Ain’t That America #7
The Pope and the President

I haven’t even read the Pope’s new encyclical yet...

...and I’m already sick of it. Or, rather, sick of the argument about it. I cannot express to you how utterly sick I am of the factional hostility within the Church. Yes, that’s three uses of the word “sick” in three sentences; perhaps that will give you an idea of how I feel.

We can look forward to weeks or months now of politically-minded Catholics trying to beat their enemies to death with this document, or trying to keep from being beaten to death. It must be more comforting to the left in this country than to the right, as it had hardly popped out of the Vatican before Fr. Thomas Reese, S.J. was suddenly transformed into an ultramontanist. And by the middle of the day George Weigel, on the other side, was telling us which parts we should ignore.

A plague on them all. I’ll make you this prediction: partisans all across the spectrum will make it impossible to have a calm and charitable discussion of the encyclical and the questions it raises. And I’ll make you this promise: I’ll say nothing about Caritas in veritate until I’ve read it and reflected on it for at least a couple of weeks, and until I think I can discuss it in a way that isn’t driven by political hostility. And if I don’t discuss it at all, I’m sure the world will be none the worse.



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