Pope Francis Open Thread

He does seem to be the subject of conversation, doesn’t he?

First off, Hillary is thrilled that the Pope is in town – it was the perfect time for her to announce her opposition to the Keystone pipeline. Document Dumps – they are a Clinton specialty.

Bernie Sanders is going to join a group of DC workers out on strike while the Pope is in town.

Democrats celebrate the arrival of the head of the Catholic Church in classic Democrat style – blocking a ban on late-term abortions.

Meanwhile, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz will join in various events surrounding the Papal visit.

Arguably the smartest man in the United States, Thomas Sowell, has a critique of Pope Francis:

…As distinguished economic historian David S. Landes put it, “The world has never been a level playing field.” But which has a better track record of helping the less fortunate — fighting for a bigger slice of the economic pie, or producing a bigger pie?

In 1900, only 3 percent of American homes had electric lights but more than 99 percent had them before the end of the century. Infant mortality rates were 165 per thousand in 1900 and 7 per thousand by 1997. By 2001, most Americans living below the official poverty line had central air conditioning, a motor vehicle, cable television with multiple TV sets, and other amenities.

A scholar specializing in the study of Latin America said that the official poverty level in the United States is the upper middle class in Mexico. The much criticized market economy of the United States has done far more for the poor than the ideology of the left.

Pope Francis’ own native Argentina was once among the leading economies of the world, before it was ruined by the kind of ideological notions he is now promoting around the world.

If you’re going to criticize the Pope, at least do it with the grace, wisdom and deep, historical knowledge of Thomas Sowell. That said, I will point out that George Soros is a capitalist. But even laying aside people like Soros (who pile up the cash while claiming to be for social justice), we do need to look at the whole picture, as I’m sure Mr. Sowell would agree. It is good that America’s poor are relatively rich, compared to past measures and, indeed, in comparison with the poor in other nations. But tens of millions of them don’t work: they live on government hand-outs. It is financially “good” that we can use sweated Chinese labor to produce I-crap so cheap that we can afford to give it to our poor…but I don’t believe this is morally good for our poor, the Chinese workers or any of us. We can do better, folks – and that is all Pope Francis is really saying on matters economic.

It isn’t just me – there are other conservative voices in favor of the Pope:

…Pope Francis has also drawn our attention to issues such as income inequality, the plight of immigrants, or the degradation of the environment. At times, he has gotten quite specific. But here is the clincher that people just don’t seem to get. When it comes to how to tackle these complex and difficult topics, the church steps back and leaves it to policymakers to debate and discuss. Even more important, Pope Francis, true to his Jesuit roots, is inviting debate, disagreement and — what was the word? — differences. Difference of opinion on these issues, termed by the church as prudential policy matters, is welcomed by the church and considered healthy and important by Pope Francis. Even when it means disagreeing with the pope…

The Pope will be driven around in a little Fiat. I think every aspirant to the White House should be asked why he or she should be driven around in anything upscale from that.

25 thoughts on “Pope Francis Open Thread

  1. Amazona September 23, 2015 / 8:35 am

    My problem with the Pope is that he is so enthusiastic about embracing and supporting radical Leftist claptrap. He has no business getting involved in the climate change scam, and can do a great deal of harm by putting the imprimatur of the Catholic Church behind it. I’d be a lot less critical of him if, after commenting on that other bugaboo of Leftist cant, “income inequality”, he would then talk about the need for the poor to have OPPORTUNITY, and point to nations like the U.S. which used to stand for opportunity, and encourage the development of meritocracies. He may have talked about the need for the INDIVIDUAL Christian to help the poor, and it just hasn’t been publicized, but what I get from his speeches is that governments have this responsibility. He doesn’t exactly come out and say that Christ said “take from others to give to the poor” but he also doesn’t point out that this is not what Christ said at all, and that there is no nobility or charity in this kind of redistribution of other peoples’ wealth.

    • M. Noonan September 23, 2015 / 10:50 am

      To be sure, the bits about global warming did surprise: I’m wondering, though, what goes on environment-wise in Argentina. Most of the time we hear no criticism of Argentina in our MSM because the government there is leftist in nature and routinely pitches fits about the United Kingdom and the Falkland Islands. But I wonder if a close look at Argentina would show much environmental degradation by industry which bribed the government to look the other way? It is fairly common in China, after all.

      The other part of it – the economic part – is I think a bit of reaction to the notion which became common in the 70’s (and I agreed with back then) that economic freedom would of itself solve problems. The theory was that if we’d just let the economy be, we’d get both more prosperity and more freedom. It hasn’t quite worked out like that – we can see in China the most stunning example of this: all leaving the economy be has done there is to make the tyrants rich.

