Pope’s words twisted; ‘trickle down’ added to translation, expert says

Pope Francis’s denunciation of free-market capitalism may have Democrats, the American left and its usual media pals boiling, but almost everyone is reading the pope wrong, according to a top Catholic conservative writer.

But Michael Novak is only a leading intellectual, the author of 25 books on culture and conservatism, a professor at major American universities who’s been a college lecturer in in the pope’s native Argentina and Chile for decades, and former ambassador under Ronald Reagan administration.

popefrancis1208How the hell can he compare to a late-night comic like Jon Stewart?

In a lengthy essay Saturday in National Review Online, titled “Agreeing with Pope Francis,”  Novak explored Pope Francis’s exhortation, “Evangelii Gaudium” (“Joy of the Gospels”) in the context of the pope’s experience with Argentina’s crony capitalism (with undeniable echoes in the Obama Era) and how it’s being used in the context of American politics to justify attacks on conservatives by Democrats and the left.

(Novak doesn’t go into it, but let’s just say off the top that Democrats and the American left wouldn’t normally give a damn about a pope’s opinion on the weather much less the values intrinsic to a free society.)

It’s true that what Francis wrote will never be confused with Grover Norquist or Ayn Rand, but Novak points out that the pope’s original Spanish wasn’t nearly as partisan or inflammatory as the English translations that are being used by American libs – and are so dismaying American conservatives.

For example, the phrase “trickle down” – which libs like to use to distort what Reagan accomplished in the 1980s – is an addition to what the pope wrote, not part of his original document, Novak writes.

“Note first that “trickle-down” nowhere appears in the original Spanish, as it would have done if the pope had meant to invoke the battle-cry of the American Democrats against the American Republicans … Only those hostile to capitalism and Reagan’s successful reforms, and to the policies of Republicans in general after the downward mobility of the Carter years, use the derisive expression “trickle-down,” intended to caricature what actually happened under Reagan, namely, dramatic upward mobility. “

Conservative champions from Rush Limbaugh to Fox News News Editor Adam Shaw have denounced Francis in their turn – using stinging imagery, Shaw called the pontiff an Obama for the Catholic Church in a column last week. But that’s to be expected. as long as there’s a separation between church and state, there’s going to be tension between them.

Faulty or immaculate translations aside, the Republican Party isn’t Catholic Charities and Catholic Charities isn’t the Republican Party. Everyone should be able to agree to get over that. (Taking the time to read Novak’s essay will help.)

It’s a different story with libs like the New York Times’ Paul Krugman, who love the church at times like this when they can use cafeteria-style “pro-Catholic” arguments to push their agenda. They just choose to ignore the when it stands up for core Catholic beliefs like the sanctity of life against the Obamacare regime. (Watch for the next time Krugman praises Hobby Lobby, but don’t hold your breath.)

And comics like Stewart love the pope when he provides them with material for comedy gold, like using 288-page document written for a faith community of 1 billion people as fodder for a five-minute comic mocking conservatives and advocating a raise in the federal minimum wage – another cause dear to liberal hearts since they think they don’t have to pay for it, either.

On “The Daily Show” Thursday, Stewart used the pope to smear Fox News economist Stuart Varney. He compared Varney’s attempt to have an adult conversation about the minimum wage with Scrooge in Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” and capped the whole piece off with a fellatio joke straight out of seventh grade.

Then Stewart concluded with an observation about fast-food workers. He meant to use the analogy against Varney, but it could much more easily apply to the comic.

“Some people are paid paid too much money to shovel unappetizing shit to the American public,” he said. “We just disagree on who they are and where they work.”

A few might be at Comedy Central.

Check out Stewart’s act here.

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About Joe Saunders

Joe Saunders, a 25-year newspaper veteran, is a staff writer and editor for BizPac Review who lives in Tallahassee and covers capital and Florida politics. Email Joe at jpjsaunders@gmail.com.

  • James hegarty

    Jon Stewart is a comic.Nothing more.

    • Ronald R. Johnson

      He’s a sick low Life Homo. too!

      • chrisnfolsom

        Homo lover/defender, but I don’t think he is a homosexual…I think he would agree with the “sick low life” though – at least in his job.

    • chrisnfolsom

      He is a better comic then Fox is “Fair & Balanced” – at least he admits he is an entertainer – Fox still seems to think they are just news and not an extension of the right wing propaganda machine – that is a funnier joke then anything on The Daily Show…. Oh those election results last year were a hoot!

