The media’s obsession with the Catholic Church’s position on things like abortion, marriage equality, and contraception always strikes this practicing Catholic as completely missing what it means to be Catholic. My faith, along with that of most Catholics, isn’t determined by the Church’s political fights of the day. Efforts by fellow journalists to jam Church teachings into the traditional left/right American political spectrum are futile as its views do not fit nicely into either camp. When somebody shouts about this pope being extremely conservative I roll my eyes as a conservative in the typical American sense would not rail against austerity measures, income inequality, and “unfair economic structures” that hurt the poor. Pope Francis has lived a deeply humble life with a strong focus on aiding the less fortunate and that is a major part of what it means to be a Catholic. It’s not just about faith in Jesus Christ for us, good works matter, too.The Catholic church has been around for more than 2,000 years with an unflinching foundation based around moral tenets given by God, It has arguably done more for the poor and hungry than any other institution on the planet. But it's charitable deeds and true faith teachings will never stop anti-God, social liberals hellbent on smearing the church because of the misdeeds of a select few--all in an effort to make the church a villain, get people to leave the church and instead join the morally bankrupt, liberal agenda.
My fellow libertarian compatriot and devoted follower of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Andrew Kirell, put out a post on these controversial subjects and how they relate to our new Holy Father. The post is a laundry list of concerns central to so many in the press. It is true that many in the Catholic hierarchy are immensely conservative when it comes to sexual morality issues and in some instances even places those concerns over their concerns about social justice issues.
This pope cares deeply about both but his actions in Argentina as well in as in the first 48 hours of his pontificate tell us that he cares more deeply about matters of social justice and may be even be more “liberal” than at first glance.
As a Jesuit, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, was a tireless champion of the downtrodden and poor throughout Argentina. Bergoglio routinely spoke out on behalf of the poor going as far as to liken the conditions in Buenos Aires to slavery due to corruption. He made some of his sharpest remarks on the lives of the less fortunate during a gathering of bishops in 2007, saying that their region is mired in deep poverty.
“We live in the most unequal part of the world, which has grown the most yet reduced misery the least. The unjust distribution of goods persists, creating a situation of social sin that cries out to heaven and limits the possibilities of a fuller life for so many of our brothers,” he told the bishops, lumping in the plight of the poor with the expansion of the globalization.
Francis shed the extravagant trappings usually afforded to some Catholic cardinals, preferring, instead, to stick to his Jesuit roots. This is a man who would ride the bus with the lowest of the low in his archdiocese so he could see the problems they face daily. He lived in a simple apartment and cooked his own meals.
It is believed that one of his biggest influences, though, was a Salvadorian archbishop steeped in liberation theology who was later assassinated for his outspokenness on behalf of the poor. While he eschewed support for liberation theology with its close ties to the Latin American left he still managed to challenge the government in his native Argentina for the awful living conditions faced by the poor.
“Let’s not tolerate the sad spectacle of those who no longer know how to lie and contradict themselves to hold onto their privileges, their rapaciousness, and their ill-earned wealth,” Bergoglio said during a national televised homily.
In addition to strongly opposing austerity measures that disproportionately impact the poor has railed against the child slavery and the abuse of children. He is known to have zero tolerance for child abuse and his reign as archbishop of Buenos Aires has been largely blemish free, unlike some cardinals that were speculated on as potential popes.
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