|This is not Al Mohler|
Al Mohler, the President of the Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, KY, does not seem to be very happy about the arrival of Pope Francis. In his daily “briefing” he said the following. (I have paraphrased, but you can read the entire thing here).
- He insists that Francis’s visit (he never calls him by name–he just calls him “Pope” or “the Pope.”) is purely political because Obama and Biden went to the airfield to meet him.
- He finds the fact that Francis will be visiting Congress tomorrow to be “troubling,” but he does not seem to say why.
- He quotes from a Wall Street Journal op-ed: “Pope Francis arrives Tuesday on his first visit to the United States, and the welcome event illustrates his unique and paradoxical appeal. The Argentine pope is being celebrated more for his embrace of progressive economics than for the Catholic Church’s moral teachings.”
- Mohler quotes the Wall Street Journal again: “Yet the pope will also visit the White House and speak to Congress, and this is where his tour takes on an extra-religious resonance. Pope Francis has overtly embraced the contemporary progressive political agenda of income redistribution and government economic control to reduce climate change.”
- And another quote from the op-ed that Mohler uses: “Secular progressives who disdain the Catholic Church’s teaching on abortion, same-sex marriage and divorce are ignoring all of that catechistic unpleasantness and claiming the pope as an evangelist for their agenda. You might call them cafeteria progressives, after the old line about Catholics who are selective in which church teachings they follow.” Mohler uses this quote to show that Francis is “overtly political” and is in the United States to “push” his “agenda.”
- Drawing again on the Wall Street Journal op-ed, he latches on to the phrase “cafeteria progressives.” Mohler writes: “In other words, they’re taking the parts of the Pope they like and they are rejecting the embarrassment of the parts of the Pope’s teaching that they certainly do not like.”
- Then he defines “cafeteria Catholics” more fully: “Cafeteria Catholics are those who approach the Catholic faith as if they’re going to a cafeteria, they’ll take this dish, but not that one. They want this but not that doctrine.”
But perhaps I am wrong about the reasons why Mohler is so “troubled” that the Pope is speaking in Congress. Maybe it has nothing to do with church and state issues. Perhaps he just doesn’t want the Pope to speak because he disagrees with his views.