fbpx

A Bien Pensant Pope

The Pope’s recent address to a joint session of Congress was greeted ecstatically, though (or perhaps because) it was notable mainly for its secular rather than for its religious pieties. It was the speech of a politician seeking re-election rather than that of the spiritual leader of a considerable part of mankind; as such, it seemed like the work not of a man intent upon telling the truth, however painful or unpopular, but that of a committee of speech-writers who sifted every word for its likely effect upon a constituency or audience, appealing to some without being too alienating of others. If ex-President Clinton had been elected Pope, he might have made the same speech, so perfect was its triangulation, so empty were its high-sounding phrases.

Pope Francis is not a subtle thinker, let alone a theologian of distinction. When interviewed on his aircraft after the Charlie Hebdo massacre, he let it be known that if someone insulted his mother he could expect a retaliatory punch or slap, making a physical gesture to illustrate his point. This is not exactly the doctrine (if I have understood it aright) enunciated in the Sermon on the Mount; and one could not imagine John Paul II or Benedict XVI making so foolish or crude a mistake under the complacent impression that he was charming the world thereby.

Francis’ propensity to run after false gods, most of them fashionable in the constituency to which he evidently wants to appeal, no doubt accounts for his popularity. He is not so much prophetic as bien pensant; and where he does not yet feel able to alter doctrine in a liberal direction he is evasive and even cowardly, afraid to court real distaste or opposition by clear expression of what he means. To whom and at what, exactly, were the following weasel words directed?

It is my wish throughout my visit the family should be a recurrent theme. How essential the family has been to the building of this country! And how worthy it remains of our support and encouragement! Yet I cannot hide my concern for the family, which is threatened as never before, from within and without. Fundamental relationships are being called into question, as is the very basis of marriage and the family. I can only reiterate the importance and, above all, the richness and beauty of family life.

Who and what are calling fundamental relationships into question? After all, fundamental relationships do not call themselves into question: someone must do it in the name of some doctrine, some belief, or other. The Pope’s resort to the passive mood is indicative of his moral cowardice in confronting the opponents of what the Church believes in. Those opponents he knows to be militant and aggressive, and to confront them openly, in so many words, would lead to his fall in the popularity polls. Therefore he evades the issue with vague and oily declamation. It is one thing to be peace-loving and conciliatory, it is another to surrender by means of avoidance of the issue.

Such cowardly avoidance was evident also in the way in which he dealt with the problem of religious fanaticism. ‘We know,’ he said, ‘that no religion is immune from forms of individual delusion or ideological extremism.’ This may be true in the abstract; Christian fanatics in the United States may on rare occasions shoot a practising abortionist, for example. There are Jewish, Hindu and Buddhist fanatics; but the wholesale persecution of religious minorities, and the perpetration of violent acts in a host of locations around the world, is confined to Islamic extremism. It would have been better for the Pope not to have broached the subject at all than to have dealt with it in so pusillanimous a fashion.

The Pope’s fundamentally secularist outlook was evident in the way he dealt with the question of the death penalty. The abolitionism to which he adhered is a perfectly respectable position (in my opinion), but the arguments he used had little that was religious about them, and no complete secularist would have had any metaphysical difficulty with them.

I am convinced that this way is best, since every life is sacred, every human person is endowed with an inalienable dignity, and society can only benefit from the rehabilitation of those convicted of crimes…. I also offer encouragement to all those who are convinced that a just and necessary punishment must never exclude the dimension of hope and the goal of rehabilitation.

There is nothing here about mercy, forgiveness, repentance, redemption or salvation. Rehabilitation, by contrast, is a purely secular concept, suggesting that the wickedness of crime is a form of illness, to be treated by the psychological equivalent of physiotherapy; sin, or even vice, doesn’t come into it. The Pope’s words are indistinguishable from those of the European Court of Human Rights, when it ruled that it was a breach of fundamental rights that brutal repeat murderers should be sentenced to whole-life terms because such sentences exclude the possibility of their rehabilitation (even if, in practice, they would never be released). But while God may forgive Himmler – under certain conditions – surely Man cannot. The irreparable exists in the sublunary world.

