Fox News opinion piece BLASTS Pope Francis as “the Catholic Church’s Obama” [Fr. Z]

It seems that not everyone in the MSM is an adoring fan of Pope Francis.

This is an … interesting op-ed on the site of Fox News, which is, yes, pretty much MSM now:

Pope Francis is the Catholic Church’s Obama – God help us

by Adam Shaw ****

Pope Francis is undergoing a popularity surge comparable to the way Barack Obama was greeted by the world in 2008. And just as President Obama has been a disappointment for America, Pope Francis will prove a disaster for the Catholic Church. total*disaster for the Church. *As Catholics, we know that one of the marks of the Church is her indefectibility. *No attack on the Church, from within or without, will completely bring her down. *There is no guarantee from the Lord that Hell and hellish minions won’t bring down the Church in certain places, but the Church is indefectible.]

My fellow Catholics should be** suspicious when bastions of anti-Catholicism in the left-wing media are in love with him**. *[True enough, but they will eventually turn on him.]


But Francis is beating a retreat for the Catholic Church, and making sure its controversial doctrines are whispered, not yelled – no wonder the New York Times is in love.

Just like President Obama loved apologizing for America, Pope Francis likes to apologize for the Catholic Church, thinking that the Church is at its best when it is passive and not offending anyone’s sensibilities. **[Is that what the Pope is doing? *Is the writer psychic? I think I could be counted as an experience top Pope-watcher, but I can’t figure out what Francis is up to most of the time. I don’t always like what I see, but I am not ready to come down on any one square yet.]

In his interviews with those in the left-wing media he seeks to impress, ****** Francis has said that the Church needs to stop being ‘obsessed’ with abortion and gay marriage, and instead of seeking to convert people, “we need to get to know each other, listen to each other and improve our knowledge of the world around us.”

This softly-softly approach of not making a fuss has been tried before, and failed. The Second Vatican Council of the 1960’s aimed to “open the windows” of the Church to the modern world by doing just this. ******

The result was the Catholic version of New Coke. *[Okay. The gloves are really off now!] Across the West where the effects were felt, seminaries and convents emptied, church attendance plummeted, and adherence to Church doctrine diminished.

John Paul II and Benedict XVI worked hard to turn this trend around, but now Pope Francis wants the bad old days to resume.

Proof of this is Francis’ aforementioned statement of the Church being obsessed with controversial issues and the need to rebalance by talking about it less.

That Francis didn’t see that this would be translated into headlines of “Pope tells Catholics to shut up about things that offend Sandra Fluke” by every left-wing media outlet shows a terrifying naivety.

Nor do his comments reflect reality.

For years, the majority of priests didn’t dare cover controversial topics in their homilies in fear of getting angry letters from pick-and-choose Catholics outraged that their pastor dared to say something out of line with the Democratic Party. ***[Yes, the writer is correct on this point. *When Pope Francis has spoken about all these people, especially priests, who are obsessed about rules and preaching only about abortion, etc., I had to scratch my head. *Where are these people? Who are they? I sure haven’t met them.]


In trying to please the media and the modern world, Francis mistakes their glee for respect. Just like Obama thought he’d won over Putin by promising a reset, Francis thinks by talking vacuously about the poor, he will be respected. And it is vacuous — the pontiff recently asked why it’s news that the stock market drops but not when an old person dies. When your leader is asking, “Why isn’t the newspaper a laundry list of obituaries?” you know you elected the wrong guy. *[Okay. It’s official. He is definitely not a fan.]

What effect is this having? [And now we get to The Francis Effect™.] For all we’re being told about how ‘disenfranchised’ Catholics are being brought back by Francis ‘reaching out,’ a recent Pew Research study showed that in America, the number of people who identify as Catholic has actually decreased. Lesson:** rubbing the egos of Church-hating left-wingers doesn’t make more Catholics, it just makes the Church less respected**. ***[Do I hear an “Amen!”? I mean… he’s right, right? We can debate whether Francis is doing that, but the point is right.]

