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Friday, May 9, 2014

Let the Conservative Frenzy Feeding Upon Pope Francis Begin Again - Updates

Here is an article by the AP, highlighting some of the recent comments by Pope Francis, and taking them out of context.

The first thing taken out of context are the two words quoted in the headline: POPE DEMANDS 'LEGITIMATE REDISTRIBUTION' OF WEALTH.

First of all, the Pope did not "demand" anything. Shame on Nicole Winfield, the reporter, and her AP editors. SHAME.

I would like to point out that the Pope's comments are in an address to folks at the UN. As such, these comments have very little doctrinal or disciplinary authority. Popes almost never make "demands" on these occasions, and Popes rarely make "demands" of secular organizations in any case.

Secondly, the Pope did NOT mention a redistribution of "wealth." Shame also on DRUDGE also for doing the same thing. Look, putting the word "wealth" into the Pope's mouth in this context is simply SPIN and not reporting. Why not say "economic benefits" - the Pope's actual words? Because those words are not as sensational. DRUDGE. Really.

Breitbart parrots the AP language. Way to go Breitbart. I can't say "shame" because this is what your organization is really about - not truth, but making your enemies look bad. You're using liberal political tactics to promote so-called conservative policies. As of 10:30 AM EDT, the comments are living up to true Breitbart form. A couple of people try to point out that the AP story is misleading, and they get slammed. Outlets like Breitbart are driving Catholics like me away.

So, the Pope's words were a "legitimate redistribution of economic benefits." There is a difference. Of course the very enlightened and educated and unbigoted and fair and even tempered folks who like to throw fits at places like Breitbart.com would disagree and call me a democrat-loving Marxist for pointing out the difference. But who cares? There IS a difference, and denying it is a denial of reality.

"Redistribution of wealth" means taking money from those who have it and giving it to those who do not. Rob or at least coercively extort from the rich to give to the poor. The Pope did NOT say that. "Economic benefits" can mean so much more than "wealth," and may not even mean "money." It can mean using tax money to, I don't know, run libraries, community centers, health clinics, and museums; provide low interest loans to get housing, cars, and such; and all sorts of things that poor people cannot actually afford in their present state, which if they could, would elevate all of society.  The State could sponsor organizations like Habitat for Humanity, which rehabilitates housing for poor people. And organizations that go to poor countries to educate children, train adults, and improve people's lives.

The resources for such things do not always trickle down - if they did, then the Pope wouldn't be encouraging the State to step in.

People who gain wealth tend to want to keep it for themselves, because gaining it is what they set out to do. There is an inherent resistance to "trickle-down" in greed-based economies. There is. Of course, rich people do spend money, and in that sense it trickles down to some degree. But rich people generally tend to occupy themselves with turning their wealth into more and greater wealth, which does not really trickle down so much. Look, if you had income of $10 million, would you simply SPEND or give away $9.8 million and save the rest for retirement? No, you'd invest, like, 9 million of it, protecting it from trickle-down, and spend the rest on lavish living. Maybe give some way for tax purposes or something.

The AP story does eventually quote more of the statement in question, but again it is out of context. The Pope was careful to frame the statement with the story of Zaccheus, whom the Pope notes acted freely in caring for the poor. The Pope pointed out, "The account of Jesus and Zacchaeus teaches us that above and beyond economic and social systems and theories, there will always be a need to promote generous, effective and practical openness to the needs of others." (I added the bold.)

The Pope then says, "Jesus does not ask Zacchaeus to change jobs nor does he condemn his financial activity; he simply inspires him to put everything, freely yet immediately and indisputably, at the service of others."

So, I must ask the AP, if JESUS does not make DEMANDS of Zaccheus, how on earth do you interpret the Pope's comments, which he frames in mentioning this fact, as a demand? Seriously!

Promoting the "generous, effective and practical openness to the needs of others" is hardly a demand.

I think what's really missing is an examination of the word "legitimate." What might the Pope mean by his encouragement of "legitimate" redistribution of "economic benefits"? Hmmmm.

We have lost the capacity to think clearly and rationally.


John Moody at Fox has bared his teeth. He has the audacity as to tell the Pope his job and that he has exceeded his authority. Hypocrite. Moody exceeds his authority and expertise by doing so. He also proposes that the Catholic church, unlike other religions, should pay taxes. His superficiality officially makes him someone not to take seriously - about anything.

Meanwhile, at Breitbart, the story has thankfully moved down toward the bottom of their page. But in 13 hours, the number of comments has swelled by a factor of over 30 (standing at over 3000), and most of them are vitriolic bigotry.

Conservative News Service (cnsnews.com) reposts the AP story with Ms Winfield's by-line, but at least they change "demand" in the headline to "urges," which is definitely closer to the Pope's intent.

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