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Author Topic: Fox News: Pope Francis is the Catholic Church’s Obama – God help us  (Read 1219 times)
Roger Buck
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« on: December 05, 2013, 08:23:AM »

Again, posting this because of Vox's request for threads.

I am so out of the loop in terms of things America - haven't lived there since 1985 - that it is very hard for me to judge what significance something like this has for Americans ...


Pope Francis is the Catholic Church’s Obama – God help us



Pope Francis is undergoing a popularity surge comparable to the way Barack Obama was greeted by the world in 2008. And just as President Obama has been a disappointment for America, Pope Francis will prove a disaster for the Catholic Church.

My fellow Catholics should be suspicious when bastions of anti-Catholicism in the left-wing media are in love with him.

Much is being made of his ‘compassion’ and ‘humility,’ but kissing babies and hugging the sick is nothing new. Every pope in recent memory has done the same, yet only now are the media paying attention. Benedict XVI and John Paul II refused to kowtow to the liberal agenda, and so such displays of tenderness were under-covered.

Francis is beating a retreat for the Catholic Church, and making sure its controversial doctrines are whispered, not yelled – no wonder the New York Times is in love.

But Francis is beating a retreat for the Catholic Church, and making sure its controversial doctrines are whispered, not yelled – no wonder the New York Times is in love.

Just like President Obama loved apologizing for America, Pope Francis likes to apologize for the Catholic Church, thinking that the Church is at its best when it is passive and not offending anyone’s sensibilities.

In his interviews with those in the left-wing media he seeks to impress, Francis has said that the Church needs to stop being ‘obsessed’ with abortion and gay marriage, and instead of seeking to convert people, “we need to get to know each other, listen to each other and improve our knowledge of the world around us.”

This softly-softly approach of not making a fuss has been tried before, and failed. The Second Vatican Council of the 1960’s aimed to “open the windows” of the Church to the modern world by doing just this.

The result was the Catholic version of New Coke. Across the West where the effects were felt, seminaries and convents emptied, church attendance plummeted, and adherence to Church doctrine diminished.

John Paul II and Benedict XVI worked hard to turn this trend around, but now Pope Francis wants the bad old days to resume.

Proof of this is Francis’ aforementioned statement of the Church being obsessed with controversial issues and the need to rebalance by talking about it less.

That Francis didn’t see that this would be translated into headlines of “Pope tells Catholics to shut up about things that offend Sandra Fluke” by every left-wing media outlet shows a terrifying naivety.

Nor do his comments reflect reality.

For years, the majority of priests didn't dare cover controversial topics in their homilies in fear of getting angry letters from pick-and-choose Catholics outraged that their pastor dared to say something out of line with the Democratic Party.

Most parishioners therefore haven’t heard the Church’s argument on controversial topics. Consequently, usage of contraception is only slightly lower in Catholics than in the general population, and support of gay marriage is actually higher in Catholics than the general population. Perhaps talking about it even less isn’t the answer?

In trying to please the media and the modern world, Francis mistakes their glee for respect. Just like Obama thought he’d won over Putin by promising a reset, Francis thinks by talking vacuously about the poor, he will be respected. And it is vacuous -- the pontiff recently asked why it’s news that the stock market drops but not when an old person dies. When your leader is asking, “Why isn’t the newspaper a laundry list of obituaries?” you know you elected the wrong guy.

What effect is this having? For all we’re being told about how ‘disenfranchised’ Catholics are being brought back by Francis ‘reaching out,’ a recent Pew Research study showed that in America, the number of people who identify as Catholic has actually decreased.  Lesson: rubbing the egos of Church-hating left-wingers doesn’t make more Catholics, it just makes the Church less respected.

Francis not only panders to enemies and professional grievance mongers, but also attacks his allies. Just as Obama snubs Britain and Israel, Pope Francis swipes at practicing Catholics.

So not only has he insulted, and severely damaged the work of, pro-life and pro-marriage groups with his comments, he has also gone on the attack, dismissing Catholics who attend the older rites in Latin as ‘ideologizing’ and being guilty of ‘exploitation.’ Apparently “Who am I to judge?” doesn’t apply here.

