Redistribution: The Unconquerable Delusion

 

“A Pope that mentions Dorothy Day is a pope that rocks,” tweeted Neera Tanden of the left-leaning Center for American Progress. Tanden might have wished to reel back that praise if she had known that Day, though a prominent pacifist and socialist, was also a fervent opponent of abortion, birth control, Social Security, and the sexual revolution.

It’s fitting that Pope Francis should have invoked Dorothy Day among his pantheon of great Americans – she’s a symbol of where leftists always go wrong. This Pope is going wrong in the same way. The left’s delusions of “social justice” seem indomitable – impervious to evidence.

The Pope lauded Day, for “her social activism, her passion for justice and for the cause of the oppressed [which] were inspired by the Gospel, her faith, and the example of the saints.”

Let’s assume that Dorothy Day’s motives were as pure as Pope Francis described: Does having the right motives excuse everything?

Day’s interpretation of the Gospel led her to oppose the US entry into World War II, which would arguably have led to a world dominated by Nazi Germany, fascist Italy, and Imperial Japan. How would that have worked out for the poor and the oppressed?

Though her social views were heterodox for a leftist, Day was a supporter of Fidel Castro, and found very kind things to say about North Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh. She visited Leonid Brezhnev in the Kremlin, and lent her moral support to other communist regimes despite their persecution of Catholics and others.

Of Castro, Day said, “I am most of all interested in the religious life of the people and so must not be on the side of a regime that favors the extirpation of religion. On the other hand, when that regime is bending all its efforts to make a good life for the people … one cannot help but be in favor of the measures taken.”

According to the Black Book of Communism, between 1959 and the late 1990s, more than 100,000 (out of about 10 million) Cubans spent time in the island’s gulag. Between 15,000 and 19,000 were shot. One of the first was a young boy in Che Guevara’s unit who had stolen a little food. As for quality of life – it has declined compared with its neighbors. In 1958, Cuba had one of the highest per capita incomes in the world. Today, as the liberal New Republic describes it:

The buildings in Havana are literally crumbling, many of them held upright by two-by-fours. Even the cleanest bathrooms are fetid, as if the country’s infrastructural bowels might collectively evacuate at any minute.

Poverty in Cuba is severe in terms of access to physical commodities, especially in rural areas. Farmers struggle and many women depend on prostitution to make a living. Citizens have few material possessions and lead simpler lives with few luxuries and far more limited political freedom.

This left-leaning Pope (who failed to stand up for the Cuban dissidents who were arrested when attempting to attend a mass he was conducting), and our left-leaning president have attributed Cuba’s total failure to the US.

It’s critically important to care about the poor – but if those who claim to care for the poor and the oppressed stand with the oppressors, what are we to conclude?

Much is made of Pope Francis’s Argentine origins – the fact that the only kind of capitalism he’s experienced is of the crony variety. Maybe. But Pope Francis is a man of the world, and the whole world still struggles to shake off a delusion; namely, that leftists who preach redistribution can help the poor. Has this Pope or President Obama taken a moment to see what Hugo Chavez’s socialist/populist Venezuela has become? Chavez and his successor (like Castro, like Lenin, like Mao) promised huge redistribution from the rich to the poor. There have indeed been new programs for the poor, but the economy has been destroyed. The leader of the opposition was just thrown in jail. Meanwhile, the shops have run out of flour, oil, toilet paper, and other basics.

If you want moral credit for caring about the poor, when, oh when, do you ever have to take responsibility for what happens to the poor when leftists take over?

We know what actually lifts people out of poverty: Property rights. The rule of law. Free markets. Not only do those things deliver the fundamentals that people need to keep body and soul together, they accomplish this feat without a single arrest, persecution, or show trial.

Published in Economics, Religion & Philosophy
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  1. katievs Inactive
    katievs
    @katievs

    Please don’t confuse the Catholic sense of social justice with the leftist sense. They are not the same. Among the key differences:

    – Leftist ideas subordinate the individual to the collective, while CSJ is grounded on the rights of the individuals, and the metaphysical and ethical priority of individual over the collective.

    – The leftist idea is focused on the application of state power; CSJ can only be achieved through freedom

    – The leftist idea aims at equality of outcomes; CSJ aims at establishing just conditions.

    – The principle of subsidiarity is central to CSJ, nowhere to be found in leftism.