Francis not only panders to enemies and professional grievance mongers, but also attacks his allies. Just as Obama snubs Britain and Israel, Pope Francis swipes at practicing Catholics. *[Well… he … welll… ]

So not only has he insulted, and severely damaged the work of, pro-life and pro-marriage groups with his comments, he has also gone on the attack, dismissing Catholics who attend the older rites in Latin as ‘ideologizing’ and being guilty of ‘exploitation.’ Apparently “Who am I to judge?” doesn’t apply here.

On world matters, Francis’ statements are embarrassing. About communism, a destructive ideology that slaughtered millions of Catholics, he said:

“Learning about it through a courageous and honest person was helpful. I realized…an aspect of the social, which I then found in the social doctrine of the Church.”

Not such kind words for the free market, however. In his recent apostolic exhortation he slammed unfettered capitalism, Evangelii gaudium.] calling it ‘a new tyranny.’

Apart from the fact that there is no major nation practicing unfettered capitalism (like Obama, Francis loves attacking straw men) there is more real tyranny in socialist cesspools like Francis’ home of Argentina than in places where capitalism is predominant. **[If only the writer were less inhibited! C’mon, Adam! What do you really think?]


As a Catholic, I do hope Francis’ papacy is a successful one, but from his first months he seems hell-bent on a path to undo the great work of Benedict XVI and John Paul II, and to repeat critical mistakes of the past.

Adam Shaw is a News Editor for and has written on Anglo-American issues as well as topics related to the Roman Catholic Church. He lives in New Jersey and can be reached hereHERE]

I wonder if we are seeing a new trend.

Did Rush’s criticism of Evangelii gaudium the other day give “permission”, as it were, to conservative newsies, etc., to start blasting away?

In any event, Shaw’s piece needed to be read.

I wonder if what sparked his was Pres. Obama’s nightmare speech on income inequality in which he quoted Pope Francis. *Obama’s use of the Pope’s words was utterly slimy, of course. *USA Today has it:

During his income inequality speech on Wednesday, President Obama invoked one of the hottest names in public life: Pope Francis.

“Across the developed world, inequality has increased,” Obama said. “Some of you may have seen just last week, the pope himself spoke about this at eloquent length.”

Obama than quoted Francis: “How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?”

Don’t be shocked to see a president-pope meeting in the coming months.

Blech. *Reading Obama quote Francis gives me the same feeling as the sight of a slug crawl.

I have the combox open, but the moderation queue is switched on. *This could get pretty ugly, and I have a busy day tomorrow.

Full entry…**

The following verse comes to mind, somehow:

“And he said to them: Go and tell that fox: Behold, I cast out devils and do cures, to-day and to-morrow, and the third day I am consummated.”

(Luke 13: 32)

Those who wish to follow Adam Shaw (who has as much authority on this issue as I do, frankly), can do so. I’ll stick with Pope Francis and the Catholic Church.

Sigh. And people like this wonder why the rest of the world can’t take them seriously. Take off those Political glasses for a moment, for Heaven’s sake! :mad:

Anyone calling or eluding or inferring the Pope is a Marxist is being libelous and/or slanderous. IMHO. :frowning:



“In today’s world of instant communication and occasionally biased media coverage, the message we preach runs a greater risk of being distorted or reduced to some of its secondary aspects. [size=4]In this way certain issues [size=4]which are part of the Church’s moral teaching are taken out of the context which gives them their meaning.”[/size]
[size=4]- Pope Francis - Evangelii Gaudium (34)

*"No to an economy of exclusion
Just as the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say “thou shalt not” to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion. Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? This is a case of inequality. Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: [size=4]without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape.

Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded. We have created a “throw away” culture which is now spreading. It is no longer simply about exploitation and oppression, but something new. Exclusion ultimately has to do with what it means to be a part of the society in which we live; those excluded are no longer society’s underside or its fringes or its disenfranchised – they are no longer even a part of it. The excluded are not the “exploited” but the outcast, the “leftovers”.
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. To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others, or to sustain enthusiasm for that selfish ideal, a globalization of indifference has developed. Almost without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people’s pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else’s responsibility and not our own. The culture of prosperity deadens us; we are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase. In the meantime all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us."

