What progressives may not like about Pope Francis

If anyone’s interested, I can outline the argument that I think American economic conservatives can and perhaps should make about Laudato Si’ and Pope Francis’ social teaching in general. (I have some thoughts about the argument religious conservatives could have made about marriage equality, too, believe it or not.)

But until someone asks, here is the part of the pope’s encyclical that conservatives will love and liberals not love. (Other than par. 155, which looks like a slam on Caitlyn Jenner thrown in as a non sequitur into a section on livable communities.)

I’m talking about the pope’s continued full-throated defense of life, which some of my friends, even without reading the encyclical, knew to fault him for. Francis argues especially in par. 50 that some have argued that the connection between environmental problems and the poor is not the theological point I made in my last post but that, bluntly, we have too many poor people making demands on our resources and we need to get behind population control in order to fix it.

Nonsense, Francis responds. The Creator who Loves wants us to be responsible and thoughtful in wielding the power of procreation, yes, but to pin our ecological problems on “too many poor” is to objectify those who have less than us as being less valuable. The poor may be less valuable to us; they are no less valuable to God, and that is to our shame. To promote population control as the answer to problems created primarily by First-World consumerism is to misundertsand not only the present circumstance but also God Himself.

Well, OK, maybe that’s not the most comforting point for economic conservatives. But pro-lifers will find some comfort here, right?  

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