    – The leftist idea immanetizes the eschaton; CSJ knows that human justice is always imperfect and always measured against the divine.

    There are more.

    • #1
  2. T-Fiks Member
    T-Fiks
    @TFiks

    If it walks like a duck, and swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck…

    • #2
  3. J Climacus Member
    J Climacus
    @JClimacus

    katievs:Please don’t confuse the Catholic sense of social justice with the leftist sense. They are not the same….

    I’m not at all confused about the distinction. Unfortunately, Pope Francis doesn’t seem too clear about it.

    • #3
  4. George Savage Contributor
    George Savage
    @GeorgeSavage

    Mona, thank you for an excellent post.

    The trouble with religious reformers on the Left comes down to force. The state, urged on by the religious, will compel citizens to be good Christians, at least in the matter of social justice. Of course, the precise meaning of the goal is elastic and left to the discretion of those in power.

    Who then can compel the rulers to restrain their appetites?

    And I would remind the Pope that Christ persuaded individuals, He did not compel populations.

    • #4
  5. Aaron Miller Inactive
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    I agree that there is a disconnect between Catholic doctrine about social justice and the sort of political activity our bishops applaud.

    Yes, in a sense, the Pope should be “a man of the world.” But he was only called to deal with his own little corner of the world before he was elected Bishop of Rome (not long ago). Though the most influential superpower in the world merits special attention for its ability to promote justice and ideas, we are only a small portion of the world’s population. And the Vatican is situated in Europe, not America. Most people he comes into contact with are not Americans with American ideas.

    The other day, Thomas Sowell noted:

    Any serious look at the history of human beings over the millennia shows that the species began in poverty. It is not poverty, but prosperity, that needs explaining. Poverty is automatic, but prosperity requires many things — none of which is equally distributed around the world or even within a given society.

    It should be easily argued that America’s relative comfort, justice, and freedom of expression merits careful study by anyone interested in global welfare. It is the responsibility of American bishops to bring such arguments forward.

    Sadly, most American shepherds have a much clearer understanding of face-to-face interactions than of large political and economic systems. Seminaries were attacked by the same degradation that has plagued secular universities in recent decades. There was some renewal under recent popes, though.

    • #5
  6. Joseph Stanko Coolidge
    Joseph Stanko
    @JosephStanko

    We already have large scale income redistribution in this country.  We’ve had it all my life.  As King Prawn pointed out recently 70% of the federal budget is basically income redistribution.  What’s more, large majorities of Americans — including majorities of Republicans — support continuing the two biggest income redistribution programs: Medicare and Social Security.

    Yes I realize most Ricochet members would prefer to privatize or end these programs.  Yes, clearly this Pope (and the majority of Americans!) disagree with that view.

    What I find outlandish, however, is the implication that supporting such programs automatically makes one a Marxist and a Communist.  If so, FDR was a Marxist and the United States has been a Communist nation since the New Deal.  I guess the whole Cold War was a sham since both sides of the struggle were already basically Communist in their systems of government.

    • #6
  7. Michael Oliver Inactive
    Michael Oliver
    @MichaelOliver

    I’m disappointed that Mona chooses to assume that this Pope fits into some particular political category , whether left leaning or otherwise. Its one thing to avoid discussions of politics and religion in polite dinner conversation, quite another to conflate the two.

    J Climacus, I am confident you are correct that Pope Francis “doesn’t seem to clear about” distinctions between Catholic Social Justice and the leftist sense of social justice. In fact, I would argue he spends precious little time worrying about the differences, simply because the issues for the Church and the Vicar of Christ are not political.

    • #7
  8. Austin Blair Inactive
    Austin Blair
    @AustinBlair

    T-Fiks:If it walks like a duck, and swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck…

    I have to agree.  There have been a number of Papal supporters who are going to the mat for this pope and it seems to me that if he walks like a leftist, talks like a leftist and quacks like a leftist, in my book (and for the record I am a Catholic) he is a leftist.  I can’t give you exacts but I would ask this – has he walked like a conservative, talked like a conservative or quacked like a conservative at all?

