Tag: Pope Francis

The Francis Effect


shutterstock_313976906According to a comprehensive Pew poll, since Francis became the supreme pontiff, the number of Catholics in this country has remained unchanged, the rate at which Catholics attend mass has remained unchanged, and the rates at which Catholics go to confession or participate in volunteer activities in their churches and communities has remained … unchanged.

In view of all this, Mollie Hemingway on the Pope’s visit:

It’s wonderful that some people say that Francis makes them feel the church is more welcoming to them. But if it’s just making people feel more comfortable in their politics, instead of making them feel the comfort of absolution, communion and strengthening of faith, that’s not much to get excited about.

This week, Larry Kudlow and Tim Pawlenty discuss the Pope’s arrival on our shores and his views on global warming, capitalism, importance of marriage, immigration.

Also, why the Iran deal must be stopped, should the Republicans shut down the government over Planned Parenthood funding? Tell us your opinion in the comments.

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Pope Francis addressed Congress, today, calling on America to open it’s borders, not close them. The Hill reports: Noting his own status as “the son of immigrants,” the pope pivoted to a more sensitive subject: The flow of illegal immigrants across the United States’s southern border. Preview Open

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shutterstock_106824764In the most literal sense, the Industrial Revolution was dirty business. Never before in our planet’s history had man done as much damage to the land, the air, and the waters as when we first acquired powered machines. In search of energy, forests were torn down, peat bogs were ripped up, and coal was extracted and burned in ways that we’d find repulsive today.

Though that point is often presented as an ipso facto condemnation of the Industrial Revolution, that’s not the only possible interpretation. Perhaps, as unhealthy and disgusting as that era was, the costs were worth the gains. The very same processes that polluted the Earth also brought goods and services to millions that, only years before, had been available only to the wealthy few (if at all).

Given that the Industrial Revolution began and grew in one of the freest societies to have graced the planet, we might conclude that the British understood the trade-offs and accepted them. Indeed, despite the the smog clouds and drudgery they offered, cities and industrial mills attracted people like never before, and apparently with good reason: despite all the shortcomings those places offered in terms of health and welfare, life expectancy and purchasing power soared. Simply put, the costs of breathing smog outside were worth the benefits of burning coal inside.

A Fool’s Errand? Attempting to Educate Pope Francis on the Climate and Economics

The First Family of the US with the pope at the White House on September 23, 2015.
The First Family of the US with the pope at the White House on September 23, 2015.

Below is a piece that Heartland Senior Fellow James Taylor and I got published at US News and World Report yesterday about how Pope Francis is being misinformed by the bureaucrats at the United Nations about the causes and consequences of climate change. (Hint: It’s not caused by man, and any natural warming that might occur is not bad .. and might be good!)

America, Give Francis a Chance


21663687125_ad4250b5d1_kPope Francis has arrived in America. Good for him and hooray for the American Catholic Church. It’s always nice to hear a good news. Living in Ireland, where the Roman Catholic church has been turned into the proverbial boogeyman once reserved for my English cousins — with falling priest numbers and even fewer congregations — I am always happy to see a positive story about the Catholic Church, no matter the occasion. Let us hope it leads to a boom in vocations in the American homeland, and perhaps a trickle here in Ireland, too.

Since his election two years ago, Francis has done more wonders for the Catholic Church’s public relations than 1,000 spin merchants working day and night across the oceans. Ordinary people — believers and non-believers, Catholics and non-Catholics — who would normally never give the Church or its leaders the time of day fall over themselves to praise or take interest in him.

Whilst it unnerved (and still unnerves) this exceptionally lousy, traditional Catholic to see friends and liberal celebrities offer their praise Francis — especially give the way they unfairly excoriated Pope Benedict — I have come to realize that he may be a shepherd who can reach out beyond those who are already within the Catholic tent. This has to be good, right? Even the secular liberal press who normally enjoy sticking the knife into conservatives and orthodox Catholics have taken it upon themselves to spin for Francis (whether he knows about this or what they are stating/pushing on his behalf is unclear). While also unnerving, given some of the lies told on his behalf, it is also welcome.

Francis in Cuba


From an editorial in the Washington Post:

A Cuban dissident is prevented by securiThe pope is spending four days in a country whose Communist dictatorship has remained unrelenting in its repression of free speech, political dissent and other human rights despite a warming of relations with the Vatican and the United States. Yet by the end of his third day, the pope had said or done absolutely nothing that might discomfit his official hosts.

Flyover 42 – Soto Returns!


Frank Soto joins us this week; pessimistic about the pope, optimistic about conservatives’ political future. Is Marco Rubio out of the race? We’re done talking about Trump, and — given the prescience of Flyover Country — let us simply assume that this is the start of something. Speaking of which, Rob Long points out an article in which Newsmax declares Flyover Country to be the #1 conservative podcast in the Multiverse. You’ve got to read between the lines, but that’s essentially what they’re saying.

Intro includes a song from Ronald Jenkees; closing music this week comes from Public Service Broadcasting; h/t Ricochet member Lance.