OK, So I can see why the liberal world is jumping all over this as a stick to beat conservatives with.

“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, [size=4]invisible and often virtual, which unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules. Debt and the accumulation of interest also make it difficult for countries to realize the potential of their own economies and keep citizens from enjoying their real purchasing power. To all this we can add widespread corruption and self-serving tax evasion, which have taken on worldwide dimensions. The thirst for power and possessions knows no limits. In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule.”

Hmm…and the liberal stick gets bigger.

I am exactly half way through the exhortation. Even the posted quotes should not be viewed as standing alone. It is about the Gospel! It is about evangilization! It is about discernment and purification.


“With this in mind, I encourage financial experts and political leaders to ponder the words of one of the sages of antiquity: ‘Not to share one’s wealth with the poor is to steal from them and to take away their livelihood. It is not our own goods which we hold, but theirs’.”

I was looking for the part that made this not a socialist attack on capitalism…so I could send an e-mail to Mr. Limbaugh showing how he was mistaken…but I haven’t found that part yet…I’ll keep reading…(can anybody point me to the right section?)

It may or may not be what he intended, but the only economic philosopy that Pope Francis seems to explicitly point out as a problem is the belief in “trickle down”. i.e. He doesn’t point to any of the failures in socialist /communist countries to address economic inequalities within their systems.


I agree completely. It’s a small section in exhortation on the Joy of the Gospel.

I’m gonna keep reading but it does appear to be a bit of a socialist op ed writers dream statement.

I think it’s going to be quoted for years…"…Catholics must shun capitalism…" or something to that effect.


"Furthermore, by completely rejecting the transcendent, it has produced a growing deterioration of ethics, a weakening of the sense of personal and collective sin, and a steady increase in relativism. These have led to a general sense of disorientation, especially in the periods of adolescence and young adulthood which are so vulnerable to change. As the bishops of the United States of America have rightly pointed out, while the Church insists on the existence of objective moral norms which are valid for everyone, “there are those in our culture who portray this teaching as unjust, that is, as opposed to basic human rights. Such claims usually follow from a form of moral relativism that is joined, not without inconsistency, to a belief in the absolute rights of individuals. In this view, the Church is perceived as promoting a particular prejudice and as interfering with individual freedom”.59

We are living in an information-driven society which bombards us indiscriminately with data – all treated as being of equal importance – and which leads to remarkable superficiality in [size=4]
the area of moral discernment. In response, we need to provide an education which teaches critical thinking and encourages the development of mature moral values."
Hmm…strange that the media didn’t pick up on this section…


Brother Chuck,

If we make the rich homeless, and the homeless rich, we are right back where we started? No Godless economic system brings Christ to the world. We do not have to shun capitalism. We must not see it as our savior. Be Jesus to the rich and the poor. Be not afraid. Be at peace. Be well.

God bless.

From what I’ve read it doesn’t seem he’s advocating for forced redistribution of wealth but reminding people of God’s instructions to care for the poor.

Francis also didn’t say not to talk about abortion or gay marriage… it seems he wants us to focus on the whole Gospel message. This is one of the big mistakes I believe our Evangelical brothers make-when I listen to non-Catholic Christian radio the only subjects they seem to talk about is abortion, gay marriage, relating international events to end-times prophecies, and railing against whatever Democrats are doing (currently Obamacare).

Focusing on only part of the Gospel message is why the US is in the mess we are in right now. Both political parties seem to focus on only part of it: the right focuses on the moral message but neglects the poor. The left focuses on caring for the poor, but embraces all sorts of immorality. It is polarizing and its getting worse.

Francis is reminding us to focus on the whole message. The problem is that in our polarized culture, we see not focusing on something as abandoning it. Catholics talking about something other than abortion? The left loves it and the right thinks we’ve sold out. But the author is right when he talks about people hating when a priest preaches about something contrary to the Democratic platform. This piece, however, seems to be the reverse-a Republican upset about preaching about the poor.

