Francis Effect: Republicans Re-Examine Relationship with Catholic Church

The reality that Pope Francis sounds more like President Obama than Ronald Reagan has put bit of a scare into the Republican party and Conservatives. Conversely, the Pope has become a darling to the Democratic party.

Pope Francis’s proclivity for social programs and his distrust of capitalism has been in lockstep with President Obama’s agenda of income inequality and his overreaching social welfare programs. Democrat Sen. Claire McCaskill from Missouri is ecstatic, saying that her children feel welcome to go back to church again. “They were raised in the Catholic Church. They had basically kind of walked away, because a lot of the really very conservative hierarchy in this country — they didn’t feel as welcome. Now, I think they feel more welcome.” McCaskill exclaims, “I love this pope.”

Significantly, others are not as exuberant as McCaskill, based on recent affirmations by the Pope. Francis’s recent statements demonstrate his socialist bias, when he criticizes free market capitalism and asserts that it will not bring about “greater justice and inclusiveness.”  In November, the Pope condemned “trickle-down” economics as an “opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, [that] expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power.” Francis also condemned the “idolatry of money” and declared unrestrained capitalism as “a new tyranny.” Nonetheless, the Pope insists he is not a Marxist, “The Marxist ideology is wrong but I have met many Marxists in my life who are good people, so I don’t feel offended.”

But Pope Francis’s denial has not convinced all of his critics. Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), who attended Catholic schools and graduated from the University of Notre Dame’s law school, vehemently disagrees with the Pope's socialist philosophy and economic leanings. King regards the term “trickle-down” to be a “pejorative” term, “like some liberal speechwriter stuck it in.”  Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin weighed in on the Pope’s remarks: “some statements that to me sound kind of liberal.”  Sen. John McCain (R-Az), although admitting that the Pope’s advocacy for the poor and disenfranchised was commendable, said, “His economic perspective I’m not particularly enamored with.”

Rush Limbaugh, radio host and Conservative chieftain, came down hard on Francis, maintaining that the Pope’s comments were “pure Marxism," while others castigated Francis for being the “Catholic Church’s Obama.”

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), a Catholic, cut the Pope some slack for his leftist views: “The guy is from Argentina, they haven’t had real capitalism in Argentina.” Ryan continued saying, “They have crony capitalism in Argentina. They don’t have a true free enterprise system.”


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