    I will give you one of which I am aware, he is against abortion.  Beyond that, I have seen nothing that would lead me to believe he is anything but a leftist.  If he was “fair and balanced” I would think there would be some conservative quacking…

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  9. Ontheleftcoast Inactive
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    According to some interesting analyses, the Pope’s political (as opposed to spiritual) formation was Peronist. Populism, corporatism (and crony capitalism, which is what the Pope seems to think IS capitalism, conflating that with free markets) state control, not exactly fascist, not exactly socialist. This is NOT an accusation that he was involved with Peronist crimes, but an observation that he may find Peronism’s intellectual underpinnings congenial.

    The leftist idea immanetizes the eschaton; CSJ knows that human justice is always imperfect and always measured against the divine.

    Any “social justice” involves “justice” for classes, not individuals.  Religious “social justice” tends to envision classes of sinners.

    This “non-political” Pope calls for opening the USA’s southern border; that is of course a political idea that must be accomplished by political means, but the Pope gets to keep the hem of his cassock clean.

    The Church long opposed republican separation of church and state and found authoritarian regimes congenial since there were many fewer people who needed to be swayed; getting rulers to enforce Catholic doctrine was more possible.

    For example, Leo XII favored permitting Jehovah’s Witnesses to practice their religion in private, but wanted their door-to-door missionizing banned and that right reserved for the True Church, since in a Catholic country it would seduce away from Catholicism.

    More recent practice in the Catholic Church has been to refrain from missionizing certain groups (though of course the conversion of individuals from those groups must still be welcomed.)

    • #9
  10. Aaron Miller Inactive
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    Incidentally, orthodox Catholics have been begging our bishops for years to rein in errant ideologies and secularism in our Catholic colleges. Under Pope Benedict XVI, Catholic school employees were required to sign an agreement to honor Catholic values. But that agreement was not enforced in any way.

    The Vatican is actually reticent to be nearly as heavy-handed with dioceses and parishes as people commonly believe. If they were, maybe we would be finally able to root out this progressive nonsense from downstream Catholic education.

    • #10
  11. Joseph Stanko Coolidge
    Joseph Stanko
    @JosephStanko

    Austin Blair: I will give you one of which I am aware, he is against abortion. Beyond that, I have seen nothing that would lead me to believe he is anything but a leftist. If he was “fair and balanced” I would think there would be some conservative quacking…

    If you simply must put him into an American political box I’d say roughly that he’s socially conservative, fiscally liberal.

    Here’s one example of “conservative quacking:”

    Pope Francis made surprise stop at Little Sisters of the Poor to show support

    Pope Francis paid a short visit to the Little Sisters of the Poor community in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday to support them in their court case over the contraception mandate, the Vatican’s spokesman revealed.

    “This is a sign, obviously, of support for them” in their court case, he affirmed.

    He added that the visit “is connected” to “the words that the Pope has said in support of the position of the bishops of the United States in the speech to President Obama and also in the speech to the bishops.”

    Pope Francis, with President Obama at the White House, called religious freedom “one of America’s most precious possessions” and had hearkened to the U.S. bishops’ defense of religious freedom. “All are called to be vigilant, precisely as good citizens, to preserve and defend that freedom from everything that would threaten or compromise it,” he had said.

    • #11
  12. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    We’ve wasted 2 days of the Pope’s visit rehashing the same bashing of him on economics and climate change. Nothing original has been written that hasn’t been hashed out over and over and over on this website.

    Francis is Peter preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ and we are in great danger of missing that message. Lord have mercy on us.

    • #12
  13. Tommy De Seno Contributor
    Tommy De Seno
    @TommyDeSeno

    Mona this article goes off the rails the moment you called Dorothy Day a socialist.

    Also Pope Francis said nothing in his speech to congress about “redistribution.”

    I’m getting the feeling that opposing the Pope is now what the conservative cool kids are dancing to these days.  Unfortunately no one is listening to the lyrics.

    • #13
  14. Austin Blair Inactive
    Austin Blair
    @AustinBlair

    Scott Wilmot:We’ve wasted 2 days of the Pope’s visit rehashing the same bashing of him on economics and climate change. Nothing original has been written that hasn’t been hashed out over and over and over on this website.

    Francis is Peter preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ and we are in great danger of missing that message. Lord have mercy on us.

    If he was only preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ I would agree with you.  I am not convinced he hasn’t mixed a little of ‘Caesar’s world” into “Christ’s world” and in a way that I find doesn’t align with my view of the Gospel.

