Papal Neutrality in the Culture War?

By Patrick J. Buchanan
Friday – November 15, 2013 at 12:01 am

Pope Francis Monsignor Ricca

“Pope Francis doesn’t want cultural warriors; he doesn’t want ideologues,” said Bishop Blase Cupich of Spokane, Wash.:

“The nuncio said the Holy Father wants bishops with pastoral sensitivity, shepherds who know the smell of the sheep.”

Bishop Cupich was conveying instructions the papal nuncio had delivered from Rome to guide U.S. bishops in choosing a new leader.

They chose Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., who has a master’s degree in social work, to succeed Archbishop Timothy Dolan whom Laurie Goodstein of the New York Times describes thus:

“[A] garrulous evangelist comfortable in front of a camera, [who] led the bishops in their high-profile confrontation with the Obama administration over a provision in the health care mandate that requires most employers to have insurance that covers contraceptives for employees.”

That mandate also requires employers to cover abortion-inducing drugs and sterilizations.

Yet here is further confirmation His Holiness seeks to move the Catholic Church to a stance of non-belligerence, if not neutrality, in the culture war for the soul of the West.

There is a small problem with neutrality. As Trotsky observed, “You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.” For the church to absent itself from the culture war is to not to end that war, but to lose it.

What would that entail? Can we not already see?

In America, the family has disintegrated. Forty percent of working-class white children are born out of wedlock, as are 53 percent of Hispanic children, and 73 percent of black children. Kids from broken homes are many times more likely to drop out of school, take drugs, join gangs, commit crimes, end up in prison, lose their souls, and produce yet another generation of lost souls.

Goodstein quotes the Holy Father as listing among the “most serious of the evils” today “youth unemployment.” And he calls upon Catholics not to be “obsessed” with abortion or same-sex marriage.

But is teenage unemployment really a graver moral evil than the slaughter of 3,500 unborn every day in a land we used to call “God’s Country”?

Papal encyclicals like Rerum Novarum and Quadragesimo Anno have much to teach about social justice in an industrial society.

But what is the special expertise of the church in coping with teenage unemployment? Has the Curia done good scholarly work on the economic impact of the minimum wage?

The cultural revolution preached by Marxist Antonio Gramsci is continuing its “long march” through the institutions of the West and succeeding where the violent revolutions of Lenin and Mao failed.

It is effecting a transvaluation of all values. And it is not interested in a truce with the church of Pope Francis, but a triumph over that church which it reviles as the great enemy in its struggle.

Indeed, after decades of culture war waged against Christianity, the Vatican might consider the state of the Faith.

Our civilization is being de-Christianized. Popular culture is a running sewer. Promiscuity and pornography are pandemic. In Europe, the churches empty out as the mosques fill up. In America, Bible reading and prayer are outlawed in schools, as Christian displays are purged from public squares. Officially, Christmas and Easter do not exist.

The pope, says Goodstein, refers to proselytizing as “solemn nonsense.” But to proselytize is to convert nonbelievers.

And when Christ admonished his apostles, “Go forth and teach all nations,” and ten of his twelve were martyred doing so, were they not engaged in the Church’s true commission — to bring souls to Christ.

Pope Francis comes out of the Jesuits.

Hence, one wonders: Did those legendary Jesuits like St. Isaac Jogues and the North American Martyrs make a mistake proselytizing and baptizing, when they could have been working on youth unemployment among the Mohawks?

An Italian atheist quotes the pope as saying, “Everyone has his own idea of good and evil,” and everyone should “follow the good and fight evil as he conceives them.”

Does this not reflect the moral relativism of Prince Hamlet when he said to Rosencrantz, “there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so?” Yet, is it not the church’s mission to differentiate good and evil and condemn the latter?

“Who am I to judge,” Pope Francis says of homosexuals.

Well, he is pope. And even the lowliest parish priest has to deliver moral judgments in a confessional.

“[S]ince he became pope,” writes Goodstein, Francis’ “approval numbers are skyrocketing. Even atheists are applauding.”

