Tony Walker, of the AFR, has an op-ed praising Pope Francis, yet in doing so manages to highlight everything that is wrong about the man.
The Pope has been obliged to deny he is a closet Marxist, saying simply “Marxist ideology is wrong”, but this has not prevented him repeating his criticism of “trickle down economics”.
“The promise was that when the glass was full, it would overflow, benefiting the poor. But what happens instead, is that when the glass is full, it magically gets bigger [and] nothing ever comes out for the poor,” he said.
This comment is simply astonishing. As if the “poor” don’t live, longer, happier and more prosperous lives than the “poor” did 100 years ago. More importantly, as if the Church doesn’t hand around a collection box (or plate) every Sunday morning appealing for donations. As if charity did not exist, let alone the employment opportunities that are generated by high income individuals and entrepreneurs.
Then there is another, inter-related, issue:
“Who am I to judge,” he said in reply to a reporter’s question about gay marriage.
These five words have come to be applied to a range of vexed moral issues that arise persistently, and have come to define a gulf between the traditional Catholic church and the real world.
Francis wants to practice religion without morality. I’m not quite sure how that actually works; indeed I suspect for the faithful, it doesn’t work. Probably part of an explanation as to why those Christian denominations that have tried this approach have declining congregations.
This issue is this; promoting charity and morality is hard work. Francis doesn’t have to promote charity, he can turn to the redistributive state and become a poverty pimp like so many others have before him. promoting Catholic moral teachings is hard work too, but that is the Pope’s actual day job.
I cannot share Walker’s view of Francis.
As Christmas approaches, the bulk of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, not to mention Protestant agnostics like me, will be willing Francis continued success and good health. As we said: at last a Pope we can believe in, if not necessarily believe.