    I will also add, and perhaps this is what is ultimately turning me off to this pope, I have come to realize my naive perspective that all Catholics were conservative like me, which I now know to be untrue, has not helped me relate better to Pope Francis.

    • #14
  15. Manny Coolidge
    Manny
    @Manny

    I’m tired of the same old meme by all the non Catholic conservatives.  It’s getting tiresome.  The Pope is not talking about left and right.  Let me present a total picture.  Sure capitalism alleviates poverty, but it also has this tremendous tendency to destroy the soul.  Look around the modern world.  What do you see?  A narcissistic obsession with the self, moral relativism, the objectification of human beings, divorce, the breakup of the family, materialism, abortion, drug use, hedonism, and a general loss of faith.  Capitalism is not the sole reason for all these modern dysfunctions, but it is a significant reason,  What good is alleviating poverty if people have no faith in God and therefore are heading for damnation?  There are countries that might not have material wealth, but they still have faith.

    If capitalism is your sole solution, then you are nearsighted.  Capitalism is a sidestep from direct service to the poor.  And that direct contact is at the heart of Christianity.  Christ came and healed through touch.  He didn’t heal by starting a business.  If you don’t have touch, if you don’t have contact, if you don’t have direct service, you don’t have Christ.

    The modern world is not peachy keen.  There is a hole at the heart of the modern world, and materialism for some like Pope Francis, is at the root of the problem.

    Communism was a materialistic ideology, and unfortunately so is capitalism.

    • #15
  16. George Savage Contributor
    George Savage
    @GeorgeSavage

    Tommy De Seno:Mona this article goes off the rails the moment you called Dorothy Day a socialist.

    Also Pope Francis said nothing in his speech to congress about “redistribution.”

    I’m getting the feeling that opposing the Pope is now what the conservative cool kids are dancing to these days. Unfortunately no one is listening to the lyrics.

    Tommy, my reading indicates that the Pope spoke out on the urgent need for the US to confront global warming and accept migrants from the world over, which will necessarily involve more income redistribution. Did I get this wrong?

    Meanwhile, I see no mention of Christianity being obliterated by the emerging ISIS caliphate, nothing negative about the Castros or communism generally, no swipe at Planned Parenthood.

    I revere Pope Francis as a religious leader, but when he focuses on economics and climatology and misses the mark, respectful criticism is warranted.

    • #16
  17. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    Austin, I’ve bashed the pope on economics and climate change too. All I’m saying is that it is a tiresome argument, nothing new has been said.

    His trip was premised on the family and he has had strong words to say about that. But it’s not economics and climate change so it will get no play here

    • #17
  18. Joseph Stanko Coolidge
    Joseph Stanko
    @JosephStanko

    Austin Blair: I have come to realize my naive perspective that all Catholics were conservative like me

    Wow… really?  You’ve been living in a bubble, my friend.

    • #18
  19. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    David French’s NRO article about what the Bible actually says about our economic responsibilities towards one another is highly instructive.

    It is not silent on the question, but it certainly doesn’t prescribe what The Left says it does.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/424587/pope-francis-christian-socialism-progressive-economics

    (I’ll reserve judgement on what Pope Francis says about the Bible’s prescriptions until I become fluent in Italian.)

    • #19
  20. katievs Inactive
    katievs
    @katievs

    Here is an example of social injustice: the “generational theft” going on in our country, as we continue to borrow more trillions to fund unsustainable welfare programs that our children and grandchildren will have to pay for.

    That’s unjust. It’s systemic injustice. It’s the wrong committed by one powerful “class” against another “class” at its mercy. It can’t be resolved by throwing the perps in jail. It can only be resolved by “collective action,” that is, our duly elected representatives have to adjust the system.

    Another example of social injustice: the Jim Crow south. One race illegitimately subordinates another. Again, it had to be addressed by free collective action, informed by an ethical sense.

    The Pope is not calling for leftism. He is calling for those in power to pay attention to the powerless; to see and “welcome” the humanity and the dignity and the “wealth” they have to offer our society.

    Dorothy Day was a left-leaning Catholic, but she wasn’t a leftist in the crucial sense. She may have been naive about the evils on the left, but are we free of naivety about the evils on the right? Her great merit, and the reason we are justified in thinking her a great American, is that she recognized and fought for and sacrificed for the dignity of each and every person, as a person. Maybe they were unemployed and addicted and mentally ill. But they were human beings to be cherished, not trashed.

