Contributor Post Created with Sketch. In Which the Pontiff Admits That—Is There Any Other Way to Put This?—He Has Not the Slightest Idea What He’s Talking About

 

FrancisFrom an article in the New York Times about the conversation Pope Francis had with journalists as he flew back to Rome from his trip to Latin America:

[T]he pope expressed “a great allergy to economic things,” explaining that his father had been an accountant who often brought work home on weekends.

“I don’t understand it very well,” he said of economics, even though the issue of economic justice has become central to his papacy.

Hat tip–and this is significant–to the friend who pointed this out to me. You see, he’s one of the most devout and intellectually impressive priests I’ve ever met.

There are 88 comments.

  1. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    File under: Restating the obvious.

    • #1
    • July 15, 2015, at 11:09 AM PDT
    • Like
  2. Eric Hines Inactive

    Aren’t we Americans intimately familiar with such a leader?

    Eric Hines

    • #2
    • July 15, 2015, at 11:13 AM PDT
    • Like
  3. Lily Bart Inactive

    “I don’t understand it very well,” he said of economics…

    And yet he feels the need to wade in and offer his opinion – and urge change(!).

    His ignorance of the topic keeps him from understand the damage his ‘recommendations’ will do to the poor. And to freedom. Including freedom of religion.

    Idiocy!

    • #3
    • July 15, 2015, at 11:20 AM PDT
    • Like
  4. donald todd Inactive

    Eric Hines:Aren’t we Americans intimately familiar with such a leader?

    Eric Hines

    Nope. I think that there is a significant difference between someone who is uninterested in economics and someone who hates people and uses economics to punish them.

    • #4
    • July 15, 2015, at 11:21 AM PDT
    • Like
  5. Irene F. Starkehaus Inactive

    For someone who is allergic to economic things, he certainly goes out of his way to expose us all to his global economic view whenever he gets the chance. If Pope Francis would focus even half as much energy on condemning mortal sin as he does on undermining economic freedom, the world would be a better place.

    • #5
    • July 15, 2015, at 11:26 AM PDT
    • Like
  6. Misthiocracy ingeniously Member
    Misthiocracy ingeniously Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    LilyBart:And yet he feels the need to wade in and offer his opinion – and urge change(!).

    As long as he does not invoke papal infallibility, why should he not be free to do so?

    It would be silly for freedom of speech to no longer apply simply because someone achieves a position of influence.

    “You can say whatever you want, but only if nobody listens.”

    Whenever a pope says something without invoking papal infallibility, one is quite free to assume they don’t know what they are talking about. If they were truly confident in the truth of their words, they would have invoked infallibility.

    • #6
    • July 15, 2015, at 11:33 AM PDT
    • Like
  7. Misthiocracy ingeniously Member
    Misthiocracy ingeniously Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Irene F. Starkehaus:For someone who is allergic to economic things, he certainly goes out of his way to expose us all to his global economic view whenever he gets the chance.

    a) One can be allergic to a thing and still understand it (of course, the Pope also says that he doesn’t understand economics all that well).

    b) I don’t understand climatology all that well, but that doesn’t stop me from opining that I don’t want climatologists gaining undue influence over political decision-making. One could argue that the Pope is merely opining the same thing about economists.

    • #7
    • July 15, 2015, at 11:40 AM PDT
    • Like
  8. Misthiocracy ingeniously Member
    Misthiocracy ingeniously Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    donald todd:

    Eric Hines:Aren’t we Americans intimately familiar with such a leader?

    Eric Hines

    Nope. I think that there is a significant difference between someone who is uninterested in economics and someone who hates people and uses economics to punish them.

    It also makes a difference that one of ’em has access to massive military and law enforcement resources, while the other has only the Swiss Guard.

    • #8
    • July 15, 2015, at 11:41 AM PDT
    • Like
  9. Marion Evans Inactive

    “I don’t understand it very well,” he said of economics.

    So, just like all the economists at the Fed, on Wall Street, on TV and in academia? Why can’t they all be as candid?

    • #9
    • July 15, 2015, at 11:42 AM PDT
    • Like
  10. Misthiocracy ingeniously Member
    Misthiocracy ingeniously Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Marion Evans:

    So, just like all the economists at the Fed, on Wall Street, on TV and in academia? Why can’t they all be as candid?

