PHILADELPHIA – Pope Francis, better known by his real name, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, continues to excite the toiling masses across the globe, including his compatriot Lionel Messi. Opinion polls have suggested that a new international led by the two Argentines would be embraced by the majority of the workers of the world. At present, Pope Francis is visiting the US to meet with the faithful, Roman Catholics and NAMBLA members alike. The first demonstration of his enormous influence and power came when John Boehner resigned as the Republican speaker for Congress as a result of the pope’s mere presence in Congress, his resignation letter accusing congress of having been transformed into a tool for “papists”.
Pope Francis, leader of one of the world’s most notoriously conservative and reactionary institutions, has spent much of his papacy attempting to maintain the relevance of the church in the increasingly left-leaning political status quo of Latin America today. A few critical statements about inequality and the obvious problems of capitalism, however, have caused him to be viewed as a modern day Che Guevara by the majority of US pundits. Indeed, even much of the US “left” is unable to cope with the ferocity of Pope Francis’s mild statements: A joint statement of Bernie Sanders, Cornel West, the CPUSA and the Working Families Party denounced the pope’s “ultra-leftism” and “adventurism”. The pope has responded to these accusations in an interview with Max Ajl published at Jacobin. He referred to the US left as “petty bourgeois hacks”, “opportunists”, “bleeding-heart liberals” and “objective agents of US imperialism.”
Additionally, Bernie Sanders went on record individually to state: “Given that he is the pope, of course I respect him. I respect all unelected heads of state, from China to Saudi Arabia. It is the elected communist dictators like Chavez that are the real evil today. But popes used to stand against such people, like during the Cold War. That’s the sort of Catholic Church the American people miss.”
Unsurprisingly, the dispute has provoked numerous responses from the US and abroad: Jeremy Corbyn, who was attending an anti-pig-fucking rally organised together with various animal rights groups and Muslim civil society organisations in the UK, gave a short speech in which he said: “People compare me to Sanders, you know. They’re all idiots. Obviously, I am not a big fan of the papacy, but I recognise when I am able to cooperate on certain issues. And if I were to come into conflict with him, I would hope it’s because the bloody pope was the opportunist, not me.”
The ISO published an editorial in Socialist Worker which concluded thus: “We really appreciate many things the pope has said. He is clearly more progressive on many issues than the majority of the US left. However, the fact that the Vatican is clearly a Stalinist state if ever there was one prevents us from any alliance with this bonapartist dictator.”
“Also, he speaks Spanish. That’s the language of Mercader.”
Bob Avakian reportedly enquired into a possible public debate with the pope on the topic of “People’s War and Revolution”, but a papal representative replied with a polite explanatory note stating that “the pope is not impressed with the New Synthesis”.
Alexis Tsipras, recently re-elected as Prime Minister of what remains of Greece, held a spontaneous speech at his local taverna in which he claimed: “If we were not an Orthodox country, I would immediately integrate our territory into the Vatican. Or at least appoint Pope Francis as my finance minister. Look at that, he just goes to the US congress and people there listen to him. Not like that bald traitor I appointed first, even I didn’t listen to him.”