    • #20
  21. Tommy De Seno Contributor
    Tommy De Seno
    @TommyDeSeno

    George Savage:

    Tommy De Seno:Mona this article goes off the rails the moment you called Dorothy Day a socialist.

    Also Pope Francis said nothing in his speech to congress about “redistribution.”

    I’m getting the feeling that opposing the Pope is now what the conservative cool kids are dancing to these days. Unfortunately no one is listening to the lyrics.

    Tommy, my reading indicates that the Pope spoke out on the urgent need for the US to confront global warming and accept migrants from the world over, which will necessarily involve more income redistribution. Did I get this wrong?

    Entirely.  He spoke of a number of issues and you are conflating them to make a valid point on one issue look like an invalid point on another.

    Not everything that requires a public purse signals  socialist redistribution.  Don’t capitalists have streetlights?

    Meanwhile, I see no mention of Christianity being obliterated by the emerging ISIS caliphate,

    “All of us are quite aware of, and deeply worried by, the disturbing social and political situation of the world today. Our world is increasingly a place of violent conflict, hatred and brutal atrocities, committed even in the name of God and of religion. We know that no religion is immune from forms of individual delusion or ideological extremism. This means that we must be especially attentive to every type of fundamentalism, whether religious or of any other kind. A delicate balance is required to combat violence perpetrated in the name of a religion, an ideology or an economic system, while also safeguarding religious freedom, intellectual freedom and individual freedoms.”

    He has forcefully condemned ISIS.  He is also their target.

    nothing negative about the Castros

    The President has credited him for his help in straightening out Cuba.

    or communism generally,

    There’s what –  4 regimes left in the world?

    no swipe at Planned Parenthood.

    He attacked abortion with the Golden Rule –  a biblical verse that has permeated secular vernacular.  Just brilliant.

    I revere Pope Francis as a religious leader, but when he focuses on economics and climatology and misses the mark, respectful criticism is warranted.

    I disagree with his acceptance of AGW, but that is driven by Bishop Sorondo.  He’s the problem.

    I don’t mind respectful criticism, but it’s not respectful to get facts wrong like calling Day a socialist or claiming the Pope discussed “redistribution” when he did not.  Mona is entitled to her own opinions but not her own facts.

    • #21
  22. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Joseph Stanko:

    Austin Blair: I have come to realize my naive perspective that all Catholics were conservative like me

    Wow… really? You’ve been living in a bubble, my friend.

    My illusions were shattered when I accompanied a Catholic employer to a mass which featured hippies dancing through the aisles. I gave him a look that said, “wut?!”, and he could only shrug in response.

    • #22
  23. Tommy De Seno Contributor
    Tommy De Seno
    @TommyDeSeno

    katievs:Dorothy Day was a left-leaning Catholic…

    If you accept the artificial listing of unrelated issues as “right” and “left” that has become popular in American political discourse, you could make a barely arguable point.

    Right and Left in reality is nothing more than a measuring stick of the amount of government control of production in an economy.

    Dorothy Day was decidedly no leftist.

    • #23
  24. Hank Rearden Inactive
    Hank Rearden
    @HankRearden

    Excellent post. Very well said.

    With respect, the pope is a fool. And that is the best of it. How can he visit Cuba without visiting the prisons about which we have heard the horrors. He spends time with Fidel Castro, one of the foulest tyrants on the planet and does not visit Castro’s victims? How can one forgive that in a political sense?

    Naivete only takes you so far. Were he to visit the prisons of Cuba, which are torture chambers, then he could not maintain his Leftist fantasies. So there is a method there.

    • #24
  25. katievs Inactive
    katievs
    @katievs

    Misthiocracy:

    Joseph Stanko:

    Austin Blair: I have come to realize my naive perspective that all Catholics were conservative like me

    Wow… really? You’ve been living in a bubble, my friend.

    My illusions were shattered when I accompanied a Catholic employer to a mass which featured hippies dancing through the aisles. I gave him a look that said, “wut?!”, and he could only shrug in response.

    I know lots of left-leaning Catholics. Sincere, good people, who love God and love the Church. They really think the right is full of harsh, merciless, self-righteous hypocrites. They really think Republicans are only interested in safeguarding their own money and power and privilege.

