Posted by: DanutM | 8 December 2013

Patrick J. Deneen – Would Someone Just Shut That Pope Up?

My friend British Luke Bretherton, who teaches now at Duke University in NC, has shared on Facebook a very insightful article on the confused attitude towards Pope Francis of those who are politically at the left, as well as at the right.

Here is the beginning of the article:

* * *

Since the release of Evangelii Gaudium there have been countless articles and commentary about the economic portions of Pope Francis’s Apostolic Exhortation. Some of the commentary has been downright bizarre, such as Rush Limbaugh denouncing the Pope as a Marxist, or Stuart Varney accusing Francis of being a neo-socialist. American conservatives grumbled but dutifully denounced a distorting media when Pope Francis seemed to go wobbly on homosexuality, but his criticisms of capitalism have crossed the line, and we now see the Pope being criticized and even denounced from nearly every rightward-leaning media pulpit in the land.

Not far below the surface of many of these critiques one hears the following refrain: why can’t the Pope just go back to talking about abortion? Why can’t we return the good old days of Pope John Paul II or Benedict XVI and talk 24/7/365 about sex? Why doesn’t Francis have the decency to limit himself to talking about Jesus and gays, while avoiding the rudeness of discussing economics in mixed company, an issue about which he has no expertise or competence?

There are subtle and brash versions of this plea. At “The Catholic Thing,” Hadley Arkes has penned a characteristically elegant essay in which he notes that Francis is generally correct on teachings about marriage and abortion, but touches on these subjects too briefly, cursorily and with unwelcome caveats of sorts. At the same time, Francis goes on at length about the inequalities and harm caused by free market economies, which moves Hadley to counsel the Pope to consult next time with Michael Novak. The upshot—be as brief as the Gettysburg Address in matters pertaining to economics, and loquacious as Edward Everett when it comes to erotics.

On the brash side there is Larry Kudlow, who nearly hyperventilates when it comes to his disagreement with Pope Francis, accusing him of harboring sympathies with Communist Russia and not sufficiently appreciating Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and Pope John Paul II. (R. R. Reno, who is briefly allowed to get a word in edgewise, wisely counseled Kudlow not to fight the last war—or, the one fought three wars ago, for that matter.) Revealingly, Kudlow counsels the Pope to concentrate on “moral and religious reform,” and that he should “harp” instead on “morality, spiritualism and religiosity,” while ceasing to speak about matters economic. Similarly, Judge Napolitano, responding to a challenge from Stuart Varney on why the Pope is talking about economics, responded: “I wish he would stick to faith and morals, on which he is very sound and traditional.”

These commentators all but come and out say: we embrace Catholic teaching when it concerns itself with “faith and morals”—when it denounces abortion, opposes gay marriage, and urges personal charity. This is the Catholicism that has been acceptable in polite conversation. This is a stripped-down Catholicism that doesn’t challenge fundamental articles of economic faith.

And it turns out that this version of Catholicism is a useful tool. It is precisely this portion of Catholicism that is acceptable to those who control the right narrative because it doesn’t truly endanger what’s most important to those who steer the Republic: maintaining an economic system premised upon limitless extraction, fostering of endless desires, and creating a widening gap between winners and losers that is papered over by mantras about favoring equality of opportunity.

Read HERE the entire article.

* * *

Patrick J. Deneen is Associate Professor of Government at Georgetown University.  He is the author and editor of several books and numerous articles.  He has written and lectured widely on such topics as American political thought, religion and politics, literature and politics, and ancient political thought.

About these ads

Responses

  1. Reblogged this on Orthodox Ruminations.

  2. Un pic confuza e si atitudinea Papei insusi (care-o fi pronumele demonstrative correct?). Ultimele sale declaratii anticapitaliste sunt o expresie a socialismului (chiar comunismul) din America de Sud ce nu doar a supravietuit prabusirii sale in Europa de Est dar e viu si nevatamat. E capitalismul crestin? Nu! Dar nici socialismul! Daca 70 de ani de experienta in URSS nu e destul, nimic nu e destul. America de Sud se crede victima capitalisului/corporatiilor americane; colonbialismul e uitat. Si o fi asa… Numai ca nu e destul sa caute tapi ispasitori! Mai trebuie sa priveasca in propria-i ograda. Ceea ce uita papa este ca e nevie pe lumea asta si de competenta si de eficienta economica (numita profit- ce temen mizer). Dragostea crestina se daruie… dar Scriptura nu este contrara succesului, competentei, chibzuintei si/sau rasplatirii… In plan social, va trebui sa oferim un model… Care e acela? Catolicismul este si elk un sistem. N-am sa-i insir pacatele; ar putea insa concura cu o brio la pacate cu o comapnie americana acuzata de toatate pacatele-i capitaliste. E drept ca e si un pic mai vechi decit America insasi! Pina la urma, crestinismul n-a venit sa construiasca un system socio-politic economic. Papa a facut miscari abile atragind simpatia presei si-a liberalilor. Excelent PR! Ar putea insa fi mai prudent in declaratii.
    PS- Mi-a placut la el chestia ca unele elemente catolice nu mai sunt eficiente astazi in comunicarea Evangheliei. Agree! Sa vedem cu ce vor fi inlocuite.

