Tuesday, February 16, 2016

When Liberals became more pro-life than me

I've said before that Pope Francis appears to have a divisive way about him.  If it's not intentional, that is how it comes across.  Though that's not an automatic disqualifier.  After all, Jesus once said he came not to bring peace, but bring a sword.  So there you go. But I've sat back and tried to get my head around what is happening with the Francis Revolution and why, even though there is nothing new under the sun teaching-wise, and we should all be happy that everyone seems to be jumping on the Francis bandwagon, something still feels off about it.

Of course Francis devotees will point out it's because I'm a 'right wing partisan rad trad fundamentalist tribalist who probably trusts in guns rather than Jesus and secretly desires to increase the slaughter of innocents especially if they are swarthy darky types'.  Quite a sentence there.  But those are things I've seen written by defenders of Pope Francis.  I thought it would pack a punch to see them written out like that. 

Anyway, I still sit back and wonder why it doesn't feel right.  Why, despite so many things that should be praiseworthy, it all feels, well, wrong.  Again, assuming for a minute that I'm not all those things Francis fans have accused me of.

And then I read this.  The whole point of the piece is that Francis has shaken up what it means to be pro-life.  Fair enough.  He certainly has done that.  But as I read the piece, I couldn't help but notice something.  Basically it took the issue of abortion, conceded abortion is bad, and then set out to point out how conservatives and Republicans are the ones who don't care about any of the other issues, who don't care about the poor, the immigrant, the environment, and by extension are likely the main causes of abortion in the first place.  Their policies are what have brought about the problems that cause abortion and therefore they're the baddies. 

And that's when it hit me.  When it comes to this 'pro-life' shake up, I notice that Pope Francis doesn't  give clear ideas about how to solve these problems he is pushing into the spotlight, such as helping the environment, immigration, gun control or poverty.  He says there are problems.  The Church has always said there are problems.  But it's been understood that we can argue over how to solve them and still be in good faith.  Certain things like gay sex, adultery, abortion - they were not open for debate.  How to help the economy was open to debate. What is going on with the environment was for scientific minds to banter about.  You could decide one idea was better than another, but at the end of the day it didn't make you a bad Catholic.

A million times as [pro-life] as thou art!
And yet I've noticed that those who have struggled for years to resist tradition, conservatism and the historic roots of how we practice and understand our faith suddenly have rushed into the void created by no real Papal endorsement of actual solutions and slapped on their template devised by liberal Democrats and European secular Democratic Socialists.  They've taken their proposals, their plans, their solutions, their opinions and slid them under the papal pronouncements as the only logical approach to all of these issues, as if they alone can solve the problems and without these, you can't care about the poor or the environment.

Since Pope Francis, like most popes, doesn't say 'Immigration is a pro-life issue, and this is the exact bill and solution I propose', he has allowed everyone who rejects traditional ideas or conservative viewpoints to rush in, slap their ideas, policies, bills, proposals and beliefs onto the issues and then insist that anyone who doesn't agree is resisting the Pope's call to care about Immigration.  Those who reject the liberal Democratic understanding of the Immigration problem are automatically at fault, don't care about Immigrants, are likely racists, and on and on.  And if it means we join the non-Catholic Left by suggesting that only now, under Pope Francis, do Catholics and the Catholic Church finally care about the poor, the environment, gun violence, immigration or justice in the first place, so be it.  That's just part of the post-modern pie: We're the first generation who will finally set it right.

So that's it I think.  The fact that Pope Francis makes it clear there are a whole host of issues beyond sexuality and abortion - no matter the body count in the wake of those issues - that are important, mixed with the typical papal reluctance to endorse actual solutions, has allowed those who have chomped at the bit to rework and reimagine the Church the chance they were waiting for to seize the debate and make it their own.  You can't just say you care about the poor, but don't follow ideas such as Democratic Socialism or Liberal Democratic financial proposals. Because if you try, then it just shows you are no longer a good Catholic who listens to the Pope and trusts Jesus.

The irony is that in order to do this they have had to set abortion and sexuality aside as mere issues with which we can lovingly disagree.  No matter the horror, death, suffering and misery, they've adopted the view that Pope Francis blames these things on the greater issues for which they, and they alone, have solutions.  Which is why, even if they appear to be going soft on abortion while promoting their political or economic theories, they can still proclaim that they are the ones who are truly pro-life, as opposed to those of us who still think abortion is a non-negotiable and that theories on how to help the poor and the immigrant are up for debate.