    Indeed, one can argue that a person who acknowledges their intellectual limitations has more of a right to express their opinions than one who hides and/or denies their limitations. That’s precisely why we tend to hold Socrates in higher regard than Protagoras.

    On the other hand, Socrates never wrote any books. He left that task to others.

    • #10
    • July 15, 2015, at 11:44 AM PDT
    • Like
  11. Lily Bart Inactive

    Misthiocracy:

    LilyBart:And yet he feels the need to wade in and offer his opinion – and urge change(!).

    As long as he does not invoke papal infallibility, why should he not be free to do so?

    It would be silly for freedom of speech to no longer apply simply because someone achieves a position of influence.

    I think you’re confusing two issues. Just because someone can do something, doesn’t mean they should do this thing.

    Of course he’s free to blab away with his uninformed opinions. A person reaching his level of influence, however, has a strong responsibility to refrain from doing so. Knowing his ‘understanding’ of a topic is limited, he should exercise some self control.

    • #11
    • July 15, 2015, at 11:49 AM PDT
    • Like
  12. Misthiocracy ingeniously Member
    Misthiocracy ingeniously Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    LilyBart:

    Misthiocracy:

    LilyBart:And yet he feels the need to wade in and offer his opinion – and urge change(!).

    As long as he does not invoke papal infallibility, why should he not be free to do so?

    It would be silly for freedom of speech to no longer apply simply because someone achieves a position of influence.

    Of course he’s free to blab away with his uninformed opinions. A person reaching his level of influence, however, has a strong responsibility to refrain from doing so. If he cannot seem to exercise this level of self-control, perhaps he is not the right guy for the ‘job’.

    a) If a person should lose their job because of their opinions, does that not imply that the person wouldn’t have the right to express their opinions?

    b) How, substantively, is “the responsibility to refrain from expressing one’s opinion” any different from “not having the right to express one’s opinion”?

    c) At what level of influence, precisely, does the responsibility to refrain from expressing one’s opinion kick in?

    (IMHO, the right of free speech does come with a corresponding responsibility, i.e. the responsibility to respect others’ right to express their disagreement. I see no evidence that the Pope has failed to meet this responsibility.)

    • #12
    • July 15, 2015, at 11:53 AM PDT
    • Like
  13. Irene F. Starkehaus Inactive

    Misthiocracy: One can be allergic to a thing and still understand it (of course, the Pope also says that he doesn’t understand economics all that well).

    When a person says that he is allergic to a topic, he is indicating that he prefers to avoid it at all costs.

    Because of his frequent references to the evils of capitalism, it is actually the only topic of discussion where Catholics have absolutely no problem grasping where he stands. He equivocates on almost every moral discussion except on his disgust for free enterprise. I would suggest that the tone of his papacy indicates his allergy to discussions on gay marriage, divorce and contraception.

    • #13
    • July 15, 2015, at 11:53 AM PDT
    • Like
  14. Johnny Dubya Inactive

    I defer to the expertise of Alec Baldwin in matters of dramatic and comedic acting on stage and in film, I defer to the expertise of my mechanic in matters of automobile maintenance and repair, and I defer to the expertise of the Pope in matters of Catholic theology and morality. I have little use for anything any of them has to say on the subject of macro-economics.

    • #14
    • July 15, 2015, at 11:55 AM PDT
    • Like
  15. Lily Bart Inactive

    Misthiocracy:

    If a person should lose their job because of their opinions, does that not imply that the person wouldn’t have the right to express their opinions?

    Again, I think you confuse two things: The “right” to do something and the “wisdom” of doing it.

    • #15
    • July 15, 2015, at 11:55 AM PDT
    • Like
  16. Peter Robinson Founder
    Peter Robinson

    Johnny Dubya:I defer to the expertise of Alec Baldwin in matters of dramatic and comedic acting on stage and in film, I defer to the expertise of my mechanic in matters of automobile maintenance and repair, and I defer to the expertise of the Pope in matters of Catholic theology and morality. I have little use for anything any of them has to say on the subject of macro-economics.

    You know what? That is very, very well put.

    • #16
    • July 15, 2015, at 11:59 AM PDT
    • Like
  17. Misthiocracy ingeniously Member
    Misthiocracy ingeniously Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Irene F. Starkehaus:

    Misthiocracy: One can be allergic to a thing and still understand it (of course, the Pope also says that he doesn’t understand economics all that well).

    When a person says that he is allergic to a topic, he is indicating that he prefers to avoid it at all costs.

