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“Not to share wealth with the poor is to steal”
November 26, 2013 10:53 AM   Subscribe

Pope Francis' Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium has effectively labeled unfettered capitalism a 'tyranny' (previously).

“56. While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation. Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control. A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and often virtual, which unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules.”

“205. .. I beg the Lord to grant us more politicians who are genuinely disturbed by the state of society, the people, the lives of the poor,”
posted by jeffburdges (219 comments total) 81 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow.
posted by JoeBlubaugh at 11:02 AM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have the same two thoughts everytime I read news about this Pope.
1) I never thought I'd say I like a Pope, but hey, I like this Pope.
2) I hope he has amazing security. You can't start talking like this and not piss of some crazy powerful people.
posted by Arbac at 11:02 AM on November 26, 2013 [94 favorites]


I've been hoping for something like this ever since he was elected. While at the same time hoping that the inertia of the progress on LGBT rights, at least in the western world, was too strong for him to get in the way of.

In other words, Eeeeeeeeeexcellent.
posted by tigrrrlily at 11:02 AM on November 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Damn.
posted by brundlefly at 11:02 AM on November 26, 2013


I don't like your Catholicism, but your Pope - him I like.
posted by Mooski at 11:02 AM on November 26, 2013 [48 favorites]


Welp.

He might wanna start using that popemobile.

I'm sorta joking but not really
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 11:03 AM on November 26, 2013 [6 favorites]


I don't know why we need religion or Christianity or Catholicism or a Pope, but...

If there's gonna be a Pope, it really seems like maybe we got a good one.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:04 AM on November 26, 2013 [13 favorites]


I keep waiting for Bill Hader to amend his Julian Assange impersonation to a Pope Francis impersonation: "no matter what happens to me, it's murder."

As an ex-Catholic, I never thought I'd feel so fond of a pope myself, but golly, I am fond of this fellow.
posted by scody at 11:04 AM on November 26, 2013 [11 favorites]


Oh, man. This comment is priceless.
posted by brundlefly at 11:06 AM on November 26, 2013 [17 favorites]


I look forward to unfettered capitalists getting all the attention from the Church that homosexuals have previously.

But seriously, I really like the sound of this but don't know much about the history of apostolic exhortations. I'm willing to learn and will do research but I also know I can count on Metafilter.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:06 AM on November 26, 2013 [9 favorites]


It seems like maybe a revolution is coming (and I don't mean in a violent sense or anything), but I've been reading a lot about finally recognizing poverty for what it is. Volunteer tourism is popular, scientific studies on the decisions poor people make are coming out, etc. I hope that the Pope helps this along.
posted by kbennett289 at 11:06 AM on November 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


Sarah Palin says the Pope "sounds liberal".

Wait till someone reads her the parts about Jesus.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 11:06 AM on November 26, 2013 [160 favorites]


I was raised Catholic, now an atheist who sort of follows Quaker practice. I'm pretty stunned that the stodgy, tradition-bound, sexist, big business Church elected this delightful Pope. Agreed, I hope he stays safe.
posted by theora55 at 11:07 AM on November 26, 2013 [10 favorites]


It's an improvement, but as long as the promotion of homophobic and anti-women views continues to be official doctrine I'm not going to really respect a Pope as a source of real moral leadership.
posted by Drinky Die at 11:07 AM on November 26, 2013 [8 favorites]


I figure this is about as close to RAW's Pope Stephen as we're ever gonna get.
posted by InfidelZombie at 11:07 AM on November 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


Unexpected CC switcheroo: I'm not even surprised when the Pope is doing something awesome any more.
posted by jaduncan at 11:08 AM on November 26, 2013 [10 favorites]


I dunno. He's asking for the existing system to do and to be "better", to be more charitable towards the poor... but what we really need is some better systems.

But, as Popes go, he's a keeper.
posted by Artful Codger at 11:09 AM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wonder if he forgot what happened to the other fellow who advocated the redistribution of wealth, healed the sick, and generally believed we should all love each other. It seems unlikely, but...
posted by entropicamericana at 11:09 AM on November 26, 2013 [8 favorites]


Thus confirming that he is like every other Pope of the last hundred and fifty years.

Leo XIII, Rerum Novarum, 1891:
45. Let the working man and the employer make free agreements, and in particular let them agree freely as to the wages; nevertheless, there underlies a dictate of natural justice more imperious and ancient than any bargain between man and man, namely, that wages ought not to be insufficient to support a frugal and well-behaved wage-earner. If through necessity or fear of a worse evil the workman accept harder conditions because an employer or contractor will afford him no better, he is made the victim of force and injustice. In these and similar questions, however - such as, for example, the hours of labor in different trades, the sanitary precautions to be observed in factories and workshops, etc. - in order to supersede undue interference on the part of the State, especially as circumstances, times, and localities differ so widely, it is advisable that recourse be had to societies or boards such as We shall mention presently, or to some other mode of safeguarding the interests of the wage-earners; the State being appealed to, should circumstances require, for its sanction and protection.
John Paul II, Centesimus annus, 1991:
The State, however, has the task of determining the juridical framework within which economic affairs are to be conducted, and thus of safeguarding the prerequisites of a free economy, which presumes a certain equality between the parties, such that one party would not be so powerful as practically to reduce the other to subservience.
If you think this pope is saying something radically new on economic questions it's just because you weren't paying attention.

(There are things in the exhortation like the endorsement of synodality which are important developments, but the economic stuff is not one.)
posted by Jahaza at 11:11 AM on November 26, 2013 [44 favorites]


Every time I see something like this, I giggle, because I think of all of my anarchist Catholic-Church hating friends who are having to swallow their bitterness and starting to get desperate about hoping he secretly eats babies or something.
posted by corb at 11:12 AM on November 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


theora55: "I'm pretty stunned that the stodgy, tradition-bound, sexist, big business Church elected this delightful Pope."

Don't worry. They won't make this kind of mistake again.
posted by caution live frogs at 11:13 AM on November 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


Emphasis matters, though. Yes, there has been support for this sort of thing for a long time, but emphasis matters.
posted by gauche at 11:13 AM on November 26, 2013 [6 favorites]


This announcement might feed into the John-Birch-far-right-King-James-Only fundamentalist belief that the Pope is the Antichrist.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 11:13 AM on November 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


Will no one rid us of this meddlesome priest?
posted by thelonius at 11:14 AM on November 26, 2013 [6 favorites]


Will no one rid us of this meddlesome priest?

This guy really is on the road to having some right-wing nut put a cap in his ass isn't he? Not that I think he should do anything differently (except move faster).
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:17 AM on November 26, 2013


There is enough different about Pope Francis' personal history that Catholics will take this more seriously, Jahaza. In particular, there are Catholic politicians and voters, surely in South America, and maybe in Spain, who Pope Francis will embolden to resist pressures from the U.S., banks, multinationals, etc.
posted by jeffburdges at 11:18 AM on November 26, 2013 [5 favorites]


Every time I see something like this, I giggle, because I think of all of my anarchist Catholic-Church hating friends who are having to swallow their bitterness and starting to get desperate about hoping he secretly eats babies or something.

There's still plenty of reactionary meat in this "apostolic exhortation". For example, it has flatly ruled out any reforms in Church doctrine on abortion or the exclusion of women from the priesthood ("not a question open to discussion"). The good old via media is still streets ahead.
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:19 AM on November 26, 2013 [5 favorites]


If you think this pope is saying something radically new on economic questions it's just because you weren't paying attention.

Right, but the difference is that more attention is paid when it's coming from Francis. The narrative of "Pope Francis the loose cannon, shaking up the status quo!", while not true nearly as often as it's trotted out, is still powerful and gets a lot of attention. The charisma and narrative are what make JP2 and Francis' words gain more traction than Benedict XVI's.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:19 AM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]




In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting.

I'd love to see Santorum, Gingrich, and Ryan's responses to this.
posted by drezdn at 11:20 AM on November 26, 2013 [23 favorites]


If we as humans have any desire to see another century on this planet, or at least to see one without mass death and ecological devastation, than all societies of humanity will have to rise up in their own way to slay the beast of contemporary Capitalism. Papa Frank is doing a great job getting started with the RCC, I wish him the very best.
posted by sarastro at 11:22 AM on November 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's an improvement, but as long as the promotion of homophobic and anti-women views continues to be official doctrine I'm not going to really respect a Pope as a source of real moral leadership.

The people he seeks to empower include women and LGBT folks.
posted by headnsouth at 11:22 AM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you think this pope is saying something radically new on economic questions it's just because you weren't paying attention.

I don't think that he's saying something new. I think that a Pope who actually means it about being humble, rejecting trappings and walking the walk...that is new. It's harder to take it seriously when the person saying it wears Prada shoes and enough gold to embarrass Mr T.

He's also not a judgemental asshole trying to take the Humanae Vitae and push it in people's face all day, although I guess I'll see just how much he can walk that walk when he reacts to the results of the survey on the role of the CC in the modern world.
posted by jaduncan at 11:22 AM on November 26, 2013 [7 favorites]


Very nice find, drezdn. Anyone know if previous pope's have blasted trickle-down theories so explicitly?
posted by jeffburdges at 11:23 AM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


That's like a religious persons idea of what religious people are all about, but actually happening. It's rather refreshing.
posted by Artw at 11:24 AM on November 26, 2013


Sarah Palin thinks this Pope has been paling around with liberals

Come on, Sarah Palin thinks Jesus hunted down unbelievers from the back of a T-Rex using an M16.
posted by elizardbits at 11:24 AM on November 26, 2013 [60 favorites]


Like most of the Right, Sarah Palin doesn't actually believe much of anything, which is what makes her and her ilk so contemptible.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 11:27 AM on November 26, 2013 [12 favorites]


What are the opinions of the super infatuated popaholics when he offers these “liberal” opinions? I am curious. I want to outright ask a coworker of mine, but I don’t want to offend him. He’s the kind of guy that has 6 kids and the quiver is still growing, all the boys are named after popes, he currently homeschools them since the public school system has too much of a liberal agenda, and they teach evolution. I just wonder if they adapt to a new mindset over time while their dear leaders have changed their opinions, or do people like this outright shun a particular pope and wait for the next one that speaks more to their conservative mindset?
posted by brinkzilla at 11:27 AM on November 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Just to keep my atheist anarchist street cred in tact :
Peter Singer's solution to world poverty ;)
posted by jeffburdges at 11:28 AM on November 26, 2013


I think that a Pope who actually means it about being humble, rejecting trappings and walking the walk...that is new.

