In a recent article on the meeting between Pope Francis and President Trump, liberal Catholic commentator Michael Sean Winters showcased in a few succinct words how he and other titans of irrelevancy among the Catholic Left perniciously engage in one of the ugliest, twisted, and most common distortions of Pope Francis’ teaching on mercy.
Pope Francis, as everyone knows by now, speaks and writes beautifully on God’s mercy, and on the need for all of us to show greater mercy, especially toward those to whom we may be least inclined to extend it. That is, after all, the whole point of God’s mercy: those who need it most are those who are least “deserving” of it – which is to say, all of us.
But for enlightened progressive Catholics like Michael Sean Winters, mercy is only for the right kind of sinner.
How else to explain the following sentence:
“I can sympathize with those who felt a bit of revulsion watching the pope exchange gifts and smile for the camera with our president.”
Can you imagine Winters expressing “revulsion” if Pope Francis gave a friendly greeting and a smile to, say, a convicted murderer and rapist on death row? Of course not. In that case, we would be treated to a self-serving gush about how moving and wonderful a gesture it was, and how Winters and his ilk would be hugging murderers or rapists too if only they knew any, and how totally on board they are with this wonderful new thing called mercy that is brand new to the Church, in sharp contrast to the rigid and stingy pastoral approach of John Paul and Benedict, and blah blah blah…
Look, you don’t have to love President Trump. You can think his policies are contradictory to the teaching of the Church. You can think he’s unfit to be president. You can believe with all your heart that he is a great sinner. The greatest even.
But spare the rest of us the transparent charade of a selective mercy that’s reserved for the kind of sinners you like.
Revulsion at seeing Pope Francis greet President Trump and smile for a photo?
One could be forgiven for concluding that the leftist Catholics just don’t get Pope Francis. But that’s not true, is it?
In fact, they do get him. They know. They know what he teaches about mercy.
But their loyalties lie elsewhere.