    There are all sorts of things that I (think I) understand that I prefer to avoid at all costs.

    Because of his frequent references to the evils of capitalism, it is actually the only topic of discussion where Catholics have absolutely no problem grasping where he stands.

    One could argue that Catholics should have no problem grasping where he stands on subjects where he has remained silent, since he would presumably stand with church doctrine.

    He equivocates on almost every moral discussion except on his disgust for free enterprise.

    He just equivocated on this very topic by admitting his own ignorance on the subject.

    I would suggest that the tone of his papacy indicates his allergy to discussions on gay marriage, divorce and contraception.

    Also, murder. I’ve never heard him offer an opinion about murder. Should I assume he’s soft on murder simply because I’ve never heard him discuss it?

    • #17
    • July 15, 2015, at 12:05 PM PDT
    • Like
  18. Misthiocracy ingeniously Member
    Misthiocracy ingeniously Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    LilyBart:

    Misthiocracy:

    If a person should lose their job because of their opinions, does that not imply that the person wouldn’t have the right to express their opinions?

    Again, I think you confuse two things: The “right” to do something and the “wisdom” of doing it.

    You didn’t write that he would be “wise” to refrain from offering his opinion. You wrote that he has a “responsibility” do refrain from offering his opinion, and you seemed to imply that he should lose his job for doing so.

    • #18
    • July 15, 2015, at 12:08 PM PDT
    • Like
  19. zepplinmike Inactive

    Seeing as how his schtick is being humble, I would hope that his humility would extend to knowing he should probably keep quiet on topics he himself admits he knows nothing about.

    • #19
    • July 15, 2015, at 12:11 PM PDT
    • Like
  20. Jeffery Shepherd Member

    Ahhh the John Stewart defense. I’m only a comedian and you can’t hold me responsible for those who think my jokes are anything but that. Or, in this case, the marxist pope uses the economic ignorance excuse while dropping economic justice and man made global warming turds everywhere.

    • #20
    • July 15, 2015, at 12:11 PM PDT
    • Like
  21. Misthiocracy ingeniously Member
    Misthiocracy ingeniously Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Johnny Dubya:I defer to the expertise of Alec Baldwin in matters of dramatic and comedic acting on stage and in film, I defer to the expertise of my mechanic in matters of automobile maintenance and repair, and I defer to the expertise of the Pope in matters of Catholic theology and morality. I have little use for anything any of them has to say on the subject of macro-economics.

    a) For clarification, do you mean that you defer to the Pope’s expertise on Catholic theology and Catholic morality, or do you mean that you defer to the Pope’s expertise on Catholic theology, and also morality in general?

    b) Is the relation between macro-economics and morality not (at least somewhat) greater than the relation between acting or automotive maintenance to morality? Is there no moral component to macro-economics?

    • #21
    • July 15, 2015, at 12:15 PM PDT
    • Like
  22. Irene F. Starkehaus Inactive

    Misthiocracy: Also, murder. I’ve never heard him offer an opinion about murder. Should I assume he’s soft on murder simply because I’ve never heard him discuss it?

    Yes. Absolutely. That’s exactly the point I was making. Because the failure to cover a topic is the same thing as equivocation.

    • #22
    • July 15, 2015, at 12:16 PM PDT
    • Like
  23. Misthiocracy ingeniously Member
    Misthiocracy ingeniously Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Jeffery Shepherd:Ahhh the John Stewart defense. I’m only a comedian and you can’t hold me responsible for those who think my jokes are anything but that. Or, in this case, the marxist pope uses the economic ignorance excuse while dropping economic justice and man made global warming turds everywhere.

    I think it depends on what you mean by “holding someone responsible”.

    I hold Jon Stewart responsible for his words by refraining from watching his show, thereby denying him ad revenue. I hold the Pope responsible for his words by not contributing to the Catholic Church. Of course, I wouldn’t have done either of these things anyways.

    I also “hold these people responsible” by expressing that I disagree with them.

    I do not “hold these people responsible” by saying they should shut up or, even worse, that they “have a responsibility” to shut up.

    But that’s just me. IMHO. AFAIC. Your mileage may vary.

    • #23
    • July 15, 2015, at 12:20 PM PDT
    • Like
  24. Tom Meyer, Common Citizen Contributor

    Misthiocracy: b) I don’t understand climatology all that well, but that doesn’t stop me from opining that I don’t want climatologists gaining undue influence over political decision-making. One could argue that the Pope is merely opining the same thing about economists.

