FrankenPope Cheers On America’s Social Justice Warriors

FrankenPope Cheers On America’s Social Justice Warriors

February 25, 2017
By CHRISTOPHER MANION

The turmoil prevailing throughout the universal Church emerged in a roiling microcosm at the “World Meetings of Popular Movements” in Modesto, Calif., last week, as a letter of welcome sent by Pope Francis resonated his familiar call to upheaval and resistance.
The Argentine Pope’s rallying cry did not happen in a vacuum. Some forty years ago, a group of Catholic prelates gathered to champion an orthodox response to “Liberation Theology,” especially to what Cardinal Lopez Trujillo of Colombia called its “criteria that imposed a Marxist analysis on the conflict of class struggle.”
This ideology, advocated by the Marxist revolutionary left and, inside the Church, by Jesuits of Jorge Bergoglio’s generation, had driven countless millions of Catholics from of the Church into Protestant and Evangelical sects throughout Latin America. These sects had a simple but powerful message — because it was true: “The Catholics preach politics; we preach the Bible!”
Cardinal Lopez Trujillo articulated a “Theology of Reconciliation” to counter the divisive violence advocated by the liberacionistas. And indeed, thanks especially to the efforts of St. John Paul II, Liberation Theology largely lost its luster among the masses; nonetheless, it continued to fester among leftist academics, dissidents, and clergy, who constitute its strongest adherents in the United States today.
The title of the Modesto Marxists’ conference represents a classic case of contradiction. They sought to hijack the “popular” label (aren’t they the only truly “popular” party?), even as they focused on strategies to disrupt the genuinely popular movements gaining ground throughout Europe and the U.S.
In his letter, Pope Francis endorsed this class conflict model, writing “to encourage and strengthen each one of you, [and] your organizations” — namely, the problemed Catholic Campaign for Human Development and PICO (“People Improving Communities through Organizing”), both of which are unwittingly funded by Catholics and taxpayers through the U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference (USCCB).
Which raises the question: What accounts for the drift of the bishops into this fetid leftist backwater?
As I extensively documented in my earlier Wanderer writings, countless billions of taxpayer dollars have flowed into the bishops conference, its welfare agencies, and other once-Catholic institutions. Today they can’t survive without that funding, as one USCCB leader recently explained to his African colleagues, because, since the clerical abuse and cover-up scandals, donations from the faithful have tanked — and have stayed tanked. In 2012, the bishop in charge of “Child Protection” for the conference admitted that the bishops’ credibility was still “shredded.”
On top of that, 30 million American Catholics have simply left the Church. The taxpayer was the bishops’ only hope, and today the bishops are kept afloat by their allies in the federal bureaucracy.
Of course, to paraphrase Milton Friedman, there’s no such thing as a free government grant, and with remarkable staying power the bishops have supported the welfare-state agenda of their Washington benefactors, while maintaining an obsequious silence regarding Canon 915. Oppose their paymasters’ agenda, or condemn their support of abortion, and those billions could rapidly disappear.
But more than money motivates this perpetual pander: Even the most heterodox bishop knows that the truly orthodox faithful have nowhere else to go. “Lord, you have the words of eternal life!” However, dissident Cafeteria Catholics can indeed go elsewhere, and the bishops strain mightily to please them, hopeful that 30 million more won’t leave. All along they take the orthodox for granted, however distasteful the task.
After all, teaching the moral truths of Humanae Vitae is guaranteed to make a bishop unpopular, a fact confirmed by Timothy Cardinal Dolan, who bluntly admits on national television that bishops rarely teach these truths in public.
Pope Francis’ exhortation bows to that reality, mentioning nothing about salvation of souls but urging attendees “to fight for social justice.” It invokes his familiar themes of Global Warming and open immigration, which he fortifies by insisting that “Muslim terrorism does not exist!” And he repeats his meandering attack on capitalism, which earlier in February he actually blamed for “creating poor people,” when in fact in his lifetime alone, capitalism has raised billions out of abject poverty.
But the dialectic requires that truths must serve the revolution, not vice-versa.
