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The ideological temptations at the Vatican

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Feb 06, 2018

If Rome will be preparing for the canonization of Pope Paul VI later this year, only the most hardened ideologues could suggest that this year is the right time to scuttle his heroic encyclical, Humanae Vitae. Come to think of it, maybe the blessed Pontiff—who has already shown his intercessory clout with two miracles involving unborn children—could now intercede to protect the perennial teaching of the Church, which he championed at a great personal cost.

And speaking of hardened ideologues at the Vatican, Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo has moved into the realm of self-parody with his claim that China offers the world’s best example of implementing Catholic social teaching. What is it that the loquacious Argentine prelate so admires about the Beijing regime? Its commitment to religious freedom? Can’t be. To the principle of subsidiarity? I doubt it; the entire, vast nation is ruled by a central government. Protection of the environment? Not likely; mainland China is the world’s leading polluter. Respect for the rights of workers? Not in the slave-labor industries. Opposition to the death penalty? Guess again. Nuclear disarmament? Nope.

So what is it, then. The bishop cites a “positive national conscience.” I don’t think he’s referring to the Communist Party’s ideology, which seeks to be the “national conscience.” But I’m at a loss to explain what else he might have in mind. And since Bishop Sanchez Sorondo is chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, this sort of political/economic analysis is an embarrassment to the Holy See.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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