At every point, the Pope evaded specifics and resorted to unctuous generalities. No one ever courted unpopularity by denouncing injustice, but many risked much by being specific about what they considered, rightly or wrongly, unjust.

The Pope was against poverty in the way the preacher in the famous Coolidge anecdote was against sin. But while no secularist will speak up for poverty, the religious attitude has traditionally been more nuanced. Moreover, when the Pope spoke of ‘the unjust structures’ that exist ‘even in the developed world,’ he was presumably referring to the arrangements that lead to economic inequality. By doing so he was first making a fetish of wealth (for why else would inequality in itself be bad?) and second he was exciting one of the seven deadly sins, envy (the concentration on what others have irrespective of whether one has enough oneself). Of course, inequality may be unjust, but is not itself evidence of injustice. Evidence that it is so must be adduced independently, and this the Pope failed to do, preferring to court popularity while rocking no boats.

In short, the Pope was playing to a gallery and to a constituency, while wanting to be liked by everybody. There was nothing of timelessness in what he said but only of the temporal, the contingent, the fashionably platitudinous. He is not a shepherd, but one of the sheep.

Reader Discussion

Law & Liberty welcomes civil and lively discussion of its articles. Abusive comments will not be tolerated. We reserve the right to delete comments - or ban users - without notification or explanation.

on October 01, 2015 at 13:00:30 pm

Similar to the Mainline Protestant Churches, the behavior / aspirations and expository *pronunciamentos* of this Pope, in an effort to make his church relevant will, I suspect, doom the Catholic Church to the same consequent irrelevance that was the fate of the Mainline Churches.

Frankie ain't no Benedict and he certainly is no John Paul II!!!!
Perhaps, we should have him run for the US House in some safe Democratic district!!!

read full comment
Image of gabe
gabe
on October 01, 2015 at 13:48:44 pm

Much of your essay is just plain enviable writing. However, there are some exceptions apparent on the first reading.

First, "But while God may forgive Himmler – under certain conditions – surely Man cannot," by using the capital "G," claims a divine authority that is not verifiable IMO. Thus, you are using Himmler as a standard no god would choose, IMO. People are so accustomed to this practice they don't even notice it. Realization might help them confront their own psychological folly; for example, exchange "God" for "my god." Regardless, self-deifiers can't impose delusional "higher ground" to A Civic People of the United States.

Second, everyone is aware of the unfairness of the American capital system. It must be adjusted so that every civic collaborator is not only the consumer but also owner in American capitalism. Every infant is regarded as a person, is informed that he or she is appreciated by a civic people, and every adult who has achieved civic collaboration at age 30.5 collects an accumulated stake in American capitalism.

You label the awareness of this issue as envy, one of the seven deadly sins. In doing so, you overlook the first vice: gullibility. Gullibility is omitted from the seven deadly vices for obvious reasons. Your gullibility is that elitism can be sustained based on the envy argument.

A Civic People of the United States is emerging. It seeks to provide safety in the broadest terms so that every no-harm religion, culture, or other personal interest may flourish within an overall culture of civic morality, putting religious morality in its proper place--privacy. James Madison's obfuscated idea from Memorial & Remonstrance, June 20, 1785, "Before any man can be considerd as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governour of the Universe," holds with the revision, "subject of physics," leaving the supernatural in its rightful place--outside civic morality. (Physics is energy, mass and space-time from which everything emerges, including elves, gods, and horse-kicks.)

People who understand can get on-board at the engine rather than the caboose or not at all. Eventually, "We the People of the United States," will clarify that they are divided by those who alienate for personal favor and those who collaborate for civic morality, we dub A Civic People of the United States.

read full comment
Image of Phil Beaver
Phil Beaver
on October 01, 2015 at 13:58:21 pm

Amen. Thank-you for putting into succinct words the reason for my unease with Francis.

read full comment
Image of John K. Vogt
John K. Vogt
on October 01, 2015 at 15:27:47 pm

As i have asked before - Which Physics?

