Pope Francis: non-ideologue in Cuba, leftist in the U.S.

I’m with John when it comes to Pope Francis: I really don’t like him. After reading this editorial in the Washington Post, I like him even less.

The Post’s editors point out that here in the United States, Pope Francis will meet not just with the president and other politicians, but also “with those marginalized by our society: homeless people, immigrants, refugees and even inmates of a jail.” They could also have noted that he intends to talk up criminal justice reform, which would likely reverse what is probably our most successful domestic policy of the past 20 years and make our streets significantly less safe.

By contrast, in Cuba, according to the editors, Pope Francis has done “absolutely nothing that might discomfit his official hosts.” This despite the fact that the Communist dictatorship there “has remained unrelenting in its repression of free speech, political dissent and other human rights.”

Pope Francis met with 89-year-old Fidel Castro, who holds no office in Cuba, but not with any members of the dissident community — in or outside of prison. According to the Web site 14ymedio.com, two opposition activists were invited to greet the pope at Havana’s cathedral Sunday but were arrested on the way. Dozens of other dissidents were detained when they attempted to attend an open air Mass.

They needn’t have bothered: The pope said nothing in his homily about their cause, or even political freedom more generally. Those hunting for a message had to settle for a cryptic declaration that “service is never ideological.”

Cryptic and hypocritical, coming from Pope Francis.

How, the Post’s editors ask, can we explain the striking difference between the Pope’s behavior in Cuba and in the United States? The explanation, I think, is straightforward: Pope Francis is a standard leftist.

After the Post wrote its editorial, Pope Francis wrapped up his visit to Cuba by calling for “a revolution of tenderness.” If only he would limit himself to this sort of plea, the appropriate role of religious leaders, during his visit to the U.S. Unfortunately, he will be a much more ambitious Pope on our shores.