A lot of people in this country follow Republicanity or Democratianity, not Christianity. They want the church to reflect their beliefs. Without the protection afforded by God to His church, many have done so. If we can take anything from our Pope, its to remember that we are Christians first, and we should follow God’s commandments, not man’s.

Thanks for the encouragement.

My primary concern is for a culture where the extent of most Catholic’s exposure to this (or any other) chuch writing is going to be the sound bites from the popular media. Which have very little to do with the actual message intended.

Now we have conservative media bashing the Pope and liberal media turning his statements into validation of their secular doctrines.

None of which is good for the effectiveness of Catholic evangilization efforts.


Why would he need to? Those are in the Catechism :shrug:. He is merely showcasing the naivety of unfettered/laissez faire capitalist beliefs in trusting the most ruthless among us (the ones who are thus able to raise the most amount of money the quickest) with distributing said money with equity and justice to their workers. He is not by any means preaching socialism, an economic system openly banned by the Church. He is rather supporting a more liberal-style capitalism that uses government involvement and regulation to force businesses to pay just wages, limit the idolatry of wealth, and reduce the income gap.

Now, I realize that such a system sounds like crazy socialism to Adam Shaw and Rush Limbaugh, but it really isn’t, and I think many conservatives need to have a discussion within themselves whether they can continue to portray liberal (as defined by American standards) economic policies as socialist when they are clearly not. If I were an economic conservative (which I am not, at least not by American standards), I would never support those who would attack decent people wanting to have a dialogue, let alone the Pope, merely over the thought that there might be one government regulation suggested. I’ve never supported Bill Maher in his ridiculous attacks on conservatives; I hope conservatives as a whole can finally start returning the favor.

Where has he said this?




My readings of various Encyclicals seem to imply that there indeed should be wealth redistribution mechanisms in place, but that what “forces” businesses the pay just wages would be unions or other similar organizations/groups. The role for government doesn’t seem to be to dictate wages.

Also IMNSHO “liberal-style capitalism” could be confusing because the Church generally uses the phrase “liberal capitalism” or “neoliberalism” for a system more akin to unbridled capitalism. Just sayin. :shrug:

It would be wise to examine the analysis made by Samuel Gregg, the research director at the Acton Institute at:

Pope Francis and Poverty
By Samuel Gregg November 26, 2013


He starts:
If there is anyone in the world today who embodies the joy of the Christian Gospel, it is Jorge Mario Bergoglio. And the happiness offered by embracing and living true faith in Christ and His Church (rather than the vapid sentimentalism that often passes for love these days) permeates Pope Francis’s new (and rather long) “apostolic exhortation,” Evangelii Gaudium, from beginning to end. Reading the text, one does experience a profound sense of just how life-transforming belief in Christ should be.

Evangelii Gaudium is in many ways a beautiful document. The emphasis upon the Trinity’s most neglected member — the Holy Spirit — in the Church’s life is especially inspiring.

For all that, however, important sections of Evangelii Gaudium will strike many Catholics as less than convincing. To be very frank (which Francis himself is always encouraging us to be), a number of claims made by this document and some of the assumptions underlying those statements are rather questionable.

He concludes:
Nevertheless, as Francis himself writes, “Ideas disconnected from realities give rise to ineffectual forms of idealism” (232). And attention to particular realities about economic life is precisely what’s missing from parts of Evangelii Gaudium’s analysis of wealth and poverty. If we want “the dignity of each human person and the pursuit of the common good” to be more than what the pope calls a “mere addendum” to the pursuit of “true and integral development” (203), then engaging more seriously the economic part of the truth that sets us free would be a good start.

Everyone would gain — and not least those who endure poverty.

I’m getting really tired of these… well the liberals don’t love Pope Francis the way I love Pope Francis pieces. AKA The Liberals are loving the Pope wrong pieces.

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