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.

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