In his entire address, Pope Francis addresses no theological truths — whether to affirm or to deny them. Jesus is not a savior but a social worker, and Social Justice rules. While the Holy Father repeatedly strays into the realm of prudential opinions reserved to the laity by the Constitution of the Church (Lumen Gentium, nn. 30-37), he does not address magisterial truths, especially those resented most strongly by many Social Justice Warriors; he merely ignores them.
So we’re clearly in the prudential realm here, free to agree, free to critique, free to condemn. On this playing field, we’re on the same level as the Pope.
In his letter, Pope Francis acknowledges two bishops present at the event — Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton and Armando Ochoa of Fresno, both of whom had served as auxiliaries to disgraced Roger Cardinal Mahony of Los Angeles. And their presence brought some unmentioned issues with them.
Bishop Blaire routinely attacks Republican political figures on all sorts of issues. Yet for years he has refused to answer The Wanderer’s simple question — “Must we agree with your political views with the same ‘religious submission of the intellect and will’ (canon 752) with which we embrace Humanae Vitae?” (“He’s just swamped,” his spokeswoman complains).
And while Bishop Blaire freely wields his authority as a leader of the bishops conference to browbeat his political foes, he quickly sheathed his sword regarding Canon 915 when dealing with the two pro-abortion “Catholics” who represented the Stockton Diocese in Congress. Both their offices on Capitol Hill and the bishop’s office found no record of his having publicly reprimanded their 100 percent pro-abortion voting record (the bishop assured The Wanderer that he has indeed counseled them privately, however).
Bishop Ochoa of Fresno presented a much different view of immigrants than that of his Los Angeles colleague, Archbishop José Gomez. Gomez routinely sings their praises, insisting that “the nation’s Hispanic immigrants are people with ‘strong traditions of family and faith, community and hard work,’ that most are Catholic, and hold ‘deep conservative values’.”
Bishop Ochoa tells a different tale. Illegal immigrants are suffering from a breakdown of family life, he tells America magazine, with rampant “divorce, free [sexual] unions, [illegal] drugs, and [illegal] easy money.” Moreover, he says, the Church is losing millions of them to the “fundamentalists” — for the same reason, surely, that millions left in Latin America: They preach the Bible, while the Catholics preach politics.
Bishop Blaire ignores the pro-abortion politicians in his own flock while castigating pro-lifers many time zones away. Bishop Ochoa testifies to the true needs of the illegal immigrants — spiritual needs — and Pope Francis ignores them, instead cheering on the Social Justice Warriors.
So it’s no surprise that, when San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy delivered his political stemwinder at the gathering, he sang from the same hymnbook, demanding “disruption and resistance” to U.S. government policies on “jobs, housing, immigration, economic disparities, and the environment.” (See article Selective Morality . . . California Bishop’s Call To Disrupt Trump’s America Betrays His Political Bias by Dexter Duggan.)
Nothing about salvation. Nothing about souls. Nothing about broken families, the lost brethren, the moral dissolution. Like Pope Francis, McElroy avoided all the magisterial moral issues that Bishop Ochoa had raised, instead stirring up resentment, envy, contempt, and hatred.
And the crowd stood up and cheered.

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One comment on “FrankenPope Cheers On America’s Social Justice Warriors

  1. There are at least four basic things which have harmed the Church severely in the modernist era. The destruction of the traditional Mass in Latin and its replacement by the modernist Novus Ordo folk guitar Mass with horrible Easy Listening New Age liturgical music. The clergy pervert scandals which have bankrupted dioceses due to the infiltration of the priesthood by aggressive homosexuals with a taste for pederasty. The 1967 Land O’Lakes conference agenda to modernize, secularize, and de-Catholicize Catholic colleges and universities in a quest for Ivy League status and prestige, destroying most of the finest older Catholic colleges and universities, and turning Catholic students and faculty into second-class citizens on their own campuses. But certainly near the top of the list has been the shift from a supernatural sacramental and moral theology to this-worldly Social Justice ideology focused on secular politics, economics, and progressive social policy. The Catholic faith is not primarily an economic theory of secular Marxist and progressive New Left politics. This 1960s fad is killing the Catholic Church almost as much as any of these other factors.

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