Newtonian, Copernican, General or Special Relativity, Quantum or perhaps even "Magic Theory" physics, otherwise referred to as MultiVerse Theory.

Let me know so that I may choose accordingly.

oops, I capitalized each of these variants on physical theory. I must be a *deifier.*

read full comment
Image of gabe
gabe
on October 01, 2015 at 17:28:36 pm

Physics is mass, energy and space-time, from which everything emerges.

read full comment
Image of Phil Beaver
Phil Beaver
on October 01, 2015 at 19:28:18 pm

As a young lad, I recall a wise man (or was it a wise guy?) telling me that: "The Universe is but a speck of dirt on the posterior of God."

Never really thought about it (or posteriors or emergent matter / energy for that matter) until now.
Anyone familiar with this phenomenon / quotation?

Of course, the ancient Greeks saw first cause as emanating from Chaos (forgot the Greek spelling). I wonder if they also envisioned it as an orifice as it appears you are - or at least your theory.

Hmmmm!!!!!

read full comment
Image of gabe
gabe
on October 01, 2015 at 19:29:15 pm

Ooops - forgot the word "doing" after "are."

read full comment
Image of gabe
gabe
on October 01, 2015 at 20:41:25 pm

So Gabe, go gaze into a mirror and say, "I will find civic ways to express myself. If Phil Beaver thinks I am worth it, I probably should agree with him at least about me."

read full comment
Image of Phil Beaver
Phil Beaver
on October 03, 2015 at 16:46:16 pm

At the White House meeting it was hard to tell which one was the Pope as the President invoked God several times and sounded like a "preacher man" while the Francis spoke like a left wing politician concentrating on secular political matters, immigration, global warming, et al.

read full comment
Image of Patrick49
Patrick49
on October 03, 2015 at 19:32:09 pm

"Daddy, Daddy," said the little boy, "The Pope has no vestments"

read full comment
Image of steve baker
steve baker
on October 03, 2015 at 23:19:12 pm

As the question put to (and by) Lisa Randall:

How does it all come together?

read full comment
Image of R Richard Schweitzer
R Richard Schweitzer
on October 03, 2015 at 23:28:02 pm

It is possible that this man has come to this office in the Church Magisterium to prepare the way for someone yet to come.

What may be transpiring in (and with) the Curia may be of more moment and given less notice than all the public panoply.

read full comment
Image of R Richard Schweitzer
R Richard Schweitzer
on October 04, 2015 at 16:13:27 pm

At the moment energy, mass, and space-time emerged, they were related by E=m times C squared, where C is the speed of light: Einstein's famous equation.

A rough interconnected thermodynamic and ethical sequence beginning there is:
1. 13.7 billion years ago, bya, maybe there was nothing. Physics emerged: energy, mass, and space-time. After that, cosmic physics; hi temp inorganic chemistry; low temp inorganic chemistry.
2. The earth emerged 4.6 bya . Then low oxygen organic chemistry.
3. Life on earth 2.6 bya
4. Humanoids 2.6 mya (million years ago)
5. Living people’s mitochondrial DNA kinship 0.2 mya (we are all descendants of one woman)
6. Continents divided and diverse cultures evolved
7.a. Trade and languages emerged 0.1 mya
7.b. Arts, stories, beliefs, and ethics emerged
8. Imagination, essential to discovery, seems unlimited;acts on the physical, multidimensional, religious.
9. Spawns discovery, theory, invention, conviction.
10. Understanding physics nurtures personal liberty, for example,
1)The public understands DNA as crime evidence
2) Consider mitochondrial-DNA evidence of our kinship: racism is not justified.

Above is a summary of where physics has brought humankind through first biological evolution and second cultural evolutions. From here, our quest for no-harm personal liberty and domestic goodwill, may lead beyond evolution, but we think the feasible path will still be mediated by physics; sooner if the people use physics for benefits and later if they continue to operate on opinion. There's no more misguided opinion than US Supreme Court opinion, so it is time for slow reform.

