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Pope Francis: President Obama’s gift that keeps on giving…

 

When the Washington Times brandishes the banner headline “Obama finds an ally on political controversies at the Vatican,” it may be time to step back and assess what exactly is transpiring.

From income inequality to Cuba and soon to global warming, it seems that Pope Francis is doing some heavy lifting for President Obama, his political agenda, and his legacy. That’s not to say that’s what the Pope intends; it is to say that this may very well be the outcome of what the Pope actually doing.

Suffice it to say, the Pope’s interests are primarily evangelical. Economic structures that enrich the few but keep the many impoverished are certainly immoral. Only plutocrats would disagree. Political structures that accrue power to the few but exclude the many from the process are certainly immoral. Only oligarchs would disagree. Destroying the Earth’s biosphere is certainly immoral.  Only the most virulent “anti-greenies” would disagree.

Yet, Pope Francis appears to be completely tone deaf to the message that his actions communicate. He’s providing President Obama cover to advance an economic, political, and environmental agenda that is more ideological than rooted in economic, political, and environmental fact. Imagine what would have been said if President John F. Kennedy had said the following about St. John XXIII in December 1962, as President Obama did about Pope Francis in December 2014:

He played a very important role. The pope doesn’t wield armies. He can’t impose sanctions. But he can speak with great moral authority, and it makes a difference. And it certainly made a difference in this case.

What’s especially troubling is how the Pope’s actions embolden liberal Catholic American politicians, most of whom are Democrat, to promote the Pope’s actions while advocating their ideologically-driven economic, political, and environmental policies. Again, that isn’t the Pope’s intention; but, his actions do allow others to politicize them for their own personal and partisan ends, as if Pope Francis is goading them on.

The problem, it seems, is not with the Pope’s agenda as much as it is the way the Pope’s agenda appears to be one-sided. While he will assert very strong moral opinions about economic, political, and apparently, environmental injustices, Pope Francis seems not to be very interested in or much inclined to be equally assertive in expressing Church teaching when it comes to grave moral errors like abortion, divorce/remarriage, and homosexuality.

That the Pope is touted in the press as one of President Obama’s “greatest allies” is disconcerting at best. Income inequality, unjust political structures, and the environment are important issues that politicians must deal with and, yes, they should consult with religious figures across the globe to find moral ways to resolve those issues. Yet, this Pope appears to believe it more important to articulate his solutions to these issues forcibly which, in turn, provides diplomatic cover for politicians, than he is to express with equal vigor and clarity their abject failure to address the grave moral errors of this era.

As the Washington Times, noted:

“It’s not quite a gift from God but, politically, it may be the next best thing.”

 

 

 

To read the Washington Times article, click on the following link:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/dec/30/president-obama-sees-pope-francis-as-political-all/print/

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following linke:
http://richard-jacobs-bog.com/omnibus.html

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The Motley Monk

The Motley Monk is Fr. Richard Jacobs, O.S.A., a Professor of Public Administration at Villanova University. His academic specialities include: organizational theory; leadership ethics; Catholic educational leadership; and, U.S. Catholic educational history. Check out Fr. Jacobs' daily blog at http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html.

34 Comments

  1. Obumbler may very well be the Juan Peron of North America. It has been proven that the current Roman Pontiff was a Peronist. No wonder they have similar interests.

  2. Francis appears to be a clergyman in the mold of Desmond Tutu: reflective of whatever is the going line in and among the international bien-pensant crew. At least he isn’t a blatant anti-Semite. Maybe he and Jimmy Carter can split the air fare on their next trip to Davos.

  3. I think Pope Francis is actually following almost point-by-point the career trajectory of ex-Canterbury Abp. Rowan D. Williams: press the agenda and divide, divide, divid; when you do so, blame the opponents for “schism”.
    ….
    Both believe in “dialogue” when it is to advance their agenda (Williams was infamous for this circiterism); they are both generously forgiving of Muslims n general; they are both opposed to free markets and prefer statist controls; and they both advocated ambiguous views of homosexual behavior and Christian faith.

  4. As a nuclear engineer, I dread the Pope’s forthcoming encyclical on the environment. He knows as much science and engineering as he does economics and history.

  5. “That’s not to say that’s what the Pope intends.”