Especially the atheists, one imagines.

While Pope Francis has not altered any Catholic doctrines in his interviews and disquisitions, he is sowing seeds of confusion among the faithful, a high price to pay, even for “skyrocketing” poll numbers.

If memory serves, the Lord said, “Feed my sheep,” not “get the smell of the sheep.” And he did not mean soup kitchens, but more importantly the spiritual food essential for eternal life.

But then those were different Jesuits. And that was long ago.

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16 comments on “Papal Neutrality in the Culture War?

  1. [ As if Pat Buchanan even needed corroboration, here’s a related vignette from the sunny streets of Roma Placidus, where never is heard a discouraging word and all nasty dogma is left behind, safely locked in the trunk of a Ford Escort, in the spirit of liberte! egalite! fraternite! ]

    ROME (CNS) — Pope Francis made the first state visit of his pontificate Nov. 14, traveling two miles from Vatican City to Italy’s presidential palace, where he voiced the church’s solidarity with the nation in facing social challenges that included immigration, unemployment and the well-being of families.

    “There are so many questions on which we share common concerns, and where our responses can converge,” the pope said in his address to Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, following their private half-hour meeting. “The primary task for the church is to bear witness to God’s mercy and encourage generous responses of solidarity in order to open a future of hope.”

    Pope Francis recalled his July visit to the southern Mediterranean island of Lampedusa, a landing point for many immigrants without legal permission to enter Europe.

    During that visit, the pope said, he “witnessed at close range the suffering of those who, owing to war or poverty, set out as emigrants under often desperate conditions,” and “saw the laudable example of solidarity of the many who work generously to welcome them.”

    Pope Francis also mentioned his pilgrimages to the island of Sardinia in September and to the city of Assisi in October.

    The pope said that the family lies at the “center of social hopes and difficulties,” since it is the “primary place where the human being grows and is formed, where one learns values and the examples that render them credible.” Thus, he said, the family deserves to be “appreciated, valued and protected.”

    Napolitano, 88, praised the pope’s “conception of the church and the faith,” which he said had impressed all Italians, “believers and nonbelievers.”

    “We have been struck by the absence of all dogmatism, the distancing from positions ‘not touched by a margin of uncertainty,’ the call to leave ‘room for doubt’ characteristic of the ‘great leaders of the people of God,'” Napolitano said, quoting the pope’s words from an interview with a Jesuit confrere published in September.

    Pope Francis’ two-hour visit to the Quirinal Palace, which was a papal residence until the reunification of Italy in 1870, was marked by touches of his signature informality.

    The pope rode to the palace in a dark blue Ford Focus sedan and his motorcade drove through ordinary traffic on the streets of Rome. By contrast, when Pope Benedict XVI made his first state visit to Italy in 2005, he rode in an open-topped Mercedes, flanked by a squad of helmeted Italian military police on horseback.

    In what the Vatican press office described as an innovation to the protocol for state visits, Pope Francis greeted not only government ministers and other dignitaries but also palace staff members and their families, whom he encouraged to greet visitors to the palace with a “spirit of welcome and understanding.

    • Well that does certainly reinforce the concerns of many expressed by Mr. Buchanan. Thanks for posting it, gpmtrad, I hadn’t seen it.

      The following section certainly merits emphasis.

      “We have been struck by the absence of all dogmatism, the distancing from positions ‘not touched by a margin of uncertainty,’ the call to leave ‘room for doubt’ characteristic of the ‘great leaders of the people of God,'” Napolitano said, quoting the pope’s words from an interview with a Jesuit confrere published in September.

      May God have mercy on us.

  2. The Vicar of Christ cannot be neutral. What’s that comment about if you are lukewarm, I shall vomit you out of my mouth. I call upon pope emiritus, Benedict XVI to renounce his silence and speak out against the modernist intrusions besetting Holy Mother Church on our times. What’s that, you say, am I crazy? Guess so.