Slavery illustrates what I am talking about. Slavery of native people came about by force, and the African slave trade was exacerbated on guns, disease and Christian opinion--arrogance. According to physics, one person cannot force another except by violence, and only by violence can one person enslave another. But according to the Bible, the master-slave relationship involves mutual respect. Christian opinion conflicted physics and brought wrong that is still spreading its woe.

read full comment
Image of Phil Beaver
Phil Beaver
on October 04, 2015 at 21:27:29 pm

Don't be so upset. I only write ideas for collaboration. They are not the decided truth. Maybe a new angle will clue you as to my concern. Elite Americans are growing $18.4 trillion dollars in debt. With 4 million newborns a year, that's $4.6 million dollars debt per newborn. The elite are shielding their newborns, so 40,000 babies are exempt. Yet everyone shares in producing the gross national product. I'm not scratching my head. I'm writing for reform.

read full comment
Image of Phil Beaver
Phil Beaver
on October 05, 2015 at 07:38:57 am

[…] Theodore Dalrymple is even tougher on Francis than I am–see here: […]

read full comment
Image of Jonathan Last
Jonathan Last
on October 09, 2015 at 04:56:49 am

The elite are shielding their newborns, so 40,000 babies are exempt.

What the heck are you talking about? Which 40,000 babies? And why would they be exempt from ... whatever it is you're saying they're exempt from?

To put it bluntly: you sound like a conspiracy theorist, and I don't believe you. Nor do I believe you have any good evidence for your assertion. Produce your evidence, sir.

read full comment
Image of Robin Munn
Robin Munn
on October 09, 2015 at 08:42:28 am

Pope crucified, not for our sins, but for his own. Well done.

read full comment
Image of Thales
Thales
on October 09, 2015 at 09:16:27 am

Here's an article about top 1% taxpayers, with "$389,000 to make the club: That was the minimum threshold of adjusted gross income in 2011." money.cnn.com/2014/04/04/pf/taxes/top-1-taxes/ . "It doesn't include income that those in the top 1% may have made from tax-exempt investments, such as municipal bonds." "Five occupations accounted for the lion's share of the top 1% again and again. They were executives at non-financial companies, financial professionals, doctors, lawyers and an occupational category that lumps together computer, math, engineering and technical jobs in non-financial firms."

And here's a review of lower threshold incomes for a percentage category with 2006 data: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affluence_in_the_United_States#Top_percentiles .

Here's a more recent article: "To be considered in the top 1 percent, household income is at least $521,411" perhaps in 2013. www.usfunds.com/investor-library/frank-talk/what-does-it-take-to-be-in-the-top-1-percent-not-as-much-as-you-think/#.VheyTit0c4U .

Median income is $28,967. See http://www.usdebtclock.org/ .

But the point really comes with a look at categories with thresholds at higher incomes. See http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2011/10/forget-the-top-1-look-at-the-top-0-1/ , which must be using 2010 data.

Your disbelief is better spent on Richard Wilkinson: www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZ7LzE3u7Bw&feature=feedu . Observing his charts you can glimpse what American exceptionalism has wrought in 226 years.

Wilkinson's presentation encourages my thought that of the top 1% American income reporters, 0.7% of those Americans or 70% of the faction will choose to be of A Civic People of the United States in order to improve We the People of the United States. Their incentive is improving both personal safety and personal well-being for the most exclusive earners in America! The rest of inhabitants would incidentally be better off, too.

The first email or the initial monthly practice by A Civic People of the United States will issue on October 10, 2015; tomorrow. If you would like to receive the message and consider collaborating, please send your request to [email protected]

read full comment
Image of Phil Beaver
Phil Beaver
on October 09, 2015 at 09:42:18 am

First, “But while God may forgive Himmler – under certain conditions – surely Man cannot,” by using the capital “G,” claims a divine authority that is not verifiable IMO. Thus, you are using Himmler as a standard no god would choose, IMO."

You contradict yourself. Rejecting other men's ability to claim knowledge of what a particular God would do (presumably obtained through revelation and tradition), you can't then also claim to know what "no god" would do. You deny the possibility of possessing such knowledge even as you claim to possess it yourself.

