I found this today from Peter Strzelecki Rieth and it’s one of the best counters to some of the anti-Pope sophistry being put forth by unthinking conservatives I’ve seen:
Criticism of Pope Francis on the American Right seems to have reached its high point. Aside from the usual accusations that the Pope is a Marxist, is ignorant of economics, oblivious to illegal immigration, weak on abortion, homosexuality and the liturgy, a new accusation has arisen: the Pope, we are told, never once mentioned Jesus Christ in his Congressional address. The Right’s discontent may tell us more about the paralysis that has afflicted conservative politics in the United States than about any presumed crisis in the Papacy.
Perhaps the heaviest criticism of the Pope voiced by some stalwarts of the American Right is that he never once invoked the name of Jesus Christ. This accusation is misleading on a number of levels. First, as a matter of Biblical exegesis, we ought to recall the instances when Christ Himself, usually following on the heels of a miracle or when those closest to Him happened to guess that He was the Messiah, explicitly forbade others telling anyone about His Divine nature and His miraculous acts. His followers seldom heeded His commands and spread the forbidden word. Pope Francis may well have concluded that there was merit in Christ’s approach to the method by which He wished to reveal Himself to the pagan world, that the Lord at times saw fit to prohibit His zealous pupils the righteous luxury of being direct. Instead of invoking the name of Jesus Christ, the Pope invoked His words:
“Our world is facing a refugee crisis of a magnitude not seen since the Second World War. This presents us with great challenges and many hard decisions. On this continent, too, thousands of persons are led to travel north in search of a better life for themselves and for their loved ones, in search of greater opportunities. Is this not what we want for our own children? We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond as best we can to their situation. To respond in a way which is always humane, just and fraternal. We need to avoid a common temptation nowadays: to discard whatever proves troublesome. Let us remember the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you (Mt 7:12).”
It is uncharitable for the American Right to accuse the Pope of not invoking the name of Christ when the American Right is presumably aware of Who it is that the Pope is quoting. Being more explicit may have actually deflected the importance of Christ’s teaching in favor of Christ’s ego. It may just be that some have grown accustomed to Beltway culture that they presume that Jesus Christ lacks name recognition. This is not exactly how the Vatican conducts politics. The Pope is not up for re-election, and he tends to take the long view of things. It is not unreasonable to think that the Pope, whose mandate is rather longer than that of an average Congressman, was not aiming to win a vote on the Senate floor, but to deliver an address that would endure beyond its time.
As to the matter of the immigrants and refugees in relation to whom we ought to be applying this Golden Rule: for some odd reason, the Pope’s words are convoluted into advocacy for illegal immigration, universal amnesty, and a host of other schemes to bypass the rule of law. Yet such an interpretation flies in the face of the Pope’s actual words, by which he explicitly made the contrary clear…
He’s got more… tons more and I urge thinking conservatives to read the entire thing.
The unthinking can continue to intellectually drown in the pool of ignorance they’ve put themselves.
Crossposted at Brutally Honest.