On world matters, Francis’ statements are embarrassing. About communism, a destructive ideology that slaughtered millions of Catholics, he said:

“Learning about it through a courageous and honest person was helpful. I realized…an aspect of the social, which I then found in the social doctrine of the Church."

Not such kind words for the free market, however. In his recent apostolic exhortation he slammed unfettered capitalism, calling it ‘a new tyranny.’

Apart from the fact that there is no major nation practicing unfettered capitalism (like Obama, Francis loves attacking straw men) there is more real tyranny in socialist cesspools like Francis’ home of Argentina than in places where capitalism is predominant.

In the document he rejects the free market and calls for governments to overhaul financial systems so they attack inequality. In doing so he shows himself painfully misguided on economics, failing to see that free markets have consistently lifted the poor out of poverty, while socialism merely entrenches them in it, or kills them outright.

Like Obama, Francis is unable to see the problems that are really endangering his people. Like Obama he mistakes the faithful for the enemy, the enemy for his friend, condescension for respect, socialism for justice and capitalism for tyranny.

As a Catholic, I do hope Francis’ papacy is a successful one, but from his first months he seems hell-bent on a path to undo the great work of Benedict XVI and John Paul II, and to repeat critical mistakes of the past.



http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2013/12/04/pope-francis-is-catholic-churchs-obama-god-help-us/

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maldon
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« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2013, 08:50:AM »

Where was Fox News when Benedict was pope? Ooops, I forgot, Benedict did not help prevent the US from attacking Syria and Benedict did not talk about $.

People always say America is divided. I think that is true, but I think the political distinctions usually employed are flawed. It is more like Practical Materialists vs Ideological Materialists. The day the two sides figure out that they are on the same coin, the Catholic Church in America is going to feel some pain as the "divided America" disappears and gives way to a "united America".
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« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2013, 11:14:AM »

Fox News (and the Republican tea party types who tend to watch it) often misses the mark when it comes to the structure of the Church.  Comparing a pope to a president is silly.... he is the Vicar of Christ not just another politician we can take or leave.
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digitalpapist
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« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2013, 11:32:AM »

Fox News (and the Republican tea party types who tend to watch it) often misses the mark when it comes to the structure of the Church.  Comparing a pope to a president is silly.... he is the Vicar of Christ not just another politician we can take or leave.

American Catholics often believe in Americanism more than Catholicism, so perhaps we shouldn't be surprised...
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PrairieMom
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« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2013, 11:39:AM »

Fox News (and the Republican tea party types who tend to watch it) often misses the mark when it comes to the structure of the Church.  Comparing a pope to a president is silly.... he is the Vicar of Christ not just another politician we can take or leave.

I don't know, but I think it's a reflection of what the common idea about the Pontificate is, even (especially?) among Catholics. Including by the Pontiff, who at times seems determined to win popularity contests.
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« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2013, 11:44:AM »

If he has this to say about Evangelii Gaudium, one shudders to think about what he would have said concerning Pope Leo XIII's Rerum Novarum and the document on Americanism LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL
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Tim
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« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2013, 11:46:AM »

Not to defend but Fox News is watched by relatively representative slice of Americans unlike any other news outlet. They are falso irmly attached to the Fr. Neuhaus, Fr. Sirocco free trade catholics. They have Fr. Jonathon on staff as their personal cute neo-con to explain away all their troubles.

Being a Catholic is way to nuanced for these Liberal free trade capitalists, and for the progressives Catholics over at MSNBC. It's too complicated to understand we are fallen, so free trade needs to be kept an eye on because left to their own devices we have the current crisis.

I never hear these paragons of free trade come out against micro-loans where the collateral is sterilization or contraception. And you must understand they portray themselves as moral unlike Liberals, Progressives, and Commies.

I never hear them take a swipe at their Saudi friends which is the epicenter of slave trade on the globe. Not to mention the slave trade now is humongous compared to the Spanish and Portuguese in the day.

Frankly I haven't dissected the document and because my mind is foggy now I'll breeze through and not study it. My sense tells me most of the problem is theirs because Catholicism does not line up with their free trade ideology.

