Reinforcements for Catholic Conservatives; Pope Francis I Stands against a Leftward Shift

Article excerpt

Byline: Jeffrey Kuhner, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The Roman Catholic Church has chosen a new leader: Pope Francis I. The Holy See has a new kind of pope. He is the first South American and Jesuit to occupy the office. He is the shepherd Au the spiritual head of more than 1 billion Catholics Au who now has the heavy responsibility of tending to his flock. Secular liberals, however, are already on the attack. Their Christophobia knows no end.

As the former archbishop of Buenos Aires, the pope is known as a champion of the poor and downtrodden. He frequently visited Argentine slums, caring for the homeless and destitute. He also visited AIDS patients, kissing their feet and demonstrating Jesus ChristAAEs compassion for the sick. He often rode public transportation. He cooked his own meals. He has lived an austere life in a small apartment. He has shunned the privileges to which most Argentine cardinals have been accustomed. In short, he embodies the humility and simplicity of Christ.

Pope Francis opposes corporate plutocracy. He is a staunch critic of economic globalization and jungle capitalism. He has excoriated the International Monetary Fund and big banks, rightly arguing that they help prop up corrupt financial elites at the expense of ordinary citizens. Like most Catholics, he understands one fundamental point: Morality trumps economics. A free market works so long as it is underpinned by Christian ethics, personal honesty, social virtue and the rule of law. Otherwise, it leads to gangster corporatism and reckless greed Au the kind of crony capitalism that is slowly destroying America. For defending a humane economy, some on the left, such as MSNBC host Chris Matthews, are claiming that the Holy See is in the hands of an economic liberal who believes in state socialism and the coercive redistribution of wealth. Call it Pope Francis as Robin Hood. Mr. Matthews and his Democratic ilk charge that the church has finally gone left-wing. Liberals argue that after capturing the White House, they have now breached the walls of the Vatican.

This is false. It is progressive propaganda masquerading as analysis. Pope Francis is the opposite of a modern American liberal. In fact, he probably finds much of the DemocratsAAE agenda repulsive. President Obama is waging a war on Christians and on Catholics in particular. His administration is compelling Catholic institutions Au schools, hospitals and charities Au to provide free birth control and abortion-inducing drugs to employees. This directly assaults CatholicsAAE conscience rights and freedom of religion. Obamacare encodes the federal funding of abortions. The health care overhaul forces devout Catholics to hand over their taxpayer dollars to fund a procedure they find not only a moral abomination, but a religious prohibition. …