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Galli della Loggia Is Right About the ‘Ideological Pontificate’


Pope Francis makes ideology and not politics. He distances himself from the Social Doctrine of the Church and has created a fracture with the Social Magisterium running from Leo XIII to John Paul II. In the daily Corriere della Sera, the lay historian Galli della Loggia draws a pitiless portrait of this pontificate, capturing some critical points that should by now be evident.

In one of his editorials in Corriere della Sera on May 10, Ernesto Galli della Loggia talks about the politics of Pope Francis, which become, in fact, un-political or anti-political. In Pope Francis’s mind, by taking an interest in politics, the Church moves away from politics and ends up in ideology. Galli says something I have been saying for some time, namely that the social teaching of Pope Francis no longer allows any space for the Social Doctrine of the Church. The latter is now considered the “great absentee,” something to “transcend.”

In his words, “What is striking here is the substantial abandonment of the social doctrine of the Church that held from Leo XIII to John Paul II” (I would have included Benedict XVI). According to Galli, this abandonment is due to two types of intervention Pope Francis has adopted: not to address everyone but only people in categories seen as marginal and disadvantaged. He shows across-the-board populist closeness with every movement born from below, and an abandonment of the religious and transcendent perspective. Both tendencies reduce his speech to ideology. In this way, Galli says, the Church struggles to express her identity and precise role when intervening in world affairs. In other words, she tends no longer to speak as a Church but as some non-descript agency.


Galli della Logia’s assessment is right. His approach – from political science — can be accused of inaccuracies or superficialities found in a journalistic editorial. By stating that the social doctrine of the Church expresses a middle position between socialism and capitalism, he takes an ancient approach to these problems. Everyone knows by now that the social doctrine of the Church cannot be reduced to these convenient but simplifying schemes.


On the other hand, Galli della Loggia’s observation that “as the bearer of a discourse that appears keen on purifying the social history from any effective religious appeal,” the position of Pope Francis’s Church automatically becomes ideological, is of considerable importance. When one does no longer relate the natural plane to the supernatural plane, one becomes naturalistic. In other words, one absolutizes oneself, and the ensuing ideological results include destroying the natural plane itself.

It is a merit of his to point out that the Church has set itself on the road of modernism. Significantly enough, a secular thinker is telling the Church not to renounce her religious and transcendent point of view when speaking of politics; for otherwise, it becomes a political agency. All the speeches of Pope Francis to popular movements – to give perhaps the best-known example – have not been given from a religious and transcendent perspective. Consequently, they made those movements hardy political, as they are placed on the same level as those that preach violence or would like to impose communism.

The concept of “people” often used by Pope Francis is problematic because it is not possible to reconstruct its link to the religious concept of “people of God” as realized in the Church. Sociologically understood, the people would be a place of self-communication of God in the same way as the Church; it would be a place of grace and a theological place. But that opens up to an ideological translation of Christianity that is judged by the popular movements rather than judging them.

Galli della Loggia speaks of a “fracture” in this pontificate compared to the previous papal magisterium. As far as the Social Doctrine of the Church is concerned this is evident. Many have anticipated this statement for some time, including the one who writes these lines. The papal approach to the problems of immigration, indigenous peoples of the Amazon, the poor, the global political community, the so-called “new humanism,” popular movements, multi-religious society, the policies of United Nations agencies, disregard or contradict the principles of the Social Doctrine of the Church.

Not only is Francis’ proposal for a “universal income” contrary to Catholic Social Doctrine – as Galli recalls -, but also his aversion to the West, his abandonment of Europe’s Catholic regions with respect to Protestant ones, his silence about regimes such Venezuela’s of China’s. Based mainly on a pastoralism without doctrine, they are also contrary to the very structure of the relationship between the Church and the world.  

The Church must not only be a field hospital to heal the wounds of the marginalized. She also expresses the Logos of God to build a political community according to natural and divine law so that a society built on a physiological [or organic] way may limit the wounds of a fallen humanity. But scarcely a trace of natural law can be found in this pontificate. And the dialogue between faith and reason in truth, which Benedict XVI had proposed to foster resistance and recovery, is turned into an undifferentiated and indifferent existential dialogue with everyone.


Source: La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana


Translated by the staff of Fatima Today.

© Reproduction is authorized provided the source is acknowledged.


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