    Right, but if you’re the pope and have both an enormous platform and speak with a great deal of moral authority — regardless of whether you invoke infallibility — it seems like you’ve got some greater duty to do your due diligence on matters that are stretch for you.

    Double that if you’re going to write a 200-page book that largely revolves around the matter.

    • #24
    • July 15, 2015, at 12:21 PM PDT
    • Like
  25. Misthiocracy ingeniously Member
    Misthiocracy ingeniously Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Irene F. Starkehaus:

    Misthiocracy: Also, murder. I’ve never heard him offer an opinion about murder. Should I assume he’s soft on murder simply because I’ve never heard him discuss it?

    Yes. Absolutely. That’s exactly the point I was making. Because the failure to cover a topic is the same thing as equivocation.

    You wrote:

    When a person says that he is allergic to a topic, he is indicating that he prefers to avoid it at all costs.

    Because of his frequent references to the evils of capitalism, it is actually the only topic of discussion where Catholics have absolutely no problem grasping where he stands. He equivocates on almost every moral discussion except on his disgust for free enterprise. I would suggest that the tone of his papacy indicates his allergy to discussions on gay marriage, divorce and contraception.

    Forgive me if my inference, that to be “allergic” to a topic (i.e. “to avoid it at all costs”) is meant to be synonymous with equivocating on it, was incorrect.

    • #25
    • July 15, 2015, at 12:26 PM PDT
    • Like
  26. Joseph Stanko Member
    Joseph Stanko Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Tom Meyer, Ed.: Double that if you’re going to write a 200-page book that largely revolves around the matter.

    Popes don’t write encyclicals by themselves, any more than Reagan wrote the “tear down this wall” speech by himself. Various advisers, experts, and Vatican bureaucrats are involved in the drafting — though of course the pontiff has final say.

    • #26
    • July 15, 2015, at 12:30 PM PDT
    • Like
  27. Misthiocracy ingeniously Member
    Misthiocracy ingeniously Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:

    Misthiocracy: b) I don’t understand climatology all that well, but that doesn’t stop me from opining that I don’t want climatologists gaining undue influence over political decision-making. One could argue that the Pope is merely opining the same thing about economists.

    Right, but if you’re the pope and have both an enormous platform and speak with a great deal of moral authority — regardless of whether you invoke infallibility — it seems like you’ve got some greater duty to do your due diligence on matters that are stretch for you.

    Double that if you’re going to write a 200-page book that largely revolves around the matter.

    I would agree that it would be wise for a person of great influence to be better informed than someone of little influence on matters on which they opine, but I’m not yet convinced that translates to a greater “duty”.

    In my mind, words like “duty” and “responsibility” imply things that can be enforced.

    I could agree that a member of government could be said to have such a duty, as they have the power to impose their opinions by force, and also because they rule only with the consent of the governed.

    The Pope, however, cannot impose his opinions by force and, by my understanding of the Catholic faith, holds his position answerable only to God.

    • #27
    • July 15, 2015, at 12:32 PM PDT
    • Like
  28. Irene F. Starkehaus Inactive

    Misthiocracy: Forgive me if my inference, that to be “allergic” to a topic (i.e. “to avoid it at all costs”) is meant to be synonymous with equivocating on it, was incorrect.

    My dear, you are so hot and bothered about getting your quick gotcha in on everyone and anyone who comments that you willfully ignore the point being made and the human being who is making it. If that’s what you mean when you are asking forgiveness then I accept it wholeheartedly.

    • #28
    • July 15, 2015, at 12:33 PM PDT
    • Like
  29. Mate De Coolidge

    “I don’t understand it very well,” he said of economics,

    He said that? Then Why write an entire encyclical about it??

    I don’t get it. Also the crucifix made out of a hammer and sickle, why did he accept it? Did he not realize that would be an offense to many, many Catholic’s around the world. I get the feeling the holy father hasn’t truly grasped the reach of his power. I don’t think he realized that his actions and words affect almost a billion people around the world, but maybe i’m wrong.

    • #29
    • July 15, 2015, at 12:35 PM PDT
    • Like
  30. cdor Member
    cdor Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    He may be a DopeyPopey, but he is our dopeypopey!

    • #30
    • July 15, 2015, at 12:36 PM PDT
    • Like