Admittedly I am an outsider, but it seems an especially strong statement coming after outside investigators are looking into the Vatican's financial matters as well as the rebuke of the German bishop.
posted by gladly at 11:29 AM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


> Oh, man. This comment is priceless.

It's a kind of babbly restatement of prosperity Gospel, which teaches that the more you give away, the wealthier you will (somehow, magically) become.

It's ultimately a weird and naive version of Protestant belief that your good fortune is a consequence of your superior virtue, and vice versa.
posted by ardgedee at 11:29 AM on November 26, 2013 [5 favorites]


Brinkzilla, I'm scratching my head at the homeschooling thing, because they do teach evolution in Catholic schools, and evolution was accepted as truth by JPII.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 11:29 AM on November 26, 2013 [10 favorites]


Why would the Pope give a rip about Palin's opinions? She's not even Catholic.

Re the Antichrist accusations, far-right fundie Protestants have always had an uneasy alliance w Catholics. It won't take much effort for them to turn on a Pope seen as liberal. I'd be surprised if they hadn't already.
posted by emjaybee at 11:30 AM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Brinkzilla: I'm watching people look increasingly white knuckled at the prospect of having the people they disagree with able to criticise them for not following the Pope. I'm amused to find that suddenly there's a surprising degree of un-Catholic emphasis on a direct relationship with the bible.
posted by jaduncan at 11:30 AM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


He’s the kind of guy that has 6 kids and the quiver is still growing, all the boys are named after popes, he currently homeschools them since the public school system has too much of a liberal agenda, and they teach evolution

Not that I am really wanting to defend the Church, but they have been for a long time compatible with Evolution - I want to say that church doctrine is that science merely shows the way God works mysteries.

A Brazillion years ago, I attended Parochial School taught by nuns and they had the whole kneeling on dried peas 100 hail marys bit - and they taught science and evolution right alongside all the scriptural stuff.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 11:31 AM on November 26, 2013 [11 favorites]


My first thought was "This guy is great but he's gonna get himself shot."
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 11:32 AM on November 26, 2013


Wait till someone reads her the parts about Jesus.

It never gets old, does it. It's an inexhaustible source of bogglement that the noisiest interpretation of what it means to be a Christian begins and ends with "I go to heaven and you don't." Entirely without reference to a single solitary thing Jesus ever said or did.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:32 AM on November 26, 2013 [17 favorites]


The people he seeks to empower include women and LGBT folks.

Then he should do things like letting gay people have access to the sacrament of marriage and women access to the sacrament of ordination. In my view, treating people as spiritual second class citizens undercuts attempts at empowerment severely. There are secular groups that work on issues of economic empowerment, what a Church can bring to the table is an element of moral and spiritual leadership which I consider the Church to have badly bungled on a basic level, even outside of the catastrophe of the abuse scandal.

I'm not saying it's bad that he wants to focus on poverty, because many people do follow him for the sort of moral leadership. Just saying I can't follow him.
posted by Drinky Die at 11:32 AM on November 26, 2013


Jahaza, I would have to see a lot more from post-Reagan popes than that short bit from John Paul II to concede that Francis isn't saying anything new. He (Francis) specifically condemns trickle-down economics and growing inequality (53, 54). Did JPII do that? Let alone Benedict?
posted by Eyebeams at 11:33 AM on November 26, 2013


Another interesting point: every kid I know who went to Catholic school was taught about Evolution. Public schools? Quite a few of them dodge it.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:34 AM on November 26, 2013 [8 favorites]


But, as Popes go, he's a keeper.

I have bad news for you about how a Pope's tenure usually ends...
posted by entropone at 11:34 AM on November 26, 2013


What are the opinions of the super infatuated popaholics when he offers these “liberal” opinions? I am curious. I want to outright ask a coworker of mine, but I don’t want to offend him. He’s the kind of guy that has 6 kids and the quiver is still growing, all the boys are named after popes, he currently homeschools them since the public school system has too much of a liberal agenda, and they teach evolution. I just wonder if they adapt to a new mindset over time while their dear leaders have changed their opinions, or do people like this outright shun a particular pope and wait for the next one that speaks more to their conservative mindset?

If my more conservative Catholic friends are any indication, they will pick and choose those things they agree with, just like everybody does to some extent or other. "Cafeteria Catholic" is the term they apply to Catholics on the political left, but really it's something everybody does.
posted by gauche at 11:35 AM on November 26, 2013 [8 favorites]


brinkzilla, there are lots of conservative Catholics openly questioning the Pope. (As noted in this Washington Post article from last month.)
posted by devinemissk at 11:36 AM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


brinkzilla: “What are the opinions of the super infatuated popaholics when he offers these “liberal” opinions? I am curious. I want to outright ask a coworker of mine, but I don’t want to offend him. He’s the kind of guy that has 6 kids and the quiver is still growing, all the boys are named after popes, he currently homeschools them since the public school system has too much of a liberal agenda, and they teach evolution.”

Pogo_Fuzzybutt: “Not that I am really wanting to defend the Church, but they have been for a long time compatible with Evolution - I want to say that church doctrine is that science merely shows the way God works mysteries.”

Evolution is the official Church position. The Pope himself – specifically Pope John Paul II, in 1996 – has announced that evolution happened, and that's what the Church believes. It isn't doctrine – you aren't required to believe in evolution to be a Catholic – but still it is extraordinary and rather ridiculous to think that there are Catholics who are militant creationists. I have never heard of that.
posted by koeselitz at 11:36 AM on November 26, 2013 [20 favorites]


(This isn't, as far as I know, a "conservative/liberal Catholic" question, either. To a person, every single conservative Catholic that I know – believing strongly in women being excluded from the priesthood, no birth control, etc – still believes that evolution is a scientific fact.)
posted by koeselitz at 11:38 AM on November 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't know why we need religion or Christianity or Catholicism or a Pope, but...

I'll be honest - I used to harbor an unadulterated, homicidal dislike for christians. Self reflection has, however, given me an answer to the above question that shows me why we should not get rid of religion any time soon.

1 - There are people who are scared of death. The fear of death can render a fraction of them both unable to function in society and also detrimental to society. Christianity effectively ameliorates this fear in those people - allowing them to function.

2 - There are people who are going to behave poorly unless confronted with an active, disproportionately severe punishment that is absolutely unavoidable. Christianity provides this as well. Being tortured forever (realize to most christians, that is what hell is) is a pretty strong threat, especially coming from someone who you can't negotiate with and who will punish you in the same way if you even say bad things about them.

Christianity provides a remarkable protection against a large number of antisocial behaviors, as well as keeping people busy at for at least 1/14 of the week.
posted by Fuka at 11:38 AM on November 26, 2013 [12 favorites]


koeselitz, I'm just as surprised as you are, but then I remembered the Traditionalist Catholics who pretty much don't recognize the reforms or modernizations of Vatican II through JPII...
posted by overeducated_alligator at 11:39 AM on November 26, 2013


when he reacts to the results of the survey on the role of the CC in the modern world.

There wasn't a "the survey on the role of the CC in the modern world" there was a request for input prior to meeting of the Synod of Bishops. Some people have treated this like a survey (and/or have created surveys based on it as e.g. the Bishops Conference of England and Wales did) but it's not a survey from the Vatican, it's questions (many requiring long form answers) sent to the heads of local Churches (i.e. Bishops).

This is too is the standard process, though it's been lauded as some sort of new event. The document quoted in this post is the result of that synodal process for the 13th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops.

The main steps are as follows, a preparatory document called a Lineamenta with questions is sent out before the meeting by the office that organizes the Synod.

A working document called the Instrumentum Laboris is created at the start of the Synod.

There are speeches, debate, etc. and the bishops of the Synod eventually create a set of propositions to which they agree which are presented to the Pope.

Then awhile later, the Pope issues what is typically called a "post-synodal exhortation" summing up, reacting to, and implementing the Synod. (Such as the one for the Synod on Christians in the Middle East.) This is the document we have before us. It's called in this case an "apostolic exhortation" instead, suggesting a somewhat wider scope of action and higher level of authority, but retaining its relationship to the work of the Synod. (Otherwise it would be called a "motu proprio" indicating that it was issued on the Pope's own initiative.)

(Synod is used both as the name of the organization that meets and of the meetings of that organization, like we talk about the 110th Congress in the United States, but also the United States Congress as a body with continuity and identity apart from the meetings.)
posted by Jahaza at 11:39 AM on November 26, 2013 [11 favorites]


What are the opinions of the super infatuated popaholics when he offers these “liberal” opinions? I am curious.

My brother-in-law is a paleoconservative and Catholic (and Objectivist, which yeah, shouldn't work with the Catholicism, but whatevs) . His standard line is any pro-liberal reading of this pope's statements is a misinterpretation.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 11:41 AM on November 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


overeducated_alligator He used to send his kids to public school, not Catholic. So, to gauche point, he is just picking and choosing based on his own convictions.
posted by brinkzilla at 11:41 AM on November 26, 2013


And “Not to share wealth with the poor is to steal” is more strongly worded than either quote you pull, Jahaza. As an aside, I included the full 'capitalism is tyranny' section #56 largely because I found it intentionally weakly worded, obviously I'd prefer that he literally said that modern capitalism in tyranny, but the news papers all pulling out the gist gets the point across.
posted by jeffburdges at 11:42 AM on November 26, 2013


I just wonder if they adapt to a new mindset over time while their dear leaders have changed their opinions, or do people like this outright shun a particular pope and wait for the next one that speaks more to their conservative mindset?