      There is no perfection in this world – we’ll never, as it were, get it right. As far as possible, a balance must be struck…we need to keep trying to find the right mix to give us what we really need…and then just keep on re-adjusting it as we go along.

  2. Cluster September 23, 2015 / 8:35 am

    Obviously the Pope’s opposition to late term abortion means that he wants to deny women access to health care. Do you think the media will call him out on his blatant misogyny?

    And as usual, Mr. Sowell is 100% right and while not perfect, the US is on the right trajectory in raising living standards amongst all classes thanks to our free enterprise system. So wouldn’t it be more productive for the Pope to be citing the US as an example for the rest of the world to follow?

  3. Retired Spook September 23, 2015 / 1:30 pm

    I think it’s hard to deny that a major component of the Obama agenda is the destruction of Christianity, and, by extension, the Catholic Church. It’s sadly ironic that this Pope has either been duped or has consciously volunteered to be part of the mechanism of his own destruction.

    • M. Noonan September 23, 2015 / 10:02 pm

      Thing is, Spook, you have a spiritual life – you believe in God and however imperfectly try to do what you believe God is commanding you to do. For those on the left, there really isn’t anything like that…they live a materialist and determinist life, certain that if anything is wrong it is the world, itself. They live in a mindset which believes that if they could just get the right laws or regulations or the right people in charge (naturally, themselves), then all would be well. The spiritual emptiness of their lives is what leads them to latch on to AGW, abortion, attacks on the family and such – unable to see that their problem is within themselves, the lash out at what they perceive is their problem. The Pope knows this – and he realizes that his first task is to get people back to Church. There was something he said early in his Pontificate when I was very worried about him – just his being a Jesuit is enough to put a conservative Catholic like me on edge…so many Jesuits really went off the theological rails over past couple decades – his words were, in effect, “the sacraments are not a reward for the perfect, but medicine for the sick”. It immediately came to mind that I had run across fellow Catholics who were so wrapped up in their desire for perfect adherence to Dogma that they had, in some measure, lost their love of neighbor. It also very swiftly came to me that we live in a very sick world – a world in desperate need of many decades (centuries, perhaps) in the Confessional, and taking the Body and Blood of Our Lord, and prayer, prayer, prayer. But how are we to get those in most need of it to even come forward? By condemning them? By calling them fools and worse? I don’t think that will work – the Pope is meeting them where they are, in the hopes that some of them will at least take a step towards the Church…and a Church which won’t change, ever. But once over the threshold, even the most obdurate changes…it doesn’t work any other way.

      Now, to be sure, the Pope would like you to get into the Church as well – but you aren’t in as need of it as others. You are still centered and reasonable – you know God and you are willing to look at yourself squarely. The doctor goes to the ill, not to the healthy.

      We do know that Christianity is under massive attack – we who believe are sustained in our fears by the conviction that the Church cannot be destroyed. God won’t let it happen, ever. Even if it were reduced, as Hilaire Belloc once suggested, to just the Pope and 12 other Christians. We Christians know we win, in the End. It is true that I’d like to see us more vigorously defend the innocent…but whence will the strength to fight come from? From our current society, riven by faction, lulled by popular culture and suffused with lies? You and I know what needs to be done – but are we really able to rally this people to action? Could even a Reagan or a Churchill get things on track? Only if the people, in their hearts, are ready for work and sacrifice. Right now, I don’t think we are – at least, not enough of us to make the difference. We need a revival, as my Protestant brothers and sisters put it – only a people who believe in something better and stronger than ISIS can defeat ISIS. I think the Pope realizes this, as well. It is a step by step process. We’re at Step One.

  4. Cluster September 23, 2015 / 1:38 pm

    Considering this statement from the White House:

    Pope Francis and President Obama have both dedicated their lives to helping the less fortunate, and that commonality will be central to their meeting Wednesday during the pope’s first visit to the United States, a White House spokesman said hours before Obama left to greet the pontiff as he landed at Andrews Air Force Base Tuesday afternoon.

    “[B]oth men have talked, quite publicly, about their commitment to social justice,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in previewing their Oval Office meeting scheduled for Wednesday morning. “And both men have dedicated their, not just their careers, but their lives, to that effort.”

    Do you think Obama is deserving of another prize? Maybe a Humanitarian Award? I mean he has devoted his life to the less fortunate, and because of that devotion, we now have more less fortunate. Obviously he has done a great job.

    • Retired Spook September 23, 2015 / 1:55 pm

      because of that devotion, we now have more less fortunate. Obviously he has done a great job.

