Francis is in the air over America and the call has gone out from liberals and faux-catholics around the world to ‘be troubled.’
Faithful Catholics are never really troubled. They feel pain and worry but they don’t become disturbed by reality or truth the way Herod was by John the Baptist. But liberals do, and they really want you to as well. They want to disturb you, insult you, make you confused. They want you to feel pain like they do, and if they can’t do that, at the least they want you to be a slave to their selfish schemes.
CNN’s Carol Costello weaves:
Pope Francis is no longer the undisputed homecoming king.
As he visits the United States for the first time, the Pope’s approval ratings here, according to Gallup, have taken a tumble, from 76% in 2014 to 59% today.
Pity Pope Francis!
He washes the feet of the poor, talks of forgiveness and stresses care of the planet. He even tries to lead by example, rejecting the Vatican’s more opulent digs and fancy vestments. Yet Francis elicits a confusing mix of emotions. Love. Admiration. Scorn. And fear.
Pope Francis is an angel and if you don’t think so, you’re just a hateful coward. Oh, and you’re also nuts.
What other explanation can there be when an article actually exists with the headline: “Why so Many People Think Pope Francis is the Antichrist“? In case you’re curious, that headline appeared on Charisma News.
Reporter Jennifer LeClaire googled “pope antichrist,” and came up with a motherlode of hits. None was more ridiculous than the online “Jim Bakker Show.” A guest author named Tom Horn told the show’s audience that 50 years ago, a Jesuit priest “predicted the resignation of Pope Benedict to the day,” which means Pope Francis could be “demonically inspired,” because, Horn said ominously, “demons know things about times.”
My head is about to explode, too. But now that I’ve dispensed with that bit of nonsense, I’ll get down to brass tacks.
Pope Francis’ approval ratings have taken a tumble because he makes Americans squirm.
This ugly metaphor is supposed to make us think Francis is ‘pricking our consciences’ the way Hillary Clinton commands, but the image is more akin to being killed and eaten, like a worm on a hook. There are two regular responses to direct Christian correction: anger or compunction, but squirming is just for victims.
“He’s nudging me, as he is lots of us, to think about some uncomfortable things and how we might be better human beings in our world today,” Sister Donna Markham, the president of Catholic Charities, told me. “And that’s hard.”
Sheep dogs nudge and they nip at heels. They herd. Catholic Charities is an agent of the mega-state. They are government contractors, not Christians. This nudge ‘Sister’ Markham wants us to feel is the shove of government, not the words of Jesus.
Do you know what else is hard, but makes you a better human being and the world a better place? Work. But work isn’t what Markham or Francis are talking about. They’re not talking about serving others. They’re talking about servitude and slavery to the state machine. There’s not a thing Christian about it. That’s why Francis is coming to Congress, because he advocates government.
The Pope recently called the unfettered pursuit of money “the dung of the devil.” He said that profit tends, especially in capitalist countries like ours, to drive all decision-making, often at the expense of the poor.
“It is not enough,” the Pope said, “to let a few drops fall whenever the poor shake a cup which never runs over by itself.”
Those remarks left many conservatives cold, especially those who say Pope Francis is a Marxist who wants to “spread the wealth.”
The world is not a cup of water in the hands of some fat rich person, from which the rest of us only receive what spills, at least it’s not if you observe the Ten Commandments. But if you’re a Castro-ite dictator then your world is a lot like that, yes. In that case even more injustice isn’t any kind of solution.
R. Albert Mohler Jr., the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, told me the Pope’s words are dangerous. “It’s a mixture of naivete and papal authority,” he said. “The Gospel mandates we care for the poor. But there is a legitimate disagreement on how the poor are helped. He has split Roman Catholicism on that issue.”
And because Francis may criticize American capitalism before a joint session of Congress, his appearance makes Mohler positively seethe. “As an evangelical and American citizen, I’m deeply troubled by the fact that Congress is going to host the Pope. I know they’ll say Pope is the head of state, but the Vatican is largely a diplomatic fiction and its size … it can fit into a parking lot. He is there because he is the head of the Roman Catholic Church.”
It’s true, there’s something profoundly odd about the head of the Catholic Church addressing Congress. Perhaps it’s because Francis is profoundly political and oddly un-Catholic.
And Albert Mohler isn’t ‘seething’ like a river-full of piranha. He’s in his right mind. Boundless rage is a characteristic of evil. What Mohler has is some righteous anger.
If it makes conservatives feel any better, Francis makes progressives squirm, too — in a pool full of confusion.
On the one hand, Francis sounds like their hero, a holy version of President Obama or Bernie Sanders. He trashes greedy Wall Street types! He thinks climate change is in part caused by man! He’s urged us to embrace undocumented immigrants! Awesome.
On the other hand, while the Pope has talked in a more merciful way about moral issues, the church still opposes same-sex marriage, women priests, married priests, divorce, birth control and abortion.
If only he were all bad.
“I think that Francis doesn’t intend to change any doctrine,” the Rev. Thomas Bohlin, vicar of Opus Dei, told me. “He’s been faithful to the church through thick and thin for many years. He does want to change the emphasis and the way people look at religion, not reducing it to left and right categories.”
Maybe that’s really why Francis makes us squirm — he’s a man who cannot be categorized, who is, at times, difficult to read. In short, he’s not always a people-pleaser. He wants us not just to feel, but also to think — and not just about our personal stake or “take,” but about our personal roles and responsibilities.
I’m squirming because I’m being nudged to use my brain and think of others too. This banality sums up FrancisGospel, but it’s a blinding revelation from Heaven to this CNN anchor.
As New York Mayor Bill de Blasio told me, “I don’t think he (Pope Francis) thinks about his work in terms of favorability. I think he thinks about telling the truth. It’s quite clear if you read his encyclical, he’s saying the status quo is unsustainable and we have to get on a new path. And he’s obviously just not speaking to the Catholics of the world. He’s speaking to people well beyond the church. And it’s interesting, a lot of people are moved by him, of all different backgrounds.”
And so another Communist finds FrancisFaith. It’s just the truth and I believe! “It’s interesting how he moves people.” It’s almost supernatural. “Please may I bow low, O Francis,” says the ruthless and irreligious Mayor of New York.
Where is Christ in all this trumped-up worship from enemies of His Church? Nowhere. They are just playing us, speaking to us like the debased pre-school children they’ve groomed us to be.
“Way to go, Pope Francis,” says Ms. Costello just before a snack, nap time, and a quick smoke out back.
A good cigarette can really settle a nervous stomach.