The same thing the liberal Catholics have been doing for a while on birth control and other things: ignoring whatever they feel like and rolling their shoulders at infallibility. As others have said, this is far from new.
posted by corb at 11:42 AM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, and this article from the NY Times earlier this month has this delightful quote:
“There have been bad popes in the history of the church,” Mr. Skojec said. “Popes that murdered, popes that had mistresses. I’m not saying Pope Francis is terrible, but there’s no divine protection that keeps him from being the type of guy who with subtlety undermines the teachings of the church to bring about a different vision.”
In short, there are some conservative Catholics who believe that Francis is a "bad pope," and the church will just have to survive him while he's in office, and then get back to fundamentals with the next guy.
posted by devinemissk at 11:44 AM on November 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


condemns trickle-down economics and growing inequality (53, 54). Did JPII do that?

Yes, that's the whole point I'm making...

John Paul II, Dives in Misericordia, 1980:
The state of inequality between individuals and between nations not only still exists; it is increasing. It still happens that side by side with those who are wealthy and living in plenty there exist those who are living in want, suffering misery and often actually dying of hunger; and their number reaches tens, even hundreds of millions. This is why moral uneasiness is destined to become even more acute. It is obvious that a fundamental defect, or rather a series of defects, indeed a defective machinery is at the root of contemporary economics and materialistic civilization, which does not allow the human family to break free from such radically unjust situations.
Let alone Benedict?

Yes, he did it this year:

Benedict XVI, Message for the Celebration of the World Day of Peace, 2013:
In effect, our times, marked by globalization with its positive and negative aspects, as well as the continuation of violent conflicts and threats of war, demand a new, shared commitment in pursuit of the common good and the development of all men, and of the whole man.

It is alarming to see hotbeds of tension and conflict caused by growing instances of inequality between rich and poor, by the prevalence of a selfish and individualistic mindset which also finds expression in an unregulated financial capitalism.
posted by Jahaza at 11:46 AM on November 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


koeselitz: "(This isn't, as far as I know, a "conservative/liberal Catholic" question, either. To a person, every single conservative Catholic that I know – believing strongly in women being excluded from the priesthood, no birth control, etc – still believes that evolution is a scientific fact.)"

I'm not sure if he's a good example of a traditionalist Catholic, but Mel Gibson has publicly said he doesn't.
PLAYBOY: Do you believe in Darwin's theory of evolution or that God created man in his image?

GIBSON: The latter.

PLAYBOY: So you can't accept that we descended from monkeys and apes?

GIBSON: No, I think it's bullshit. If it isn't, why are they still around? How come apes aren't people yet? It's a nice theory, but I can't swallow it. There's a big credibility gap. The carbon dating thing that tells you how long something's been around, how accurate is that, really? I've got one of Darwin's books at home and some of that stuff is pretty damn funny. Some of his stuff is true, like that the giraffe has a long neck so it can reach the leaves. But I just don't think you can swallow the whole piece.
I like how he goes straight for the "why are monkeys still around" thing, an argument that even Answers in Genesis dismisses.
posted by brundlefly at 11:47 AM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, I trust that the question above was asked in good faith, but I'd appreciate it, personally, if this conversation could move a little beyond the idea that All Catholics March In Lockstep With Everything Every Pope Says.

Catholics are not the computer from that Star Trek episode: we're not going to break down in a Terminal System Error because this Pope is a good guy with his heart in the right place and the other guy might not have been, so much. It feels kind of belittling in here.
posted by gauche at 11:50 AM on November 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


There wasn't a "the survey on the role of the CC in the modern world" there was a request for input prior to meeting of the Synod of Bishops. Some people have treated this like a survey (and/or have created surveys based on it as e.g. the Bishops Conference of England and Wales did) but it's not a survey from the Vatican, it's questions (many requiring long form answers) sent to the heads of local Churches (i.e. Bishops).

This is too is the standard process, though it's been lauded as some sort of new event.
His unprecedented exercise in consultation - the survey sent to all Catholic bishops with instructions to consult as widely as possible - is a powerful further sign of reform in the old top-down way of governing the Church.

The survey's 39 questions deal with sensitive subjects - contraception, gay marriage, sex outside marriage, and whether divorced and remarried people should be allowed Holy Communion.
It would appear that either you or the BBC religious correspondent are fundamentally wrong.
posted by jaduncan at 11:51 AM on November 26, 2013


Jaduncan, I just wrote a long comment explaining the process of the Synod of Bishops. That BBC article is just plain wrong in calling it unprecedented.

If you click on the first link in my comment about the process, you'll be taken to the exact same sort of document with questions that was issued in prepartion for the last synod. You can go all the way back to the 1996 Special Assembly of the Synod for Asia on the Vatican web site and see similar lists of questions.

I'm sure MeFites will be shocked to find that the media gets things wrong.
posted by Jahaza at 11:56 AM on November 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


Does anyone know the politics of how Francis got to wear the hat? and so quickly.
It can't be a surprise to his conservative peers that he is left wing.
Was the in fighting among the factions so threatening that this was how they resolved it on the decision that if I can't win then you can't either.
The Italian Curia who run the Vatican must be shitting themselves at seeing these changes.
posted by adamvasco at 11:56 AM on November 26, 2013


Well, it's not like Goldman-Sachs mightn't be improved by a nice auto-da-fé.


You know, pour encourager les autres.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:57 AM on November 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


He might wanna start using that popemobile.

only when he needs to go places though.
posted by Mario Speedwagon at 11:57 AM on November 26, 2013


It can't be a surprise to his conservative peers that he is left wing.

Actually, it can - before his selection, people were talking about how he cooperated with right wing dictatorships. I don't think anyone saw something like this.
posted by corb at 11:59 AM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Jahaza, I think you've made a good case that there are prior examples of other Popes paying attention to these issues, but for those of us who don't follow as closely, it looks like this particular Pope is emphasizing the issues more in his public appearances. Maybe this is just that he's a more effective communicator than others, maybe it's that he embraces more of a consistent focus on marketing the church in that way, or maybe it's just the media making the entire thing up, but even if we grant you that other Popes have talked about these issues, we were hearing most of these things (minus the head-on critique of capitalism) from Pope Francis almost from day one. So, do you at least agree that this Pope is, if not ideologically different, then at least wanting to be perceived as ideologically different for the public audience?
posted by tonycpsu at 12:00 PM on November 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Excellent that ultra-conservative Catholic Mel Gibson shares his theological wisdom with...Playboy. The Bible might sell better if only there were more pics of nekkid ladies.
posted by billiebee at 12:01 PM on November 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


I read that, but don't see either instructions to consult as broadly as possible with the congregation or a willingness to consult on fundamental doctrinal matters. I'd be happy to be wrong here, however.
posted by jaduncan at 12:02 PM on November 26, 2013


It will be interesting to see if liberation theology will be "rehabilitated" during the tenure of this pope. Even though Francis was opposed to it previously he recently met with Gustavo Gutiérrez.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 12:04 PM on November 26, 2013


I read that, but don't see either instructions to consult as broadly as possible with the congregation or a willingness to consult on fundamental doctrinal matters. I'd be happy to be wrong here, however.

The more recent one:
At the end of each chapter some questions appear which are aimed at generating discussion at every level of the Church. ... These bodies are to encourage discussion on this document in their respective areas of competence: dioceses, pastoral areas of jurisdiction, parishes, congregations, associations, movements, etc. The episcopal conferences, synods of bishops and the previously mentioned bodies will then summarize the observations and submit a report to the General Secretariat no later than 1 November 2011, the Solemnity of All Saints.
"Parishes" takes you all the way down to the bottom.

The one from 1996 is even more explicit:
Therefore, the whole Church in Asia is invited to participate: diocesan and religious priests, women and men religious, laymen and women, seminaries and faculties of theology, pastoral councils, Catholic movements and groups, parish communities and all Church organizations.
posted by Jahaza at 12:06 PM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure if he's a good example of a traditionalist Catholic, but Mel Gibson has publicly said he doesn't.

Mel's the Catholic evangelical protestants long to be.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:06 PM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


It bears rementioning that Gibson's dad is a sedevacantist nutbag.
posted by Iridic at 12:07 PM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]




So, do you at least agree that this Pope is, if not ideologically different, then at least wanting to be perceived as ideologically different for the public audience?

It's hard to answer a question that's really about what's going on inside his head. I think he wants to be perceived differently than Benedict XVI was, but I think he'd want people to change in retrospect their erroneous evaluations of Benedict XVI so, no, I don't think he'd want to be perceived "as ideologically different."
posted by Jahaza at 12:08 PM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I really like Pope Francis. And I'm Jewish!
posted by SisterHavana at 12:09 PM on November 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


If his church ran the way he apparently wants it to run, I'd join as an atheist Catholic.
posted by pracowity at 12:10 PM on November 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


Lots of conservative Catholics have super big beefs with unfettered capitalism. I know a lawyer whose social conservatism would make your whiskers curl, but whose work for labor law and the indigent has been exemplary.

People are full of multitudes. Sociopolitical categories are artificial. Or, as Weird Al put it:
Everything you know is wrong
Black is white, up is down and short is long
And everything you thought was just so
Important doesn't matter

Everything you know is wrong
Just forget the words and sing along
All you need to understand is
Everything you know is wrong
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:10 PM on November 26, 2013 [8 favorites]


Q: WWJD?
A: This!
posted by tommasz at 12:12 PM on November 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


Jahaza: " It's hard to answer a question that's really about what's going on inside his head. I think he wants to be perceived differently than Benedict XVI was, but I think he'd want people to change in retrospect their erroneous evaluations of Benedict XVI so, no, I don't think he'd want to be perceived "as ideologically different.""

So you're essentially blaming the media for being too critical toward Benedict and also too laudatory toward Francis?
posted by tonycpsu at 12:12 PM on November 26, 2013


Gibson: If evolution is real why are there still monkeys?
Me: If lumber is real why are there still trees?
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:18 PM on November 26, 2013 [10 favorites]


Jahaza — Fair enough, and thanks.
posted by Eyebeams at 12:19 PM on November 26, 2013


Good stuff that will annoy the conservatives, of which there are many - I expect more calls for getting back to saying mass in latin, which is generally a code for 'we hate poor people' in the church and a migration to the jurassic sspx - a horrible bunch of fascistic little people whose masses are probably still in black and white.
posted by sgt.serenity at 12:20 PM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was raised Catholic and this is the first time I constantly find myself thinking things like, "Man, I like this pope. He seems like a good guy. Hah, take that stodgy Church people!"
posted by chatongriffes at 12:20 PM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Guys, I'm starting to get the feeling that the Pope hasn't ever really, actually read any Ayn Rand! Ugh.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:21 PM on November 26, 2013 [17 favorites]


What are the opinions of the super infatuated popaholics when he offers these “liberal” opinions?