    • Ca mai toti americanii, confundato comunismul ci socialismul. Cel din urma nu a fost iinventat de atei, ci de crestinii britanici, ca raspuns la exploatarea crunta a munitorilor in perioada capitalismului salbatic.
      Aceasta nu inseamna inca ca socialismul este crestin. Si nici ca cretinismul este socialis. Co doar ca ele nu sunt neaparat incompatibile, asa cum credeti dvs, si mai toti republicanii.

      • Da, socialismul nu e neaparat incompatibil cu crestinismul, desi nu-i chiar atit de sigur. Declaratia papei e insa extreme de superficiala daca nu chiar ignorata. Imnul internationalei socialiste nu e chiar inspirat din 1 Cor 13… iar sorgitnea ideilor socialiste a fost una antibisericeasca –uneori pe drept- daca nu chiar anticrestina.
        Raminind la crestinismul capitalismului sau al socialismului contemporan si lasind istoria in pace, v-as da o statistice m-a pus pe ginduri.
        In capitalismul salbatica American, statistica de anul asta a veniturilor medii pe rase sociale in USA arata asa:
        1 americanii de origine asiatica
        2- americanii albi
        3 – americanii de origine spaniola
        4- americanii de culoare.
        Chestiune m-a socat si are legatura cu subiectul propus pt ca totalitatea miliardarilor sunt albi. Albi sunt evreii care zice-se ca ei controleaza toate finantele. Albi sunt majoritatea elitei corporatiste; la fel brokerii si firmele de inginerie financiara, elita Hollywood si majoritate profesiunilor profitabile, medici/avocati. La fel actionarii puternicilor companii de audit, firmele de lobby, consultanta, liderii armatei, moguli ai presei, etc. Toti astia cu toate miliardele lor impartiti la numarul de americani albi dau un venit mediu inferior celei a asiaticilor care sunt emigranti fie si de generatia a doua.
        Semnificatia acestui lucru e mare, chiar daca sunt explicatii. Inseamna ca, capitalismul salbatic cum e, are usile descise intiativei antreprenorilor si cit ar parea de discriminatorie societatea, iata ca statistica o dovedeste altfel… Mai important pt crestini este libertatea deciziilor personale –e drept tot mai restrinsa- incomparabil mai mare in capitalism. Aici puterea birocratilor guvernamentali e mai mica decit a unor magnati din domeniul privat. E asta rau? Daca n-ar exista un sistem juridic –ca una din puteri in stat- si daca guvernarea n-ar fi dupa principiul “il fault que le puvoir arret le puvoir”, poate ca da… Atita timp insa cit puterea e tinuta in echilibru, acuzatiile dvs la adresa noastra care sustinem capitalismul American nu-s justificate. Ele nu sunt decit la o privire superficiala. …. Capitalismul nu este crestin dar ce-I face pe papa si pe multi crestini sa prefere socialismul? O iluzie. E speranta ca redistribuirea veniturilor in mare prin impozitare, dar si prin politici de discriminare pozitiva & interventia masiva a statului –de departe cel mai mare agent economic- in economie ar crea o anumita justitie sociaila superioara celei capitaliste. Este o utopie dovedita eronata care porneste de la functia soterilogica a statului vazut ca “bun”, ultimul arbitru, detinatorul monopolului adevarului (in speta stiintific) un fel de dumnezeu mai mic asa… cam cit dumnezeul liberarilor. Dar ce l-ar face oare pe stat bun in plan moral si/sau spiritual? De ce este biserica –fie ea si evanghelica- inferioara in plan moral, etc., inferioara statului?

  3. Nu, nu condemn socialismul cu capitalismul. Papa e un lider politic extreme de important si urmat. Ca persoana, actualul papa a atras simpatia mea. Pt binele lui, ar trebui sa fie mai tacut…. O fi el loctiitorul Fiului lui Dumnezeu pe Pamint si infailibil dar declaratiile sale nu sunt chiar infailibile. Mai devreme sau mai tirziu, ele se vor intoarce impotriva sa. Nu doar cele politice (mai putin importante) ci si ambiguitatile in plan moral.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 248 other followers

%d bloggers like this: