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OPINION

Losing Patience With the New Pope

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
Many millions of Catholics around the world were joyous with the naming of a new pope -- a holy man from the Third World no less. Even in choosing his name, Pope Francis is emphasizing a devotion to the poor, and humility in his clothing and manners.

The liberal media should be lapping this up. There was an accurate recounting of the global rejoicing, especially in Argentina. There were hopeful words about his pastoral modesty. But as the day came for the pope to be installed, the natural secular liberal nastiness toward the oldest Christian faith bubbled up in demands for "tolerance" and women's liberation.

On the March 18 "Today," co-host Matt Lauer noted the simplicity of Pope Francis -- and then tried to suggest it was extreme. "So a lot of people like this move to simplicity, a move to the poor. Is it possible to take it too far?" If Benedict enjoyed revisiting the more regal historic Vatican garb, that was extreme. More humility? Also quite possibly extreme.

This is the kind of general hostility to religion that makes people turn the channel. The networks try to restrain themselves when the ever-necessary eyeballs are flocking to the TV set to see the Vatican news. But seemingly they can't hold out forever. Ultimately, they revert to sounding like jerks.

All three of NBC's regular "Today's Professionals" panelists agreed. Advertising man Donny Deutsch insisted this was a victory of style over substance. "It's great to do all of this style stuff, man of the people. But, and we've talked about this ad nauseam, until the Catholic Church starts to address what we all know are the real issues the Church has, which is the real concern of the people, this stuff doesn't matter. It doesn't matter."

Liberals demand that the Catholic Church bow to their infallible instincts. You can't just dress humbly, preach the gospel and serve the poor. You have to grant indulgences to the feminists, the homosexuals and the contraceptive industry.

NBC medical correspondent Dr. Nancy Snyderman lectured the new pope that "poverty without birth control begets more poverty. ... This is a chance to take the humility and the poverty and say now we're really going to talk about this in a civilized way and move it forward." Deutsch added: "And we can talk about tolerance with gays and attitudes towards women." Snyderman threw in "And women in the Church."

If only the Vatican had thought of that.

Is there anything funnier than a couple of pompous NBC millionaires lecturing the pope about poverty and humility?

One of the last times Snyderman addressed Catholics came during her short-lived MSNBC daytime show in 2009. She was furious anyone would object to funding abortion in Obamacare. "The Catholic bishops appearing and having a political voice seems to be a most fundamental violation of (separation of?) church and state." Snyderman is an Episcopalian, so she thinks her church lecturing America for gay and female bishops and gay marriage and abortion rights would never breach the wall of church-state separation. There's no wall of separation needed, just a hug of ideological purity.

On Monday night, the networks exploited Pope Francis meeting amiably with the leftist president of his home country. On ABC's "World News," reporter Ron Claiborne described the two sides of a cultural war: "Cristina Kirchner stands for a new view of a changing world -- embracing gay marriage, sex education in schools, free contraceptives in hospitals." He added, "But when (Pope Francis) was a cardinal in Argentina, Kirchner described his social views as medieval." Claiborne didn't call Kirchner a leftist. The code word for leftist is "new," as in "modern and fashionable." Claiborne warned the new pope would lose the current good feeling, since what "the world is just beginning to learn is how conservative he is on social issues."

The world is shocked. The pope turned out to be Catholic.

In case viewers didn't get the point, anchor Diane Sawyer repeated that the Argentinian president "once called his views medieval." On "NBC Nightly News," reporter Anne Thompson checked the same rhetorical boxes: "As archbishop of Buenos Aires, the pope opposed many social programs that Kirchner endorsed, including gay marriage and free contraception. ... She, in turn, had accused him of holding positions that she said were medieval, harkening back to the Inquisition."

This is how silly these TV news attacks are: President Obama opposed same-sex marriage until last May. Why was it not "medieval" and like the Inquisition for Obama to hold that position in 2012?

The obvious difference is that the pope will not change his position with secular media pressure like Obama did. Everyone who will bow to the libertine left is honored. Those who won't are just hopelessly gauche, crossing their own foreheads on the ash heap of history.

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