Right wing Catholic blowhard Bill Donohue has a problem. The new pope has made helping the poor a major focus of his leadership and spoken out about the dangers of income inequality. So has President Obama. But he hates Obama and is forced to defend the pope, so he has to make presumptuous and ignorant distinctions like this:
When Pope Francis speaks about our “throwaway” abortion culture, or comments on marriage as a union between a man and a woman, he wins no points from those on the left.
But when he speaks about income inequality, he is praised by the likes of President Barack Obama and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. However, these three men are not speaking from the same page. What is driving Obama and de Blasio is envy; what is driving the Pope is justice.
The Catholic Church considers envy to be one of the seven capital sins. It is not identical to jealousy. The jealous want what others have; the envious want to deprive others of what they have.
Okay, so when the pope says that too much income inequality is bad and unjust and that governments should expend greater resources to help the poor, that’s okay because he’s only got good intentions. When Obama says that too much income inequality is bad and unjust and that governments should expend greater resources to help the poor, that’s bad because he has sinful intentions. How does Donohue actually know Obama’s intentions? He doesn’t, of course. But he knows they must be bad.
But what is the difference in terms of policy? Not much. The current pope, like the last several, says that there should be universal access to health care. So does Obama. Donohue? Probably not. In fact, the Catholic Church has long advocated stronger policies to help the poor. In a document called the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church the church has endorsed what The American Catholic calls a “de facto bill of rights for the working class in all countries.” Those rights are:
The right to a just wage.
The right to rest.
The right to a working environment and to manufacturing processes that are not harmful to the workers’ physical health or moral integrity.
The right that one’s personality in the workplace should be safeguarded without suffering any affront to one’s conscience or personal dignity.
The right to appropriate subsidies necessary for the subsistence of unemployed workers and their families.
The right to a pension and to insurance for old age, sickness, and in case of work-related accidents.
The right to social security connected with maternity.
The right to assemble and form associations.
Support for the unemployed, the right to a just wage, the right to form unions, get social security and insurance — sounds a lot like basic liberalism, doesn’t it?