Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Why Are They Afraid of Pope Francis, 11

Distinguished authority on Marxism, intellectual,
and theological commentator, Rush Limbaugh
I have been meaning to get back to Pope Francis’ interview with La Civilta Cattolica/America and now he has released the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium which, at almost one hundred pages, promises to give us fuel for quite some time to come.  Rush Limbaugh, savant of the Tea Party faction, has gone ballistic accusing the Pope of “pure Marxism,” and taken some easy but irrelevant shots at Vatican “wealth.”  Neo-Trad voices within the Church have either ignored it completely or paid it some light reference—such as Rorate Caeli’s observation that it is “a much more Thomistic text than anything authored by Benedict XVI” and then moved on to their usual cant about how Vatican II has destroyed the Roman Rite and how the advance of “homosexual marriage” is not inevitable.  Meanwhile EJ Dionne, writing the Washington Post, has called the spade.  Maybe they have reason to be afraid of the Pope. 

Christianity has been used over the centuries to prop up the powerful. But, from the beginning, the Christian message has been subversive of political systems, judgmental toward those at the top and demanding of all who take it seriously.
Pope Francis has surprised the world because he embraces the Christian calling to destabilize and to challenge. As the first leader of the Catholic Church from the Southern Hemisphere, he is especially mindful of the ways in which unregulated capitalism has failed the poor and left them “waiting.” His apostolic exhortation, “The Joy of the Gospel” is drawing wide and deserved attention for its denunciation of “trickle-down” economics as a system that “expresses a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power.” It’s a view that “has never been confirmed by the facts” and has created “a globalization of indifference.” Will those conservative Catholics who have long championed tax-cutting for the wealthy acknowledge the moral conundrum that Francis has put before them?

I am anxious to read it because I think I will find it challenging and I need to be challenged.  This season of Advent is one in which we each need to take a look at our lives and see what the barriers to God’s Kingdom we have erected in our lives and allow the Joy of the Gospel to dismantle them.  But we will go back first to the interview and keep looking at the previews Francis granted us there before looking at the feature Evangelii Gaudium.  And as for Francis being a Marxist, it just shows that ol’ Rush wouldn’t know the Gospel from Das Kapital.  Friday is St Nicholas Day—maybe Saint Nick will bring him a copy of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.    

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