    It has happened awfully enough for it not to be intentional.

  6. I pray that this pope will be forced by events to teach the indefectible dogmas of the faith, so he can’t spout the idiocies he has been teaching us (and the world) for two years!

  7. Anzlyne wrote, “Who knows what the pope intends?”
    “What is the natural expression of an intention?” asks Wittgenstein. “Look at a cat when it stalks a bird; or a beast when it wants to escape.”

  8. Oh, dear… more angst for my favorite father. (He already works very hard to mildly object, without appearing to be against the Pope, because he knows THAT is damaging, and… oh, dear.)

  9. “You will know them by what they do.”
    .
    Pope Francis is a money changer in the Temple of the Catholic Church. Pope Francis changes the Presidency into Obama, the Ordained Priesthood into the laity, and the greatest insult to the dignity of the human being, man’s charity into equality.

  10. When Oh When Will the Twentieth Century End?
    We seem trapped in its mentality, repeating the same mistakes and engaging in the same self-deceptions. Progressive, Peronist, Marxist, Fascist, Corporatist, they are all the same harlot wearing different dresses. They are all statist attempts to suppress the aspirations of the individual by means of the suffocating power of the collective.
    Mussolini and his pupil Peron were leftists, as was Hitler.
    Mussolini’s own summary of the Fascist philosophy: “Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato” (Everything in the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State) ~from http://peronhillary.blogspot.com/
    “So during the era of their big confrontation, Soviet Russia and Maoist China were therefore perfectly correct in accusing one-another of being Fascists! So the idea that Nazism and Fascism were Rightist is an old Soviet lie that Left-leaning intellectuals in the West have perpetuated in flagrant denial of historical reality.”~ ibid.
    Did not Hitler advocate socialism in “one country”?
    I don’t know what Pope Francis’ political persuasions are and I do not rashly accuse or suspect him of bad intentions but he is as human as any Pope from Peter to the present. I think of The Gospel according to Luke: 31And the Lord said: Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren.
    So let us join the Lord in prayer for our Holy Father. He has the toughest job in this world.

  11. Who were the men who elected him Pope? What are their positions on these non spiritual, prudential judgment issues?

  12. Cardinal Newman on Papal Infallibility
    Published Saturday, October 19, 2013 A.D. | By Donald R. McClarey
    “It in no way depends upon the caprice of the Pope, or upon his good pleasure, to make such and such a doctrine, the object of a dogmatic definition. He is tied up and limited to the divine revelation, and to the truths which that revelation contains. He is tied up and limited by the Creeds, already in existence, and by the preceding definitions of the Church. He is tied up and limited by the divine law, and by the constitution of the Church. Lastly, he is tied up and limited by that doctrine, divinely revealed, which affirms that alongside religious society there is civil society, that alongside the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy there is the power of temporal Magistrates, invested in their own domain with a full sovereignty, and to whom we owe in conscience obedience and respect in all things morally permitted, and belonging to the domain of civil society.”
    Pastoral of the Swiss Bishops on Papal Infallibility cited by John Henry Cardinal Newman

  13. Modern celebrity first…Pope second.
    .
    Make a list of all the crap that celebrities do/support, and you’ve defined his so-called Papacy.

  14. I do not see Pope Francis doing any heavy lifting for President Obama on controversial issues such as income inequality, Cuba, or climate change. The pope is addressing these issues with Christ and the church in mind but the president has the American electorate in mind. These issues can be a great opportunity for all who believe in freedom, the free market, social justice , and environmental stewardship
    If we are to have any pretense at being the land of the free, then we should endorse free trade and travel with Cuba.
    The solution to income inequality is not to tax the rich after they have been created by subsidy and protective regulation. First eliminate all subsidies, entitlements, and most regulations.
    The source of climate change is subsidized fossil fuels that have long been cheap. That will not last long as more costly unconventional oil and gas is already coming on line. It is urgent that all subsidies of fossil fuels be replaced with a rising carbon tax. Meanwhile, labor and capital should not be taxed at all. Is not a worker worthy of her wages? She is also worthy of an equal share of the earth that the Lord has given all of us. The only tax must be on the land and natural resources with most of it distributed to each person equally akin to the Alaska oil dividend. This would do much for justice, equity, and peace. It would be a model for the world.

