Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Pope Francis creating disagreement between conservative Catholics and the Church

Many of Pope Francis' policies are creating an increasing disagreement between conservative Catholics and the Church. Many of these disagreements center around the Pope's policies addressing income inequality and climate change.

“Inequality is the root of social evil,” Pope Francis said earlier this year. The Pope has also claimed that trickle-down economics is a “crude and naive” theory.

“He's modeling the church as a place for open disagreement. In that sense, one of the most important changes he's making is that conservative politicians are now openly disagreeing with him,” Vincent J. Miller, chair of the University of Dayton's Catholic theology program, said.

“Oh my gloria, this is a definite change in tone from being a 'scolder-in-chief' to being the one who identifies with the pain in our world. said Simone, who organized the “Nuns on a Bus” cross-country tours.

“Pope Francis's message and tone are making Catholic Republicans a little uncomfortable. He's stirring the concern on issues like poverty and the economy,” Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of the Catholic social justice organization NETWORK, said.

The latest rift between conservative Catholics and the Church comes as Pope Francis attempts to use his political clout to help create a new relationship between the United States and Cuba.

“I would also ask His Holiness to take up the cause of freedom and democracy, which is critical for a free people, for a people to truly be free,” U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), said.

Rubio, a practicing Catholic, noted that the Cuban people “deserve the same chances to have democracy as the people of Argentina have had, where he comes from, as the people of Italy have, where he now lives.”

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), also a practicing Catholic, said that Pope Francis should stand up for the Cuban people "rather than their oppressors."

“Sadly, in the case of Cuba, the Catholic Church has not always applied its basic principles of human dignity and reverence for the God-given freedoms that belong to every soul.

"I was supremely disappointed by press reports that the Pope had a hand in urging President Obama to cede crucial leverage that could have been used to help the Cuban people become free,” Diaz-Balart said.

Mauricio Claver-Carone, director of the conservative U.S.-Cuba Democracy PAC, said that Pope Francis is angering Cuban-Americans with his stance towards Cuba.

"I don't want the Pope running the foreign policy of the United States, just as I don't think the President wants the Pope running the social policy of the United States,” Claver-Carone said.

I was just reading an article on the Pope's family and childhood in Argentina and thinking of how growing up in places where inequities are so large can create a perspective that is wrongly balanced against a system, in this case capitalism.

I've read the Pope's Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium and in it there seems to be a better balance, a recognition that capitalism is just a neutral process and that it is the capitalists and their morality who make it fair or unfair. In the Exhortation Francis therefore calls for capitalists and consumers that are more aware of their obligations towards their fellow men.

Yet in his spoken words Francis makes unwarranted accusations against the system itself. I think he is very wrong and a victim of the governmental rather than the capitalist system in which he grew up.

I have studied the process of social change and social peace and order, and there is a huge difference between a society that grows in size simultaneously with its system of governance, and one where populations outpace the capacity of its governing systems, both automatic like self organizing markets, capitalism, and democratic processes; and management by governments. In the latter case capitalists are as much a product of governments trying to maintain order as of a neutral capitalism. Pope Francis should be looking at the formative effects of government rather than those of a neutral unthinking capitalism.

There is a bizarre logic to the Pope's positions. On one hand he wants to fight poverty, yet on the other he doesn't hesitate raising electricity rates, which would affect the poor, not the rich, and he is against consumerism when billions of people around the globe would love to be able to be consumers of at least food.

Look, it is not rocket science that the true wealth of our nation and the globe is measured by how many goods and services are produced, not by money , and those goods and services have to be consumed by someone, "consumerism" being another of the Pope's gripes. So okay, if we are "wealthy" in terms of goods and services then of necessity we are consumers.

Lesson two. Anyone who is even remotely familiar with history will know that the most dynamic engine of production has been capitalism, and the most effective organizing and rationing force markets. Don't believe me? Look at all of the socialism experiments of the last century, some of which survive in the poorest countries on earth.

Yes, modern capitalist wealth creation is the basis for more reduction in poverty than all the other solutions combined in the history of mankind. For this to happen, however, nations must have the correct political systems in place.

If the Pope is really concerned about the poor, he should stop criticizing those nations that have robust, inclusive, functioning political systems, and criticize those that do not.

Much of the impoverished world is ruled by tribal mores, by autocrats, and by kleptocracies. Fixing this would do more to create the conditions for poverty alleviation than any action that the Pope can urge upon developed nations.

Barack Obama says we are bad compared to other countries because we have guns, and the Pope says I am bad because my consumerism creates jobs. I think I will either live it up or wrap it up, I don't know, unless, wait, we can make the Pope and Obama rulers of the world. Now that would fix everything, won't it?

I am not trying to be facetious, at least not too much, but I am tired of being preached by people whose logic fails on the face of the facts. I have great respect for the Pope, but he is threading into areas that are political and with shaky facts.

The Pope fails to understand that global warming fear mongering has nothing at all to do with science. It has everything to do with government control of energy production, energy intensive industries and ultimately of entire economies. It is cover for socialism and ultimately Marxism.

While I the greatest admiration for the Pope's ministry and outreach to the poor and dispossessed, I suspect he is not uncomfortable with socialism as an economic system that would, in his view, be more responsive to social justice.

Unfortunately, the Pope is too economically naive to understand that the history of socialism and Marxism teaches precisely the opposite. They are economic dictatorships that make both poor and well off people poorer (better that every one be poorer but more equal than wealthier but less equal), and the political elite richer.

The Catholic Church has survived 2000 years not because Popes are infallible, they are not nor does the Church claim them to be. It has survived because in every century after every Pope and every attack, when the battle between Charlemagne or Henry of England or whomever is over and the issues of conflict are no longer of interest , the message of Jesus is found intact.

Francis' views on global warming are no better informed than his views on reducing poverty or the maximum rate of interest that should be charged or whether divorcees are entitled to be remarried in Churches, hot buttons of other times.

He is as entitled to his private views as is Donald Trump or a TV commentator , and no more accuracy is attached to those views than to theirs.

The most beloved Pope was John Paul 2. He had one message, God loves you.

In 2000 years that message will be what survives of the Church.

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