In probably the best analytical summary of Pope Francis’s political and ideological sentiments is a column by William McGurn in the Wall Street Journal Tuesday.
Speak for Venezuela, Pope Francis
The first Latin American pontiff is harder on Trump than on Caracas’s despot.
We are often critical of the Pontiff for his very antagonistic views and public expressions on capitalism, traditional Catholicism, and the United States in general, including its values, history, and its free democratic system. His eager embrace of socialism/ Marxism, and his indifference to some of the world’s worst dictators are objectionable in our view for the leader of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church.
Mr. McGurn, in his column, focuses, as we have noticed, on Pope Francis’s remarkable silence on the Venezuelan crisis and the atrocity of the Hugo Chavez, Nicolas Maduro destruction of that country through the kind of socialist governance Pope Francis has seemed to have such great affection for since his ministry in Argentina where he apparently became enamored by the allure of “liberation theology”.
In his column, McGurn writes:
“When Pope Francis wants to make the objects of his disfavor feel his sting, he’s never lacked for words—especially when it involves the U.S.
But when it comes to the brutality of Venezuela’s government against its own people, Pope Francis and the Vatican have mostly avoided calling out Nicolás Maduro by name. Until Friday, that is. That’s when a popular uprising in Venezuela finally pushed the Vatican to oppose the regime’s bid to tighten its grip by imposing an illegitimate super-assembly to rewrite the constitution.
Even this late in the day, the Vatican’s expression of “profound concern” is better than nothing. Particularly welcome is Rome’s call for Mr. Maduro to “suspend” the new assembly. Still, it’s hard not to notice that in sharp contrast to Venezuela’s bishops—who recently tweeted a prayer to “free our homeland from the claws of communism and socialism”—even the toughest Vatican statement on Venezuela has all the zing of a World Bank communiqué calling for more resources for a clean-water project in Moldova.”
Amen to that! Continuing . . .
The Acton Institute’s Samuel Gregg was probably closer to the mark when he recently put it this way: “Venezuela’s crisis doesn’t fit into Pope Francis’s standard way of explaining contemporary political and economic problems. It’s very hard for the pope to blame Venezuela’s problems on the tyranny of Mammon, financial speculation, free trade agreements, arms-dealers, nefarious ‘neoliberals,’ or any of his usual list of suspects.”
The ironies here are legion. In the latter half of the 20th century, Latin American liberation theologians posited a “people’s church” pitted against a “formal church” whose hierarchy was aligned to the military dictatorships that prevailed in much of the continent. Before he was elected pope, Jorge Mario Bergoglio faced precisely this claim in the accusation that he did not adequately criticize the military regime that ruled his native Argentina during his time as the head of its Jesuit community.