"James Madison’s obfuscated idea from Memorial & Remonstrance, June 20, 1785, “Before any man can be considered as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governour of the Universe,” holds with the revision, “subject of physics,” leaving the supernatural in its rightful place–outside civic morality."

Says who? You, a temporarily-organized mass of talking meat that will decompose into organic matter in a mere span of years?

Madison's formulation was correct as he wrote it. If there is no Governour of the Universe, there is no morality. Space-time, matter, energy: none of these can be used to claim one particular shape of matter or use of energy is good or another one bad. You can't derive an "ought" from an "is".

read full comment
Image of craig
craig
on October 09, 2015 at 12:24:24 pm

You merely state opinion in opposition to my opinion and hope you realize that.

IMO, any god would know a worse villain than Himmler as standard for humankind's limits for forgiveness, so a human citing his god as the judge does not influence me, regardless of the capital "G" the human uses.

James Madison, a mere man, was a tyrant toward me, a mere man. I was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, and therefore am a citizen and need not devise a god to present to anyone to judge my citizenship. On the other hand, if the weather bureau warns me that Baton Rouge is about to be hit with 160 mph hurricane winds and I am advised to take to the escape roads, despite all the risks, I am going to evacuate. And if I don't, I am endangering my family, much as I hate to expose them to traffic jams, food preservation, water preservation, gas availability, room availability, discomfort, and all the attendant risks of evacuation.

You wrote, "You can’t derive an “ought” from an “is”," without citing a source, but I'll take David Hume; it's a false argument. The earth is a globe with gravity forces acting on its surface, so a sailer has no reason to fear falling off the edge. If we lie to each other we cannot trust our statements and invite misery and pain. If we run red lights we cannot trust green signals. This list of how we decide ethics based on benefiting from physics is endless, whereas the limits of Hume's or the Bible's oughts are obvious.

One of the oughts that absolutely revolts me is the use of the word "hate" in the instruction on what it takes to be a disciple of Jesus. Physics informs me there is no excuse for the word "hate" respecting my relationships with other humans, especially my immediate family. Oh, I tried to convince myself for five decades that there is an explanation for the word "hate," like it's a sign of Jesus' sacrificial love for Phil Beaver. IMO, all those ideas are false. I reject intellectually constructed oughts.

It does not bother me if the word "hate" appeals to believers, as long as it does not motivate harmful civic action. Keep hate private; control it; govern it; the bearer will pass. If the bearer cannot control hate, let a civic people control the bearer.

I think you use banal language toward me is a vain attempt to contradict your own thoughts, which conflict with your indoctrination into something only you know; this thread has to do with scholarly law and religion is at the crux of common law.

The notion of physics-based ethics comes from Albert Einstein, 1941, and neither Hume nor Burke nor Adam Smith nor Bible writers nor Madison had read Einstein. The scholars of 2015 can incorporate physics-based ethics into law and thereby help establish the achievable combination no-harm personal liberty and domestic goodwill--PL&DG,

I hope you'll agree PL&DG is a good idea.

read full comment
Image of Phil Beaver
Phil Beaver
on October 09, 2015 at 12:27:31 pm

Sorry: that's "I hope you realize that."
also sailor
and those three naked oughts ought to be "ought"s

read full comment
Image of Phil Beaver
Phil Beaver
on October 10, 2015 at 02:02:01 am

You misunderstand me. I was not questioning your assertions about the level of debt in the United States, but rather your assertion that "[t]he elite are shielding their newborns, so 40,000 babies are exempt." For which you still have not produced one iota of evidence, I might add. Where is your evidence for that assertion?

read full comment
Image of Robin Munn
Robin Munn
on October 10, 2015 at 12:23:00 pm

This table uses sources I shared with you before, adding www.bankrate.com/finance/taxes/tax-brackets.aspx .

