Monday, October 5, 2015

Neo-Integralist Catholics and Neo-Atheists Have A Common Cause of Discrediting Pope Francis

The continuing online obsession with the brief meeting that Kim Davis had with Pope Francis proves that it is extremely important for two groups of people generally taken to be enemies of each other have something important in common.  Those groups in this case are the right wing of the Catholic hierarchy and the Catholic and Pope hating neo-atheists.   The right-wing of the Catholic hierarchy and the atheists have something in common, a mutual desire to discredit a very popular and liberal pope, to take him down as a popular, world figure, to discredit his focus on economic justice and environmental protection, justice for the stranger among us....

That both groups would like him to concentrate exclusively on the topics of abortion, sexual practice and other legalistic topics that made Benedict XVI unpopular is obvious.   It's even true that the two groups have a similar interest in the results of that concentration.  Pope Benedict was openly prepared for the Catholic church to lose members.  He was a reactionary who clearly didn't like the changes that came with the Second Vatican Council and who pined for a romantic, never extant "pure" church which would be small in numbers and controlled by his own, romantic and fictitious orthodox definition of real Catholicism. He'd been writing things to that effect since the late 1960s.   Since his vision of Catholicism was what he was known for, his elevation by John Paul II, who more or less named him as his chosen successor, it was also what Benedict's predecessor favored.  That those two had a similar goal as the neo-atheists makes their similar dislike of Pope Francis somewhat less surprising, perhaps.  That both groups see other goals as more important than the Catholic church following the instructions left by Jesus and his apostles, in short, to remember the poor, the oppressed, the stranger among us, and the protection of the environment makes their common cause less surprising than it might otherwise be.

I hope that this incident shows Pope Francis the need to move quickly to replace many of the bishops and cardinals appointed in the past two decades.   One of the worst aspects of the last two papacies was the elevation of hacks who were incompetent pastors but who could be counted on to toe the line as set by the insiders of the Vatican.    This incident was a reminder if not an introduction into the internal politics at the upper reaches of the hierarchy which became a massive series of scandals under those two would-be purifying popes. The lesson for Catholic conservatives should be that they should have removed the beam in their own eyes before they called out others for the spec in theirs. Though, like the neo-atheists, they are rigidly resistant to that because their position isn't really concerned with things like justice and the necessities of life, certainly not with the rights and real lives of real people, it is with getting their own way.

The lesson for the rest of us is that those two groups are not to be trusted, neither of them are basically concerned with real life or even their claimed values.

1 comment:

  1. It is not a popular sentiment outside Xian circles (so be it), but I think the reaction to Francis indicates he is truly a man (person) of God.

    Francis annoys the right people for the right reasons. He is, as modern Celtic Xian practice says, a "wild bird," or as the Jesuits say (IIRC), a free person. He is guided by the Holy Spirit, not by politics and ideology, and seems to want to return the church's focus to people, not ideas and institutions.

    Which is why he pisses off the people too concerned with ideas and institutions. Kim Davis is not a person in these discussions, she is a symbol, a thing, an object. Just by shaking her hand and giving her some rosary beads, Francis made her a human being.

    Interesting how many people can't stand that. Interesting, too, that Jesus did the same thing. People couldn't stand it then, either.