Pope Francis, Politics and Being Catholic: Briefly

March 15, 1915: Billy Sunday giving another rip-roaring performance.
Billy Sunday giving another rip-roaring performance. (1915)

Pope Francis criticized (some) Catholics in my country.

If I had any sense, and was trying to make A Catholic Citizen in America famous, influential, profitable or some combination of those qualities, I’d have long since picked an earnestly wacky political fringe position.

And, having picked my target demographic, I would now churn out a rant denouncing the pope for not being sufficiently American; for not supporting the civil rights of wombats — or whatever the Great Cause of the Month was.

I don’t, happily, have that sort of “sense”. But I do think this deserves a brief response:

Pope Francis laments ‘reactionary,’ politicised, US Catholic Church
Philip Pullella, Reuters (August 28, 2023)

“…Francis made his comments on Aug. 5 in a private meeting in Lisbon with members of the Jesuit order, of which he is a member, during his trip for World Youth Day. They were published on Monday by the Jesuit journal Civilta Cattolica.

“In a question-and-answer session, a Portuguese Jesuit said that during a sabbatical in the United States, he was saddened that many Catholics, including some bishops, were hostile to the pope’s leadership.

“‘You have seen that in the United States the situation is not easy: there is a very strong reactionary attitude. It is organised and shapes the way people belong, even emotionally,’ the pope responded.

“Religious conservatives in the United States often have aligned with politically conservative media outlets to criticise the pope over a host of issues such as climate change, immigration, social justice, his calls for gun control and his opposition to the death penalty….”

Being Catholic, and American

Political cartoons: Homer Davenport's version of Mark Hanna in 1896; Karl Kae Knecht's 1912 Roosevelt mixing 'radical' ingredients in his speeches. From Wikipedia, used w/o permission.
Political cartoons of yesteryear: 1896, 1912.

To begin with, I’m “A Catholic Citizen in America”, like the blog title says.

In other words, I’m a Catholic.

I live in America. I’m a citizen.

But I am not a [liberal/conservative/libertarian/whatever] Catholic Citizen.

I’m a Catholic, and I take my faith seriously.

Since no political party reflects the values and behaviors that come with being Catholic, I can’t reasonably give unyielding, unwavering, unthinking allegiance to any political party.

I probably wouldn’t, even if by some miracle there was a political clique that was a good match, and that’s another topic.

I’m not utterly apathetic, so I do have views that correspond to political platforms.

[Not] Fitting a Political Pigeonhole

An online opinion poll result that said I'm a libertarian. Not entirely inaccurate, but not accurate either. (2017)A few years back, I took a few of those ‘what are your political beliefs’ online (and free) questionnaires.

I learned that I was conservative, liberal, and — in one case — libertarian.

Results depended on what questions the questionnaire asked.

Now, about what Pope Francis said.

I think the Pope is Catholic, and that he’s right: some folks in this country who say they’re Catholic, and may sincerely believe that they’re the only ‘real’ Catholics left, act a great deal like the wacked-out and very Calivinist-Protestant radio ranters of my youth.

There may be loony left Catholics who are convinced that the Church oughta be more firmly supportive of voting rights for pigeons, or whatever the current cause is.

My guess is that the ‘Jesus was a liberal’ faction doesn’t make much noise, at least not in a religious context. And that’s yet another topic. Topics.

There. I’ve talked about Pope Francis and making sense.

That, at least, is what I hope I’ve done.

Now, the usual ‘more stuff’ list:

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About Brian H. Gill

I was born in 1951. I'm a husband, father and grandfather. One of the kids graduated from college in December, 2008, and is helping her husband run businesses and raise my granddaughter; another is a cartoonist and artist; #3 daughter is a writer; my son is developing a digital game with #3 and #1 daughters. I'm also a writer and artist.
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2 Responses to Pope Francis, Politics and Being Catholic: Briefly

  1. Thanks very much for this refresher, Mr. Gill! And you know, I often wonder how God works on those He means to take up political roles. And then moments like an aunt in Texas telling me about St. Thomas More and priests talking about needing to be aware that we’re all sinners – not merely unfortunate, but sinners born from sinners – come to teach and remind me about that. Of course, it’s not easy, but knowing that we can reassures and motivates me. Praise and thanks be to God Almighty very much again.

  2. My pleasure! And yes: praise and thanks be to God Almighty.
    Also: I thankful that there are those who get involved with politics with the intention of working for the common good.

Thanks for taking time to comment!