    I think they’re wrong, but I’m beginning to understand how they feel. The habit of contempt and caricature on the right can be really wearing.

    Think about this, Mona: Suppose a Hitler were to take over our country. Who do you think would be going to the prison or even death in defense of the Jews?

    I’m pretty sure that at the front of the line, you would find: Dorothy Day, MLK, Jr., Pope John Paul II, Pope Francis. Study their lives. They mean it.

    • #25
  26. Hank Rearden Inactive
    Hank Rearden
    @HankRearden

    katievs: I’m pretty sure that at the front of the line, you would find: Dorothy Day, MLK, Jr., Pope John Paul II, Pope Francis. Study their lives. They mean it.

    Excuse me. What was Pope Francis doing WITH Fidel Castro and NOT WITH the people in the torture prisons?

    What comment did Pope Francis have on segregation in Cuba?

    • #26
  27. katievs Inactive
    katievs
    @katievs

    Tommy De Seno:

    katievs:Dorothy Day was a left-leaning Catholic…

    If you accept the artificial listing of unrelated issues as “right” and “left” that has become popular in American political discourse, you could make a barely arguable point.

    Right and Left in reality is nothing more than a measuring stick of the amount of government control of production in an economy.

    Dorothy Day was decidedly no leftist.

    She was left-leaning, though, for sure, politically speaking, and in terms of sympathies and prejudices. She was not a leftist in the way that counts most, though—the way that abolishes the uniqueness and dignity of the individual; the way that immanetizes the eschaton; the way that imagines that justice can be establish by the application of force.

    In those most crucial matters, she was the opposite of a leftist. And so is the Pope.

    I just spent the last couple days with a priest who knew him very well when he was Bergoglio. He affirmed what I had heard before and gathered from my reading: He was a fierce opponent of liberation theology in Latin America.

    • #27
  28. Peter Robinson Contributor
    Peter Robinson
    @PeterRobinson

    George Savage:Mona, thank you for an excellent post.

    The trouble with religious reformers on the Left comes down to force. The state, urged on by the religious, will compel citizens to be good Christians, at least in the matter of social justice. Of course, the precise meaning of the goal is elastic and left to the discretion of those in power.

    Who then can compel the rulers to restrain their appetites?

    And I would remind the Pope that Christ persuaded individuals, He did not compel populations.

    A neat and compelling summary of the central point. Nicely done, doctor. Now I’m going to go take my old-fashioned high octane car for a spin while I still can….

    • #28
  29. Tommy De Seno Contributor
    Tommy De Seno
    @TommyDeSeno

    Hank Rearden:

    katievs: I’m pretty sure that at the front of the line, you would find: Dorothy Day, MLK, Jr., Pope John Paul II, Pope Francis. Study their lives. They mean it.

    Excuse me. What was Pope Francis doing WITH Fidel Castro and NOT WITH the people in the torture prisons? What comment did he have on the segregation in Cuba?

    The Pope gets to stroll around foreign countries at will?

    He was supposed to meet with dissidents and at the last minute was denied access.

    Everyone keeps bashing Cuba but are treating the Pope like the Castro brothers are a monument to transparency and were willing to let the Pope do whatever he likes.

    • #29
  30. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Honest question: Just how much effort must non-Catholics exert parsing the exact words of Pope Francis when trying to determine what he really means?

    How much leeway should non-Catholics give to Pope Francis when he makes statements which can be interpreted in different ways, when such statements uttered by a different person might be considered far less ambiguous.

    Example:

    “If politics must truly be at the service of the human person, it follows that it cannot be a slave to the economy and finance. Politics is, instead, an expression of our compelling need to live as one, in order to build as one the greatest common good: that of a community which sacrifices particular interests in order to share, in justice and peace, its goods, its interests, its social life.”

    If your default is to give the man the benefit of the doubt, then it’s pretty easy to interpret this as “no big deal”. After all, very few conservatives believe that politics should concern itself exclusively with economy and finance, and it’s not like he explicitly says that forcible redistribution of wealth by the state is a religious imperative.

    On the other hand, if any unambiguously Leftist speaker said the exact same words it would (arguably) be interpreted as a direct attack on Western society and a direct endorsement of Marxist redistribution.

    If he isn’t saying what non-Catholic conservatives think he’s saying, is it their sole responsibility to clarify his words for themselves?

    • #30
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