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austenbosten
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« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2013, 01:05:PM »

Sheesh after that ranting I was awaiting Mr. Shaw to channel El Rushbo with an "I hope he (Pope Francis) fails."

My run-down responses to Mr. Shaw

Quote from: Adam Shaw/Fox News
My fellow Catholics should be suspicious when bastions of anti-Catholicism in the left-wing media are in love with him.

And this is new? name me any faithful practicing Catholic (bolded to emphasize the point) who is naive enough to be elated the baby-murdering/sodomites are pro-Francis???



Quote from: Adam Shaw/Fox News
Benedict XVI and John Paul II refused to kowtow to the liberal agenda, and so such displays of tenderness were under-covered.

Where was he during the pontificate of Bl. John Paul II?? (and it's Blessed Mr. Shaw, soon to be Saint....or have you just like your liberal peers spend more time in politics than in the Church pews). Bl. John Paul II was one of the most popular pontiffs since Venerable Pope Pius XII. Pope John Paul II was venerated in the media along with Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta. It was the papacy of Pope-Emeritus Benedict XVI were the media was vindictive and mostly absent. The only coverage His Holiness Papa-emeritus received was his past being forced in the Hitler Youth and how he was mean for standing up against gay "mrryige" and contraception. Also Pope Francis did not have to start his papacy amidst a world-wide scandal blown out of proportions. Pope Francis actually had it very easy compared to His Holiness Pope-Emeritus Benedetto XVI. However this does not make His Holiness Pope Francis some kowtower to a liberal agenda. Just because he didn't assume the seat in the same way Benedict did and just because he's sharing some favorable views among the media just like Blessed John Paul II, does not make Pope Francis a liberal. Perhaps Mr. Shaw needs to get his Papal information from L'Osservatore Romano as opposed to the Pravda-esque news media in the US.
 


Quote from: Adam Shaw/Fox News
But Francis is beating a retreat for the Catholic Church, and making sure its controversial doctrines are whispered, not yelled – no wonder the New York Times is in love.


Just like President Obama loved apologizing for America, Pope Francis likes to apologize for the Catholic Church, thinking that the Church is at its best when it is passive and not offending anyone’s sensibilities.


Please enlighten all of us Mr. Shaw, where His Holiness did that? We actually keep a keen eye on these things because we're far more interested and invested in the Holy See as opposed the fading and failing democracy of the vile and degenerate American empire that many conservatives and news outlets like Fox News worship to. We didn't see where His Holiness apologized any more than the last two pontiffs. I remember distinctly Bl. John Paul II apologized for the Crusades (something that shouldn't have been done, but that's irrelevant to the discussion) and with the recent release of Lumen Gentium, constant speeches in the media, letters to prominent atheists and his recent apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium.....how on earth is this a retreat of the Catholic Church?




Quote from: Adam Shaw/Fox News
In his interviews with those in the left-wing media he seeks to impress, Francis has said that the Church needs to stop being ‘obsessed’ with abortion and gay marriage, and instead of seeking to convert people, “we need to get to know each other, listen to each other and improve our knowledge of the world around us.”

Well then he must hate Benedetto too, because even he said the Church is bigger than just social issues...I agree with Popes Francis and Benedict. the Church is about saving souls, NOT getting conservatives elected.

Quote from: Adam Shaw/Fox News
For years, the majority of priests didn't dare cover controversial topics in their homilies in fear of getting angry letters from pick-and-choose Catholics outraged that their pastor dared to say something out of line with the Democratic Party.

I will give him credit, he is right about this.




Quote from: Adam Shaw/Fox News
Francis not only panders to enemies and professional grievance mongers, but also attacks his allies. Just as Obama snubs Britain and Israel, Pope Francis swipes at practicing Catholics.

