Pope Francis the Unpredictable, the whimsical Piedmontese cleric who millions of conservative Catholics grudgingly regard as the boss of the whole enterprise, continues on his seeming quest to alarm and terrify the kinds of believers who think the Catholic League is too soft on Hollywood.
Francis’ stubborn refusal to endorse an open-ended U.S. military intervention in the Syrian civil war is still infuriating American conservative Catholics, who just cannot figure out why this kooky pope doesn’t understand that Jesus = America, or at least the Mitt-voting parts of America. GET WITH THE PROGRAM, PADRE: If the U.S. military does it, that means it’s godly. Take it away, Robert Christian:
“The Church should be desperately searching for a way to protect the Syrian people, even if that means turning to the just use of force. We must not assume that God will handle this crisis, while we wait patiently.”
Yeah! What the hell’s God ever done for us, anyway? It’s time we gave that Hippie the boot!
(Christian, incidentally and inevitably, cites Aquinas and Augustine in his criticism of the pope’s namby-pamby “blessed are the peacemakers” shtick; the omnipresence of these two thinkers in “just war” arguments gives me an obvious idea for a drinking game, but it also makes me wonder what they’d do if they were here today. Here’s a thought: they would probably agree with the Bishop of Rome)
But it’s not just the pope’s cowardly refusal to endorse mass slaughter that’s getting under Catholics’ skin. Perhaps even worse, Pope Marx is showing an alarming concern for life’s losers, aka the poor. The pope has announced plans to meet with the Rev. Gustavo Gutierrez, the Peruvian priest considered the founder of liberation theology, which famously posited a “preferential option for the poor,” and which has been a major source of American conservative angst ever since our proxies in Latin American militaries started donning T-shirts that said “Be Patriotic, Kill a Priest.”
Conservative Catholics are scrambling to reassure themselves that Pope Francis is not going to suddenly endorse collective ownership of the means of production (and invoking Aquinas again! That poor guy), all the while contrasting this pope with the last one, who was much more reliable on the question of liberation theology.
Or was he? After all, Benedict XVI was the one who appointed liberation theology-loving Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Mueller head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Mueller has written a book with Gutierrez, which is the occasion for the poor-loving priest’s meeting with Francis!