  15. Ernest Martinson

    Economic arguments for Free Trade often need to be balanced against strategic arguments in favour of Protection, whether by subsidies or tariffs. Even Adam Smith defended the Navigation Acts on those grounds.

  16. Ernest,
    .
    The propaganda of anthropogenic global warming is exactly that – propaganda. It is unproven. That said, dumping millions of tons of fossil fuel excrement into the atmosphere is an untried experiment that will bring unintended consequences. But what alternatives are there to fossil fuel energy? Wind and solar? When there is no wind there is no energy. When there is no sun (night time, cloudy days, etc), there is no energy. So-called renewables have capacity factors of less than 30% which means that 70% of the time when you need energy it is not there. So you need spinning reserve for that 70%. The means fossil. There is, however, an alternative that has a 90+ % capacity factor and generates ZERO pollution. It is noticeably missing from your recommendation. It is called:
    .
    Fission of heavy metal atoms, otherwise known as nuclear energy.
    .
    Here are the facts:
    .
    No electricity kills
    Coal kills but less than no electricity
    Oil kills but less than coal
    Gas kills but less than oil
    Wind and solar kill but less than gas
    Nuclear kills, but kills least of all.
    .
    Read about the mortality rate for each source of energy. I doubt this Pontiff is smart enough to figure this out:
    .
    http://nextbigfuture.com/2011/03/deaths-per-twh-by-energy-source.html

  17. Ernest M.: I don’t know how you got so far from the truth on climate, but please, for your own sake, do some research into facts before you make any further statements on the subject.
    .
    A pretty good video for beginners by a top weatherman:
    .
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/08/17/my-presentation-at-doctors-for-disaster-preparedness/
    .

    http://icecap.us/index.php/go/about-climate-change
    .

    http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/originals/policy_driven_deception.html

  18. Excellentissime, exNOAAman!
    .
    I am sick and tired of reading and listening to this anthropogenic global warming excrement. Oh, it’s called climate change now because these people cannot prove that Earth is warming. Well guess what: climate always changes and it’s natural!
    .
    What an absurdity that the very people who promote this nonsense are the same people who oppose its solution: nuclear energy.

  19. Amen Paul: Most of the Progressive program is propagandized via false and insidious narratives. I would mention the so-called “Gun Control” movement but I’d rather not stray off-topic.

  20. Ernest Martinson:

    I’ve posted this before: I don’t deny the possibility of anthropogenic global warming, but I maintain it is irrelevant. The sun is getting warmer due to helium increase in the core. It always has, and always will, until the core runs out of hydrogen. Come back in half a million years and it will be slightly but measurably warmer. Stopping our CO2 emissions buys us very little time. So, we cannot save the planet by destroying our industrial society, we can only save it by using our industry to develop the terraforming technologies that will keep it habitable despite what the sun does for the next 5 billion years. Any encyclical that does not address this fact is useless.

  21. Ernest: It is my understanding that all of humankind’s CO2 contributions comprise a mere 0.11% of the greenhouse gases. Paul: Am I correct? Or at least close? Also, as Cardinal Pell asserts, if we were to double our CO2 contribution, it would make the plants very happy. And hungry, I might add, as they would gobble it up transforming it into oxygen.

  22. William P. Walsh–
    I would guess that it’s either the estimated human contribution of CO2, or the amount of gov’t regulated gasses, because we don’t make enough “greenhouse gasses” to get anywhere near that much. Water vapor is the most common one, at 98%.

    It’s possible that it’s going off of very old estimates, I guess, and using a special definition– when they started actually measuring how much CO2 volcanoes put out, they found out that they’d been greatly underestimating it.
    (Note, this is what tends to happens with the “debunking” of volcanoes erasing years of “greenhouse gas emission cuts” in a single eruption, along with mis-statements about the claim being total estimated, etc.)
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/11/16/another-known-unknown-volcanic-outgassing-of-co2/
    ********
    Ernest:
    If we are to have any pretense at being the land of the free, then we should endorse free trade and travel with Cuba.
    No, we should not, precisely because we are the land of the free. We should weaken horrific tyrants when possible, not give them yet more ability to abuse their people.
    To claim we must do otherwise is the same nonsense that holds that, because we are the land of the free, we should get rid of laws– they are, after all, an interference in the free choice of people to do whatever they want. That interference makes it possible for everyone to be free to choose to do good, rather than just empowering the strong to do what they want; I believe Sheen had a very good video on the meaning of Freedom which is available on youtube.

