Judge Andrew Napolitano thinks the pope is out of his element. He’s wrong.
By Elizabeth Stoker | 6:32am ET TweetinShare39
A mystery inside a hazy enigma.A mystery inside a hazy enigma. Franco Origlia/Getty ImagesBy now we have developed a pattern when it comes to Pope Francis:
Any time he critiques economics, there is a rush to explain why he’s out of his element. On the appropriateness of the pope’s economic commentary, for example, Fox News’ Judge Andrew Napolitano poses and then answers his own question:Is it a problem for the Roman Catholic Church?
And is it something the pope is competent to comment upon or to resolve?… His encyclical is about economics, and it reveals a disturbing ignorance….
Thank God, so to speak, that his teaching authority is limited to faith and morals, because in matters of economics, he is wide of the mark. [Fox News]Note that Napolitano says he is Catholic and “a firm believer that Pope Francis is the Vicar of Christ on Earth.
“Yet to condescendingly but always with the greatest reverence say that Pope Francis is outside his purview isn’t just a common refrain — it has echoes in another debate that Napolitano would probably not like to be associated with.
Before Pope Francis ever arrived in Rome, analysts were concluding based on polls of U.S. Catholics that the church was “out of touch” when it came to issues like contraception. “Out of touch” is still a euphemism for “incompetent,” even if it cloaks in gentler language the notion that the church lacks proper insight.
In other words, it doesn’t matter what your complaint is when it comes to Catholic teaching; when convenient, just use the criticism that the church should stick to spiritual matters and shouldn’t dabble in “amoral” subjects like science, economics, or what have you. Of course, this completely confuses church teaching.When Pope Francis comments upon economics, he doesn’t provide concrete, wonkish policy prescriptions. This is not because he lacks the insight or creativity to do so, but because his critiques are ultimately aimed at the subjects’ moral dimensions.
For example, Pope Francis recently concluded:At the center of all economic systems must be man, man and woman, and everything else must be in service of this man. But we have put money at the center, the god of money. We have fallen into a sin of idolatry, the idolatry of money. [Patheos]What Pope Francis’ analysis means is that the economy, like all creations of humankind, should be
In 1961, France’s Charles de Gaulle told President John F. Kennedy that in Vietnam the U.S. would sink “step by step into a bottomless quagmire,” however much it spent “in men and money.”President Kennedy had begun sending more advisors to Vietnam to help the Diem regime, increasing their number to 800 in 1961. Kennedy refused his military advisors advice to send combat divisions to Vietnam, but he increased the number of so-called advisors and aid to the Saigon regime.