Pope Francis, a Friend of the Left?

Franicis on Gays

Amanda Marcotte argues in Salon that Bernie Sanders “has to accept that Pope Francis is not a friend of the left.”


According to Marcotte the Pope is no humanitarian, because, among other things, he has not embraced LGBT rights, apparently a sine qua non of laying claim to humanitarianism.

While Pope Francis hasn’t managed to change the whole of Catholic doctrine overnight, as presumably Amanda Marcotte might wish, he has certainly changed the tone.  Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director of Dignity USA, an organization of LGBT Catholics does considers the change in tone significant:

“Pope Francis’ comments on gay people in the Church represent a very welcome change in tone from what we’ve heard from the last two Popes. For gay people to hear a Pope speak of us as people of faith and goodwill who should not be marginalized in society, rather than as threats to civilization, is a great shift.”


The reality is that most American Catholics ignore Catholic doctrine on many moral issues.  Pew Research found that 6 in 10 American Catholics support gay marriage.  (http://www.pewforum.org/2015/07/29/graphics-slideshow-changing-attitudes-on-gay-marriage/)

The vast majority of American Catholics ignore the Church’s teaching on contraception, and Pope Francis seemed to recognize this fact when he said that good Catholics don’t have to “breed like rabbits.”

Pope Francis is indeed a faithful Catholic with views on many matters that differ greatly from those of both Bernie Sanders and Amanda Marcotte.  Bernie Sanders justifiably considers the Pope an ally in the struggle for the rights of migrants fleeing violence and poverty and for a just economic order. The following statement of Pope Francis is an eloquent challenge to American free-market fundamentalism:

“The worship of the ancient golden calf has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose. The worldwide crisis affecting finance and the economy lays bare their imbalances and, above all, their lack of real concern for human beings; man is reduced to one of his needs alone: consumption.”

Amanda Marcotte concedes that Bernie Sanders should meet with the Pope because  “Politics is a world where you sometimes have to deal with unsavory characters because they are in positions of power and influence.”

Hillary Clinton, who has much support in the African American community, has spoken at many African American churches. Should she be warned that African American pastors are not friends of the left? After all, most of them have views on sexual morality that are not much different from the Pope’s. Are they unsavory characters politicians have deal with?

Calling the Pope “an unsavory character” fits nicely with the anti-Catholicism on the left.  I suspect Ms. Marcotte  would die before using the term “unsavory” to describe the pastor of a Black church in Harlem who has a lot more in common with Pope Francis than with her.

3 thoughts on “Pope Francis, a Friend of the Left?

  1. It is interesting the the Pope’s (not the church’s) tone has improved on the matter of LGBTQ rights, and one can hope that the next step will be actual policy change, but for the moment a change of tone to me is like someone saying they think a certain race or ethnicity is A nice person, but they wouldn’t go so far as to let their daughter or son marry one.

    I know someone who once sent a letter to the Vatican actually “resigning” from the church because of its negative stNce on gay rights. We shall see what the future brings I guess.


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