A conservative Catholic gets caught in the cafeteria

I wasn't planning on posting anything about the pope's new encyclical until I had a chance to read the entire thing and think about it a little bit.

Nevertheless, I did read George Weigel's already infamous National Review piece, which tried to separate the "clearly Benedictine passages" of the encyclical from the parts reflecting the "conventionally gauchiste and not-very-original thinking" of the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace.

Weigel alleges that the pope -- who he had previously described as one who "says what he means and means what he says" -- has included naïve Justice and Peace material not because he agrees with it, but because he wants "to maintain the peace within his curial household."

I've read a few responses to Weigel's article, but none as informed or as devastating as one posted on a blog with the somewhat scary-sounding name Evangelical Catholicism, which I first came across at Anamchara.

Here's a nice piece of it:
[C]onsider the implications of what Weigel is saying with respect to Benedict XVI’s character. If Weigel is correct–if the Pope caved in to the Council for Justice and Peace–then we have a serious problem with our ecclesial leadership. What Weigel is telling us is that Pope Benedict XVI incorporated positions that were not his own into his first social encyclical. He didn’t do this in a speech, homily, address, or apostolic letter, but in an encyclical! Weigel is telling us that the Pope was willing to use the authority of a papal encyclical just “to maintain the peace within his curial household,” meanwhile misleading the faithful into believing that the contents of that encyclical are an authentic expression of papal teaching. If this narrative is true, then Weigel is telling us that the character and pastoral discretion of the Pope is up for serious questioning. Weigel is telling us that Benedict XVI really doesn’t mean what he says in the encyclical about the importance of Populorum Progressio, distributive justice, and the logic of gift, which is tantamount to accusing the Pope of being, at best, disingenuous and, at worst, dishonest, to the faithful of the Catholic Church. What is certain is that Weigel has retracted his earlier statements about Benedict XVI’s precision in communication, that the Pope “says what he means and means what he says.” Evidently, Weigel no longer believes this.
It's the best thing I've read online in a while. Check out the whole thing here.



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