As Time’s choice of the Pope as “Person of the Year” is a few days old I’d like to point out something that didn’t seem to make their article.
Last week I quoted a passage in EVANGELII GAUDIUM Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation that hasn’t got much play in the media
A healthy pluralism, one which genuinely respects differences and values them as such, does not entail privatizing religions in an attempt to reduce them to the quiet obscurity of the individual’s conscience or to relegate them to the enclosed precincts of churches, synagogues or mosques. This would represent, in effect, a new form of discrimination and authoritarianism. The respect due to the agnostic or non-believing minority should not be arbitrarily imposed in a way that silences the convictions of the believing majority or ignores the wealth of religious traditions. In the long run, this would feed resentment rather than tolerance and peace. (255)
When considering the effect of religion on public life, one must distinguish the different ways in which it is practiced. Intellectuals and serious journalists frequently descend to crude and superficial generalizations in speaking of the shortcomings of religion, and often prove incapable of realizing that not all believers – or religious leaders – are the same. Some politicians take advantage of this confusion to justify acts of discrimination. At other times, contempt is shown for writings which reflect religious convictions, overlooking the fact that religious classics can prove meaningful in every age; they have an enduring power to open new horizons, to stimulate thought, to expand the mind and the heart. This contempt is due to the myopia of a certain rationalism. Is it reasonable and enlightened to dismiss certain writings simply because they arose in a context of religious belief ? These writings include principles which are profoundly humanistic and, albeit tinged with religious symbols and teachings, they have a certain value for reason (256)
and within a few days the left proved him right first at CNN:
The justices agreed on Tuesday to review provisions in the Affordable Care Act requiring employers of a certain size to offer insurance coverage for birth control and other reproductive health services without a co-pay.
At issue is whether private companies can refuse to do so on the claim it violates their religious beliefs.
and at the Daily Beast:
Hobby Lobby wants to go one step further. This corporation, which already takes advantage of special government benefits by incorporating as a private business in the first place (entitling Hobby Lobby to tax benefits and liability shelters to which individuals alone are not entitled), wants to use its government-created corporate status with the help of government-run courts not just to express its religion on a poster or what have you but to force its employees to comply with the supposed religion of the corporation’s founders. This is, plain and simple, a corporation trying to contort government to impose the religious views of some onto many.
While the Beast’s constitutional argument is so weak Jonah Goldberg destroys in a single glorious sentence…
The right to own a gun is a far more settled issue constitutionally, politically and legally in this country, but not even the National Rifle Association would dream to argue that we have a right to free guns, provided by our employers.
…the real weakness is the amazing use of the phrase “Supposed religion” and CNN’s use of the world “Claims” to describe religious doctrines that have not only existed for centuries but are could be found with a simple google search:
2368 A particular aspect of this responsibility concerns the regulation of procreation. For just reasons, spouses may wish to space the births of their children. It is their duty to make certain that their desire is not motivated by selfishness but is in conformity with the generosity appropriate to responsible parenthood. Moreover, they should conform their behavior to the objective criteria of morality:
When it is a question of harmonizing married love with the responsible transmission of life, the morality of the behavior does not depend on sincere intention and evaluation of motives alone; but it must be determined by objective criteria, criteria drawn from the nature of the person and his acts criteria that respect the total meaning of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love; this is possible only if the virtue of married chastity is practiced with sincerity of heart.155
2369 “By safeguarding both these essential aspects, the unitive and the procreative, the conjugal act preserves in its fullness the sense of true mutual love and its orientation toward man’s exalted vocation to parenthood.”156
2370 Periodic continence, that is, the methods of birth regulation based on self-observation and the use of infertile periods, is in conformity with the objective criteria of morality.157 These methods respect the bodies of the spouses, encourage tenderness between them, and favor the education of an authentic freedom. In contrast, “every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible” is intrinsically evil:158
Thus the innate language that expresses the total reciprocal self-giving of husband and wife is overlaid, through contraception, by an objectively contradictory language, namely, that of not giving oneself totally to the other. This leads not only to a positive refusal to be open to life but also to a falsification of the inner truth of conjugal love, which is called upon to give itself in personal totality…. the difference, both anthropological and moral, between contraception and recourse to the rhythm of the cycle . . . involves in the final analysis two irreconcilable concepts of the human person and of human sexuality.159
2371 “Let all be convinced that human life and the duty of transmitting it are not limited by the horizons of this life only: their true evaluation and full significance can be understood only in reference to man’s eternal destiny.”160
2372 The state has a responsibility for its citizens’ well-being. In this capacity it is legitimate for it to intervene to orient the demography of the population. This can be done by means of objective and respectful information, but certainly not by authoritarian, coercive measures. the state may not legitimately usurp the initiative of spouses, who have the primary responsibility for the procreation and education of their children.161 It is not authorized to intervene in this area with means contrary to the moral law.
That is from the Catechism of the Catholic Church that has been available online for years as has the church’s position on Abortion (emphasis mine):
2270 Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception.
From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person – among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.71
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.72
My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth.73
2271 Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable.
Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law:
You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish.74
God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves.
Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes.75
2272 Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense.
The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life.
How much ignorance does it take for a news organization to use the word “claims” when describing doctrines in existence for 20 centuries in the largest religion in the world? Likely about as much as it takes for an opinion writer as “supposed religion”.
Unfortunately the ignorance isn’t confined to the left:
Francis is beating a retreat for the Catholic Church, and making sure its controversial doctrines are whispered, not yelled – no wonder the New York Times is in love.
Just like President Obama loved apologizing for America, Pope Francis likes to apologize for the Catholic Church, thinking that the Church is at its best when it is passive and not offending anyone’s sensibilities.
Is anyone ANYONE reading what the pope is actually saying?
few conservatives would disagree with this bit of the pope’s statement: “The culture of prosperity deadens us; we are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase; and in the meantime all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us.”
Conservatives embrace markets because they support a free society — but also because market economies produce the sort of prosperity that enables true human flourishing, one where we can better define our future as we see fit and achieve success on the basis of merit and hard work. After all, it was innovative capitalism — something the pope surely understands even if actual anti-capitalists don’t — that raised the average real income of the West over the past two centuries from $3 a day to $140. That might not qualify as a miracle, but it is surely a wonder — one that has given us lots better stuff and lots more opportunity to lead lives of deep fulfillment.
And progressives are kidding themselves if they think the pope was somehow embracing an Elizabethian (Warren) agenda of sky-high tax rates and an endlessly expanding welfare state. (Indeed, the pope denounced “a simple welfare mentality.”) How cramped an interpretation. Pope Francis’s vision transcends such parochial concerns. He is a global figure looking at crony capitalism in South America, massive youth unemployment in big government Europe, tremendous wealth disparities in state capitalist Asia, and deep poverty in Africa.
Well that’s one but the bottom line is still the same. The media are still trying to remake the Pope in their image, it’s up to us to not fall for it.