  3. How much more evidence does one need? Can anyone take this man seriously as Roman Pontiff? He is deconstructing the Roman Tradition right before our eyes,— and in a bold, uncompomising manner. He is describing, obliquely, a Church that has been on the wroing side of every significant issue and conflict for the past 1500 years–at least since the Edict of Toleration. This is the “nouvelle theologie” raw collapsing Marxist critique with Modernistic notions of doctrinal evolution.

  4. How much more evidence does one need? Can anyone take this man seriously as Roman Pontiff? He is deconstructing the Roman Tradition right before our eyes,— and in a bold, uncompomising manner. He is describing, obliquely, a Church that has been on the wrong side of every significant issue and conflict for the past 1500 years–at least since the Edict of Toleration. This is the “nouvelle theologie” raw collapsing Marxist critique with Modernistic notions of doctrinal evolution. All the masks and clever subterfuge have been cast aside. At least Francis is bold in his betrayal of the Catholic Faith!

  5. @pedroarbues, be careful in delegitimizing this pope’s authority from the argument of his words and actions. I am referring to your comment re ‘how much more evidence does one need? Can anyone take this man seriously as Roman Pontiff?” as if he ceases to be one by default, when we no longer take him seriously. We better keep on taking him as seriously as a heart attack. He is the pope. He is the pope unless and until the cardinals who elect him un-elect him, and we must be appealing to them to do their duty, not to the public in any kind of general way to stop recognizing his authority on the basis of any kind of unworthiness. Read Angelus Press’ little book, The Papacy. It really opens your eyes to the protestant tendency to unelect people on the basis of their unworthiness, which is at the heart of you-know-what, the bleeps.

    But I really came to ask if you know that Pope Francis’ words regarding homosexuality were quoted by Illinois legislators who previously had held the line against homosexual marriage. Mike Madigan, for one. Several others. It’s heartbreaking! American cardinals, wake up!!!

    • @Jan B A validly elected Pope can not be “unelected” by the Cardinals. “Prima Sedes a nemine iudicatur.” The issue was substantially settled with Pope Damasus. Therefore, even Pope Alexander VI could not be dragged before an ecclesiastical tribunal of any sort for his crimes and debauched lifestyle. On the other hand, what we are dealing with here, arguably, is a departure from—or, at least, a clever subversion of– the infallible content of our Faith–something far more serious than sexual peccadillos and political assasinations. My point is that how can we follow a Pope, as supreme teaching and Pastor, who endangers our grip on the Catholic Faith? Unless the Faith has no objective content. Are we supposed to “cherry pick” what, in his public statements, is orthodox and what is heterodox? Is that not the essence of “private judgement?”

    • Of course, Illinois legislators will quote whatever they wish to justify their positions! One notable feature of “critical writing”, which has been taught in US public schools for the past 30-plus years, is that “the truth” is merely a “claim”, and one can make whatever claim one wishes and still have it taken seriously. After all, all “claims” have equal “merit”!
      Recall that Illinois– Chicago, to be precise– was the home of Saul Alinsky, whose “community organizing” tactics included seducing churches into the promotion of “social justice” campaigns.

  6. He is the pope allright but an extremely bad one IMO. He is leading the Church in the wrong direction, imbued as he is with modernism. It’s no wonder people rightly question how he can be pope and then say and do what he does. And the guy who sits idly by and watches this caricature of the papacy has much to answer for as well for it was he who made it possible for this to happen. I wonder what St Pius X would say in such instances? Would he say, for instance, “Oh good, Josef, go ahead, and retire and allow the papacy to fall into the hands of the Modernists.” I think not!

  7. Jan has made a critical point about the BLEEP! fallacy (above).

    While SAINT Catherine of Siena had no trouble telling Pope Gregory XI exactly what was on her mind, in writing and to His Holiness’ face, she never failed to refer to Him as Sweet Christ on Earth. (And, thus, so much for where I am on the Beaufort Scale of Holiness…. )

    We all know the St. Robert Bellarmine quote about resisting a pope who seeks to destroy the Church. It’s true. It’s apt. It’s solid.