      That certainly supports the old adage that if you want more or something you subsidize it (ie. non-work), and if you want less of something you tax it (ie. work).

      • Cluster September 23, 2015 / 2:46 pm

        Well at the very least, Obama is sitting on the sidelines while the destruction unfolds.

        “We don’t yet have a complete strategy (to combat ISIS),” Obama told reporters during a news conference at the G-7 summit of leading industrial nations in Germany. Obama’s comments are a surprising admission nine months into the U.S.-led coalition’s campaign against the terror group.


        One of Mosul’s largest Christian churches is being destroyed and turned into a mosque for Islamic State jihadists. The Islamic State terror group posted flyers throughout Mosul announcing in a decree that the Syrian Orthodox Church of St. Ephraim is reopening as the “mosque of the mujahideen” or jihad fighters. Christian symbols and relics have already been scrubbed and demolished from the ancient church. It’s believed that all Christians have either been executed or have evacuated the city since Islamic militants overran the area last year. Christians were told to flee or face execution.

  5. Cluster September 23, 2015 / 5:18 pm

    I just noticed this headline on a far left website:

    It’s Time to Tell the Truth: The GOP Presidential Primary is an Embarrassment to the United States

    So part of the GOP field is comprised of two young Hispanic Senators, three successful Governors, one African American neurosurgeon, one female business executive, and one of the most successful entrepreneurs in America.

    As a contrast, the Democrats offer one former wife of a President and failed SecState who happens to be under an FBI investigation, one admitted socialist who is not even a member of the party, one failed former Governor, and a current VP who has presided over the most divisive 6 years in our nations history. and all of them old, rich and white.

    And according to the left, it’s the GOP that is embarrassing. Kind of mind boggling isn’t it?

  6. Cluster September 24, 2015 / 8:27 am

    Trump has to go. He is way too much like Obama – massive ego, incapable of handling criticism, and weak on policy. There are no redeeming qualities with him. Oh and have I mentioned, Trump has to go away.

    Meanwhile, ISIS executes more gay men:


    You know it seems to me that men who stand in front of large crowds behind lecterns of power and speak out against injustices yet do nothing to actually stop injustices are cowards of the worst kind.I am thinking we could use a General George S Patton right about now.

    • Amazona September 24, 2015 / 4:52 pm

      The poor befuddled Left—they have to support Muslims, at least in theory and at a safe distance, because it lets them stand apart from the eeeevil intolerant Right, but those pesky Muslims keep acting in ways that the Left has to steadfastly ignore because they are so antithetical to all the Leftist memes of homosexuality and transgendered wonderfulness and feminism.

      So Islam is THE “religion of peace” except when it is blowing people up, slaughtering Christians, cutting off heads of dissidents, stoning women who have been raped or been seen outside their houses without family males with them or wanted educations or……. And there is that gay thing, making homosexuality not just a capital crime but one deserving of brutal death and even extending to children. “Honor killings” are, I guess, just manifestations of cultural differences, as are rapes of boys by men, and should be respected in the name of “diversity”. What an awkward dilemma for the Lefties.

      • M. Noonan September 25, 2015 / 1:09 am

        Saw this comment over at Ace:

        I increasingly think the Democrat/Muslim union has to do with old-fashioned relativism. Democrats don’t actually believe that women’s rights and gay rights apply to everyone; white people: sure. Arabs? Well, who am I to judge? And Muslims know this.

        When Robby George is just dumbfounded as to why all these Muslims support the party of abortion on demand and gay marriage, the answer seems pretty clear to me: They’re supporting the party of abortion on demand and gay marriage for infidels. In Dearborn, it doesn’t matter one whit what Tony Kennedy says about the Sweet Mystery of Life. Ms. DeBoer has the right to get married to another woman; but if Fatimah thinks she does, too, then her cousin Ahmed will disabuse her of that idea very quickly.

      • Cluster September 25, 2015 / 8:49 am

        I think deception is also a quality Muslims and Democrats share. Muslims lie to infidels to achieve their goals, just as Democrats lie to Americans to achieve their agenda goals. Maybe Democrats think that any who opposes their agenda are infidels. Look at how they attack AGW opponents. We might be on to something. Who knew Democrats were people of such strong Faith? 🙂

      • Cluster September 25, 2015 / 9:08 am

        So 717 Muslims were trampled to death in an annual pilgrimage, a Saudi Prince was arrested in L.A. for attempted rape, and Muslim soldiers in Afghanistan continue the practice of raping boys and claim it to be just part of their culture. Are we still not suppose to judge them?

