The Pope is (still) Catholic


By Steve Deace

Traveling to CPAC in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday provided me an opportunity to do some research on the new leader of the billion-member Catholic Church—Pope Francis. Even though I am what most observers would describe as an evangelical, so far I like a lot of what I see.

Pope Francis is the first non-European pope of the modern era, and also the first from Latin America (which is home to about 40% of all Catholics worldwide). Thought to be the runner-up to Pope Benedict back in 2005, the 76-year old native Argentinean is also the first Jesuit pope in the church’s history.

His background is in philosophy, theology, and chemistry, so we’re talking about a man with an extensive background in the traditional Catholic complementary relationship between faith and reason. Baptist Press describes Pope Francis as “a compassionate conservative” and speculates the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio took the moniker Francis in honor of legendary St. Francis of Assisi, whose hymn “All Creatures of Our God and King” we sing frequently at my evangelical church.

So why is Pope Francis described as a compassionate conservative?

Although from Latin America where liberation theology (a theistic form of socialism/communism) has been popular for decades, Pope Francis rejected it in favor of more traditional Catholicism early in his priestly career.

Pope Francis strongly opposed the legalization of homosexual unions in his native Argentina as recently as 2010 saying, “Let’s not be naïve we’re not talking about a simple political battle…but rather a machination from the Father of Lies (Satan) that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.” Pope Francis has also said that allowing adoption by homosexuals is a form of discrimination against children. On the other hand, Pope Francis has also been known to visit hospices and wash the feet of terminal AIDS patients, emulating Christ at the Last Supper.

Pope Francis has also voiced support for government programs to help the poor and challenged some aspects of free market economics. However, he’s also placed more of an emphasis on personal holiness as a means of overcoming poverty than what liberals typically describe as “social justice” (i.e. wealth redistribution).

Pope Francis is also described as “powerfully pro-life.”

Labeling abortion “a death sentence for unborn children,” Pope Francis has specifically said targeting children conceived in rape or incest for abortion is akin to being “condemned to death.” He’s also called euthanasia a “culture of discarding” the elderly. Furthermore, Pope Francis has previously said he believes Catholic politicians who defy the church’s teaching on the sanctity of life should be denied communion.

Based on what we know so far about Pope Francis, it appears liberals’ hopes for a less orthodox pontiff have been dashed. It appears to be a shock to some in the liberal media that the pope is indeed still Catholic.

(You can friend “Steve Deace” on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @SteveDeaceShow)


  • conchfritter

    “Pope Francis is also described as ‘powerfully pro-life.’”
    You can go a step further and also say that he isn’t a hypocritical pro-lifer too. He also is against the death penalty, and thinks that even one innocent person executed on accident is one too many. I wish more so-called Christians would feel the same way, but there are still far too many who are anti-abortion, but happily pro death penalty, even in the presence of many documented executions in the United States of innocent people. From my view, Catholics are one of the few groups of people who are consistent when they say they are “pro-life”.

    • Kami_sama_no_Otaku

      If you truly feel that the death penalty is in violation of the pro-life cause, you might want to be quiet and let a better advocate for it speak up. You didn’t state any Scripture to support your point, nor did you explain any apparent contradiction in logic. You merely resorted to name calling.

      Christians are commanded not to murder. Murder is when you kill intentionally kill someone unjustly; killing a person is not automatically murder. There must be intention and it must be unjust; accidentally executing the wrong person is a tragedy, but it has to be with intent. Negligence may be a special case, or I may have made a mistake with exactly how I explained it (actually, the two need not be mutually exclusive).

      For an execution to be murder, it has to be unjust (which would include executing the wrong person). Drawing an equivalence to murdering a child in the womb to an man wrongly convicted being executed by the authorities is false; both are tragic but the same underlying principle is not in practice. At least as of this discussion, you have not demonstrated any hypocrisy in those tragedies, let alone when a person has met the criteria for being justly executed.

      There are arguments to be made for why one should oppose both abortion and the ability for the government to execute people, but you failed to make those and in doing so provide fodder for those opposed to your own stance.

    • Roy Burton

      The difference is the death penalty is used to punish someone who has been convicted of killing one or more people. While flawed the murdered and their loved ones deserve justice. The big difference is when a baby is aborted(murdered) it was never given a chance of defending it self or to appeal being wrongly fully convicted . A murderer makes a choice, a baby can’t. 55 million innocent babies and counting murdered by Plan parenthood and associates. The falsely convicted being executed for crimes they did not commit is wrong also but in most cases they were allowed appeals and were failed by society just as innocent babies. Murder is Murder governments are empowered by God to punish criminals.