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Springtime

Springtime for Liberal Christianity by Ross Douthat.

During his in-flight interview between Cuba and the United States, Pope Francis bristled a little when asked about people who claim he’s too liberal, left-wing, even Communist. In his comments on economics, immigration and the environment, he insisted, “I’m sure that I haven’t said anything more than what’s written in the social doctrine of the church.”

The pontiff has a point, but so did his questioner. Yes, Catholic social teaching does not fit the normal categories of American politics, and popes always come to our shores bearing critiques of right and left alike. But every pope has different interests, a different set of points to stress — and Pope Francis’ message, whether on-script or off-the-cuff, is particularly distinctive.

He is certainly not a Marxist, and he’s not a “liberal” as American politics understands the terms. But he has been a gift to liberals who are also Christians, to religious believers whose politics lean left.

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