Al Mohler on the Pope on CNN

I just heard Mohler on CNN make some pretty harsh criticisms of Pope Francis and his visit to the United States this week..  (I am searching for a transcript, but it is not available yet.  Here is the closest thing I have been able to find.  If I find a transcript I will add a link).

Mohler ,the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, criticized the Pope for being too political.  And he basically said the Pope contradicts himself because he defends traditional views on marriage while at the same time criticizing capitalism and supporting climate change.

I understand that Mohler has theological disagreements with the Pope and needs to emphasize those disagreements as a spokesperson for conservative evangelical Protestantism.

I also imagine that Mohler believes that evangelical Christians should have a fully-formed “world view” that helps them make sense of all kinds of political issues such as abortion, marriage, the family, the economy, etc.  I commend him and his Southern Baptists for wanting to engage the public square from a Christian point of view.

But why does Mohler criticize Francis for having his own fully-formed Christian world view? When conservative evangelicals discuss so-called “political” issues they claim that it is a natural extension of their Christian view of the world.  Yet when Francis discusses climate change or capitalism from the perspective of his own Catholic “world view,” Mohler says he is getting too “political.”

It seems to me that Francis is consistently applying his Christian faith–his world view– to a host of social and economic issues.  In this sense, he is no different than Mohler.  Francis just has different views from Mohler on capitalism and climate change (I am sure there others too) and according to Mohler, this makes him a walking contradiction.  Francis is not flip-flopping–he is consistently applying Catholic social teaching to the major issues of the day.

It is actually Mohler who is being “political” here by interpreting Francis’s views through the grid of his own convictions and the saying the Pope contradicts himself if he does not conform to those views.

Mohler had a wonderful opportunity to seek the common good and try to find common ground with the Pope’s moral vision.  He did not take it.

4 thoughts on “Al Mohler on the Pope on CNN

  1. The Pope cannot express a Christian worldview, since he has no idea what it means to be a Christian. His Catholicism is in direct contradiction to what Christ stood for.


  2. The bottom line is the Pope can say what he wants because he is the Pope and others can whine about it. If people want to complain about the Pope's statements, that is their prerogative, but they should not be surprised that he is saying what he says. The facts support climate change, so any GOP congressman needs to either accept the facts or continue to ignore reality.


  3. Yet when Francis discusses climate change or capitalism from the perspective of his own Catholic “world view,” Mohler says he is getting too “political.”

    I think it's more that Francis's arguments are too far left, and not realistic. Mohler doesn't condemn the pope for being too political here as much as he calls Francis out for pretending he's not being political when he certainly is.

    Then he comes along on this encyclical on economics and on climate change and veers far to the left. And so when I heard you say that the Vatican claims it's not political, almost every paragraph of that encyclical is political. And quite frankly, if he's genuinely concerned with human flourishing, the directions he pointed in that encyclical simply aren't going to work. And I think many Americans recognize that.

    Q: There's a congressman, Congressman Paul Gosar is his name, he's Catholic. He's going to boycott the Pope's address before congress. And this is what he said in an op-ed. Quote, Media reports indicate his Holiness intends to focus the brunt of his speech on climate change. A climate that has been changing since first created in Genesis. More troubling is the fact that this climate change talk has adopted all of the socialist talking points, wrapped false science and ideology into climate justice and is being presented to guilt people into leftist policies.

    So, in line of what you've just said, Dr. Mohler, do you agree with this congressman?

    MOHLER: Well, I think he raises some very valid points. He's coming from a different perspective. I'm speaking as a non-Catholic.

    But George Will in the “Washington Post” on Sunday made the most important points here, and that is, if this Pope wants to help the poor, he's going to have to do it in a way that actually helps the poor. And if he wants to increase the middle class, he's going to actually have to suggest the policies that increase the middle class and lead to human flourishing.

    The policies that he both implies and calls for in that encyclical are, frankly, not going to head in that direction and they haven't anywhere in the world where they have been tried.


  4. Mohler's assumption is that the American political spectrum has some kind of fundamental reality such that one must be consistently “conservative” or “liberal.” Hence, if one is against gay marriage, d'uh, one must deny climate change because that is the American political conservative package (or so it often seems). That is the only basis on which Mohler could accuse the Pope of inconsistency.


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