Uncle Ben's Stew

Be not afraid! Open, indeed, open wide the doors to Christ! Open to his saving power the confines of states, and systems political and economic, as well as the vast fields of culture, civilization, and development. Be not afraid! Christ knows 'what is inside a person'. Only he knows!   -St. John Paul II
Today, Breitbart's Ben Shapiro demonstrated in his post, "Pope Francis' Disturbing Cuban Manipulation," how dangerous it is to view everything through such a narrow perspective that you miss the reality of the situation. In the fire service, we call it tunnel vision and it can get those for whom you are providing care killed. After all, when political ideology or winning the argument becomes all important, at that very moment, you have made yourself dangerous in your prejudiced irrelevance. There is so much wrong with Mr. Shapiro's piece, it is not possible to hit all of the problems. Let's look at two lowlights.

Lowlight #1: Mr. Shapiro refutes his post's title in the body of his article. First, Mr. Shapiro provides absolutely no evidence of "Pope Francis' Disturbing Cuban Manipulation." The only thing this journalist of anger provides is, "Pope Francis apparently initiated the negotiations himself," with the imbedded link to an article at The Daily Beast, a blog Mr. Shapiro has criticized numerous times for its slanted and erroneous reporting. Apparently, because it attacks the Pope, The Daily Beast suddenly becomes the Encyclopaedia Britannica for Mr. Shapiro. Despite Mr. Shapiro's scurrilous allusion, The Daily Beast article NEVER mentions that the Pope initiated anything between the United States and Cuba, instead stating that the Pope offered to mediate between the two countries, who had already been holding secret talks for the 18 months prior to the Pope's offer. More importantly, the Daily Beast article continues to state that only the last meeting between the United States and Cuba were actually hosted by the Vatican.

And the Pope wrote letters to the principals. O, my! Lions, tigers, and bears!

Do a little research, too, Mr. Shapiro. For centuries, disputing countries have turned to the Holy See for mediation and other diplomatic assistance, precisely because they are known in the world to be have an integrity and a commitment to secrecy no other country or diplomatic corps possesses. The vast majority of those negotiations throughout the ages have been conducted in the utmost secrecy. The knowledge of the Vatican's involvement in this comes from the joint announcements by the parties. It would seem that the Vatican is playing this one much more intelligently than it has in the past by getting in front of the politicizing and the exaggerating of their involvement. I apologize, Mr. Shapiro, the Vatican has more credibility. In fact, in this instance, the Daily Beast article has more credibility. Oo. Might want to think about that. In the future, at least read the sources you cite. Such diligence keeps you from refuting yourself and resembling the liberal pundits you so often ridicule.

Lowlight #2: Being unable to actually demonstrate that Pope Francis manipulated Cuba, the United States, or their rapprochement, Mr. Shapiro continues his assassination of the Holy Father's character (Isn't that a liberal tactic, Mr. Shapiro?) by trying to paint him as the world's chief apologist for communism. Unfortunately, all Mr. Shapiro can gather from his Google search of the Pope's quotes are the Holy Father's justified, accurate, and timely critiques of a worldwide capitalism run amok. Mr. Shapiro, drowning in his Americanism, misses the rationale underlying both the Pope's criticism of capitalism and "tepid"critique of communism. Mr. Shapiro whines that Pope Francis has not gone as far as his two immediate predecessors in critiquing communism. Frankly, Pope Francis doesn't feel the need to critique communism, precisely because his predecessors did such a fine job of it. Unlike American presidents and their administration, it is not necessary for each new Pope to state or restate his position on every issue. For over 2,000 years, each Pope has built upon the stones laid by his predecessors. Communism and capitalism were both intelligently and accurately critiqued by St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI, positions from which Francis can now begin challenging communism and a capitalism, that increasingly is becoming as inhuman, by actively working to relieve the physical and spiritual suffering of all of the people of the world. Pope Francis doesn't give a fig leaf about anyone's socio-politico-economic philosophy, because most of that is responsible for the suffering and hardship of more and more people in the world. Because his perspective is a world view, the Holy Father's concerns are for individuals and their needs rather than for nations and their interests. He will work in good faith with any regime willing to better its citizens' welfare. If he gets cheated or played, then he is receiving no better than his Savior. It is up to us Americans to begin opening up our eyes, our hearts, and our arms to individuals and dump our self-serving platitudes and blind affiliations.

Mr. Shapiro's blind affiliation is American neo-conservatism, an affiliation that seems to serve as his savior, too. His fevered reaction to the Pope's assistance in the rapprochement brings to mind that of a fanatic's reaction to any critique of his beliefs. If Mr. Shapiro cannot view the state of capitalism as it exists today in the here and now with a steady eye and, not only calmly and objectively consider critiques, but offer cogent critiques of his own, then his voice becomes no different than that of a child's insisting on the reality of Santa Claus. Mr. Shapiro had absolutely no understanding of his subject nor did he want one. Such knowledge would force him to reconsider his comfortable boxes and he doesn't want to do that.

Mr. Shapiro, if your knee-jerk reaction hasn't already thrown you off your high horse, dismount please. Burn your soap box, too. Find your easy chair and take a few days to read the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the writings of St. John Paul II, Pope Emeritus Benedict, and Pope Francis. It will help your credibility, if you know a little something about the Catholic faith the next time you decide to attack the Pope's actions.

And remember, all of this is in God's Hands.


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