      • Amazona September 25, 2015 / 8:08 pm

        The Left seems to think that the world will love us if we have carbon credits, bow to tyrants, and engage in self-flagellation over past sins. I have a different point of view.

        During the Iraq War, I sent boxes to soldiers in Iraq, and started to include toys for children, for the soldiers to hand out when they were out and about. I got an idea, and tried for months to get it in front of people who could do something about it. That was for towns in the United States to adopt schools in Iraq. Even a small town of just a few thousand people could have some sort of town festival every year, collect money and things like pencil boxes and notebooks and so on. If this idea had taken off, money could be collected to buy things in bulk, including things like mittens, books, crayons, etc. It seemed to me that if children grew up seeing the United States as kind and generous, starting with providing Beanie Babies and colored pencils and moving up to scholarships and textbooks, we would be appealing to people in a very basic way. It was an idea that would have required someone with a lot more experience and clout than I have to put into action, and although one officer who had done several tours over there said he loved the idea, he never got back to me.

        Now we hear that young boys are screaming as they are raped. Isn’t there a possibility that a country which stepped in to stop this might generate a sense of gratitude in these boys as they grow up?

        We are not going to score points by parting out babies like old Buicks, after we have first killed them of course, or letting homosexuals say they are married, or having hissy fits about carbon emissions. But we can affect the lives of people on a very basic, helpful, humanitarian but humble level, and I think this would have long term effects.

        I knew a man who was six years old when a huge earthquake wiped out his village in the Andes. He never forgot the presence, the very next day, of Americans, with food and blankets and medical care, Americans who stepped in and helped when it was needed. He grew up loving this country and wanting to live here, to the point of standing up to terrorists when they told him to join or die, and had to leave his village and live with relatives in the city to save his life. He finally made it to the United States, and was planning to stay here before his tragic death not long after he got his permanent residency, and he was fiercely loyal to this country.

        The concept of grass roots is not just for politics.

  7. Retired Spook September 24, 2015 / 10:23 am

    Wayne Allyn Root has a great piece at Personal Liberty Digest this morning. Other than erroneously claiming that Obama promised to cut the debt in half (rather than cut the deficit in half) in his first term, he’s pretty accurate on every other point. The Pope could take some advice from this post.

    • Cluster September 24, 2015 / 10:34 am

      Excellent article. This excerpt from the article is a fine example of the complete disdain Obama has for Americans:

      One Muslim boy was recently offended by his teachers, and Obama immediately invited him to the White House.
      Has any child of a police officer murdered in the line of duty or the child of any of the U.S. soldiers murdered by a Muslim at Fort Hood ever been invited to the White House?

      Knowing that Obama is mulatto, I have come to think of him as white trash.

  8. Retired Spook September 24, 2015 / 10:48 am

    Or, more accurately, GRAY trash.

  9. Amazona September 24, 2015 / 4:40 pm

    Here’s another take on the Pope Francis controversy:

    Morning Jolt
    … with Jim Geraghty

    Pope Francis, Master of the Not-So-Subtle Subtle Message

    Are we allowed to like this guy at all yet, or are we supposed to conclude his views on climate change make him (pun intended) irredeemable?

    Pope Francis made an unscheduled stop to visit the Little Sisters of the Poor Wednesday, a move that Vatican officials said was intended to send a message of support in the nuns’ battle against Obamacare.

    The religious order of Catholic sisters is suing the Obama administration over a provision of the Affordable Care Act that the administration has interpreted as requiring the sisters to purchase health insurance with birth control coverage.

    Catholic teaching opposes the use of birth control. The sisters can request a waiver, but their lawsuit argues that requiring that paperwork infringes on their religious freedom. The sisters are suing under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a Clinton-era law that prohibits the government from placing a “substantial burden” on the free exercise of religion.

    Last August, an appeals court sided with the government, but an unusual dissent by five judges this month called that decision “clearly and gravely wrong — on an issue that has little to do with contraception and a great deal to do with religious liberty.” The question now goes to the U.S. Supreme Court.

    Francis met with the sisters at their Washington convent next door to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, where he celebrated a canonization Mass for St. Junipero Serra. The private meeting was not on the pope’s public schedule and was only disclosed afterward.

    “This is a sign, obviously, of support for them,” said the Vatican Press Secretary, Rev. Federico Lombardi.

    I get what, for example, Daniel Henninger is saying . . .

    Francis’ popularity remains high, but the dangers in his current course are high. What many of his new political friends [on the environmentalist and ‘economic justice’ Left] mainly seek is to have the pope “moralize” their politics. Francis’ spiritual message could not be more secondary. They won’t be with him in Philadelphia [at an event focused on family issues]. How allowing the papacy’s core moral authority to be politicized is in the interests of the Catholic Church as an institution is difficult to see.