  23. William P. Walsh wrote:
    .
    “Ernest: It is my understanding that all of humankind’s CO2 contributions comprise a mere 0.11% of the greenhouse gases. Paul: Am I correct? Or at least close?”
    .
    Frankly, William, I do not know. My field of expertise is nuclear energy, not meteorology or climatology. However, I note with amusement that if today’s liberal progressive Democrats were cynano-bacteriological life forms some 2.3 billion years ago, they would be decrying the Great Oxygen Catastrophe that changed Earth’s atmosphere from CO2 and N2 to O2 and N2:
    .
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Oxygenation_Event
    .
    Isn’t it interesting that at one time there was no free oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere – just CO2 and N2? And Earth not just survived but prospered for more than two billion years, and continued to do so even after huge climatic change cause by CO2 being eradicated from the atmosphere through the action of cyano-bacteria. CO2 may well rise again, but Man will not destroy Earth; however, God one day will:
    .
    “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and the works that are upon it will be burned up. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of persons ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be kindled and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire! But according to his promise we wait for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” 2nd Peter 3:10-13

  24. Foxfier: Thank you for Archbishop Fulton Sheen. Only truth has freedom. Untruth is perjury in a court of law. Must forward this post.
    .
    If global warming is a fact, then, global masters must pay for it. George Soros, Rockefeller, Baron de Rothchild and the G 8 or 11 or 12 or whatever. What is left? Taxpayers have been aborted. Obamacare has tripled the premium without the promised relief. Oooops.
    .
    What will taxpayers get in return for their hard earned money? Someone to tell us that we are too stupid to know what is good for us as Johnathan Gruber has done?
    .
    “We, the people…” are not free to exclude any one of our constitutional posterity.

  25. Is Pope Francis getting ready to pay into this farce, this fleecing of the people, this strong arm wrestling of the truth into falsehood?
    .
    I may be too stupid to know what is good for me, but I know when I am being swindled, bullied and taxed without representation, especially by individuals who think that I am too stupid to know what is good for me.

  26. Foxfier wrote, “the same nonsense that holds that, because we are the land of the free, we should get rid of laws– they are, after all, an interference in the free choice of people to do whatever they want.”

    For the Ancients, freedom did not mean that each individual could do as s/he pleased, but that the citizens lived under laws of their own making and magistrates of their own choosing. Otherwise, what becomes of the people’s right to self-government?

  27. Foxfier, Paul, Ernest, Mary et.al: My reading of various dissenting climatologists is that 0.11% is the amount contributed to the totality of all the greenhouse gases. The point made is that we have but an imperceptible impact on the global climate. Apart from the science, there remains the politics of it. Perhaps the post-modern heresy of Relativism is at the root of most of our current problems. Pilate asked, “What is truth?” The new man of today says, “Don’t confuse me with facts, I have my own truth”. Gruber demonstrates a western form of al-taqiyah, strategic dissimulation to get the public onboard the statist ship. Climate alarmists have advocated exaggeration for the purpose of herding the frightened public into the climate change corral. I continue to assume sincerity on the part of Pope Francis but I wonder about his sources of information. Perhaps someone can make better sense out of the following than I can: http://www.casinapioiv.va/content/accademia/en/events/2014/sustainable/statement.html
    Good Luck.

  28. William, that statement from the Pontifical Academy of Sciences repeatedly mentions polluting fossil fuels as an environmental danger, but not once does it mention nuclear energy (at least in a positive light) as the ONLY effective means of displacing fossil fuel energy. All those billions in poor countries that this statement says have no access to energy could have such access with this: http://www.nuscalepower.com. Passively walk-away safe, high capacity factor, low cost energy where events such as TMI, Chernobyl and Fukushima are simply non-credible.
    .
    I dread the issuance of this Papal Encyclical on the environment. If it is anti-nuclear, then I shall have a lot to say.

  29. Paul, of the members whose CV’s were accessible, I found only two having climate related careers. Lot’s of social scientists, lawyers and philosophers. Pray.

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