By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media
If the Republican establishment thinks it has a problem with Donald Trump, just wait until the Pope visits America next month and endorses socialist Bernie Sanders for president. Such a move, which is not beyond the realm of possibility, would put the head of the Roman Catholic Church firmly in the Democratic Party camp during a critical election year in which Republicans hope to turn back the tide of transformational Marxism represented by President Barack Obama.
A story on a Catholic news site, “Is Pope Francis going to endorse…Bernie Sanders?!,” looks seriously at the possibility. The article noted that the words of the pope, during his trip to America, “will be heard by millions of American Catholics who are one of the most influential voting blocs in today’s political landscape.” It said, “Today, topics such as income inequality, healthcare and the environment are resonating with voters and Pope Francis has come down on these issues in such a way as to annoy many conservative Catholics. The end result is many Catholics could be contemplating a vote for a liberal candidate, particularly the self-described democratic socialist, Bernie Sanders.”
Meanwhile, an article in the Jesuit publication America says there are seven Catholic candidates running for president, but that the one quoting Pope Francis the most often “is a Jewish guy from Vermont”—Senator Bernie Sanders.
But the fact that one socialist quotes another socialist is really not that surprising.
While Sanders openly calls himself a socialist, some in the media are trying to insist that Pope Francis, who is coming to America in September, is not a socialist.
A writer for the liberal magazine Newsweek said back in 2013 that “…the notion that Pope Francis is a true socialist is absurd. Socialists believe in the state taking control of the commanding heights of the economy. They believe the free market should be substituted by a command economy in which goods are produced according to need and prices are fixed to ensure fairness.”
However, in 2014, Francis met with executives from the United Nations andopenly urged “the legitimate redistribution of economic benefits by the state…”
Both socialism and communism are based on the ideas of Karl Marx, who proposed an economic system based on state control. His Communist Manifesto had ten planks, perhaps the most famous being abolition of the right to private property. But Marx also proposed the abolition of the family so that the state could control the lives of its members.
In addition to Francis’ call for the redistribution of economic benefits by the state, the Associated Press reported that Bolivia’s Marxist President, Evo Morales, had said that, he, too, “thinks that what Pope Francis preaches amounts to socialism.”
Francis accepted a “communist crucifix” from Morales and took it back with him to the Vatican. It was a crucifix carved into a wooden hammer and sickle. Despite reports to the contrary, Francis said he wasn’t offended by the gift.
“Pope Francis has shown great courage in raising issues that we rarely hear discussed,” Sanders said in a Senate floor speech. “The leader of the Catholic church is raising profound issues. It’s important that we listen to what he has said.”
Sanders seized on the pope’s statement on November 24, 2013, that “Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.”
As we noted at the time, the term “trickle-down” is associated by some in the liberal media with President Reagan’s pro-growth policies. The term is meant to disparage the beneficial impact of tax cuts on the economy. It is telling that Francis would pick up on this smear of Reagan spread by the liberal media. In fact, there is no “trickle-down school of economic theory” or economic thought.
On August 16, speaking at Loras College in Iowa—a Catholic school—in a venue not far from a large crucifix, Sanders again invoked the pope in arguing for socialism in America.
The Des Moines Register reported that Sanders said “his plans for a Sanders White House are parallel to the message of Pope Francis.” Sanders said, “Pope Francis is raising these issues all over the world. And anybody who thinks what I am saying is radical, read what the pope is saying.”
The pope is “becoming very political,” GOP presidential candidate Donald Trumptold CNN’s Chris Cuomo. Trump, who is a Protestant, said he had great respect for the head of the Roman Catholic Church but that he would challenge the pope’s anti-capitalist message. Trump said he would inform Francis that “they better hope that capitalism works, because it’s the only thing we have right now. And it’s a great thing when it works properly.”
While the Jesuit publication America noted how Sanders had been quoting the pope more often than other candidates, Time magazine had run a story in January on how Sanders, who was then just considering a presidential run, was the political figure “whose political philosophy lines up most closely with the economic and social theories of Pope Francis.”
The magazine said, “Unlike many leaders who name-drop Pope Francis to score political points—he is, after all, likely the most popular man on the planet—Sanders quotes the Pope because he actually believes his message.”
Time added, “Sanders’ social-media accounts are filled with quotes from the Holy Father about the need to reform socioeconomic systems.”
Before Pope Francis took over the papacy, in a development involving the mysterious resignation of Pope Benedict, the Vatican had strongly condemned both socialism and communism.
For example, Pope Pius XI said that socialism “cannot be reconciled with the teachings of the Catholic Church because its concept of society itself is utterly foreign to Christian truth.” Pope Pius IX referred to “the wicked theories of this Socialism and Communism.” John Paul II called socialism a “simple and radical solution” that was being presented in an “attractive” way by its proponents, but which constituted a “danger” to the countries in which it was being imposed.
Before coming to America the pope is going to Cuba, where he will presumably meet with the Castro brothers, who rule over a communist prison camp and socialist economic basket case. Francis worked with the Obama administration and the Cuban regime on the deal for the U.S. to recognize Castro’s Cuba.
Almost one-tenth of the island’s population of 11 million has fled to the U.S., withrecent high-profile defections coming from the Cuban national athletic teams.
In Venezuela, where Marxists have ruled with the support of the Cuban regime, aphoto of a $2 Venezuelan bolivar bill being used as a napkin has gone viral. In addition to the collapse of the currency, Fusion magazine reports that Venezuela’s product shortages “have become so severe that some hotels in that country are asking guests to bring their own toilet paper and soap…”
Venezuela’s mentally unstable Marxist President Nicolás Maduro has blamed the CIA and a “Plan Vulture,” which he claims is destabilizing leftist Latin American governments through economic sabotage.
Sanders hasn’t yet echoed Maduro’s accusations. But back in 2006, then-Rep. Sanders participated in a propaganda event to announce the first delivery of fuel under a discounted heating oil program established by the Venezuelan government and the State of Vermont. The purpose was to give credibility to the Marxist regime running Venezuela and lead people in the U.S. to believe the regime was so compassionate that it wanted to help poor people in the U.S., in addition to its own downtrodden.
In view of recent developments, it might be appropriate for the media to ask socialist Sanders and the socialist pope about how their economic theory is working in places like Venezuela and Cuba.