The dismay of my conservative Catholic friends and acquaintances has been very entertaining to watch. One of them wrote the other day that he was 'praying for Cosa Nostra to rid the world of this ridiculous cretin, who is so desperate to be loved that I am sure he will soon open St Peter's to Gay Pride'. You won't find many Catholics saying that in public but I suspect quite a few are saying it in private.

Papal pronouncements are always so heavily coded that it's difficult for an outsider to work out what's really going on. But my impression is that Francis's public statements are carefully crafted to maintain 'plausible deniability' (in that his spokesmen can always argue he's saying nothing new, merely repeating Rerum Novarum, etc) while at the same time strongly signalling a change in direction.
posted by verstegan at 12:23 PM on November 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


I've been pretty amazed with how with the most recent election its almost as if some invisible switch has been flipped in the media and suddenly they are hunting through what the pope says for nice ways to describe him instead of the opposite. Its like the love everyone has for this new pope has pretty much nothing to do with him, and everything to do with this weird novel media narrative. Benedict XVI was both pretty equivalently awesome and terrible - in spite of his weird foreign name that everyone loves to make fun of in rankly xenophobic ways, his conscription as a child soldier, and his odd resemblance to an emperor in a galaxy far away that somehow makes even the most absurdly self-conscious liberals forget how fucked up it is to judge people for that shit. He was, in a lot of ways, Catholicism's first Nerd Pope, with a serious academic background as a professor for a quarter of a century where he produced some serious theology. The dude was also considerably socially awkward in a way that one would think would inspire sympathy in places like this one, but seems to have only added to the pile-on. I mean, would you expect to hear this from Benedict XVI or Francis?
"It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church's pastors wherever it occurs. It reveals a kind of disregard for others which endangers the most fundamental principles of a healthy society. The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action and in law."-On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons
While he doesn't communicate it quite as well as Francis, droning on in the letter about the nature of sin without also expounding on the universal nature of sin in Catholic doctrine for the benefit of non-Catholics, his essential position is pretty much identical. That Catholics should both be opposed to gay sex while also fighting homophobia just as vigorously. It only really makes any kind of sense in a weird Catholic mindfuck that is pretty profoundly non-intuitive, which I guess allows the media to present either one of two shallow faces, both of which are just as inaccurate.

Jahaza has already gone into more detail than I could about how the Church's economic positions haven't really changed, but the same is just as true for the position of women in the church and the silence on sex abuse scandals, Francis is doing and saying pretty much the exact same thing, just with a lot more style. Somehow even otherwise incredibly informed and intelligent places like this one are still both too gullible and religiously illiterate to see it.
posted by Blasdelb at 12:24 PM on November 26, 2013 [15 favorites]


Also, is it just me, or does Evengelii Gaudium sound like something you would get from eating undercooked hamburger?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:27 PM on November 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


Man, if he'll just throw down on condoms vs. AIDS -- he's been kinda sidling up to that one so far -- he'll be on track to a church that may actually do less harm than good.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:29 PM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


"...but for those of us who don't follow as closely, it looks like this particular Pope is emphasizing the issues more in his public appearances."
This has precious little to do with the current or former Pope and everything to do with a predatory media that doesn't give a shit, routinely 'fails to fact check', and probably for the most part believes its own bullshit. Along with the whole world somehow almost collectively not following Catholicism anywhere near as closely as it thinks it is.
posted by Blasdelb at 12:29 PM on November 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


The Church existed before capitalism, and I like to think that it will exist well after it has run its course.
posted by dgran at 12:31 PM on November 26, 2013


Blasdelb: "Jahaza has already gone into more detail than I could about how the Church's economic positions haven't really changed, but the same is just as true for the position of women in the church and the silence on sex abuse scandals, Francis is doing and saying pretty much the exact same thing, just with a lot more style."

If so, that "style" has managed to both enthuse liberal types and enrage conservatives. Whether or not it's a new gloss of paint on the same old stuff, it's certainly been effective in raising the profile and changing the public discussion on these issues.
posted by brundlefly at 12:31 PM on November 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm an atheist, and this Pope is a lovely guy, for the most part.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:31 PM on November 26, 2013


The dismay of my conservative Catholic friends and acquaintances has been very entertaining to watch.

My very conservative (formerly liberal) Catholic parents were extremely enthusiastic about him immediately following his election, but I don't know if that's waned in the ensuing eyebrow-raising months... I'm a little afraid to ask.
posted by scody at 12:36 PM on November 26, 2013


It's great he's saying more positive things, but less horrible isn't exactly better. I think its just an attempt to stop the Catholic church's inevitable slide into obscurity.
posted by agregoli at 12:39 PM on November 26, 2013


I guess I don't know what less horrible is then.
posted by brundlefly at 12:40 PM on November 26, 2013 [6 favorites]


-"If so, that "style" has managed to both enthuse liberal types and enrage conservatives. Whether or not it's a new gloss of paint on the same old stuff, it's certainly been effective in raising the profile and changing the public discussion on these issues."

-"I don't know why we need religion or Christianity or Catholicism or a Pope, but...

If there's gonna be a Pope, it really seems like maybe we got a good one.
"

-"I'm an atheist, and this Pope is a lovely guy, for the most part."
Just how trivially easy it must be to cynically manufacture both love and hate, in this shallow yet powerfully enthusiastic form, in our modern era to do it so accidentally from the same substance terrifies me. Holy fuck. Are we really this delighted with our collective ignorance and so willing to feel how we're told to?
posted by Blasdelb at 12:40 PM on November 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


This has precious little to do with the current or former Pope and everything to do with a predatory media that doesn't give a shit, routinely 'fails to fact check', and probably for the most part believes its own bullshit. Along with the whole world somehow almost collectively not following Catholicism anywhere near as closely as it thinks it is.

Some of his actions have definitely encouraged the media narrative, things like living in the Vatican guesthouse rather than the Papal Apartments send a message that he is more willing to walk the walk than previous Popes.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:42 PM on November 26, 2013


Well that's a pretty shallow and dismissive way to respond, Blasdelb.
posted by brundlefly at 12:42 PM on November 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


I like this Pope. The Church has for too long got bogged down with today's hot button social issues that scripture touches on briefly and confusingly, while neglecting inequality which the big J was pretty clear on, I mean he personally roughed up those guys running an FX desk in the temple.
posted by Damienmce at 12:45 PM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


As long as the church still holds that women are inferior to men (why on earth can't a woman be a priest, for starters?) I don't see what moral high ground they have. Addressing inequality by talking about poverty is nice, but inequality encompasses those pesky social issues, no way around it.

Also, let the poor live in the Vatican if you're concerned about inequality. The Catholic Church has a long way to go to achieve relevancy and respect in today's world.
posted by agregoli at 12:52 PM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


While Jahaza and Blasdelb are correct, there has been a noticeable change, even if only symbolic. And this is a sorely needed change.

I grew up religious and Catholic. I am no longer. Despite my lack of faith, it has hurt to see the American Church, particularly its leadership, try to transform itself into a wing of the Republican Party. This was beyond the Church's teachings on sex, etc. It was a desire to use the pulpit to selectively promote areas where the Church and Republicanism intersect, while playing down the areas where they do not.

In Francis' accessible, down to earth way, it looks like kind of politicking is being disowned from the man at the top. American Catholics are not blind to this change, however subtle it may seem. And they're reacting as expected, across the spectrum.

Francis is not going to turn me back into a believer. But he's already made me less embarrassed for the tradition I grew up in.
posted by 2N2222 at 12:56 PM on November 26, 2013 [18 favorites]


2) I hope he has amazing security. You can't start talking like this and not piss of some crazy powerful people.

Because turning him into a martyr would be a way to reduce his influence...
posted by Francis at 12:59 PM on November 26, 2013


2N2222: "While Jahaza and Blasdelb are correct, there has been a noticeable change, even if only symbolic. And this is a sorely needed change."

Yeah, this. Exactly. I'm no defender of the Church at all, but symbolic change can be effective change none the less.
posted by brundlefly at 1:02 PM on November 26, 2013


He might not be offed by the Corporate Forces of Evil or Disgruntled Church Conservatives. His anti-corruption drive is apparently really pissing off the Mafia too.
posted by Devonian at 1:04 PM on November 26, 2013


2) I hope he has amazing security. You can't start talking like this and not piss of some crazy powerful people.

He certainly has amazingly stressed out security.
posted by homunculus at 1:04 PM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Just how trivially easy it must be to cynically manufacture both love and hate, in this shallow yet powerfully enthusiastic form, in our modern era to do it so accidentally from the same substance terrifies me. Holy fuck. Are we really this delighted with our collective ignorance and so willing to feel how we're told to?

Not a student of history I see. The political realm is another perfect example of this...people being told how they should vote and doing so in droves. It seems you are being really obtuse/melodramatic about a fairly straightforward social phenomenon. Yes, mass media is a powerful tool for thought control, narrative creation, and behavior modification.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 1:04 PM on November 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


agregoli: "why on earth can't a woman be a priest, for starters?"

Do you really want to know? The answer to this question is laid out in all sorts of places.
posted by jquinby at 1:05 PM on November 26, 2013


Um, no, thanks. I was raised Catholic. The answer is obviously sexism.
posted by agregoli at 1:08 PM on November 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Pope Francis Strafes Libertarian Economics
I've heard a number of conservative Catholic commentators remark numerous times that it's silly for left-wing people to be highlighting Pope Francis' thoughts on economic policy because all this stuff has been Catholic doctrine for a long time. I think this misses the point. Obviously a new Pope isn't going to make up a new religious doctrine from scratch. But when you have a corpus of thinking and tradition that spans centuries, it makes a great deal of difference what you emphasize.

