While veteran conservative columnist George Will once described himself as an “amiable, low-voltage atheist”, his latest attack on the Catholic Church demonstrates that he has decided to drop the amiability and amp up the atheism. Dredging up long discredited anti-Catholic slurs, Will claims that Pope Francis “stands against modernity, rationality, science and, ultimately the spontaneous creativity of open societies in which people and their desires are not problems but precious resources.”
Pope Francis, claims Will, “embodies sanctity but comes trailing clouds of sanctimony” and thus the Catholic faithful cannot simultaneously “honor and celebrate their nation’s premises.” Insisting the pontiff’s sentiments possess the “intellectual tone of fortune cookies,” Will reaches back to the Middle Ages to denigrate what he sees as an oppressive Church that had “ruled the roost.”
Although Will’s current column reaches new levels of animus toward Catholicism, Will has been denigrating the Catholic faith for more than thirty years now. On January 11, 1987, when he appeared on “This Week With David Brinkley,” Will claimed that “there is a residual anti-Semitism at work in Vatican Policy.” This claim led the late William F. Buckley to publish a column in the Washington Post calling Will’s words a “vituperative attack” on the Vatican.
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