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What Conservatives Can Learn From the Pope
Townhall.com ^ | August 2, 2013 | David Harsanyi

Posted on 08/02/2013 3:17:38 PM PDT by Kaslin

Being neither a Catholic nor a religious scholar, I'm in no position to offer opinions on the Roman Catholic Church or its doctrine. Yet it seems to me that conservatives might learn a thing or two from Pope Francis when it comes to messaging and tone.

The pope, it is widely reported, has "recast the Catholic Church's image" by focusing on its "inviting, merciful aspects" -- even "shocking," as The Washington Post put it -- to a planeload of reporters in an impromptu interview last week. Regarding homosexuality, he asserted, "Who am I to judge?"

Well, OK, that's not exactly what he said. The pope, answering a question about celibate gay priests, noted, "If they accept the Lord and have good will, who am I to judge them?" If -- which is a far cry from much of the public perception about the incident.

But perception matters. Most members of the press thought this moment quite remarkable, though really, it shouldn't strike anyone with even the slightest curiosity as exceptional. The pope's "who am I to judge" formulation is about as old as his institution itself. The church's catechism says gays "must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided." This has been standard treatment for nearly everyone -- in theory, if not always in practice -- since the Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged incident.

What the pope did not do, as far as I can tell, was announce his support for gay marriage. Nor did he claim that homosexual activity is no longer a sin. He simply articulated one of the more compelling messages of his church's teachings.

In this way, the incident is reminiscent of how much of the press treats classical liberal ideas -- with either willful ignorance or a misleading grasp of the basics but almost always making sure to focus on the most extreme and cartoonish aspects of ideology. Guess what. Most of us haven't read an Ayn Rand book since we were in our teens, and many of us weren't too crazy about them when we did.

While the pope has circumvented the most negative perceptions about his institutions, conservatives have struggled to do the same. It begins with the tenor of rhetoric. Conservatives can make a powerful argument about how free markets -- rather than an expanding welfare state -- are the key to stronger communities, the way to escape from poverty and the key to improving income mobility, or they can call everyone a bunch of moochers. They can argue that traditional families are a public good and the foundation to our success, or they can obsess about sodomy laws. You can talk about strengthening our legal immigration system or weave a colorful tale about the cantaloupe-sized ankles of drug-running illegal Mexican immigrants. You can stress the morality of protecting nascent human life, or you can wander into pseudo-medical terrain about rape to rationalize your position.

These sorts of blunders don't happen as often as the press would have you believe, but they do happen too often.

Not long ago, Pope Francis gave a homily in which he claimed that atheists could also find salvation. Though I was excited about this development for a couple of days (never hurts to have a backup plan, after all), the church soon clarified his comments. Apparently, the catechism says that atheists can find salvation but that those who reject the teachings of Jesus Christ cannot. So nothing's changed. But, if I may, this vicar of Christ doesn't sound like a jerk about it. And if you're a politician, that's a more valuable skill than any you can imagine.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: conservatives; francisi; pope

1 posted on 08/02/2013 3:17:38 PM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

There’s a reason why the USA was founded by Protestants.


2 posted on 08/02/2013 3:21:38 PM PDT by Olog-hai
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To: Olog-hai

: )


3 posted on 08/02/2013 3:24:33 PM PDT by stephenjohnbanker (K I L L T H E B I L L !!)
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To: Kaslin

This Pope is getting good press because the media wants him to be the anti-Benedict. They don’t really respect him anymore than his predecessor. They are only using Francis’ words out of context to bash conservatives.


4 posted on 08/02/2013 3:27:00 PM PDT by 1raider1
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To: Olog-hai

Arguable. While English post-Reformation Protestantism was dominant, you overlook Spanish and French colonization which was entirely Roman Catholic. Maryland was a Catholic colony as were other parts of the middle and southern colonies.


5 posted on 08/02/2013 3:31:56 PM PDT by yetidog
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To: Kaslin

The author is wandering in the wilderness in search of a rational thought.

The Pope says “If they accept the Lord and have good will, who am I to judge them?” and the media and especially the author think he’s so wise.

If a Conservative, say Rush, said “If they accept the Lord and have good will, who am I to judge them?” The media would say “the leader of the conservative movement appears to have lost his moral compass”.


6 posted on 08/02/2013 3:38:52 PM PDT by Balding_Eagle (When America falls, darkness will cover the face of the earth for a thousand years.)
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To: yetidog

LOL, America was created by a population that was less than 1/2 of 1% Catholic.

It was was founded by Protestants.


