The New Christian Right/Republican Pariah: The Vatican
Global economic well-being, traditionally measured by national income and also by levels of capacities, grew during the second half of the twentieth century, to an extent and with a speed never experienced in the history of humankind.
But the inequalities within and between various countries have also grown significantly. While some of the more industrialized and developed countries and economic zones -- the ones that are most industrialized and developed -- have seen their income grow considerably, other countries have in fact been excluded from the overall improvement of the economy and their situation has even worsened.Take that, Fat Cats!! So now "social conservatives" around the country are having conniptions and twisting the presumption of the Vatican into a pretzel:
Perhaps this Pope will next appear in a 'kill the banksters' OWS tee shirt, just as he was once happy to done a keffiyah, today's equivalent of a Nazi armband.
Not since the candidacy of John F. Kennedy has the Vatican (and Catholicism) taken such a hit: it's positively un-American! And as we pointed out in a previous article, (The Christian Right's Latest Strategy), denominations like the Southern Baptist Convention NEED the poor to STAY poor - at least poor enough to avail themselves of faith-based largesse. Any form of distribution of wealth such as the Vatican professes just won't do. Not at all.
The truth of the matter is that "the Vatican" -- whether that phrase is intended to mean the Pope, the Holy See, the Church's teaching authority, or the Church's central structures of governance -- called for precisely nothing in this document.
What the Religious Right (Republicans) fail to perceive is that they are up against the juggernaut of the Vatican PR machine which controls most of Christianity's self-perception: if Rome is for a more just system of economics to ease the suffering of the poor, then that's what ALL of Christianity wants. Going against Rome in matters of faith is one thing, but in the matter of morals, it's another story.* And as for an historical "compassionate" image, the RR(R) has Jerry Falwell, while the Catholic Church has ... Mother Theresa. No contest.
Another aspect of this seemingly sudden apostasy from capitalism: the Vatican is still smarting from its own brush with financial scandal when the Vatican bank was relieved of $30 million by the Italian government for money laundering. Coupled with the fact that the Vatican has always had more money than God, the papacy may still be in the position to think a bit more like Dolly Levi: "Money's like manure: in order for it to do any good, you have to spread it around!"
Perhaps the most formidable foe the papacy will have will come in the form of the VERY anti-Catholic NAR (New Apostolic Reformation) headed by people like Peter C. Wagner and Cindy Japan-is-shaped-lie-a-dragon Jacobs. ... and David Barton, who, for all his mincing demeanor is not afraid to take on the papacy (as long as he maintains the pedestal that Glenn Beck put him on).
*Henry VIII not withstanding: he got a whole lot of land and a bunch of monasteries - something Rome has never forgiven, nor forgotten.
** senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center, Georgetown University .