Back in September when Pope Francis visited the United States I wrote a piece for Fox News titled “Pope Francis is neither liberal nor conservative, Democrat or Republican. He is a Catholic.” Here is a taste of what I argued:
Pundits and commentators insist on trying to comprehend Francis’s message in political terms. This is a wrongheaded approach. The Pope is not liberal or conservative. He is not a Democrat or Republican. He is a Catholic. And whatever he says about politics, culture, or the economy stems from this identity.
Our propensity for trying to place the Pope in a political box says more about our culture than it does about the social views of the Catholic Church. Francis’s visit has called attention to the tired, unimaginative, and intellectually stale way that we Americans think about public life. Americans are captive to ideological categories like “Left: and “Right.” They are captive to political parties that allow little original thought that does not conform to rigid and limited platforms.
Pope Francis continues to defy categories. On February 17th he will hold a mass at the Mexico-Texas border for the purpose of showing his solidarity with immigrants.
Yesterday, in a historic meeting in Cuba with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, Pope Francis joined the Patriarch in issuing a declaration of unity that defended religious liberty for those cast to the “margins of public life” by “aggressive secularist ideology.” It condemned “unrelenting consumerism” and its negative effects on the poor and the planet. It proclaimed marriage as a “faithful love between a man and a woman” and lamented “other forms of cohabitation” that have “been placed on the same level as this union.” And it called on people to “respect the inalienable right to life” and the “millions” who are denied the very right to be born into the world.”
Could Francis support any candidate in the current race for the presidency? I don’t see how it would be possible. None of the candidates–Democrat or Republican– could affirm all of Catholic social teaching.