Any listeners to BBC Radio 4’s Analysis may have caught one of the recent podcasts (Is the Pope a communist?) concerning the current Pope Francis and how ‘worryingly left-wing’ he is according to the capitalist big-business elite of America. Analysis is generally right leaning anyway, but this particular broadcast marks a new low in its propaganda-masquerading-as-reportage approach.
The charges are that Pope Francis has always been to the left of politics and a typical proponent of liberation theology, the socially active theology that conservatives consider to be ‘socialist’. This alone is too much for the parade of right-wing commentators whose opinions Analysis has solicited. Pope Francis is charged with being not only a liberation theologian, but also an anti-capitalist and business doesn’t like that. Cue the list of noisy interviewees applying adjectives like ‘dangerous’ and ‘misguided’ to Francis and his every pronouncement. After a while a pattern starts to emerge and it’s a familiar one: basically he’s saying the ‘wrong’ things. The ‘right’ thing would be to support the usual PR fairy story of global ‘free trade’, the alleged force for good. A system that has given millions of Africans a mobile phone and Coca-Cola, but does next to zero to alleviate continued malnutrition, water access problems, housing and health. These are not the concern of big business, unless it involves a group of able consumers to pay for such services. Anything done not-for profit is a problem for governments and charities to struggle with.
The central complaint is that Pope Francis is not Pope John Paul II. The latter was very useful for American right-wing supporters of global corporatism because he was caught up in the struggle of Poland against the then Soviet Union and for historical reasons was an enemy of socialism. So it appeared as capitalism and the Pope (and who better as an ally?) against the wrong-headed ideas of socialism. In this scenario the Pope’s infallibility remained intact because he was saying the ‘right’ things. See how it works?
Now the pope is saying all the’ wrong’ things, he is a danger to the world and wielding dangerous power. Very soon he will make a pronouncement and release a report on climate change and this has the right-wing business elite in a complete flap. Already the conservative agenda-makers are spewing out critiques of the pope’s so-called divine infallibility all over the American infotainment circuit to fully plant the seed in the American psyche that some things the pope says might be wrong (especially if they don’t sit neatly alongside the national capitalist religion). They know the influence the pope has and fear that his pronouncements will completely contradict the machine pumping out lies that has been operated by big-business to sow confusion into the ‘debate’ around human-influenced climate problems. In the USA any pope has a lot of influence. There are many Catholics, especially among the old families traditionally powerful in business. It is historically not convenient for the usurers when a religious leader contradicts them and this is what Francis is doing, so he is not popular. Expect a lot of political grapeshot when his encyclical on the climate is issued.