7 posted on 08/02/2013 3:41:37 PM PDT by ansel12 ( The difference between libertarianism and conservatism is the libertarian liberalism, not economics)
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To: yetidog

None of their colonizations were anything like the USA’s vision or success. Never mind the Monroe Doctrine and the need thereof.


8 posted on 08/02/2013 3:48:44 PM PDT by Olog-hai
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To: ansel12

What you say is no doubt true, but, and I think you will agree with me, I would rather live in a country that is 99.6 percent Roman Catholic than in one populated by the current inhabitants of what I was taught is the “cradle of civilization”.


9 posted on 08/02/2013 3:50:36 PM PDT by 1raider1
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To: Olog-hai; ansel12

This thread has nothing to do with Protestants. Why not discuss the topic, which is leaving aside bitterness and fear and attacks on others and being confident and positive.

We Catholics do that, even though every time a Catholic thread appears here, so-called “Protestants” swarm to the attack and exhibit all these ugly traits.


10 posted on 08/02/2013 3:52:31 PM PDT by livius
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To: Kaslin

bookmark


11 posted on 08/02/2013 3:55:23 PM PDT by GOP Poet
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To: livius
It does have to do with (as it appears, from the source publication) US conservatives, though. And FWICS (taking up the invitation to discuss the subject), the author is not making a good case, especially here:
While the pope has circumvented the most negative perceptions about his institutions, conservatives have struggled to do the same. It begins with the tenor of rhetoric. Conservatives can make a powerful argument about how free markets—rather than an expanding welfare state—are the key to stronger communities, the way to escape from poverty and the key to improving income mobility, or they can call everyone a bunch of moochers. They can argue that traditional families are a public good and the foundation to our success, or they can obsess about sodomy laws. You can talk about strengthening our legal immigration system or weave a colorful tale about the cantaloupe-sized ankles of drug-running illegal Mexican immigrants. You can stress the morality of protecting nascent human life, or you can wander into pseudo-medical terrain about rape to rationalize your position.
The notion of selling the good while ignoring the evil is ineffective and gives the upper hand to the evil, especially when the author uses liberal stereotypes of conservatives. If you look in the Bible, it is evident that the message of God has always been unpopular with sinful society at large, but that does not mean that the message must be soft-pedaled (remember Isaiah 30:10’s injunction against speaking “smooth things”). Many prophets died to deliver that message, and of course the Messiah suffered the worst of all for its sake. God will indeed step in at some point, as He always has.
12 posted on 08/02/2013 4:00:33 PM PDT by Olog-hai
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To: livius

Stuff it, I corrected a post with a simple American fact, now you bring in some kind of tribal thing, you need to look to yourself, not me, your post was uncalled for.


13 posted on 08/02/2013 4:00:34 PM PDT by ansel12 ( The difference between libertarianism and conservatism is the libertarian liberalism, not economics)
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To: Olog-hai
There’s a reason why the USA was founded by Protestants.

Indeed.

14 posted on 08/02/2013 4:10:48 PM PDT by Alex Murphy ("Thus, my opponent's argument falls.")
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To: ansel12; Olog-hai; Alex Murphy

Why do you want to take a good post off track and turn it to your sectarian obsessions? This had nothing to do with Protestants.


15 posted on 08/02/2013 4:14:17 PM PDT by livius
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To: livius

Nothing sectarian about it. The majority of US conservatives, AFAICS, are Protestant of some extraction. Merely a fact. This is who the author is trying to preach to, yes? Therefore on topic.


16 posted on 08/02/2013 4:18:06 PM PDT by Olog-hai
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To: Kaslin
The pope, answering a question about celibate gay priests, noted, "If they accept the Lord and have good will, who am I to judge them?"

The relevant word here being "celibate."

The Apostle Paul said, "And yet that is what some of you were." Past tense. A celibate "gay man" is no longer sinning.

17 posted on 08/02/2013 4:18:12 PM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: livius

Agree, except that I’ve also seen some pretty nasty comments aimed at Protestants by Catholics.


18 posted on 08/02/2013 4:19:46 PM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: livius

Wow, you are determined to hijack this thread and turn it into something.

You have made two posts to me now trying to goad me into some kind of religious argument or something.

What is going on with you? Are you drunk, or just had an argument with your wife? Why do you keep pinging me?


19 posted on 08/02/2013 4:19:59 PM PDT by ansel12 ( The difference between libertarianism and conservatism is the libertarian liberalism, not economics)
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To: livius; ansel12; Olog-hai; Sherman Logan
Why do you want to take a good post off track and turn it to your sectarian obsessions? This had nothing to do with Protestants.

I would have thought that it was sectarian to ask what conservatives can learn from the Pope. I guess I was wrong!