    I’m just surprised that so many American conservatives are acting like this is the first time they’ve strongly disagreed with a pope. Anybody remember Pope John Paul II –- er, Saint Pope John Paul II — calling military strikes against Saddam Hussein in 2003 “a crime against peace”? Not only did the Vatican denounce the decision to go to war, they offered an account of the pre-war discussions that portrayed the Bush administration as obstinate, irrational warmongers.

    Or what about JPII’s response to the first Persian Gulf War?

    Pope John Paul II delivered a scathing denunciation of the Persian Gulf war today, calling it a “darkness” that he said had “cast a shadow over the whole human community.”

    “A choice was made of aggression and the violation of international law, when it was presumed to solve the tensions between the peoples by war, the sower of death,” he said in his Easter Sunday message, “Urbi et Orbi” — “To the City and the World.”

    It was a highly political Pope who stood this chilly morning on the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica, addressing tens of thousands of people who filled the vast square below him. Millions of others watched on television in 53 countries.

    In effect, John Paul spun the globe for his listeners and, continent by continent, pronounced it to be intolerably filled with hunger, tyranny and war.

    “Lend an ear, humanity of our time,” he said, speaking in Italian, “to the long-ignored aspiration of oppressed peoples, such as the Palestinians, the Lebanese, the Kurds, who claim the right to exist with dignity, justice and freedom — legitimate requests repeated in vain for years.” Lebanon’s plight and the goal of a Palestinian homeland have long been familiar papal themes. But it was unusual for him to mention the Kurds, a transnational, largely Islamic group in the Middle East that for decades has sought territory for itself and whose members in Iraq are now fighting a civil war against President Saddam Hussein’s troops.

    This is the favorite of most American Catholics and the favorite of most American Catholic conservatives. If the American Right could survive disagreements with that pope with admiration intact, there’s no reason to think the relationship with this one will be perpetually sour.

    • M. Noonan September 25, 2015 / 1:00 am

      The Pope’s gotta Pope, ya know?

      When St. John Paul II came out against the Gulf War and the Iraq Campaign, I thought him wrong – and I still do. We are allowed to disagree with the Pope on non-Dogmatic issues, after all. But I also understood where he was coming from both as head of the Catholic Church and as a Pole. In World War Two, 17% of the Polish population was killed. St. JPII lived through that and it must have seared his mind – seeing what, what could be worse than war? But, also, ever since World War One, the Catholic Church has been pretty decisive against any armed conflict because of the gigantic cost of modern war. The World War One Pope, Benedict XV, called it “useless massacre”; and that is pretty accurate. It boggles the mind to this day how the nations of the earth hurled blood and treasure into that conflict which had no real cause other than blindness, greed and stupidity (mostly on the part of the Germans and Russians, to be sure – and even more so the Germans). During World War Two it was a bit different – but the Pope at that time, Pius XII, also clearly perceived that the flaw in the allied side was the alliance with Soviet Russia.

      I do think, though, that the Church has gone too far towards the pacifist position. But this is also not Dogmatic – it is a reflection of Pontiffs and other senior leaders being people who mostly endured World War Two. Even Pope Francis is old enough to remember the war and it’s immediate aftermath. But even Francis has called for forceful action on the part of the world to save those being murdered and enslaved by ISIS.

  10. Cluster September 25, 2015 / 9:18 am

    Another day, another lie:

    Andrea Mitchell – “Do you think [Donald Trump] had a point in raising the question of whether it was appropriate for her to be taking a State Department salary and also be paid by an outside company closely associated with your husband, by you?” asked reporter Andrea Mitchell.

    Hillary – “Well, I was not directly involved in that, but everything that she did was approved under the rules as they existed by the State Department,” Clinton said.


    According to documents obtained by conservative group Judicial Watch through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, Clinton was the immediate supervisor who approved the title change that came with the new post on March 23, 2012, permitting her then-deputy chief of staff to work several jobs at once.

    • M. Noonan September 25, 2015 / 10:49 am

      But liberals will buy it – of course Hillary had nothing to do with her close, personal friend and aide getting the gig…

  11. Retired Spook September 25, 2015 / 9:58 am

    Breaking news — John Boehner resigns as Speak of the House.

    Update: will resign from the House of Representative as well on October 31st.

    • M. Noonan September 25, 2015 / 10:50 am

      Big WOW!!!! I put up a thread for it.

    • Cluster September 25, 2015 / 11:00 am

      It is a blessed day!

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