    But, like all heretics, the BLEEPS! have fashioned it and other references to what to do when a pope goes gonzo into a hobby horse upon which they rock back and forth, brandishing tinfoil swords and screaming: “I alone am righteous and the rest of you are headed for the flames!”

    Having watched their little tribe working itself into a frothy lather ever since Francis was installed by his lib cheerleaders last March, I remain grateful that Serv long ago established his NO BLEEPS! policy for this forum. I’ve seen them invade other Trad fora and destroy the very spirit and purpose of those places.

    • @gpmtrad We are all in this together, and we all recognize the same “disorientation” which has developed in the Church over the past 45 years. We Trads all make the same material criticisms of ecumenical gestures, ambiguous, if not heretical,teachings. Loyal churchmaen have struggled with this issue and have tried to give an adequate account of what has happened to the post conciliar Magisterium. I think they do it in good face and with a desire to give an orthodox explanation. You don’t have to be an “x” to realize that no account is free from theological problems. Afterall, we Catholics are dogmatically “ordered” to the Pope as the visible head of the Church and principle of unity. I have no wish to destroy the “spirit and purpose”of this site. I believe it serves a necessary function. Pax vobiscum!

  8. According to Canon332 a Pope may resign; but the key word in the canon is “”freely”. Did Benedict freely resign or was he forced or threatened? There are signs of both – we may not know the answer to this in the near future. The story that Benedict stated ” God told him to resign” that went viral was thoroughly discounted by B16’s personal secretary, Cardinal Guisswein(sp) Why would the Vatican trial balloon such a lie as this?( hardly believable to anyone with any sense)
    So Habemus Papam- – I’m just not sure which one it is.

  9. It is my understanding that not every one of a Pope’s utterances must be understood as ex cathedra.

  10. I would like to add that the clearly Leftist policy positions of the USCCB are simply that, policy positions– though I fear that many naive and Left-leaning US Catholics will take them to be “required belief” or some sort of official Church dogma or doctrine.
    Around the time that Bishop Tobin of RI changed his voter registration to “R”, I read an article stating that over 60% of US Catholic Bishops are registered as “D’s”. (Wish I had kept a link to that article!)
    As for the American cardinals and bishops in general– with the USCCB’s promotion of Obama’s DREAM Act, the recent staged event (including a Mass, with communion delivered to Mexicans dramatically reaching between the spokes of the fence) on the US-Mexico border in support of amnesty and open borders, approval of Dorothy Day’s cause of canonization and support for an increase in the minimum wage– one can only wonder: who shapes the US Bishops’ (and Cardinals’) perceptions and policies? How much influence to USCCB lay employees have within the organization, and how many are members of New Left and neo-Marxist “Catholic” groups?

    • who shapes the US Bishops’ (and Cardinals’) perceptions and policies?

      Well, they’ve been pretty firmly in the socialist homosex cabal since about the 50’s, but the seminaries were being infiltrated even before Pope St. Pius X’s time. They ordained pederasts in the 50’s (Boston), ergo Abp. Cushing was already on the dark side back then. After the Council, they broke into the open along with the rest of society in the 60’s revolution. In the US, the likes of Cardinal Dearden, and the flaming homo Cd. Bernardin did untold damage. Our leftist “Catholic” politicians drew their justification from B’s “Seamless Garment” ideology that framed capital punishment and nuclear arms as “crimes” worse than abortion. He also drove the Marxist “social justice” movement. This is why the bishops support Obama and won’t push too hard against his abortion mandates.

      So, it’s not so much the lay influence, but rather, it emanates from the top. Our Lord has sent us evil bishops — and popes — as punishment for infidelity. Consequently, we don’t stand much of a chance in thwarting the cultural demise. America and all the West is likely to degenerate into a horrific totalitarian regime. And as it goes, the “useful idiots,” the bishops, will only wake up as they are being lined up at the wall and shot. Only Our Lady can rescue us, as She warned us at Fatima.

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