All That I Have Written Is Straw. . .

Meanderings of a Catholic Devout

The Pope is not President.

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I have a brief politico-religious rant to rave, that’s been on my mind for a few weeks. It began on Facebook, as do most recent debates. An ultra-conservative, non-Catholic friend, M—, posted about some of the great happenings by Pope Francis until Francis published Evangelii Gaudium, the apostolic exhortation which includes parts that mention social inequality in income and poverty levels, among other things.  Of course, most media tends to skew the message of the Pope. And M— did not read the source, as most critics are guilty of doing. But on this particular subject, he posted a copy of some op-ed article with the comment that he was changing his mind about how he felt about the new Pope.

I took time to comment, reminding him that the Pope is neither in favor of socialism in particular, nor does he favor capitalism, and he comes from a country influenced by Peronism. I also gently admonished him about the rather harsh stance he was taking by assuming that any assistance to the poor is socialistic. I urged him to read Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum, which definitively distanced the Church from taking sides on economic systems. But, of course, he and several of his friends bashed away, nonetheless.

I consider myself a moderate conservative, but not necessarily on everything.  I’m pro-life, but I think immigration should be made easier. I support the laissez-faire capitalism model to a certain degree and believe there should be less government involvement in most things, however, I also support regulation on corporate abuse (and no, that doesn’t mean I agree with limiting salary; more that I support penalties for corporate scandals such as EPA violations and employment abuses). I believe that education is how to best improve people’s lot in life (yes, I believe there is room for both evolution and Intelligent Design in the classroom and that brave parents will allow their child to form his/her own opinions when given all scenarios). I am okay with the Second Amendment, but I don’t think that everyone necessarily needs to own an assault rifle. Still, here is what really annoys me about the subject and the stance he was taking:

The Pope is not the President of the United States. Francis’ speeches are an interpretation of the Gospels, as he lives and breathes them, and they are a reminder to the moral discernment of our consciences. As a successor of the chair of Peter, he lives in imitation of an apostle, the political impact of his position is accidental, although necessary, to that role.  Most importantly, his speeches are global. They are not intended to target Americans specifically. Americans do not contain the majority of Roman Catholics in the world and, where the majority do live is countries with various governmental types, from socialistic models to democracies. Francis simply is not seeking to sway voters on election day. He is preaching the Gospel—the very Gospel to which M— also supposedly subscribes!

I have a huge, HUGE problem, in agreement with Pope Francis who also commented in a separate speech, with people who replace their faith with political ideology. They put their political beliefs before their faith in God and lose sight of the moral compass of their consciences. Incredulously, I wanted to say to my friend, “Honestly M—, if Jesus Christ walked this earth, you’d reject him because you’d see him as a Socialist.”

That is all. Annoyance sort of relieved.

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Written by Written Straw

January 7, 2014 at 4:20 pm

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