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Francis the First is the Bishop of Rome, and holds in his office the authority granted by Jesus to Simon Peter, the first Bishop of Rome. He is the first among all the bishops of the Catholic Church. He is also the head of a medieval institution in which even his relatively plain residence looks like […]

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A GOP congressman plans to miss the pope’s speech because he does not like some of the pontiff’s views. I urge him to reconsider because: we are not Democrats who are rude to official visitors to our country who happen not to be dictators, witness Obama’s invitation of a pro-abortion nun to meet with Pope […]

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‘To Those That Were Robbed of Life…’


Pope Francis babyTO THOSE WHO WERE ROBBED OF LIFE: the unborn, the weak, the sick, the old, during the dark ages of madness, selfishness, lust and greed for which the last decades of the twentieth century are remembered….” C. Everett Koop, MD

Much has been made of the recent decision of Pope Francis to allow priests to absolve those involved in the grave sin of abortion. Catholics and non-Catholics alike who depend on the major media for what this means might misinterpret his letter. Many outlets are reporting that this decision leaves the possibility that the act of an aborting a child might no longer be a grave sin, or was not a grave sin in the first place. This is not the case.

Let me start with a quote from Pope Francis’s full letter as reprinted by The Catholic Herald UK.

Laudato Si and a Pope in Tune with the Spirit of the Times



Blessed John Henry Newman once wrote that “The Church aims, not at making a show, but at doing a work. She regards this world, and all that is in it, as a mere shadow, as dust and ashes, compared with the value of one single soul.” Pope Francis, in a sense, would agree. In March, for example, he said in a homily that “the style of the good God is not to produce a spectacle: God acts in humility, in silence, in the little things.” Of course, the papacy is not a little thing, and so much of a pope’s activity inadvertently can become “spectacle.” Yet this pontificate has been anything but quiet.

From the pope riding in a Kia to colorful off-the-cuff remarks in interviews, Francis seems to relish the spotlight. Now the pope has written Laudato Si, an encyclical about “doing a work,” albeit a work to save this world. After some time to consider Laudato Si, and to observe some responses to the document, we can better appreciate its significance for the Church going forward.

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Baby, its cold, er hot, er whatever, outside: Scalia’s excellent post captures quite well, I think, the weariness I encounter, more and more, in a lot of Catholics. They are not “Woe is me!”, but they are certainly tired of the seemingly constant addresses, homilies, interviews, texts—many of which read like lectures—that come from the […]

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Fr. Schall on “Laudato Si”


SchallEighty-seven years old, Rev. James Schall, S.J. is one of the most respected Catholic scholars in the nation. A philosopher, theologian, and political theorist, Fr. Schall, the author of dozens of books, served as a professor of government at Georgetown University for 35 years before retiring to a Jesuit home here in California in 2012. (If you’d like a thrilling intellectual experience, go to YouTube, then, in the search bar, type “Fr. Schall’s final lecture at Georgetown.”)

Fr. Schall has just published a long article on Laudato Si, the encyclical on the environment that Pope Francis published earlier this summer. Fr. Schall’s analysis is respectful, erudite, intellectually humble — and devastating.


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.

Francis, the (Misled) Humanist Environmentalist


shutterstock_195361532I started reading Laudato Si’ over the weekend; I’ve a long way to go, but I’m now reasonably familiar with some of the basic arguments Pope Francis makes in the early chapters.

One thing that leaped off the page is the world of difference between the pope’s views and those of the environmentalist left, especially of the Paul Ehrlich variety. This is hardly surprising. Where the latter sees humanity as a sentient blight on the world that needs to reduce its number to negligible sustainable levels, the pope begins with a concern for the welfare of human beings (particularly, the poor) and expresses concern that they’re bearing the brunt of our industrialist/consumerist culture while being denied their share of its benefits. If lefty environmentalism is anti-human, Francis’ environmentalism is decidedly humanist in the best (and very Catholic) sense of the word.

Again, it’s hardly surprising the leader of the oldest and largest Christian denomination is concerned with human well-being, particularly that of the poor. What’s frustrating, however, is Francis’s apparent blindness to the similarly-human-centric motivations of the many climate change skeptics, fossil-fuel apologists, and free marketeers that he lambasts. Over and over, the pope identifies these groups as the defenders of a short-term focused, get-mine-while-I-can “throwaway culture” that’s largely to blame for the world’s material suffering. He writes repeatedly about the need to “protect” Nature, without ever hinting how, in so many ways, She seems to have it in for us — and that we’re only able to fight back thanks to this technology.

Laudato Si’: Now What Does a Catholic Do?


shutterstock_195361532For Catholics who advocate for free markets, Pope Francis has just made life extremely complicated. The Holy Father’s encyclical, Laudato Si’ — which I have only begun to read — contains statements that clearly indicate that the Pope has fallen in with the progressives. Although the encyclical still prohibits birth control, abortion, and euthanasia, Francis seems tone deaf to the constant demands of the left, particularly the environmental left, that the Church abandon her teachings and encourage the use of these prohibited techniques. The Pope also seems to have largely adopted the platform of the American Democratic Party. As a Republican, my stomach is queasy.

So what to do? As a Catholic, I must submit my personal convictions to the authority of the Magisterium– which means to the Pope insofar as he speaks within Church tradition on theological matters. That gives me some weasel room on Francis’s economic views. But not much room. A Catholic’s first duty is obedience, or as my daughter wrote in her new article for Catholic Exchange:

…our lives are not our own. They belong to God and that means a total emptying of self. It is within this framework that we will examine our call to love and submit in obedience to the hierarchical Church. In learning this obedience, we will mature and grow in our faith. Since Christ left us the Church, it is He who calls us to loving submission to the Church.