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The Language Thieves

03/22/2013 Comments (25)

Sometimes it is tough to be a both/and Catholic in an either/or world.

Progressives love to drive wedges and their media cohorts love to hit upon them with a sledge hammer.  Language is their chosen soft spot. This has never been more apparent than since the election of Pope Francis just over a week ago.

For two or more generations progressives, both inside and outside of the Church, have hijacked the Church's Social justice teachings to promote things ancillary or even opposed to the Church's teaching.   Pope John Paul II said Catholic social teaching "rests on the threefold cornerstones of human dignity, solidarity and subsidiarity."  Yet, progressives have successfully removed many of these the cornerstones to the effect that the tower leans decidedly to the left. 

The steady drumbeat of the progressives and their enablers in the media has successfully convinced many that social justice, particularly Catholic social justice, requires that we support any and all government solutions and even forms of government condemned by the Church.  They have been so successful at it that even the words 'social justice' make conservative and traditional Catholics cringe.  Of course, conservative and traditional Catholic are all for human dignity, solidarity, and subsidiarity just as much as we are for dogma and doctrine, but we don't like to talk about it, lest we get lumped in with the progressive wing-nuts. And there is the rub.

Progressives have been so successful at hijacking the language, that they are to some degree able to set equally true and good Church teaching in opposition to each other.  Either you care about dogma or you care about social justice.  Either you care about proper liturgy or you care about the poor.  Either you are a hardliner about Church teachings or you care about people.  These juxtapositions make no logical sense, since Church teaching informs both and demands both but progressives have been very successful in making it either or.

Once the wedge is driven between doctrine and people, the media will pound upon it until the Church is rent.  Then of course, doctrine will have to go.

Over the past ten days, we have seen much commentary to this regard.  Pope Francis (the social justice Pope) is opposed to Pope Benedict XVI (the strict and doctrinaire Pope).  Progressives do this on purpose, they want you to believe that doctrine and charity do not mix so that they can undercut the Church's teachings on marriage, contraception, etc. 

Catholics of good will must not let this happen.  We must take back the language of social justice and charity from the language thieves.  We must emphasize the completeness and unity of Catholic teaching and reject those things promoted by the progressives as social justice that are repugnant.  We must do this tirelessly and relentlessly so that we may have the Pope's back when he needs us.

And he will need us.

The progressive media right now is seemingly on Pope Francis' side because he speaks the language of social justice and they see opportunity.  But Pope Francis will undoubtedly turn out to be completely Catholic, as most Popes are, and will not accept this false division between charity and doctrine.  When he does, the media will turn on him and disparage him in ways perhaps even more viciously and stridently than they did with Pope Benedict.  When this happens, the Pope will need all of us there to defend the whole of Catholic teaching, just as he undoubtedly will.

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About Pat Archbold

Pat Archbold
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Patrick Archbold is co-founder of Creative Minority Report, a Catholic website that puts a refreshing spin on the intersection of religion, culture, and politics. When not writing, Patrick is director of information technology at a large international logistics company. Patrick, his wife Terri, and their five children reside in Long Island, N.Y.