Since 2013 when the Argentine prelate Jorge Bergoglio officially became the head of the Catholic Church, he has emerged as a key figure in the progressive movement. Even though Pope Francis does not claim to be a part of any political movement, it is clear that he is representative of the views that many leftists hold. With his emergence has come much criticism from Catholics who hold opposing views on issues such as environmentalism and the market economy. Acton Institute Director of Research Samuel Gregg has penned op-eds and blog posts for a number of publications that take Francis to task on his economic pronouncements and even the way he presents the Catholic faith.
This past week in the Wall Street Journal Francis X. Rocca described how Pope Francis became so popular among progressives in a piece titled “How Pope Francis Became the Leader of the Global Left.” He describes Francis’ influence on different grass root activists and even the time when Sen. Bernie Sanders — a self-described socialist — left the campaign trail to visit the Vatican for a meeting with Francis. Toward the end of his article Rocca quotes Gregg:
Critics warn that, by aligning himself too closely with one end of the political spectrum, the pope could alienate more conservative Catholics. In the recent U.S. presidential election, according to exit polls, more than half of Catholic voters chose Mr. Trump. “The global left clearly see an opportunity to appropriate the prestige of the papacy for their causes,” said Samuel Gregg, director of research at the Acton Institute, a Michigan-based think tank with a religious, free-market approach. “That introduces polarization in the church about issues that Catholics are free to disagree about.”
You can read the full article where Gregg is quoted here in the Wall Street Journal.