So not only has he insulted, and severely damaged the work of, pro-life and pro-marriage groups with his comments, he has also gone on the attack, dismissing Catholics who attend the older rites in Latin as ‘ideologizing’ and being guilty of ‘exploitation.’ Apparently “Who am I to judge?” doesn’t apply here


Well I'm a practicing Catholic and I don't feel snubbed. His Holiness is surrounded by enemies who would love nothing more than to have both the Traditional Catholics and the liberals hate and despise him. Also Pope Francis is right when he said:

Quote from: His Holiness Benedetto XVI
“If in my life I fail completely to heed others, solely out of a desire to be 'devout' and to perform my 'religious duties', then my relationship with God will also grow arid. It becomes merely 'proper', but loveless.”


WHOOPS! That was His Holiness Pope-Emeritus Papa Benedetto

Thanks to Pat Archbald at NCRegister for the quote




Quote from: Adam Shaw/Fox News
On world matters, Francis’ statements are embarrassing. About communism, a destructive ideology that slaughtered millions of Catholics, he said:

“Learning about it through a courageous and honest person was helpful. I realized…an aspect of the social, which I then found in the social doctrine of the Church."


Taken a quote from an interview that was neither recorded nor transcribed and is no longer on the Vatican website proves either

a) Mr. Shaw is a journalistic and intellectual fraud
b) just not up-to-date on things Catholic unless Fox News is reporting



Quote from: Adam Shaw/Fox News
Not such kind words for the free market, however. In his recent apostolic exhortation he slammed unfettered capitalism, calling it ‘a new tyranny.’

Funny no such word "unfettered capitalism" was used in EG and on top of it. Papa Francesco was speaking on capitalism that favors the few and springs forth ideologies that favors this market (one could say Austrian economics, but I have a better term "American School of Conservanomics") - The defenders of this "free market" even go against their own idealogues. Even Frederich Hayek concluded that a central bank was 'inescapable' because laissez-faire in the banking system was destabalizing and pro-cylical....I wonder if Mr. Shaw sees Mr. Hayek (one of the most "hands-off" free market capitalist economists) as a Marxist too??



Quote from: Adam Shaw/Fox News
In the document he rejects the free market and calls for governments to overhaul financial systems so they attack inequality. In doing so he shows himself painfully misguided on economics, failing to see that free markets have consistently lifted the poor out of poverty, while socialism merely entrenches them in it, or kills them outright.

This is just completely re-writing what Pope Francis said. Pope Francis said financial experts and political leaders should think of ways to increase the prosperity of the poor along with the rest of the economy when planning economic matters...how on earth is that Socialism


Quote from: Adam Shaw/Fox News
As a Catholic, I do hope Francis’ papacy is a successful one, but from his first months he seems hell-bent on a path to undo the great work of Benedict XVI and John Paul II, and to repeat critical mistakes of the past.


Maybe Mr. Shaw needs to get out of his and the American's overtly simplistic and juvenile two-end spectrum. Not everything that falls out of the Rothbard anarcho-Capitalist Austrian-school of economics equates to full-blown nationalization and Marxism. Perhaps if Mr. Shaw (who claims he's a Catholic) should read Rerum Novarum and discover that Pope Francis is saying nothing new. I think this overall is a good thing what Francis is doing. It's turning that challenge away from liberals and putting it onto "conservatives" how faithful are Conservative-Catholics when the Church starts going after their golden calfs?

Pope Leo XIII was denounced as a 'Socialist' for Rerum Novarum, and so too is Papa Francesco, but this is good because it's re-enforcing my Catholic view and is exposing me that the American-conservative movement is no true friend to Catholicism. They only use us for their anti-abortion and anti-Progressive views...but as soon as we speak out on Contraception and Capitalism, we are denounced as Marxists and extremists.

Believe it or not, as a big conservative and Fox News fan. This is actually driving me away from the right and is forcing me to look up instead of right on the left-right paradigm America and Americans are so in-grained in. America suffers from the heresy and Protestant belief of Americanism and it's clearly evident with the Pope-bashing coming not from as many expect liberals...but from those whom many Catholics thought were our friends and allies: the American Conservative.


Well I'm glad I'm becoming more Roman and less American.
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Miriam_M
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« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2013, 03:24:PM »

Apparently I'm the lone voice here, because I do like the article and I thank Roger for posting it.