Reported Tax Tax Disposable Disp Inc Disp Inc
Top % Income,$ Rate,% $ Income, $ Ratio Median Tax
1 . 368,238 20.9 76,962 291,276 12 67
0.5 558,726 16.8 93,866 464,860 19 107
0.1 1,695,136 10.3 174,599 1,520,537 62 350
0.01 9,141,190 5 457,060 8,684,131 353 1999

US median income 28,964 15 4,345 24,619 1 6
US GDP/person 56,600 25 14,150 42,450 1.7 10

The person with $568,726 reported income has similar tax percentage as the median income person. However, their disposable income to median tax payment is 107:1 compared to 6:1, for the median income person--the inverse of his or her tax percentage, as expected.

Ninety-nine per-centers want to attack this problem with tax redistribution, which does not attack the core problem. The core problem is hereditary ownership of property. I am suggesting changing the system so as to fairly recognizing that this country is not a land, according to the scholarly opinions handed down from Edmund Burke, but is a people. Therefore the country's assets belong to the people.

This does not imply that a repetition of the French Revolution is desirable or needed. Yet, in some way, the child waiting to be born (Leonard Cohen phrase from "Dance me to the end of love") needs potential ownership in American capitalism that may start in infancy and increase or start on pace with his or her emergence as a civic person. Capital incentive serves several purposes: 1) reduce child neglect, subjugation, abuse, and murder, 2) increase safety in its broadest usage--or in other words increase personal wellness--to all inhabitants and 3) encourage each child to break through to personal autonomy (maybe age 10) and on to collaborative autonomy (12 to 25) then into personal growth and service (beyond 25) and perhaps to psychological maturity (age 65 or beyond, if). I recall Professor Orlando Patterson called that last step self-discovery.

read full comment
Image of Phil Beaver
Phil Beaver
on October 10, 2015 at 12:49:31 pm

Trying again on the table.

Reported Tax Tax Disposable Disp Inc Disp Inc
Top % Income, $ Rate, % $ Income, $ Ratio MedTax
1 . 368,238 20.9 76,962 291,276 12 67
0.5 558,726 16.8 93,866 464,860 19 107
0.1 1,695,136 10.3 174,599 1,520,537 62 350
0.01 9,141,190 5 457,060 8,684,131 353 1999

US median income 28,964 15 4,345 24,619 1 6
US GDP/person 56,600 25 14,150 42,450 1.7 10

read full comment
Image of Phil Beaver
Phil Beaver
on October 10, 2015 at 12:58:14 pm

Reported Tax Tax Disposable Disp Inc Disp Inc
Top % Income, $ Rate, % $ Income, $ Ratio MedTax
1 . 368,238 20.9 76,962 291,276 12 67
0.5 558,726 16.8 93,866 464,860 19 107
0.1 1,695,136 10.3 174,599 1,520,537 62 350
0.01 9,141,190 5 457,060 8,684,131 353 1999

US median income 28,964 15 4,345 24,619 1 6
US GDP/person 56,600 25 14,150 42,450 1.7 10

read full comment
Image of Phil Beaver
Phil Beaver
on October 10, 2015 at 14:44:58 pm

Spend
Top % Income $ Rate % Tax $ Spend $ Ratio Spend/MedTax
1.0 368,238 20.9 76,962 291,276 12 67
0.5 558,726 16.8 93,866 464,860 19 107
0.1 1,695,136 10.3 174,599 1,520,537 62 350
0.01 9,141,190 5 457,060 8,684,131 353 1999
Median 28,964 15 4,345 24,619 1 6
GDP/person 56,600 25 14,150 42,450 1.7 10

