By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
12/16/2013 (1 year ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
It's not easy being the Pope. Every word and every action is judged by billions of people, many who are unfriendly, and many more who want you to endorse their cause and condemn their enemies. Pundits tussle over every comment. This reality has compelled Pope Francis to affirm that he is not a Marxist.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Pope Francis wrote a fair criticism of materialism, criticizing "king money" and the love affair many have with it. Although he never mentioned capitalism, the letter was taken to be a critique of capitalism. Since Pope Francis is from Latin America, the home of liberation theology, and he once had a Marxist professor, speculation abounded.
The problem is not the Holy Father, who is not a Marxist. The problem is the continual effort by various groups to co-opt the Pope into their cause. This was seen recently with his comments on atheists and gays. His commentary was conciliatory and inviting, but he changed no doctrine, nor did he claim such behaviors were consistent with salvation.
Despite his limited statements, atheists and then self-professing gays, both claimed the pope endorsed their causes and that they too would be ushered into heaven the same as the devout.
We cannot speak as to how God will judge each person, except to say that every person is invited to respond to God's invitation and His table. This does not mean that every person will choose to arrive prepared.
The pope is not a Republican, nor is he a Democrat. Like Christ, political labels not only fail, they border on disrespect. The Holy Father is the Vicar of Christ. His role is not to lead earthly revolutions, but spiritual revolutions-- revolutions that take place in the hearts of individuals.
His interest is to foster the conditions in which those revolutions, or conversions, if you will, can take place. Conversions are difficult in circumstances of extreme poverty and hardship. Alleviating hunger and poverty can open the doorway to the heart. For most people, it is hard to hear the whispered words of God over a rumbling stomach.
In addition, we find the face of Jesus in the face of the poor. (See: Matthew 25)
Pope Francis had this to say to about Marxism. "The Marxist ideology is wrong. But I have met many Marxists in my life who are good people, so I don't feel offended."
He continued, according to Time: "The promise was that when the glass was full, it would overflow, benefiting the poor. But what happens instead, is that when the glass is full, it magically gets bigger nothing ever comes out for the poor. This was the only reference to a specific theory. I was not, I repeat, speaking from a technical point of view but according to the church's social doctrine. This does not mean being a Marxist."
So that people understand, Marxism is much more than an economic or political system. Genuine Marxism is also an entire worldview encompassing historical theory, philosophy, questions of ontology, and notably, atheism, where religion is replaced by the Marxist movement itself.
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