Wednesday, October 07, 2015


Many pundits, both left and right, find Pope Francis difficult to pigeonhole. I don't know what makes him tick, but here's a distinction that may be useful:

There are two kinds of liberals. Some people are liberal ideologues. For them, it's a philosophical position. They approach the issue from an intellectual standpoint. Cardinal Kaspar is a current, prominent example. 

Ratzinger is another case-book ideologue, although he's conservative by contemporary Catholic standards. A thinker, first and foremost. Tough-minded.

Then you have temperamental liberals. Bleeding-heart liberals. They may be fairly conservative on paper, but they begin with people rather than ideas. Sentiment is driving their policy and practice.

They don't set out to repudiate certain ideas. Rather, that's the side-effect and end-result of a whole different orientation.

By the same token, their emotional spontaneity makes them impulsive and inconsistent. Tender-minded. 

1 comment:

  1. Francis is more complex than Liberal or conservative. He is a Latin American Jesuit with strong Franciscan and Rahnerian tendencies.