read full comment
Image of Phil Beaver
Phil Beaver
on October 10, 2015 at 15:02:30 pm

````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````Spend
Top`%````````````Income`$````````````Rate`%```````Tax`$`````````````Spend`$`````````Ratio```````Spend/MedTax
1.0````````````````368,238``````````````20.9`````````76,962````````````291,276```````````12`````````````67
0.5````````````````558,726``````````````16.8`````````93,866````````````464,860```````````19```````````107
0.1`````````````1,695,136``````````````10.3````````174,599`````````1,520,537```````````62```````````350
0.01````````````9,141,190```````````````5```````````457,060`````````8,684,131`````````353`````````1999
Median```````````28,964``````````````15``````````````4,345`````````````24,619`````````````1``````````````6
GDP/person`````56,600``````````````25````````````14,150`````````````42,450`````````````1.7``````````10

Hoping for legibility at last.

read full comment
Image of Phil Beaver
Phil Beaver
on October 12, 2015 at 16:29:01 pm

As a practicing Roman Catholic I am more and more put off by the Francis Church; his pontificate brings me back to the sixties when the Catholic church was taken over by ultra liberals , especially in the US where the Jesuit Courtney Murray came out full blast for the Church becoming integral support for the American Empire and its Cold Wars. After Vatican II I stopped going to mass and it was not until the time of John Paul II I returned. Murray is suspected to having belonged to the CIA and took his orders from the American Ivy League elite who were in the process of planning the NWO. It is becoming clearer and clearer that a faithful Catholic must look else where for his religious direction; Francis made it clear that the only faithful American Catholics he has time for are the Joe Bidens, Nancy Pelosis and the Kennedy family members. Francis is a disaster and it is very evident ; even though the American World media lionizes him as the new and charismatic leader of the Church, the "bare ruined choirs" of the American churches prove otherwise. Catholics are not flocking back into the Church; in fact the small group of faithful Catholics are looking elsewhere, the SSPX is a good place to look. When Francis leaves the Church in Rome will be in ruins and those Catholics who try to remain loyal to the magisterium will be heading in an Easternly direction towards the border of Russia and Poland. Western Europe is finished and in demographic collapse.

read full comment
Image of Johann
Johann
on October 12, 2015 at 21:30:03 pm

Saw his picture with the Castro brothers and that said it all really: a collection of old Marxists the world has left behind. But I will now have to stop asking what was a rhetorical question "Is the Pope a Catholic?", because the answer now is clearly "no".

read full comment
Image of Grandma
Grandma
on November 09, 2015 at 14:07:28 pm

Wow! I guess we'd all better on board, or be left behind in your new Civil Society. But you forgot to mention being on the Right Side of History.

read full comment
Image of Peter Kenny
Peter Kenny
on November 09, 2015 at 14:15:13 pm

Is the pope a Christian? That is the question now.

read full comment
Image of Shawn Marshall
Shawn Marshall
on November 09, 2015 at 15:30:34 pm

Are you asserting that events have rightly brought the USA to this dysfunctional status? Are you claiming that a god is responsible for the dysfunction and we'll find out why?

Why refer to my proposal as a new "Civil Society," when I am proposing civic collaboration? What point to you make by ignoring my proposal yet calling it "new"?

Are you killing time or trying to communicate?

read full comment
Image of Phil Beaver
Phil Beaver
on November 09, 2015 at 16:00:25 pm

According to Machiavelli, Chapter XI, it does not matter. As long as government partners with theists, the politicians and theists can live the high life and do whatever they want to the people and the people will neither rebel nor leave. Only a fool would write about the explanation. See first paragraph http://www.constitution.org/mac/prince11.htm .

to Grandma says, What about the characters he was with in September, 2015?

read full comment
Image of Phil Beaver
Phil Beaver
on November 27, 2015 at 17:44:10 pm

Craig, sorry. It seems I did not address your post. The center for weather reporting says a category five hurricane will make landfall and everyone in the landfall area ought to drive inland for shelter. The hurricane is from physics and the ethic to properly respond comes from human understanding.

Einstein, who unfortunately wrote about science, a study, rather than physics--energy, mass and space-time--from which everything emerges, gave only one example of the application of physics-based ethics. He wrote that a civic people do not lie to each other so as to avoid pain and misery--even annihilation. Meanwhile, scholarly law, or opinion-based law justifies lies continually.

read full comment
Image of Phil Beaver
Phil Beaver

Law & Liberty welcomes civil and lively discussion of its articles. Abusive comments will not be tolerated. We reserve the right to delete comments - or ban users - without notification or explanation.