I also think that the parallels between Obama and Francis are accurate.  Popularity contests and games, in spades.  Very self-promoting to an embarrassing degree.
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Clare Brigid
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« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2013, 04:08:PM »

This is a sensible rejoinder to Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, and other conservative critics of Pope Francis.

Quote
Would Someone Just Shut That Pope Up?
By Patrick J. Deneen

Since the release of Evangelii Gaudium there have been countless articles and commentary about the economic portions of Pope Francis’s Apostolic Exhortation. Some of the commentary has been downright bizarre, such as Rush Limbaugh denouncing the Pope as a Marxist, or Stuart Varney accusing Francis of being a neo-socialist. American conservatives grumbled but dutifully denounced a distorting media when Pope Francis seemed to go wobbly on homosexuality, but his criticisms of capitalism have crossed the line, and we now see the Pope being criticized and even denounced from nearly every rightward-leaning media pulpit in the land.

Not far below the surface of many of these critiques one hears the following refrain: why can’t the Pope just go back to talking about abortion? Why can’t we return the good old days of Pope John Paul II or Benedict XVI and talk 24/7/365 about sex? Why doesn’t Francis have the decency to limit himself to talking about Jesus and gays, while avoiding the rudeness of discussing economics in mixed company, an issue about which he has no expertise or competence?

There are subtle and brash versions of this plea. At “The Catholic Thing,” Hadley Arkes has penned a characteristically elegant essay in which he notes that Francis is generally correct on teachings about marriage and abortion, but touches on these subjects too briefly, cursorily and with unwelcome caveats of sorts. At the same time, Francis goes on at length about the inequalities and harm caused by free market economies, which moves Hadley to counsel the Pope to consult next time with Michael Novak. The upshot—be as brief as the Gettysburg Address in matters pertaining to economics, and loquacious as Edward Everett when it comes to erotics.

On the brash side there is Larry Kudlow, who nearly hyperventilates when it comes to his disagreement with Pope Francis, accusing him of harboring sympathies with Communist Russia and not sufficiently appreciating Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and Pope John Paul II. (R. R. Reno, who is briefly allowed to get a word in edgewise, wisely counseled Kudlow not to fight the last war—or, the one fought three wars ago, for that matter.) Revealingly, Kudlow counsels the Pope to concentrate on “moral and religious reform,” and that he should “harp” instead on “morality, spiritualism and religiosity,” while ceasing to speak about matters economic. Similarly, Judge Napolitano, responding to a challenge from Stuart Varney on why the Pope is talking about economics, responded: “I wish he would stick to faith and morals, on which he is very sound and traditional.”

These commentators all but come and out say: we embrace Catholic teaching when it concerns itself with “faith and morals”—when it denounces abortion, opposes gay marriage, and urges personal charity. This is the Catholicism that has been acceptable in polite conversation. This is a stripped-down Catholicism that doesn’t challenge fundamental articles of economic faith.

And it turns out that this version of Catholicism is a useful tool. It is precisely this portion of Catholicism that is acceptable to those who control the right narrative because it doesn’t truly endanger what’s most important to those who steer the Republic: maintaining an economic system premised upon limitless extraction, fostering of endless desires, and creating a widening gap between winners and losers that is papered over by mantras about favoring equality of opportunity. A massive funding apparatus supports conservative Catholic causes supporting a host of causes—so long as they focus exclusively on issues touching on human sexuality, whether abortion, gay  marriage, or religious liberty (which, to be frank, is intimately bound up in its current form with concerns about abortion). It turns out that these funds are a good investment: “faith and morals” allow us to assume the moral high ground and preoccupy the social conservatives while we laugh all the way to the bank bailout.

The right’s contretemps with Pope Francis has brought out into the open what is rarely mentioned in polite company: most visible and famous Catholics who fight on behalf of Catholic causes in America focus almost exclusively on sexual issues (as Pope Francis himself seemed to be pointing out, and chastising, in his America interview), but have been generally silent regarding a century-old tradition of Catholic social and economic teaching. The meritocracy and economic elite have been a main beneficiary of this silence: those most serious about Catholicism—and thus who could have brought to bear a powerful tradition of thinking about economics that avoids both the radical individualistic presuppositions of capitalism as well as the collectivism of socialism—have spent their energies fighting the sexual/culture wars, even while Republican-Democratic ruling machine has merely changed driver seat in a limousine that delivers them to ever-more exclusive zip codes.

