Lest anyone think I'm bagging on Protestantism, first of all, I'm only bagging on Luther, who strikes me as a gold-plated madman. But let's give some equal time to Pope Francis, who, with all due respect, is some combination of crazy, stupid, ignorant, indifferent, and/or demonic.
I can say that because I'm not a formal member of the Church. Rather, I only love the Church -- especially the Nonlocal Church Triumphant, what with all those visible saints and hidden cluminaries who continue to enrich my life immeasurably, but also the true Church Militant consisting of local Christians "who struggle as soldiers of Christ against sin, the devil, and 'the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places.'"
I can't help it. It's what I really think, especially after reading The Political Pope. Seriously: has there ever been a pope this loved by Christ's enemies and persecutors?
I can't vouch for the scholarship of the author, but he provides evidence that "liberation theology" was invented by the KGB, who even came up with the misleading name. It was an explicit attempt to infiltrate and influence the Church, to convert people to communism "through the judicious manipulation of religion," "the secret task of which was to incite Latin America's poor to rebel against the 'institutionalized violence of poverty' generated by the United States."
I still remember Pope John Paul confronting that Marxist priest on the tarmac in Nicaragua in 1983 and ripping him a new one: YOU MUST STRAIGHTEN OUT YOUR POSITION WITH THE CHURCH! Truly, the sainted Pope could hammer Francis with the identical words. Marxism or Christianity. It's one or the other, Padre.
For the record, I myself was probably at peak leftitude in 1983, so I very much sympathized with the chastened priest. I can't say I regarded John Paul the way I do Francis, because I wouldn't have thought of the former as demonic, just a reactionary malefactor steeped in magical thinking getting in the way of Progress.
Pope Benedict too "repeatedly warned the faithful to reject 'liberation theology,' a Marxist-inspired ideology disguised as concern for the poor..." But Francis is doing his best to rehabilitate this heresy, praising its "high concept of humanity," reinstating defrocked priests and condemned theologians, and appointing these purveyors of anti-Christian doctrine to important advisory positions.
Likewise, in reference to free market capitalism he tellingly deploys the left-wing smear of "trickle-down economics," and proclaims that "inequality is the root of all evil." He seems better suited to Occupy Wall Street than the Vatican.
Oh yeah, I remember. God punishes Adam and Eve because they trigger Him with loose talk about a natural right to private property. The snake puts it in Eve's ear that socialism is both false and unjust, and God responds by kicking them out of their Venezuelan paradise.
Beyond ironically, the actual origin of evil may be traced to "Satan's refusal to accept inequality." Satan rebels out of envy, as "he couldn't tolerate his lesser status." The mere existence of God is a wound to his narcissistic sense of entitlement.
There is nothing in the Commandments in praise of equality. Indeed, the first and fourth commandments mandate cosmic hierarchy and inequality (in reference to our local and nonlocal parents), while the ninth and tenth instruct the faithful to STRAIGHTEN OUT YOUR POSITION WITH ENVY! As in, STOP IT!
But as Churchill well knew, socialism is the ideology of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of ENVY. Gospel, mind you: ultimately the anti-gospel of the anti-Christ. And prior to its badness is its ignorance, in that "Being precedes Truth" and "Truth precedes the Good" (Pieper):
Truth, then, is the prerequisite of justice. Whoever rejects truth, whether natural or supernatural, is really 'wicked' and beyond conversion.... 'All laws and rules of conduct may ultimately be reduced to a single one: to truth.'
For the virtue of prudence resides in this: that the objective cognition of reality shall determine action; that the truth of real things shall become determinative.... This in turn necessitates that the egocentric 'interests' of man be silenced in order that he may perceive the truth of real things, and so that reality itself may guide him to the proper means for realizing his goal.
Oh, and covetousness "means more than the disorderly love of money and property." Rather, it includes "immoderate straining for all the possessions which man thinks are needed to assure his own importance and status," an "overriding concern for confirmation and security."
It reminds me of something Schuon says about how each assimilation of a truth results in a little death for the ego. Truth "is dependent upon the constant readiness to ignore the self," on "the limberness of real humility and objectivity" (Pieper).
The point is, moral action must be rooted in truth, i.e., an objective perception of reality. Now, socialism is very much a subjective perception of reality, which is to say, no reality at all. Look at Venezuela: it is what happens when passionately moral actions (giving those idiots the benefit of the doubt) are rooted in desire instead of truth. The roads built by the Good Intentions Paving Company travel in one direction only.
And if this book on Francis is correct, then he is one of them -- a member in good standing of the Socialist Church Militant. Fellow member Cornel West calls him "a gift from heaven." Talk about damning with fulsome praise.
Of course, I would love to be wrong. But it is difficult to conceive of a cosmos in which praise from the likes of Cornel West isn't a grave indictment.
The left claims that the guilty party in a conflict is not the one who covets another's goods but the one who defends his own.
Envy differs from the other vices by the ease with which it disguises itself as a virtue.
The devil can achieve nothing great without the careless collaboration of the virtues.
There is no noble substitute for gratitude.
The error lies not in dreaming that secret gardens exist, but in dreaming they have doors. --Don Colacho's Aphorisms