20 posted on 08/02/2013 4:29:18 PM PDT by Alex Murphy ("Thus, my opponent's argument falls.")
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To: Kaslin
Most of us haven't read an Ayn Rand book since we were in our teens

I never read and after (unsuccessfully) attempting to sit through the movie, Atlas Shrugged, I never will. I don't like being preached at.

21 posted on 08/02/2013 4:36:21 PM PDT by Jeff Chandler (</sarcasm>)
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To: Alex Murphy

Looks like a number of us got mistaken for David Harsanyi here. The article is indeed “sectarian” in nature. The way it reads, though, I’d think it to be liberal in nature.


22 posted on 08/02/2013 7:04:16 PM PDT by Olog-hai
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To: livius
This thread has nothing to do with Protestants.

And it has everything to do with imposing the Pope on all conservatives. To Protestants, Catholicism is a very different religion, and the Pope is just another human being.

Hence, not only is the title of this article very disconcerting to Protestants, it is clearly not one of the daily Catholic posts that all Protestants already know to steer clear of.

so-called “Protestants” swarm to the attack and exhibit all these ugly traits.

I can already see the veiled attack and ugliness in your very own statement.

23 posted on 08/02/2013 8:03:54 PM PDT by sun7
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To: sun7

Right. They post these articles about protestants are wrong and are all going to hell or purgatory or a weight station or a giant Wal-Mart parking lot and when they get criticized in return its an attack.


24 posted on 08/02/2013 8:07:14 PM PDT by GeronL
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To: Jeff Chandler
I never read and after (unsuccessfully) attempting to sit through the movie, Atlas Shrugged, I never will. I don't like being preached at.

Especially by an atheist.

25 posted on 08/02/2013 8:21:51 PM PDT by Graybeard58 (_.. ._. .. _. _._ __ ___ ._. . ___ ..._ ._ ._.. _ .. _. .)
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To: GeronL

What a humorous way to put together the things that are oh so typical of Catholicism! Good I did not waste my time actually reading the article.


26 posted on 08/02/2013 8:33:50 PM PDT by sun7
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To: ansel12

Mostly by Episcopalians and Deists. No Baptists.


27 posted on 08/02/2013 10:53:32 PM PDT by Cronos
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To: ansel12; Admin Moderator

Am: note, yet another of ansels personal insults. Poster who can’t discuss without tossing insults


28 posted on 08/02/2013 10:56:54 PM PDT by Cronos
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To: Cronos

You think that much of the American population at the time were Deists, and that none of them were Baptists?


29 posted on 08/02/2013 10:57:45 PM PDT by ansel12 ( The difference between libertarianism and conservatism is the libertarian liberalism, not economics)
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To: Alex Murphy

And if you read the article, its about framing a message which is still conservative yet one where it breaks down knee jerk reactions to the core doctrine.


30 posted on 08/02/2013 10:59:29 PM PDT by Cronos
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To: GeronL

Can you name one article in the past month that condemns, as you say, protestants?


31 posted on 08/02/2013 11:01:25 PM PDT by Cronos
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To: Cronos

I don’t think the the moderator cares about your ridiculous complaint, but since you guys keep pinging me for no reason, I’m starting to think I have picked up a couple of stalkers.

You can’t rewrite American history, nor squelch the facts of it among conservatives.

From the tone of your posting, American history seems to annoy you, it seems to be something that you want to overcome, to defeat.


32 posted on 08/02/2013 11:02:47 PM PDT by ansel12 ( The difference between libertarianism and conservatism is the libertarian liberalism, not economics)
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To: sun7

Read the article, its got nothing to do with Catholic doctrine rather is how we conservatives can defeat the msm


33 posted on 08/02/2013 11:03:07 PM PDT by Cronos
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To: GeronL

GeronL, A troll seems to have hit the thread, I guess he is going to force this into another of his religious wars.


34 posted on 08/02/2013 11:08:49 PM PDT by ansel12 ( The difference between libertarianism and conservatism is the libertarian liberalism, not economics)
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To: ansel12

Again. Jeesh.


35 posted on 08/02/2013 11:09:35 PM PDT by GeronL
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To: ansel12

Nah, it’s just that the false statements in your posts are too glaringly obvious to see. Go back to the dem underground and stay there.


36 posted on 08/04/2013 11:28:04 PM PDT by Cronos
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To: ansel12
Answel12: Are you drunk, or just had an argument with your wife?

Ansel again: American history seems to annoy you

Mixing up American history with ansel family stories?

37 posted on 08/04/2013 11:29:39 PM PDT by Cronos
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