Friday, January 31, 2014

Who Is the Pope Talking To All Day Long?

Rolling Stone magazine has a 7,700 word cover story out on the Pope, written by Mark Benelli.

Part of the story fills in some blanks about the Pope and how he got to be the Pope, while other parts of the story add new mystery.

We learn from the story that the Pope was something of a compromise candidate when chosen to be Pope:
Going into the conclave, there were three acknowledged front-runners, says Father Reese, who covered the event for the National Catholic Reporter. Bergoglio was not among them. Nearly every Vatican watcher assumed that even though he'd been runner-up to Ratzinger in the 2005 conclave, he'd aged out of any serious consideration. "If they had been united around one candidate, it would have been all over," Reese says. "The problem was, it looked like each group hated the other two groups." Because of the infighting, in Reese's estimation, none of the three front-runners would throw their votes to their rivals, so they wound up backing the dark horse.

But, somehow, conservatives Cardinals who voted for the new Pope are now surprised by his socialist-leaning positions. They thought he would not make any waves:
By all accounts, the papal conclave that elevated Bergoglio assumed it was electing a fairly anodyne compromise candidate. Cardinals liked the idea of a pope from Latin America, one of the Church's leading growth markets. They also responded well to a stirring three-minute speech Bergoglio gave during the conclave, in which he said the Church, in order to survive, must stop "living within herself, of herself, for herself."
But he gave no other indication that he'd be any kind of change agent. In the days after his election, most newspapers described him as a safe, conservative choice. Bergoglio himself had already picked out a retirement spot back home in Argentina, where he fully expected to return after participating in the conclave as a voter.
The conservative Cardinals should have taken much more seriously the warning of the important economist Sir Peter Bauer, when he said:
By the year 2050 there will be only two True Believer Marxists left on planet Earth and they will be two nuns in Brazil.
South America is a hot bed of Catholic-socialist thinking. And make no mistake, Pope Francis is a socialist. The RS cover story provides us with more damning quotes from the Pope's recent  Evangelii Gaudium:
[The Pope] in Evangelii Gaudium, lashes out at "ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace . . . reject[ing] the right of states . . . to exercise any form of control" and calls the deification of the free market "a new tyranny . . . which unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules."
RS informs:
Whatever his true feelings back then, as pope, Francis has made his sympathies clear: Last September, he invited the Peruvian founder of the [Liberation Theology] movement, Father Gustavo GutiƩrrez, to visit him at the Vatican.
Murray Rothbard called  liberation theology a flirtation between Marxism and the Church:
Marxism is a religious creed. This statement has been common among critics of Marx, and since Marxism is an explicit enemy of religion, such a seeming paradox would offend many Marxists, since it clearly challenged the allegedly hard-headed scientific materialism on which Marxism rested. In the present day, oddly enough, an age of liberation theology and other flirtations between Marxism and the Church, Marxists themselves are often quick to make this same proclamation.
 RS also tells us:
Now, while Francis' days in some ways follow an expected papal itinerary – early rising and prayer, morning Mass, visits with dignitaries and heads of state, the occasional off-site trip to a hospital or a church – the space he's carved out for himself has allowed for an unprecedented degree of independence. While past popes maintained detailed public schedules, Francis handwrites his own agenda in a private datebook. "This is unheard of," a senior Vaticanisti who wishes to remain anonymous tells me. "Aides who'd ordinarily know what's going on have to piece things together by talking to other people." Confirms Father Lombardi, the Vatican press secretary, with the hint of a sigh, "Before, I was in contact with the Curia and could ask them what the daily agenda is. Now, we have to discover what the agenda is. He is very free in organizing it."

By most accounts, Francis is constantly on the telephone (landline; he's never owned a mobile phone or a computer), consulting with trusted friends and colleagues. "John Paul II and Benedict both had an inner circle, so this is very disconcerting to people on the inside," the Vaticanisti says. "Does Francis have a war room? No, probably not. But who is he talking to back there? No one really knows."

(ht  Jay Stephenson)


  1. The irony of RS referring to the Pope's strategy room as a "war room" is not lost upon me.

    I suppose the Pope is waging a war against prosperity, so maybe it's relevant.

  2. How you all get socialism from the Pope's comments, I don't understand. It sound like a true warning about one world government and destructive financialization of everything and crony corruption.

    1. I agree.

      And the dark insinuations about the nature of private phone calls is absurd. Is EPJ proposing that everyone's phone calls be monitored? I'm more concerned about who Bill Gates or Warren Buffett talks to privately than I am the pope.

      He strikes me as a smart and cautious man. Keeping his agenda to himself makes it harder for the curia to plan his sudden removal.