I remember very clearly having been an intern in Chuck Schumer's office and attending with the Senator, some of his staff, and a wide swathe of New York City political elites an event at St Patrick's Cathedral to celebrate the posthumous award of the Congressional Gold Medal to Archbishop John O'Connor. His successor, Archbishop Egan, delivered an address that went on at length about O'Connor's charitable work, but on a public policy level addressed almost exclusively the Church's support for banning abortion, for discriminating against gay and lesbian couples, and for school vouchers. That was a choice he made about what he thought it was important for people to hear about. Pope Francis is making a different kind of choice.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:11 PM on November 26, 2013 [7 favorites]


He's right, you know.
posted by Mister_A at 1:12 PM on November 26, 2013


Go Pope!
posted by freakazoid at 1:14 PM on November 26, 2013


Um, no, thanks. I was raised Catholic. The answer is obviously sexism.

Well, that's both reductionist and dismissive.
posted by Apocryphon at 1:15 PM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


For better and for worse, style matters. It is human nature to respond to style. Style can make you persuasive, or it can make you seem sinister, hidebound, stentorian, etc.
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:15 PM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I guess it's nice that so many of the disinterested are so charmed by the new Pope. It's just disheartening that all it took was a more sympathetic choice of pull-quotes.
posted by klarck at 1:19 PM on November 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Socialism is Christianity’s only living child. Will they reject each other, or will they learn to work together to build a better future?
posted by No Robots at 1:22 PM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I guess it's nice that so many of the disinterested are so charmed by the new Pope. It's just disheartening that all it took was a more sympathetic choice of pull-quotes.

Perhaps the same can be said of all politicians.

Socialism is Christianity’s only living child. Will they reject each other, or will they learn to work together to build a better future?

Whose child is Libertarianism?
posted by Apocryphon at 1:23 PM on November 26, 2013


Whose child is Libertarianism?

The bastard child of a thousand maniacs.
posted by entropicamericana at 1:24 PM on November 26, 2013 [8 favorites]


Nobody's. Libertarianism raised itself as a babe in the woods, trapping its prey, eating what it killed and meeting its own needs with the strength of its own hands. Nobody taught it anything; it just figured it all out on its own.

Libertarianism owes nothing to nobody.
posted by gauche at 1:25 PM on November 26, 2013 [32 favorites]


Apocryphon: "Whose child is Libertarianism?"

Mammon?
posted by brundlefly at 1:28 PM on November 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


Apocryphon: " Whose child is Libertarianism?"

David Dunning and Justin Kruger.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:33 PM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


...and Moloch.
posted by jquinby at 1:33 PM on November 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Apocryphon: “Whose child is Libertarianism?”

entropicamericana: “The bastard child of a thousand maniacs.”

Nah, I think one of the songs she did after she left the band and went solo probably catches the spirit of Libertarianism best of all.
posted by koeselitz at 1:37 PM on November 26, 2013


Whose child is Libertarianism?

The Buddha's, according to the Gospel of Otto.
posted by homunculus at 1:38 PM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]




I'm also very pleased that the Pope is using his office to promote an ideological stance countervailing the de facto doctrine of economic-might-makes-right which seems to go largely unquestioned these days.

Although I am not religious (I think my feelings about the divine are most accurately described as ignosticist), I think it should not be forgotten that religion can accomplish that countervailing in part because of its ability to make transcendental claims about what our relationship to each other as members of society really is, and by reifying society as a sacred association. That's a tremendously powerful idea, and potentially very good for social, economic and distributional justice. I hope it will prove so in this case.

Whose child is Libertarianism?

Could it be the product of bourgeois obliviousness and white male privilege? It certainly seems that way to me as it's instantiated in the few true believer libertarians I've met.

Just how trivially easy it must be to cynically manufacture both love and hate, in this shallow yet powerfully enthusiastic form, in our modern era to do it so accidentally from the same substance terrifies me. Holy fuck. Are we really this delighted with our collective ignorance and so willing to feel how we're told to?

I think I see what you see in this situation, but perhaps there is a more charitable and equally valid way to understand it. Perhaps love and hate are not being cynically manufactured. Perhaps it is that in the modern era, the most vocal and active contingents of religious collectivities have generally failed to defend the economically weak from the economically powerful, and that the Catholic Church itself has failed to rectify some pretty awful wrongs done by its agents, and so it is not easy or simple for people to reconcile those facts with the evident good that the current Pope is preaching.
posted by clockzero at 1:43 PM on November 26, 2013 [5 favorites]


I just read a strange letter in today's local newspaper by a guy calling for the US to cut diplomatic ties with the Vatican, because, you know, we don't have diplomatic ties to other religious organizations and therefore we are violating the First Amendment. I wonder if the letter writer is just a lone crackpot or this will be the official right wing talking point reaction to Pope Francis.
posted by tommyD at 1:44 PM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Well that's a pretty shallow and dismissive way to respond, Blasdelb."

Both the Guardian and Russia Today links in the FPP are things to be dismissive about, they are spoon fed opinions that are fundamentally incorrect, unfortunately like most coverage of the Catholic Church. When did we stop valuing the perspectives of people with the deep kinds of knowledge of things that show opinions to be the shallow meaningless fluff of the ignorant that they are?

Y'all don't really think that Francis living in the Vatican guesthouse rather than the Papal Apartments means that he intends to do anything different about the Catholic Church's role as the guardian of such a huge portion of humanity's cultural wealth do you? You know, what the papal apartments are a small piece of, what their purpose is. Because, as complicated as that would be, it would actually mean something and be different from his predecessor in an actually substantial way, one worth actually thinking of him in such a dramatically different way. I am myself very low church oriented, but its funny how its seemingly the same voices that make fun of American Evangelicals for worshiping in malls (with very cheaply built and easily maintained buildings that don't interfere with their missions and have other useful secondary purposes), that also revel in pointing out the hypocrisy of the Catholic pomp that Benedict XVI was such a fan of. They are simply two extreme ends of a spectrum that most of us here have just never actually examined our thoughts about in a meaningful way, its no wonder they are so easy to manipulate for eyeballs.

For all the same reasons why a mass metafilter viewing of The Life of Brian would require one of metafilter's five dozen or so open Christians to explain most of the jokes, as a community we fundamentally lack the religious literacy to actually discern anything more meaningful about the Catholic Church than we would about quantum physics without physicsmatt's help, yet some how here all of our opinions matter because they're all so very special.

Fuck that, some things are worth dismissing.
posted by Blasdelb at 1:47 PM on November 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm not sure what you're expecting from non-Catholics, Blasdelb. Those who aren't following the Pope as a spiritual leader have a lot less incentive to view the source material that these supposedly erroneous media reports are said to be misinterpreting. We can't all be experts on everything, and to some extent, have to use news coverage as a shortcut to form our opinions of the Church.

You and others are right to point out that our opinions are less informed on the details behind these stories, but that also gives us an outsider's perspective that helps us better see the Church's warts where insiders might not. Just because someone's expressing an opinion on MetaFilter doesn't mean they think their opinion is as informed as yours. It's just their opinion, and, with any luck, we have interactions like this one, where someone who's more informed on the details can explain to us why the media has it wrong, and how that's caused us to misunderstand the Church.

Maybe we won't come to a mutual understanding, and maybe to a lot of us the Church's positions on social issues are noxious enough that, in our own moral calculus, it undermines whatever good does emanate from the Vatican, but at least we can have the conversation, provided people aren't turned off by self-righteous attacks like yours.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:56 PM on November 26, 2013 [10 favorites]


Blasdelb: "Both the Guardian and Russia Today links in the FPP are things to be dismissive about"

Except you weren't responding to those links, you were responding to people in this thread, including myself. Or rather not responding, but copying, pasting and talking about us. So I'd say your dismissiveness is not very constructive in terms of the conversation in this thread.

Meanwhile, to elaborate on my comment that you were quoting, I'd only point to zombieflanders' link: "it makes a great deal of difference what you emphasize." And my reaction to what the Pope chooses to emphasize has doodly-squat to do with where he sleeps at night.
posted by brundlefly at 2:03 PM on November 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


"I'd love to see Santorum, Gingrich, and Ryan's responses to this."

Back before Santorum decided that his national ambition meant being the king of shithead mountain, he was actually a pretty reliable vote for bipartisan social spending. I think he's an idiot and a loon for his social ideas, but he only really embraced the free marketeer rhetoric after he decided to run for president.
posted by klangklangston at 2:10 PM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


When did we stop valuing the perspectives of people with the deep kinds of knowledge of things that show opinions to be the shallow meaningless fluff of the ignorant that they are?...For all the same reasons why a mass metafilter viewing of The Life of Brian would require one of metafilter's five dozen or so open Christians to explain most of the jokes, as a community we fundamentally lack the religious literacy to actually discern anything more meaningful about the Catholic Church than we would about quantum physics without physicsmatt's help, yet some how here all of our opinions matter because they're all so very special.

Fuck that, some things are worth dismissing.


I think there are plenty of people here who are religiously literate but have no idea what the significance of dwelling or not dwelling in the Papal Apartments might be for a pope. That sort of knowledge would constitute an outrageously high standard for religious literacy.

It's totally unfair, and uncharacteristically uncharitable of you, to suggest that people here might not value the perspectives of people with deep kinds of knowledge. You yourself are widely respected, admired and beloved by people on this site due (at least in part) to your erudition and the generous way you deploy it here.
posted by clockzero at 2:14 PM on November 26, 2013 [12 favorites]


He's right, you know.

About the Ox?
posted by hwyengr at 2:21 PM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh wait, Libertarianism is simply the child of Adam Smith's, after he was dipped into the vat of the chemical substance that produced the Joker.
posted by Apocryphon at 2:28 PM on November 26, 2013 [6 favorites]


Does anyone know the politics of how Francis got to wear the hat? and so quickly.
The cardinals are sworn to secrecy during conclave, so any real details on how the election actually went down will be conjecture and speculation, but this WSJ article is decent as far setting context.

The basic choice that the Church has had to make with respect to its longterm future is: preservation or evangelization. The congregation is more or less split between a traditional population bloc of Europeans and North Americans who are growing increasingly secular and disenchanted with the Church, and a newer flock of South American, African and Asian converts. Ratzinger\Benedict had swung the Church in the direction of entrenchment: we will never regain the massive influence that we previously had, and it would be folly to try and become more accommodating, because that would mean diluting who we are as the Church.

