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The Failed Francis Papacy

Vanessa Vitiello Urquhart, writing on Slate, was so hopeful about Pope Francis, but now he’s gone and blown it all to hell by meeting with History’s Greatest Monster. Excerpt:

In one 15-minute meeting, the pope undermined the unifying, healing message that many queer people and our supporters were so eager to have him bring. …

The pope ate with the homeless, visited a prison, and spoke about the plight of immigrants, but all that is threatened by one single meeting. However assiduously he avoided pressing America’s hot buttons over the rest of the visit, he’s pressed one now, and there’s nothing that can be done about it. This is unfortunate, because the other message, the one about coming together and addressing the poor, the vulnerable, and the dispossessed was a message we desperately need to heed.

This blog’s reader Edward Hamilton, who tipped me off to the crestfallen Slate analysis, nails it:

There’s no train of logic to this conclusion, since most of the folks who would be critical of the Pope’s meeting with Davis are already on board with the rest of his message. Are they going to stop believing in any of these causes, just to spite him? To the extent that the Pope maintains credibility with cultural conservatives, that should only make it easier for him to promote left-right cross-partisan coalitions to address all these other issues. So this isn’t an argument based on actual consequences. It’s just a litmus test for public virtue, full stop.

A year ago, tens of thousands of public officials were legally obligated to withhold marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Now having any form of unpublicized private contact with a lonely cultural revanchist devoid of national political influence is enough to permanently poison every other public stance the man has ever taken.

Let this be a lesson to the Christians who believe that if they are only more winsome, cultural liberals will embrace them. You cannot out-winsome Pope Francis, but if you even appear to get on the wrong side of the LGBT mob and their allies, they’ll Eich your butt in a jiffy.


about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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