The Thing That Used To Be Conservatism Puts Out A Hit On Francis

With the publication Evangelii Gaudium, the Rightwingosphere (and by the way, only the Rightwingosphere, though not, of course, everybody in the Rightwingosphere) has begun to dial up the panic about Pope Francis. There have been a number of strategies for ignoring, minimizing and downplaying the Exhortation.

Rush Limbaugh, for instance, denounced that exhortation as "pure Marxism".  One searches the exhortation with interest for the moment in which Francis declares his atheism and denounces the Faith as the opiate of the masses. Likewise, Limbaugh redoubled the attack a couple of days later by linking the Holy Father to the Voldemort of the Talk Radio consumer's imagination, the Prince of Darkness himself, Obama the Great and Terrible.

“This is the president citing the pope, his new best friend, because the pope is ripping America, the pope [is] ripping capitalism,” Limbaugh exclaimed. “And Obama’s having an orgasm. Jeremiah Wright is beside himself. Jeremiah Wright thought he was Obama’s preacher, now [the] pope somehow has co-opted Obama.”

 "No, Mark!  He's not attacking the Pope!  He's attacking Obama's use of the pope!"

Sorry, but the game plan of the Manufacturers of Thought for the Thing that Used to be Conservatism is pretty clear.  Having condemned Francis for his "pure Marxism" the coordinated strategy that is emerging in Right Wing organs of propaganda is to identify Francis with the Right's most reviled bogeyman: Obama.  A particularly notable example came out on December 4 at almost exactly the same moment Rush was issuing his second denunciation of Francis: FOX's hit piece on the pope titled (signficantly) "Pope Francis is the Catholic Church's Obama--God Help Us". Like Limbaugh, FOX understands that merely to make the comparison is, of course, to signal to the FOX faithful that Francis is being denounced as Worst Pope Ever in the FOX universe of discourse. The whole strategy of the Limbaugh/FOX attack is designed to make clear to the sort of person who gets all his thinking from Talk Radio (and there are a lot of these) that Francis has been designated an Ideological Enemy.

Now, if you are going to attempt the audacity of declaring the Pope a "disaster" and somebody who regards Right Thinking People as "enemies" you need to strategize a bit since normal people would laugh and dismiss any fool who simply blurted that out.Limbaugh's great disadvantage is that he is not Catholic and, not to put too fine a point on it, has no idea what he's talking about when it comes to Catholic teaching.  So his attacks on the Pope have been ill-received by the conservative Catholics he is try to poison against the Holy Father. What to do?

Well, if there is one strategy I have seen deployed more than any other in my years of experience with anti-Catholic apologists it is this: Whenever it can be done, organizations bent on attacking the Church love to put forward Catholics--preferably cradle Catholics--to say "I was raised Catholic, and I can tell you for a fact that the Church's teaching on X is garbage and you can safely ignore it". It is the strategy of everybody from atheists, to Fundamentalists, to the Democratic party whenever they trot out Pelosi and Biden and Sebelius to chatter about the glories of Planned Parenthood. And sure enough, it is the strategy of FOX who--swimming in money and able to pick from a vast pool of real talent ranging from Fr. Robert Sirico on the Right, to Fr. Robert Barron in the center, or John Allen, Jr. on the Left (all of whom have sufficient credentials to offer something like a serious analysis and critique of Francis' thought)--instead tapped a young video game reviewer named Adam Shaw to pen the hit piece. Why? Because hit pieces need no qualifications beyond "I was raised Catholic and I can tell you..." The unthinking platitudes, shallow analysis and mendacity can flow, unencumbered by the thought process when your sole goal is to poison the well.  Then all you need do is make sure Drudge links it (as he dutifully has) and the conservative Catholics FOX seeks to poison against Francis are sent the clear message that this is not some Outsider attacking the Church, this is a True Catholic defending the Church from our dangerous new pope.

Let us therefore take a close look at this opening salvo in the emerging war on Francis from the Manufacturers of Thought for the Thing That Used to Be Conservatism, since it seems to deploy most of the emerging strategies for demonizing and reflexively rejecting his teaching,

To begin with, Mr. Shaw's argument is interesting as a specimen of the curious agreement between the >NY Times and the panic-stricken Reactionary that Francis is the Heretic Pope bent on overturning the teaching of the Church. As Mr. Shaw again demonstrates, the only real disagreement between the subcultures represented by these organs of propaganda is whether the Pope's supposed betrayal of the Faith is a good thing or a bad thing (something CNN will no doubt analyze with its customary profundity) (Warning: NSFW language, but the point is very sound):

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The Thing That Used To Be Conservatism Puts Out A Hit On Francis

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The Thing That Used To Be Conservatism Puts Out A Hit On Francis