However, Benedict's reign was ridden with scandal and corruption, including ongoing child sex abuse allegations and its own mini Wikileaks incident. And so, it seems, the general sentiment within the Curia appears to have been, "well, the traditionalists have had their chance. Let's try something else."

And, here's the thing, right: the Church isn't some monolithic organization in the pockets of the Illuminati or The People Who Run The World. It's made up of people, some liberal, some conservative, some selfish, some compassionate. Yes, there are many examples supporting cruelty, oppression and tyranny and the Church As An Institution has problems with confronting its own baggage with regarding to holding its own priests accountable. But it is also made up of hundred of thousands of clergy who believe in evolution and take care of the poor and rail against the tyranny of the modern economy. It has nuns who are fighting their own fight to be treated equally within an institution that they love. To say that Francis' election is an aberration is somewhat akin to foreigners looking at Obama's election as some kind of crazy fluke rather than as a celebration of the multicultural society that America really is based on.

I mean, yes, to an extent: Obama's election was exceptional. But it wasn't a product of temporary insanity or miscalculation. It is the latest expression of a growing bloc of opinion advocating for change and social consciousness and compassion, and non-Americans who ignore this ignore the vast capacity for generosity and humility that American could have in its character, much in the same way that non-Catholics ignore all of the charity, counseling and community support that the Church does provide outside of the spotlight of Nazi collusion, homophobia and sex abuse.
posted by bl1nk at 2:28 PM on November 26, 2013 [18 favorites]


Bernie Sanders just RT'ed the Pope.

That's a totally weird thing to write in all seriousness.
posted by sonika at 2:29 PM on November 26, 2013 [16 favorites]


as a community we fundamentally lack the religious literacy to actually discern anything more meaningful about the Catholic Church than we would about quantum physics without physicsmatt's help, yet some how here all of our opinions matter because they're all so very special.

Well spotted! I shall reframe my comments to accurately reflect my irredeemably nonseminarian pigignorance:

So, what does it say that we're gettin' all weirded out on account of the Pope is gettin' all Jesusy n' shit?
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:41 PM on November 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


Y'all don't really think that Francis living in the Vatican guesthouse rather than the Papal Apartments means that he intends to do anything different about the Catholic Church's role as the guardian of such a huge portion of humanity's cultural wealth do you?

No, I brought it up because you were discussing this in a way that read to me as if you were suggesting it was purely a media narrative and not a Church led narrative of change. I don't disagree with you that the rhetoric and actions are not particularly unique or impressive. The main point is they are desperate for their identity to be something other than the organization that covered up systemic child abuse.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:43 PM on November 26, 2013


Jahaza: "If you think this pope is saying something radically new on economic questions it's just because you weren't paying attention."

Thank you. It's incredible how people think this is something new. That's not how the church operates people. Vide Vatican II, and what has been happening for decades in Latin America and Africa. I know you want to hate the church, progressives, but you'd be surprised by how much you have in common with it.
posted by gertzedek at 3:10 PM on November 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


> "... Pope Francis the loose cannon, shaking up the status quo!"

I'm taking your badge and hat, Francis!

Because you're a loose Canon!
posted by kyrademon at 3:11 PM on November 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


zombieflanders: Quote from Slate: "I've heard a number of conservative Catholic commentators remark numerous times that it's silly for left-wing people to be highlighting Pope Francis' thoughts on economic policy because all this stuff has been Catholic doctrine for a long time. I think this misses the point. Obviously a new Pope isn't going to make up a new religious doctrine from scratch. But when you have a corpus of thinking and tradition that spans centuries, it makes a great deal of difference what you emphasize."

Yeah, one of the concrete things that's likely to come out of this is, remember when John Kerry was running for president and periodically some bishop would threaten that if Kerry came to Kansas City and tried to attend Mass, all priests would be ordered to refuse him communion because he's de facto excommunicate because of his stance on abortion? That's a cudgel that has been used against liberal Catholic candidates in the U.S. shockingly, shockingly often, and with increased vigor, over the past 15 years. It's bedevilled Catholics in the United States in public life since the 1800s, was addressed repeatedly by Kennedy ("would he take orders from Rome?"), and started to die away. People basically thought it was a settled question after Mario Cuomo's lovely 1984 speech on serving as a devout Catholic who's a public official:
"In addition to all the weaknesses, dilemmas and temptations that impede every pilgrim's progress, the Catholic who holds political office in a pluralistic democracy -- who is elected to serve Jews and Muslims, atheists and Protestants, as well as Catholics -- bears special responsibility. He or she undertakes to help create conditions under which all can live with a maximum of dignity and with a reasonable degree of freedom; where everyone who chooses may hold beliefs different from specifically Catholic ones -- sometimes contradictory to them; where the laws protect people's right to divorce, to use birth control and even to choose abortion."
But it rose again and suddenly bishops are threatening to refuse Catholics communion based on their voting records ("Today, Catholic politicians, bureaucrats, and their electoral supporters who callously enable the destruction of innocent human life in the womb also thereby reject Jesus as their Lord. They are objectively guilty of grave sin. ... I therefore call upon every practicing Catholic in this Diocese to vote. Be faithful to Christ and to your Catholic Faith," from the pulpit of every parish in the diocese, the Sunday before Obama/Romney election), which is shocking both as a citizen of a democracy and as a sincere and pilgrim Catholic.

That's a powerful (and ever so medieval) cudgel -- to threaten excommunication for politicians (and voters) who support particular parties or measures -- and in the United States it has been used EXCLUSIVELY against Catholics who are Democrats, never against Catholics who are Republicans. Republicans taking strong stances in favor of capital punishment are never threatened by their bishops. Republicans rejecting Obamacare (which the US Catholic Church lobbied in favor of, more or less, except for the birth control part) were not threatened. Republicans cutting food stamps are not threatened.

There is a section in this document about the Eucharist that caught my eye:
"47. The Church is called to be the house of the Father, with doors always wide open. One concrete sign of such openness is that our church doors should always be open, so that if someone, moved by the Spirit, comes there looking for God, he or she will not find a closed door. There are other doors that should not be closed either. Everyone can share in some way in the life of the Church; everyone can be part of the community, nor should the doors of the sacraments be closed for simply any reason. This is especially true of the sacrament which is itself “the door”: baptism. The Eucharist, although it is the fullness of sacramental life, is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.[51] These convictions have pastoral consequences that we are called to consider with prudence and boldness. Frequently, we act as arbiters of grace rather than its facilitators. But the Church is not a tollhouse; it is the house of the Father, where there is a place for everyone, with all their problems." (emphasis mine)
I read this, in context with the rest of the document, as being a warning to stop that shit, that access to the Eucharist is not a political bargaining chip, and likewise that the Church will be renewing its PUBLIC emphasis on the "social justice Gospel," as people often call it. I don't think Francis would outright say this or order it, but I think he's making clear that a) bishops need to speak equally clearly on positions of the Church that are "liberal" positions in secular politics as they do on those that are "conservative," and b) that using the Eucharist as a political cudgel will not be tolerated. (I think it's also speaking to issues like refusing divorced-and-remarried Catholics communion, and some similar issues, but in relation to this particular discussion at MetaFilter I'm just on this one point.)

Now, while the Church's economic teachings have been pretty consistent over the past 100, 150 years, there are a few things to say. First, that's a lot more clear to South Americans, whose Catholic theology has had a LOT more to say about economics, and to continental Europeans, whose socialist parties tend to have Christian roots. In the United States, the Church's economic teachings (and its social justice teachings more generally) have very much been swarmed under by a focus on a "narrow" Gospel of Life (abortion, euthenasia, capital punishment, etc., but rarely including fair wage issues, for example) at the official level -- certainly since the 1980s, but I'd argue even longer than that. Second, John Paul II was very much associated with capitalism as against the evils of Soviet/Stalinist Communism in his beloved Poland (and other parts of the Eastern Bloc), a cause he was active in for basically his entire life. It's clear from his own writings that John Paul II supported a social democracy model (that is, something like Norway -- JPII defended the right to private property and thought free markets were an expression of human freedom, but also emphasized the responsibility of the state to provide a safety net, the responsibility of humans in community to care for each other, the role of trade unions, etc), but the economic narrative of his Papacy, because of the narrative of the Cold War, was very much about "John Paul II is a capitalist."

I think it's disingenuous to say that what a Pope chooses to emphasize doesn't matter; it matters a lot (I think Benedict would be the FIRST to argue that symbols matter!). My master's degree is in liturgy and I've got no beef with Benedict's love of high ceremony -- in fact I would (cogently!) argue that liturgy is important to human life and well being and it is, in fact, one of the most important functions of the Church in the way it provides actual comfort and community. But -- how to phrase this? -- Francis's emphasis on Jesus's preferential option for the poor speaks more loudly of Christ's Gospel to the current world and the suffering of God's people, and that is one of the roles of the Pope in the modern age -- to speak to the world.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 3:14 PM on November 26, 2013 [57 favorites]


what has been happening for decades in Latin America

I assume you're referring to liberation theology; if so, it's worth pointing out that it was on the receiving end of tremendous hostility from both John Paul II and Benedict for its radicalism and associations with Marxism (back when Benedict was Cardinal Ratzinger, he was essentially the church's doctrinal enforcer on this point, and censured and even excommunicated numerous dissident liberation theology priests). The fact that Francis clearly has much stronger sympathies with liberation theology (no doubt due to his Latin American background) is indeed a significant change of direction for the church at this level.
posted by scody at 3:23 PM on November 26, 2013 [10 favorites]


I love this pope.
posted by caddis at 3:25 PM on November 26, 2013


Oh, and this: I know you want to hate the church, progressives, but you'd be surprised by how much you have in common with it.

...is unnecessary. Back when I was still a practicing Catholic, I was very much influenced by liberation theology and the Catholic Worker movement, and there are Catholics who do progressive, social justice work all over the country.
posted by scody at 3:31 PM on November 26, 2013 [11 favorites]


The cardinals are sworn to secrecy during conclave, so any real details on how the election actually went down will be conjecture and speculation

Unless the NSA decides to share.
posted by homunculus at 3:41 PM on November 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest." - Denis Diderot

I'm broadly against all authoritarian religions, and some non-authoritarian religions of fuzzy thinking too, but..

