VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis today denounced conservative icons Pat Buchanan and Sarah Palin, calling their recent objections to his leadership style “confusing,” “hypocritical” and “borderline-heresy.” The pontiff—who was elected to lead the Roman Catholic Church in March—complained that Buchanan and Palin should “look into their own hearts” before questioning his actions, and suggested that they are “simply jealous, having repeatedly failed to be elected to high office themselves.”
Francis, formally a Cardinal from Argentina, was responding chiefly to an article published on Townhall.com Friday in which Buchanan—a longtime soldier in the so-called “culture wars”—wrote that the pope was wrong to move “the Catholic Church to a stance of non-belligerence, if not neutrality, in the culture war for the soul of the West.” Buchanan said he believes that unless the Church remains aggressively opposed to abortion and LGBT rights—as it was under Francis’s predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI—it will lose its moral authority and surrender to relativism.
In a blog post published on the Vatican’s website Monday morning, Pope Francis—who has argued that Catholics should embrace members of the LGBT community, relax efforts to convert atheists to Christianity, and stop being “obsessed” by abortion and gay marriage—responded to Buchanan’s criticism, writing that the former presidential candidate and aide to Ronald Reagan should “reflect on his own opinions” before criticizing others.
“This is a man who has dabbled in Holocaust denial and has a documented history of anti-Semitism,” Francis wrote. “Of course he doesn’t want the Church to become more inclusive. He’d probably like it if we segregated mass services from now on.”
“Opening up the Church to all of God’s children is the just and moral thing to do,” Francis continued, “and I won’t be persuaded otherwise, especially by a man who couldn’t even beat Bob Dole in the ’96 Republican primaries.”
The Holy See also had harsh words for former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, another of his American conservative critics. Palin—who, unlike Buchanan, is not a Catholic—said Thursday that she is “taken aback” by some of Francis’s decisions and is dismayed by his “liberal” comments.
“What does Palin know about leadership?” Francis wondered. “This is a woman who couldn’t even make it through one term as governor of Alaska before resigning, and who, let’s be honest, was probably the worst vice presidential nominee in American history.”
Francis also questioned Palin’s grasp of religious tenets. “I’m not convinced she knows the first thing about the Bible,” Francis wrote. “In fact, I’m not even confident that she knows how to read.”