In the past several months, when discussing Pope Francis, the left press has at every opportunity advanced a “narrative of rupture,” claiming that Francis essentially is repudiating nearly everything that Popes JPII and Benedict XVI stood for. The left press and commentariat has celebrated Francis as the anti-Benedict following his  impromptu airplane interview (“who am I to judge?”) and lengthy interview with the Jesuit magazine America. However, in these more recent reactions to Francis by the right press and commentariat, we witness extensive agreement by many Catholics regarding the “narrative of rupture,” wishing for the good old days of John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

But there has been no rupture—neither the one wished for by the left nor feared by the right. Pope Francis has been entirely consistent with those previous two Popes who are today alternatively hated or loved, for Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI spoke with equal force and power against the depredations of capitalism. (JPII in the encyclical Centesimus Annus and Benedict XVI in the encyclical Caritas in Veritate.)  But these encyclicals—more authoritative than an Apostolic Exhortation—did not provoke the same reaction as Francis’s critiques of capitalism. This is because the dominant narrative about John Paul II and Benedict XVI had them pegged them as, well, Republicans. For the left, they were old conservatives who obsessed with sexual matters; for the right, solid traditionalists who cared about Catholicism’s core moral teachings. Both largely ignored their social and economic teachings, so focused were they on their emphasis on “faith and morals.” All overlooked that, for Catholics, economics is a branch of moral philosophy.

I think it is because of the left’s “narrative of disruption” that the right is panicked over Francis’s critiques of capitalism. These Vatican criticisms—suddenly salient in ways they weren’t when uttered by JPII and Benedict—need to be nipped in the bud before they do any damage. Of course, all along Catholic teaching has seen a strong tie between the radical individualism and selfishness at the heart of capitalism and liberationist sexual practices, understanding them to be premised on the same anthropological assumptions. (If you don’t believe Catholics about this, just read Ayn Rand.) While Hadley Arkes laments that Pope Francis did not speak at more length on sexual matters, if one reads his criticisms of the depredations of capitalism with care, one notices that he uses the same phrases with which he criticized abortion—namely, that abortion is but one manifestation of “a throw-away culture,” a phrase as well as in Evangelii Gaudium in his critique of capitalism (Section 53). If one attends carefully to Francis’s criticisms of the economy’s effects on the weak and helpless, one can’t help but perceive there also that he is speaking of the unborn as much as those who are “losers” in an economy that favors the strong.  Like John Paul and Benedict before him, Francis discerns the continuity between a “throw-away” economy and a “throw-away” view of human life. He sees the deep underlying connection between an economy that highlights autonomy, infinite choice, loose connections, constant titillation, utilitarianism and hedonism, and a sexual culture that condones random hook-ups, abortion, divorce and the redefinition of marriage based on sentiment, and in which the weak—children, in this case, and those in the lower socio-economic scale who are suffering a complete devastation of the family—are an afterthought.

The division of the fullness of Catholic thought in America has rendered it largely tractable in a nation that was always suspicious of Catholics. Lockean America tamed Catholicism not by oppression (as Locke thought would be necessary), but by dividing and conquering—permitting and even encouraging promotion of its sexual teachings, albeit shorn of its broader social teachings. This co-opted the full power of those teachings, directing the energy of social conservatives exclusively into the sexual-culture wars while leaving largely untouched a rapacious economy that daily creates few winners and more losers while supporting  a culture of sexual license and “throw-away” children. Without minimizing the seriousness with which we need to take issues like abortion, gay marriage, and religious liberty, these are discrete aspects of an overarching “globalization of indifference” described by Francis. However, we have been trained to treat them as a set of autonomous political issues that can be solved by one or two appointments on the Supreme Court. Francis—like JPII and BXVI before him—has upset the “arrangement.” Rush and the gang are not about to go down without a fight. If only they could get that damn Marxist to talk about sex.
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