We're headed towards drastic economic and political reforms needed to end the inequality created by allowing capitalists to horde the profits that result from technology eliminating so much work, vaguely analogous to unionization after the industrial revolution.

We'll likely need serious help from at least some major religions that, like Catholicism, hold sway over vast populations. And I much prefer Jubilee's focus on debt forgiveness over say Islamic finance's focus on not investing in pork products.
posted by jeffburdges at 4:10 PM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I mean, yes, to an extent: Obama's election was exceptional. But it wasn't a product of temporary insanity or miscalculation.

Well, absent McCain/Palin, I'd down grade Obama's chances pretty considerably. I know plenty of people who voted for him in '08 and have come to regret it mightily. Or blame the Republicans for putting up such a pathetic alternative

As to the pope and money - if this latest surprises you, you haven't been paying attention. Mind you, I could wish he extends his criticism to a few central bankers I can think of....
posted by IndigoJones at 4:21 PM on November 26, 2013


I know you want to hate the church, progressives, but you'd be surprised by how much you have in common with it.

...is really patronising.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:25 PM on November 26, 2013 [7 favorites]


It's as if the cardinals accidentally chose a Christian to be pope.
posted by uosuaq at 4:28 PM on November 26, 2013 [7 favorites]


brinkzilla: "What are the opinions of the super infatuated popaholics when he offers these “liberal” opinions? I am curious. "

Your Catholic vocabulary word for the day is "ultramontane," which refers to a super-infatuated pope-aholic (or, more properly, "a religious philosophy within the Catholic Church that places strong emphasis on the prerogatives and powers of the Pope"). It refers to French Catholics who, in the wake of the Protestant Reformation, placed more emphasis on the Pope's role than on local bishops' roles, insisting on the right of the Pope "beyond the mountains" (i.e., across the Alps in Italy) to interfere in what others considered purely internal French matters. So when you want to talk about somebody who is all POPE #1 FOREVER MR. AUTHORITY, they're ultramontane. They might also be conservative, or traditionalist, or not, but the emphasis on the Pope is ultramontanism. (I like this word because of the vivid picture of the guy away over the mountains.)

Anyway, my sincere and devout ultramontane conservative friends are struggling, but they all believe he was called by the Holy Spirit and so they say things like, "I'm really struggling to understand what he's saying" (as in, I'm trying hard to get it and thinking hard about it) and sometimes, "I don't know how to think about this" when they can't get their heads around it. I think both of these are GOOD THINGS because ultramontane conservatives tend to be a little bit "The Pope said it, I believe it, that's the end of it," and "Ethical issues are clear and uncomplicated," and don't spend a lot of time thinking about complex ethical problems, so they're often pretty flummoxed when, say, their traditionally Anglo-Irish parish has a huge influx of Spanish-speaking immigrants, some undocumented, who are much poorer than the Anglo-Irish parishioners, and suddenly there are all these competing demands on limited time and money that draw on larger ethical questions than they've been facing before (it's a different question to say, "how should we balance our budget between the needs of the local Catholic school and the retirement fund for nuns?" than to say, "how should we balance our budget between the school and undocumented workers being abused by agribusiness companies who are not being fed enough, when all of the children and the workers are members of our parish?").

I think for those people it's really healthy, because their reverence for the Pope is leading them to take seriously and really engage with points of view they hadn't considered before, and to really examine their own beliefs and religious practices. And they're sometimes realizing that they CAN'T reconcile their own conscience with the Pope's statements, because sometimes things aren't easy and clear, and all they can do is keep struggling with it. (A friend of mine from college who was a theology major with me e-mailed me and said, basically, Okay, I feel sort-of bad now for dismissing theological liberals for their struggles between the Church's teaching and their own conscience's refusal to submit to it as arrogance or ignorance, now I'm going through it and this is HARD!) Sometimes friends of mine like this make statements that are a little amusing or eye-roll-inducing on Facebook as they struggle with this, but I keep that to myself because they are sincere people, who are trying to be good people and good Catholics, and don't deserve to be made fun of for publicly struggling with their consciences and their faith.

The angry ultramontane conservatives who have always wielded the Pope as an angry weapon in service of a bizarre idealized Church that only they can see, that has only the most glancing reference to Jesus, who are FREAKING THE HELL OUT? Yes, I am definitely having some schadenfreude about that and smirking on the inside. They're tending towards "Obviously a bad Pope like Pope X who did Some Terrible Thing in the middle ages," or "Liberals used their mass media campaign to pretend Francis was a conservative until he was elected and all those cardinals were duped," or "God is testing the Church," or "The Church is in the wilderness!" And they all say "We're just gonna have to pray really hard that the Church straightens out soon," but somehow I think what they're mostly going to do is post angry screeds in internet comment sections and be self-righteous about stuff and complain about poor people.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:51 PM on November 26, 2013 [39 favorites]


Eyebrows McGee, thank you for all of your input. I really value it.

As an ex-Catholic, with many many Catholic friends still - this is the first time I've seen them enthused (almost giddy) about the pope. It has absolutely revitalized their charity and volunteering. So that's an actual Good Thing that's happening, as a consequence of this pope's "style".
posted by gaspode at 5:21 PM on November 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


(and I went to Jesuit school my whole life, so I admit to a little fist pump every time he says something about poverty and charity and what have you.)
posted by gaspode at 5:22 PM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, but my Christian Brothers school had a Jesuit rival in football...so screw them. They don't even have a cheap brandy named after them, pretty lame.
posted by Drinky Die at 5:33 PM on November 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Why does liberation theology have to be the go-to economically progressive-friendly Catholic ideology to jump to? What about Christian democracy?
posted by Apocryphon at 5:52 PM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


For all the same reasons why a mass metafilter viewing of The Life of Brian would require one of metafilter's five dozen or so open Christians to explain most of the jokes

Lapsed Christians, converts, atheists and agnostics are familiar with Christianity quite often. I don't know why you'd assume otherwise.
posted by ersatz at 6:29 PM on November 26, 2013 [13 favorites]


If Pope Francis' Exhortation chips even a single mote out of the dam of American-style "bootstrap-ism" such that some day the dam bursts and people who would rather punish the poor than serve them have a metanoia and come to see their old philosophy for the shameful waste of human potential that it is, then they should erect a statue to the man in St. Peter's Square. The statue will, of course, depict Francis I kissing the feet of a prisoner, and be the largest statue in Vatican City.
posted by ob1quixote at 6:31 PM on November 26, 2013


While at the same time hoping that the inertia of the progress on LGBT rights, at least in the western world, was too strong for him to get in the way of.

Please tell me you meant "momentum". Because that's what has been growing, at least in the western world. Momentum.
posted by hippybear at 6:41 PM on November 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Pope John XXIII has been reincarnated. I will pass on whether decrying capitalism is the message but will say that criticizing others for hard work and success is certainly not the message. Criticizing selfish behavior is legitimate but selfish behavior can be exhibited by failing to do your best and expecting others to lift your burdens when you are truly capable.
posted by OhSusannah at 7:52 PM on November 26, 2013


I remember a few years ago when everyone was talking about Obama's Long Game. I'm sure that'll kick in any day now, but even if everyone's wildest Obama dreams were true, his purported long game timescale is like what, a decade?

Popes, now they have a long game. Mother Church has seen legit Empires fall & rise & fall. This whole liberal democracy & equality kick people tend to be big on these days is a newish fad of the past few centuries. So yeah, not necessarily a big booster of capitalism, but I wouldn't expect much more than a tactical retrenchment on the gays & women stuff.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 8:39 PM on November 26, 2013


Economic justice. Its in vogue.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:48 PM on November 26, 2013


I wonder what, if anything, this will change with regard to the investigation concluded in 2012 of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (previously on mefi), which determined that "Nuns, the investigation also concluded, spend too much energy on poverty and economic injustice and not enough on abortion and same-sex marriage."
posted by rtha at 10:06 PM on November 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


Considering that took place under the previous administration, I would imagine that, if it were ever examined under the current, it would vanish.
posted by hippybear at 10:13 PM on November 26, 2013


I will pass on whether decrying capitalism is the message but will say that criticizing others for hard work and success is certainly not the message. Criticizing selfish behavior is legitimate but selfish behavior can be exhibited by failing to do your best and expecting others to lift your burdens when you are truly capable.

From the piece:
In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world...This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting.
So, actually, he is decrying capitalism. Not in general, but most definitely post-Reagan American hypercapitalism--he's not using the words "trickle down" and "free market" by accident--and its various exported versions. He's decrying the nasty GOP talking point-type of capitalism that defines "selfish" down to "not personally stealing food from children" whole portraying those excluded from success as lazy moochers/parasites/takers/47-percenters/etc. He's decrying the capitalism that has created a false idol in "success" and an underclass of sinners for whom it is an original sin not of their own making. He's decrying the capitalism that says that those sinners should be blessed when the largesse of their betters makes it way towards them, even though they don't deserve it. He's decrying the capitalism that cries for "economic freedom" as a hypothetical utopia when there is precious little of it for the vast majority in the real world. He's decrying the capitalism that says that being rewarded for being born to the right people in the right place at the right time is just and good, while not achieving success regardless of overwhelmingly oppressive external factors is entirely due to personal failings.

The piece isn't subtitled "Fuck It, Charles Pierce is Right, Paul Ryan Is a Zombie-Eyed Granny Starver," but I feel like maybe it should have been, just for trolling purposes.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:12 AM on November 27, 2013 [12 favorites]


Steve M at No More Mr. Nice Blog makes the same point (regarding Francis' economic message) as Jahaza.
posted by Eyebeams at 6:41 AM on November 27, 2013


selfish behavior can be exhibited by failing to do your best and expecting others to lift your burdens when you are truly capable

So, like, running a financial institution into the ground due to greed and letting the taxpayer bail you out?
posted by billiebee at 6:55 AM on November 27, 2013 [8 favorites]


selfish behavior can be exhibited by failing to do your best and expecting others to lift your burdens when you are truly capable.

Funny how it's always those from a position of power who get to define what millions of people have "failed to do" and of what they are "truly capable."
posted by scody at 8:41 AM on November 27, 2013 [11 favorites]


Funny how it's always those from a position of power who get to define what millions of people have "failed to do" and of what they are "truly capable."

