Skip to comments.What Conservatives Can Learn From the Pope
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.
I never read and after (unsuccessfully) attempting to sit through the movie, Atlas Shrugged, I never will. I don't like being preached at.
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.
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.
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.
Especially by an atheist.
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.
Mostly by Episcopalians and Deists. No Baptists.
Am: note, yet another of ansels personal insults. Poster who can’t discuss without tossing insults
You think that much of the American population at the time were Deists, and that none of them were Baptists?
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.
Can you name one article in the past month that condemns, as you say, protestants?
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.
Read the article, its got nothing to do with Catholic doctrine rather is how we conservatives can defeat the msm
GeronL, A troll seems to have hit the thread, I guess he is going to force this into another of his religious wars.
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.
Ansel again: American history seems to annoy you
Mixing up American history with ansel family stories?
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.