It is astounding to me that Conservative websites have so poorly analyzed Francis's words and have so readily labeled him a socialist. I'm also not too surprised about that because, like anyone trying to turn a buck, these organizations know lies and sensation sell. It is, however, unfortunate that not only are these organizations anti-Catholic (and therefore in error) but that they are willing to wear it on their sleeve and engage in attacks on the faith of their other Christian brothers and sisters. This breeds division and disunity in the Conservative ranks.
For myself, I am regretful of the strength of my word in defense of Catholicism, . . . well not that so much but the strength of my criticism of Protestantism (that the Reformation was satanically inspired and its leaders committed great sin in their actions) though such comments were accurate. I would toss the olive branch of apology, but I cannot bring myself to appear to retract truthful statements. One does not apologize for truth. The issues most mentioned by the rude critics were the establishment of Peter by Christ as the head of the Catholic Church (some saying any church organization can claim that); the taking of books from the Bible or adding them to it; that Christ is the only head of his own Church; that the Catholic Bible is satanically inspired; and [brought into the conversation by me] the establishment of the Eucharist by Christ.
The latter was mentioned by this writer to point out that the so called literal Bible reading Protestants do not read literally when the Good Book does not say what they want it to. The particular passage is from the New Testament and in Christ words, so they cannot claim Catholic Bible meddling. I have heard more than one former Protestant minister simply say that when he was a Protestant he ignored the passage because he had no way to deal with. Did you hear that: a literal Bible reading Protestant minister saying he had no way to deal with Christ's own words of instruction? These former ministers learned to deal with it by becoming Catholic. The establishment of Peter is in the New Testament and in Christ's own words as well; and, if taken literally, it is clear and indisputable. But Protestants spin the Bible like a liberal spins the news when it suits them.
On the other points of contention: The Catholic Church is the one the world ended up with at the time of the Reformation and had followed a continuous line of leaders in the shoes of the fisherman, so it must have been the Church Christ started it all with. And of course He knew that He needed a leader on earth when he ascended into Heaven. Some thousand or so years before the Reformation, the Church had finalized the Bible; and the document was assaulted by the reformers as they eviscerated it to take out what they did not want to believe. The Catholics did not add to the Bible, they built it. The Protestant Reformers removed books from it, destroying the Bible as it was intended. The Church had been left by Christ, its founder, with no book or manual; and the institution existed for several hundred years without it until the Church bound all the pertinent and determined to be holy books together. Notably, a nonbeliever who went to a Christian service during Christianity's early days during Roman times described in his writings a service that is identical to the modern Catholic mass and only slightly similar to the Protestant service. As to whose movement is satanically inspired, notable Protestant reformers cut, modified, and twisted scripture to fit their personal whim, affecting the beliefs and souls of billions of people who would follow their flawed teachings down through history. The 'great' Luther himself changed scripture to say 'sola scriptura'. Is not that usurping God's will, and are not acts of that nature the basis of original Sin? These theological points have been debated for centuries now and will continue to be; and it is comical yet sad because they really are not debatable.
As to Pope Francis and his comments that stirred this pot, a friend is doing a line by line analysis of the recent encyclical. He may be following, if time allows, this essay with his own to reveal a better understanding of the man's writings for those who have not read it (including perhaps half or more of you who have ranted against it) or those who have misunderstood it (all of you who did read it). The document criticizes liberals, progressives, big corporations who act without a conscience, and many other things and groups; and it supports keeping up with the climate issues until more data is available. It makes many points that are Christian, and many of his stands are so Christian that to disagree would result in sounding un-Christian. He does not support statism, communism, or socialism because a prime principle of Catholic teaching is subsidiarity (local people govern themselves better than a distant national government). He criticizes unbridled capitalism because it is without conscience and supports distributism to spread the capitalistic-like way of life more broadly as America has tried to do since World War II. His goal economically is for as many as possible to engage in the economic life of their own place and the world through small business and entrepreneurial activities. Both of these Catholic principles are in favor of individual, family, and local control and entrepreneurial activity and development as opposed to power and wealth being focused in the nation state, powerful individuals, and large companies and multinationals. It is a document that says listen to everyone, consider all the facts, and decide who is right and when. It is not Leftist.
I have decided very sadly that many Conservatives are very shallow and enjoy the same thoughtless reflexive trigger thought processes and emotions as their adversarial liberal, progressive, socialist antagonists. They also are so callous as to care little if their off the cuff and unscholarly opinions about others in their own ranks, who are different from them, are rude and insensitive or even accurate. It is no wonder that minorities, independent voters, and others on the fringe of the political divisions (people who vote) are suspicious of Conservatives. It is particularly ironic and sad because the ranks of legal immigrants include good, hardworking, America-loving, devout Catholics. Among the non-criminal element who out of desperation entered this country illegally, there are many such potentially good tradition-loving people as well. There is a vast reservoir of possible Conservative voters and citizens out there. Place that against the demographics that may ultimately bury the old-school Conservative movement in a future demographic winter. Like the Left, the Right may make up its own different but almost equally unthinking and scary mob. As comedian Ron White (whatever his political views) says so well, "You can't fix stupid." Unfortunately and of necessity, I find myself allied with it though.