It's also funny how the position is so often that you can give them a bigger slice of the pie.
posted by jaduncan at 9:59 AM on November 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Bonus: Rush Limbaugh has declared that Pope Francis is a Marxist.
posted by scody at 2:34 PM on November 27, 2013 [1 favorite]




I was trying to find a quote to pull out of that Boris Johnson article, but every single thing he said made me want to rip my eyes out. It's also ironic that he mocked the "16% of our species [that] have an IQ below 85" when his whole shtick is playing the bumbling idiot.
posted by billiebee at 5:54 PM on November 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Bonus: Rush Limbaugh has declared that Pope Francis is a Marxist.

Well fuck, I guess I’m going to have to check out this "Catholic" thing.
posted by bongo_x at 5:57 PM on November 27, 2013 [6 favorites]


Extra Bonus: I have declared that Rush Limbaugh is an oily shitstain on the saggy y-fronts of the nation.
posted by elizardbits at 6:39 PM on November 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


This fits nicely with Pope Benedict's support of labor unions.
posted by oddman at 7:53 PM on November 27, 2013


If you have an oily stain on your y-fronts, see your doctor.
posted by hippybear at 8:16 PM on November 27, 2013 [2 favorites]




Bonus: Rush Limbaugh has declared that Pope Francis is a Marxist.

that's nothing, wait til he finds out he's Catholic
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 6:14 AM on November 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


bongo_x: "Well fuck, I guess I’m going to have to check out this "Catholic" thing."

Here is a good place to start.
posted by jquinby at 8:07 AM on November 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm imagining a future where after the Vice Presidency, Joe Biden:Inequality::Al Gore:Climate Change if the Pope's words hit him just right. It's kind of a glorious daydream because Joe speaking off the cuff and agitating about this stuff without so many handlers would be amazing.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:54 AM on November 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


Omnivore: Resuscitating the Catholic Church
posted by homunculus at 12:29 PM on November 29, 2013


Okay, this is kind of funny:

Pope: I was once a bar bouncer
The popular pontiff was once a bouncer at a nightclub in his native Argentina, Francis told Catholics at a church outside Rome earlier this week.

He has also swept floors and run tests in a chemical laboratory, the Pope said, in revelations sure to boost his image as a "pope of the people." And, as leader of the Jesuit community in Argentina, he woke at 5:30 a.m. to do the priests' laundry, according to author Christopher Lowney.

Francis didn't offer details about his career as a bouncer, according to L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, or what connection his velvet-rope experience might have to his current job as Vicar of Christ and head of the Roman Catholic Church.
It is truly a lapse in judgement that no one asked the follow-up: "So...you used to kick ass for the Lord?"
posted by zombieflanders at 1:04 PM on December 3, 2013




Is DC still doing Batman Incorporated?

Because I would be all over Pope Batman.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 3:25 PM on December 3, 2013 [5 favorites]






Because I would be all over Pope Batman.

The Colbert Report: Rumors of The Pope's Secret Life
posted by homunculus at 9:24 AM on December 4, 2013




Would Someone Just Shut That Pope Up? by Patrick J. Deneen at The American Conservative:
The right’s contretemps with Pope Francis has brought out into the open what is rarely mentioned in polite company: most visible and famous Catholics who fight on behalf of Catholic causes in America focus almost exclusively on sexual issues (as Pope Francis himself seemed to be pointing out, and chastising, in his America interview), but have been generally silent regarding a century-old tradition of Catholic social and economic teaching. The meritocracy and economic elite have been a main beneficiary of this silence: those most serious about Catholicism—and thus who could have brought to bear a powerful tradition of thinking about economics that avoids both the radical individualistic presuppositions of capitalism as well as the collectivism of socialism—have spent their energies fighting the sexual/culture wars, even while Republican-Democratic ruling machine has merely changed driver seat in a limousine that delivers them to ever-more exclusive zip codes.
posted by 2N2222 at 5:32 PM on December 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I read that Deneen article this morning - it's quite good.
posted by koeselitz at 8:53 PM on December 6, 2013


The Colbert Report: Rumors of The Pope's Secret Life

Best joke in that bit: When the camera puts Colbert at a Dutch angle, the little pictures to his left also go at a Dutch angle.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 9:31 PM on December 6, 2013


JPII and Benedict are emphatically anti-Marxist.
posted by No Robots at 8:25 AM on December 7, 2013


You know, it's totally possible to be anti-capitalist and anti-Marxist at the same time. A lot of anarchists manage it every day!
posted by corb at 4:05 AM on December 8, 2013


You know, it's totally possible to be anti-capitalist and anti-Marxist at the same time. A lot of anarchists manage it every day!

Somewhere a Feudal Monarchist is wishing he could pay the $5 in serf labor to be able to join and favorite that comment.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 6:41 AM on December 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


^Yep. Anarchists are libertarians in black t-shirts.
posted by No Robots at 10:21 AM on December 9, 2013


I am kind of completely smitten with the idea of a down-on-his-luck feudal monarchist who can't use all that serf labor he's got to buy himself groceries or the luxuries of the modern world. It should be a sitcom.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:23 AM on December 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


In Down and Out in Paris and London, Orwell talks briefly about an exiled Russian Duke that guilts/extorts all the Russian refugee waiters in Paris for free meals and drinks and just plain cash!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:31 AM on December 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


The last of a line of feudal lords uses the last of his assets to buy an NYC apartment building for him and his serfs while he tries to restore his estate to its former glory by trying to take over adjacent buildings and businesses with Machiavellian schemes. At some point, there is a minor serf uprising when they get hip to tenants' rights. He extends invitations to buskers to perform for his "court". The building has livestock roaming the halls and small patches of farmland inside of the serf apartments. There is one wacky Joey-type neighbor whose apartment couldn't be bought out, who lives across the hall from him.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:16 AM on December 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


Would it be called Don't Trust the Lord in Apartment 24?
posted by zombieflanders at 11:42 AM on December 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


Coming soon: Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, Gainax's version of the stories of the apostles following Our Lord's crucifixion and resurrection. Come for Jesus' resurrected body being giant and robotic, stay for the endless dysfunction and depression.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:12 PM on December 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


I would absolutely, positively, one hundred percent, watch Don't Trust the Lord in Apartment 24. Also donate to the kickstarter. I'm just saying.
posted by corb at 12:52 PM on December 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Catholic Mark Shea at the conservative National Catholic Register offers this over the right wing reaction to Pope Francis:
Having condemned Francis for his "pure Marxism" the coordinated strategy that is emerging in Right Wing organs of propaganda is to identify Francis with the Right's most reviled bogeyman: Obama. A particularly notable example came out on December 4 at almost exactly the same moment Rush was issuing his second denunciation of Francis: FOX's hit piece on the pope titled (signficantly) "Pope Francis is the Catholic Church's Obama--God Help Us". Like Limbaugh, FOX understands that merely to make the comparison is, of course, to signal to the FOX faithful that Francis is being denounced as Worst Pope Ever in the FOX universe of discourse. The whole strategy of the Limbaugh/FOX attack is designed to make clear to the sort of person who gets all his thinking from Talk Radio (and there are a lot of these) that Francis has been designated an Ideological Enemy.

posted by 2N2222 at 2:00 PM on December 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


And you shall be hated by all men for my name's sake: but he that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved.
posted by No Robots at 2:03 PM on December 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


"Pope Francis is the Catholic Church's Obama--God Help Us"

It's the Fox War on Catholicism!
posted by jaduncan at 3:04 PM on December 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


OH MY GOD HE REALLY IS THE WHORE OF BABYLON
posted by scody at 3:45 PM on December 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


He's Time magazine's Person of the Year.
posted by gaspode at 6:06 AM on December 11, 2013


Pfft, I heard they give that award to everyone.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:33 AM on December 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well, I got it one year, so yeah.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 6:40 AM on December 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


-Pope Francis' Christmas Message: 'Place Ourselves at the Service of the Poor'
-Untier Of Knots: What Is The Meaning Of Pope Francis?
-Deep Dish #2: Why Francis Matters
-How Anti-Christian Is Fox News? "When you absorb the constant racial undertones on Fox, and its constant worship of the god of money, when you absorb their long list of fears about the 'other', whether immigrants or gays or the poor, when you recall their glee at the torture of human beings, or their passion for the death penalty, you can't help but wonder if they are not one of the most powerful forces against Christianity in our culture."
posted by kliuless at 9:33 AM on December 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Pssssh, a measley one year? I've got 2003, 2006 AND 2011! One more than the Pope!

...which goes to show how BS these things have gotten in recent years, because no way should I have more than the Pope.
posted by corb at 9:44 AM on December 18, 2013


Corb: he actually won it those years too, meaning he still has one more than you.
posted by jaduncan at 2:58 AM on December 19, 2013


He was a soldier and a protester? TELL ME THESE STORIES.
posted by corb at 3:29 AM on December 19, 2013


Damnit, I assumed all three were year of you stuff. I withdraw my objection, although if he's ever protested you at least only have the same amount.
posted by jaduncan at 4:16 AM on December 19, 2013


Pope Francis and the Naked Christ
A credo of the Franciscan order was nudus nudum Christum sequi (“follow naked the naked Christ”). It was a radical call to cast aside worldly wealth and belongings and acknowledge the fragile, fallen nature of all men and women. But in casting aside Christ’s garments, the Franciscans made Christ’s nude body a focal point. As a result, according to Steinberg, from about the middle of the thirteenth century until the sixteenth century artists lavished particular care on Christ’s penis, the part of Christ’s body that made him most mortal, and which proved his union with humankind. “One must recognize,” wrote Steinberg, “an ostentatio genitalium comparable to the canonic ostentatio vulnerum, the showing forth of the wounds.”
posted by the man of twists and turns at 5:04 AM on December 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Pope Francis reaches out to atheists on Christmas day:

"I invite even non-believers to desire peace. (Join us) with your desire, a desire that widens the heart. Let us all unite, either with prayer or with desire, but everyone, for peace," he said, drawing sustained applause from the crowd.

Yup... Obama in cassock.
posted by 2N2222 at 9:23 AM on December 26, 2013


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