One issue, which I brought up in the previous comment section, is that I don't want to come across as taking too strong of a view here. I think criticisms about the Pope which amount to 'he should have said something that NARAL couldn't twist!' is a fool's game. That I stand by completely, and I'll further stand by the claim that the Pope is projecting a far better image - one that SoCons would do well to not only emulate publicly, but also privately. But I'm not about to make the claim that the Pope has been unquestionably brilliant and he has made no missteps - that's way too far. I think he's been smarter than people give him credit for, more effective than people give him credit for, and he's said a lot which needs to be said. I'll stop short of claims of brilliance, certainly with regards to his interview.
The problem is that I think the position Francis finds himself in is difficult. I really believe social conservatives have made some fundamental mistakes on the three key issues he spoke of - gay marriage, abortion and (for Catholic) contraception. Abortion hasn't been quite as negative as gay marriage, and contraception is off in its own category. But I think, even if one adheres utterly to the orthodox teaching on these matters, SoCons have trapped themselves into thinking 'Well so long as our view is orthodox, we're doing great and there's nothing to change.' Francis was trying to communicate that something is wrong about the current SoCon approach, and there's really no way to do that without ultimately criticizing some SoCons in the process - and for Catholics who see themselves as 'the actually loyal Catholics' (and they are, frankly, especially compared to who they have in mind as disloyal), getting a reprimand by the Pope stings. I'm not sure how you can deliver that corrective while still A) keeping it from stinging somewhat, while B) at the same time being clear. If the Pope managed to do that, I'd be saying he was brilliant. He didn't.
Now, Codgitator also asks me another question:
I mean, read the following piece and tell me that the author is daftly or disingenuously twisting what’s not there in the interview: http://theconversation.com/pope-francis-brings-religious-subtlety-to-catholic-dogma-18490Sure, gladly. Let's go through a few key quotes.
Reactions to Francis’s sit-down with Antonio Spadaro, editor in chief of La Civiltà Cattolica, have focused on areas where the Pope seems most in tune with liberal sympathies.Well, right there we have a disingenuous twist of the Pope's words - precisely because the Pope is not 'in tune with liberal sympathies' in the interview. Liberal sympathies are 'abortion is totally okay, gay marriage and certainly same-sex sexual activity is totally okay, and contraception is great'. The Pope not only said none of this, he gave not so much as a hint of even 'liberalizing' on these issues. About the only thing that liberals sympathize with is the fact that the Pope upset SoCons by suggesting their tone and focus was out of place - period.
Likewise, I think the suggestions that the Pope's words mean that liberal Catholic theologians (in the sense of wanting to change Church teaching on abortion, contraception, LGBT issues, women's ordination, etc) shouldn't be censored, or that the Pope is opening the door to actual doctrinal changes on these issues, is a clear case of 'twisting what's not there'. There's nothing in Francis' interview which prompts that kind of speculation, or gives any hope to it - and considering Francis has continude LCWR investigations, and has been the Pope right during the formal excommunication of a liberal Australian priest, I think the evidence points against such interpretations. This is the typical liberal two-step of 'We praised you and said good things. Now, if you want to continue receiving our praise, you have to change the teachings.' Again, I think this is the fear gripping SoLibs - that the Pope may say these things, that he may be compassionate and positively portrayed in the media... but at the end of the day, he's orthodox after all.
More from Codgitator:
Hence, I think Dale Price’s warning about “The Nuke” is correct — http://dprice.blogspot.com/2013/09/in-which-i-exile-myself-from-polite.html — and so his question here is my own until further notice: “Can you find any soundbites to fling back at the retrograde, unChristian behavior of progressives? Let me know.”Well, I've never read Dale Price's blog before... and I have to say, I think Dale's overreacting to an extreme. His complaints seem to come down to the following:
* Whatever the Pope said, it made liberals REAL happy. If the liberals are REAL happy, then something must be VERY wrong. I actually wrote about this exact attitude in a recent entry, and I explained why I reject it. I think some SoCons have caught themselves in the trap of thinking that, if what they're saying and doing isn't provoking ire and rage from SoLibs, then they must be doing something wrong. To a point, this makes sense as a vague guide. Past a point, it's counterproductive.
* The Pope said he's tired of the Vatican being involved with all these unorthodoxy cases. Dale casts off not only the excommunication of an Australian SoLib priest, but also ignores the continued investigation into the LCWR. His attitude seems to be, 'These were underway before Francis showed up.' Sure - but at the same time, Francis had it entirely within his power to stop either of these things straightaway. He didn't. Why is this not worth something? Why is this not provoking some Catholics to think, hold on, maybe we're not quite in the situation NARAL seems to suggest we're in?
Now, the meat here for this conversation comes when Codg points to Dale's question: 'Can you find any soundbites to fling back at the retrograde, unChristian behavior of the progressives?' First, I think the "soundbite" Dale complains about regarding conservatives - he makes reference to the words 'obsessive' and 'small-minded' - is a non-starter.
The word 'obsessive' appears exactly once in the interview: Proclamation in a missionary style focuses on the essentials, on the necessary things: this is also what fascinates and attracts more, what makes the heart burn, as it did for the disciples at Emmaus. We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel. The proposal of the Gospel must be more simple, profound, radiant. It is from this proposition that the moral consequences then flow.
Here's my question in turn: where, exactly, is the pro-liberal soundbite in the above? All I see there is a legitimate observation by the Pope. Now, I can imagine a SoLib frantically spinning the above into 'And that's why premarital sex between a male teacher and his 12 year old student is a reflection of Christ's love!' - but they can, and will, spin just about anything. What is in this quote that should take me aback? What should worry me?
Likewise, 'small-minded' appears exactly once. Here's the full quote:
The church sometimes has locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules. The most important thing is the first proclamation: Jesus Christ has saved you. And the ministers of the church must be ministers of mercy above all. The confessor, for example, is always in danger of being either too much of a rigorist or too lax. Neither is merciful, because neither of them really takes responsibility for the person. The rigorist washes his hands so that he leaves it to the commandment. The loose minister washes his hands by simply saying, ‘This is not a sin’ or something like that. In pastoral ministry we must accompany people, and we must heal their wounds.
So once again I'm sitting here asking myself - where exactly is the huge offensive portion? He's certainly not connecting 'abortion' with 'small-minded rules'. He warns against a danger of being too rigorous *or too lax*. He explicitly says that being too lax *is not merciful*. Where is the problem I should be seeing with these words?
In fact, all I see is the exact thing Dale asked for: a soundbite to fling back at those progressives. First, since when do SoLib Catholics love proclaiming 'Jesus Christ has saved you'? Should they be giddy at the warning that being too lax, or saying 'that is not a sin', is the action of a loose minister who doesn't care about the person they're dealing with?
Here, have another soundbite.
I am wary of a solution that can be reduced to a kind of ‘female ,’ because a woman has a different make-up than a man. But what I hear about the role of women is often inspired by an ideology of .
Talk of 'female machismo' as a negative thing, that a woman has a different make-up than a man, and that the people talking about the role of women is inspired by such is not going to go over well with SoLibs.
So no, ultimately I think Dale is off-target. I also think he's way, way too animated and worked up - that may just be his style, since again, I have not encountered this blog before - over the interview. A lot of these seems to be coming down to the claim that, again, 'If the Left is praising it, then it has to be bad.' My advice on this front is simple: if the Left knows you think like this, if the Left gets the idea that anything they praise is something you either must condemn or reflexively will condemn, you've set yourself up to be screwed over by them.