, because actual ideas about how to actually govern are secondary, the primary thing for the peronist is for he/she to be the one ruling.
Of course, they say that peronismo is about bringing social development to the poor. That may be true, but they don’t have any clear idea of how to actually achieve that. Some of them think that it is all about giving money and stuff to the people for free, others have some degree of formal socioeconomic thought. But power always comes first. If a peronist government has to choose between the welfare of the nation and power, the answer is always power. And if a peronist leader have to choose between his/her beliefs and power, the answer is, again, power.
So, if you have a vague desire for “social justice” and are willing to support whatever peronist is above you in the ladder in order to eventually take your turn there, that’s enough to be a peronist. Sociopolitical discussions are not to be had within the party. The most famous peronist adaggio is “Que se doble pero que no se rompa”, which roughly means, “let it bend but never break”. A marxist peronist and a capitalist peronist will sing the peronist march together and affirm that “the best thing which can happen to a peronist is another peronist”. Because they will support each other when the time comes. Schisms within the peronist party are always about power, never about doctrines or beliefs.
So, if you think that Pope Francis will bring collegiality to the Church you are dead wrong: it is his time to hold the power and he will use it. He will allow some form of collegiality but only for those thing which he does not care about, and only if he has no choice.
And, btw, doctrine is one of those things.
Pope Francis has emerged from a deeply dysfunctional political system where leaders make wild promises of social justice and then use the power they have obtained for purposes that prove disastrous for the nation. Pope Francis often was embroiled in fierce disputes with Peronists in Argentina, but it would be fanciful to think that living his entire life in that political system has not left a clear, and PopeWatch thinks unfortunate, mark upon him.