The article says we can go deeper than the shallow abortion and gay sex debate when it comes to being pro-life.  But based on what is written, it seems that doing so requires a rejection of Republican proposals and conservative ideals. It requires admitting the liberals and Democrats hold the solutions that alone are up to the true pro-life clarion call.   Only then can we truly be pro-life, only then can we be as pro-life as they are.  Whether this is also the view of Pope Francis remains to be seen.  But that it is the view of not only secularists and the Left outside of the Church, but a growing number of Catholics, can't be ignored.


  1. who don't care about the poor, the immigrant, the environment, and by extension are likely the main causes of abortion in the first place

    And of course there is never the question of whether these things actually CAUSE that in the first place.

    Like I emailed you about earlier, today the "poor" in America have greater wealth than the KINGS of old. If poverty then abortion, was abortion (or i guess, infanticide back then) really that much more common back during times when we were all poorer than now? Today how does abortion line up by country? If european democratic socialist is doing so great by raising all their poor to... whatever, do they have more or less abortion than those countries who's bottom quintile is far poorer than anything most people can imagine? Or is there something about increasing wealth that leads to less children?

    But alternative causes is something you'll find they NEVER want to discuss. For example, as a thought exercise I pointed out: in the past children were the principle retirement plan for everyone. Nowadays we have Social Security. If we were to abolish all insurances and such for elderly people, would abortion rates plummet quickly as people are incentivized to have children? The only response I got was one of "being part of the problem" because I "treated people like objects." Apparently it is less offensive for Shea to propose trading guns for abortion than to even consider trading welfare for abortion (as I'm pretty sure this was on Shea's blog at the time).

    Heck there's not been a lot of studies, but some indications out there that increasing a welfare system in a society, decreases religion in that society. Want crude data?
    (keep in mind, that's a comic written by a nordic person, read the note attached to the comic)

    Yet Catholics keep insisting that welfare must increase, never wondering if doing so would doom the Church. Because apparently ever thinking about cause and effect is verboten and means you're questioning God.

    Which just enforces what I've said is a rule of thumb: Catholics are to economics as Evangelicals are to evolution.

  2. It's passing curious that this pope came to America and diligently avoided even a hint of criticism of Barack Hussein Obama, the most anti-Christian president in US history (and that takes in some real beauts like T. Jefferson). Oh, they said, he had to be diplomatic, that was all that was holding Pope Francis back from open remonstrance of the odious Chicagoan. Now he comes back to America and, USING HIS NAME, says an American politician cannot be Christian if he advocates building a wall to seal out heroin and illegal immigrants. What kind of hypocrisy is this! And what ever happened to "Who am I to judge?" Wherever and whenever the pope mounts the public political stage around the world, he only succeeds ultimately in diminishing his own stature and that of the papacy. When he insists on acting like a (left-wing) politician, he has to expect to be treated like one.

  3. You write, “Democratic Socialists. They've taken their proposals, their plans, their solutions, their opinions and slid them under the papal pronouncements as the only logical approach to all of these issues…”

    But it’s not true anymore. If media reports can be believed, the Pope has definitely placed his own template solution at least to the question of the morality of US immigration law, which Donald Trump advocates:

    AP reports: “Asked what he thought of Trump's pledge, Francis said: ‘A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not in the gospel.’

    “Not having heard about Trump's border plans independently, Francis said he'd "give the benefit of the doubt." But he added: ‘I say only that this man is not Christian if he has said things like that.’"

    Growing up in the Philippines after WWII, I know that people there knew only the Pope’s name [Pius XII, later John XXIII, Paul VI, etc.] but none of his political pronouncements, yet they lived the faith and followed established Church teachings.

    Even Saint Junipero Serra, away from Rome and in his missions in southern California in the 16th century, didn’t know the Pope’s name at that time. He had to write Spain to ask for his name, so he could insert it in the Canon of the Mass.

    I, for one, have decided to go “cafeteria” on Pope Francis’s political pronouncements. I’ll choose what I believe to be right and live the ambiguous ones alone. It is not enough that he be given the benefit of the doubt. He is the Pope.

    I also think he should stop giving press conferences while aboard a plane.

  4. Correction:

    I’ll choose what I believe to be right and LEAVE the ambiguous ones alone.

  5. Hi Marie, I could listen to him more if everything he did and said didn't suggest such a strong rootedness in Latin American liberation theologies. Not for the least reason that, as Nate points out, not all of what the Pope seems to be advocating necessarily works out well.

  6. Johnny, yes I'm a little bothered by the Pope doing this. Or at least, if he wants to start calling out politicians, have at it. But be consistent. For so many others, including President Obama, who advocate for those sins that cry out to Heaven for vengeance that don't seem to be so bad any more. Maybe evil, but not the real evil of building a wall. There just seems to be a lack of balance there.

  7. Dave: I think the lack of balance you notice lately is the Barque of Peter listing to port, i.e. left.


Let me know your thoughts