  • robbiedobbs

    I like how right wingers are now accusing the pope of bieng “too liberal.” It’s amazing. Jesus Christ himself said, heal the sick, feed the poor. He didn’t say charge 200$ for 10 pills to not cure cancer, but just make it not kill you as fast. Pharmaceutical companies are the actual devils in this world.

  • palintologist

    I’m not buying Michael Novak’s spiel. Ann Barnhardt is one of the leading voices for conservative U.S. Catholicism, and she has had his number from Day One. He’s a South American Marxist, no ifs, ands or buts.


    • UT Reader

      Then Jesus was a Marxist, long before Marx was born.

  • UT Reader

    The English version that John Stewart used is an official translation released by the Vatican. It is not a miss translation crafted by the “libs” to embarrass FauxNews and their God Ronald.

    If it says “trickle down” in it, then the Vatican intended it to be there.

    • JamesHovland

      When someone give a thumbs down to a comment like that, I have to assume that they really don’t like people ruining their fantasy.

      • UT Reader

        if the Pope’s words had been mis translated, he has had plenty of time to correct it, which he hasn’t, so the author of this piece is clearly wrong


        • chrisnfolsom

          Since when does “reality” have anything to do with a Faux News story – hey, it’s a “fact” that Santa is white – it just IS!!! Oh, and Jesus too – because all those renaissance pictures painted 1500 years after he died show him as white….interesting use of the work “fact”. #FauxNews #Unfair&Imbalanced

  • linnicy

    Pope Francis has stated the best thing that happened to him was having to go to work at 13, in a sock factory. I think he is calling out indecent capitalism… the cronies who get rich off the government.. like Obama’s friends. The 1% of the lobbiers. He is calling out the powers that be, govenrment not really for the people, but for themselves, power hungry who do not share with the people, but keep them repressed, with no jobs.

    • UT Reader

      Like Rupert Murdoch and the Koch Brothers.

    • chrisnfolsom

      This is insane – Obama’s buddies get rich? Who? Business and Wall Street have made INCREDIBLE profits which few else have – and they are Very Republican. You are confused with Bush, Chaney, Rumsfeld and all their buddies who made (and lost) millions on a war they illgally started – yes they did get rid of one of many bad guys in the world (and didn’t get Osama)… but who made money? Sorry for bringing up Bush as I know he has nothing to do with anything as he is not in office anymore…

  • Guest


  • Igor Shafarevich

    In part, the case for liberty rests upon our recognition that the most effective way to adapt to the future’s unpredictability is to ensure that each of us is free to best adapt to the unknown future circumstances we are sure to face.

  • JamesHovland

    This could very well be the end of the Republican party as we know it. Thank ummm… well…The Pope! Why would I say that it’s the end of the Republican party? Well, according to Edward Bernays(the most influential mind of the 20th century), the easiest way to influence the group mind is to influence their leader. I imagine predicting changes in the group mind would be just as simple. All you have to do is listen to their most influential leader. I seriously doubt that Joe fits that description.

  • chrisnfolsom

    Both sides pick and choose what they want and the public has not idea what is going on – both ways.

    • linnicy

      Please..ask Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid where their $ comes from? At least we know where Bush got his $ from and he has been out of office for yrs. ALL Washington is in the bag. They think they are Eastern Hollywood.

      • chrisnfolsom

        Are you saying they are doing something illegal? What does Bush have to do with anything? If I bring up Bush I get accused of dragging poor old Bush back into Obama’s mess…Eastern Hollywood? It’s the closeted republican picking up guys in the Airport. All the Dems are doing is trying to help a few people and stop the rich from fleecing the poor – which they basically have done over the last 5 years specifically, but of course whenever they can…..except now the middle class is donating to the rich too. Please don’t cry to me about the poor rich and how they are misunderstood – it’s amazing as you Republicans are like an abusers wife – you keep coming back and hoping he will get off the bottle and treat you right – yeah, right. The only trickle down you will get is some rich guy pissing on you in the gutter. I am NOT against people making and keeping money, but it is a bit ridiculous these days, and that doesn’t mean giving money away, but paying someone who works a reasonable amount, not just jacking up CEO wages. Yeah, I drank the cool aid as I can’t afford the Champagne and coke – can you?

        • linnicy

          Calm down dude. I do not like anyone in Washington..all are on the take, our government it not run “for the People” but for the lawmakers. But, If I had to chose, it is Repubs I side for, because I am a social conservative.But what makes you lefties so angry? Love and live your life, it is a gift from God, Merry Christmas!

          • chrisnfolsom

            Not angry, just concerned. I supposed it is because I DO believe that the government can do good, is not “the enemy” and the trend to essentially gridlock the government unless you get your way is ultimately destructive – not just to the government, but to the country.