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“Is the Pope Catholic?”
It’s an old one-liner to be used when someone asks a question with a manifestly obvious affirmative answer. Is the Pope Catholic?, does the bear poop in the forest?, is the frog’s rear-end watertight? etc., etc. . . . .
And yet we can begin to question the Pope’s beliefs. When faced with an ocean of pedophiles, he lectures us about an ocean of plastic. John O’Sullivan wonders about the pope’s faith.
… So what did the bishops and priests who failed either at chastity or at justice or at both believe? Let me suggest three possible answers.
The first answer is: nothing much. They gradually lost their faith as they went through life and woke up one day to find that they were agnostics who had a decent living in the Church and no prospect in middle age of getting a job of equal worth and satisfaction. It’s an easy thing to do in a post-Christian society. No doubt their loss of faith was a problem for them, but in a very human way they managed to keep postponing a decision on what to do about it. Maybe they even enjoyed their job, which they defined as a special kind of social worker helping others or, at a more senior level, a special kind of bureaucrat who could use the Church to advance good causes of a secular kind. Of course, agnostics in clerical garb would find it hard to keep the rules on chastity as age and loneliness wore them down. And if they no longer took the priesthood’s disciplines (or the authority sustaining them) seriously, even if they remained personally chaste, they would find it hard to impose those rules on others. Their loyalty would gradually shift from the Christian faith to the Church as an institution, and their first response to scandal would be to conceal the vice to protect the institution.
The second sort of belief is, one trusts, a very niche one. Technically speaking, it may not even be a belief. But something deeper and darker than casual agnosticism is indicated by the behavior of the five Pennsylvania priests who took part in the sacrilegious rape/seduction of a young seminarian in a form that mocked the Crucifixion, and in McCarrick’s seduction of seminarians, sustained over many years through his iron determination to keep the privileges and protections of a Prince of the Church. Sexual obsessions are powerful forces, and most of us have felt their power and even given in to them at times. (They also lead us into absurd humiliations, which are the stuff of comedy — we must hope that God’s sense of humor is working overtime on Judgment Day.) But these cases went further than most. They mixed the betrayal of innocence with a kind of playing with sacrilege that hints at a more radical evil than surrender to sexual temptation. This may turn out to be exaggerated. I hope so. But some elements in the scandal are a reminder that sin is rejecting God, and the worst sin is consciously and defiantly doing so.
The third belief, humanitarianism, is the most subtle substitute for lost faith because it passes itself off as Christian belief in much the same way that Communism in the 1940s passed itself off as “liberalism in a hurry.” It does indeed contain Christian themes — compassion, notably — but as Daniel Mahoney argues in a forthcoming book, it separates these virtues from the Christian realism about human nature that makes them effective and uplifting. It tends to deny evil and to elevate comfort, including psychological comfort, as the highest good. Instead of persuading people to confront their vices and change their lives, therefore, it offers therapy, welfare dependency, and bureaucratic control as the solutions to social evils. The solutions look like Christian concern, but they produce such results as an underclass, crime, family breakdown, and the spread of abortion and euthanasia. …
Late last year, in The Federalist, Julie Kelly commented on misplaced priorities.
In a letter to world leaders gathered at a United Nations conference earlier this month in Germany, Pope Francis applauded their efforts to “counteract one of the most worrying phenomena our humanity is experiencing.” He warned the prestigious group against “falling into the trap of these four perverse attitudes: denial, indifference, resignation and trust in inadequate solutions.”
So, what threats and perversions in this broken world was the pope referring to? The sickening, random attacks by murderous Islamic terrorists? Madmen acquiring destructive nuclear weapons? The living hell endured by millions of young girls around the world from prostitution, child marriage, weaponized gang rape, and female genital mutilation? Tyranny in North Korea, famine in the Sudan, oppression in Venezuela?
No, the leader of the world’s Catholic flock was referring to climate change.
In Pajamas Media, Michael Walsh asks, “Is The Pope Catholic?”
At this point, it’s hard to tell:
Pope Francis wants concrete action to combat the “emergency” of plastics littering seas and oceans. Francis made the appeal in a message Saturday to galvanize Christians and others to work to save what he hails as the “marvelous,” God-given gift of the “great waters and all they contain.” He said efforts to fight plastics litter must be waged “as if everything depended on us.”
The pope also denounced as “unacceptable” the privatization of water resources at the expense of the “human right to have access to this good.” Environmental protection is a priority of his papacy.
Francis urged politicians to apply “farsighted responsibility” and generosity in dealing with climate change, as well migration policies including about those who “risk their lives at sea in search of a better future.”
Nice job of working “refugees” and “migrants” into the remarks as well. Seriously, given the enormous crisis of faith the Catholic laity is currently experiencing, is this really what’s on the Pope’s mind?
Come back, Benedict, your Church needs you.
John Hinderaker notices that journalists cover for their idiot left-wing friends. They covered for obama and now they cover for the Pope.