The Pope is not a “Conservative.” Plain and simple. The thing this writer and similar thinkers don’t understand is that the Catholic Church does not have political positions per se, in which it aligns itself with the platform that most agrees with its current teaching or motives. That is not to say that the Church is not interested in politics. Take this from Vatican II’s Gaudium et Spes to put the matter in proper context:
The Church and the political community in their own fields are autonomous and independent from each other. Yet both, under different titles, are devoted to the person and social vocation of men (GS, 76).
See, the Church is interested not in what gains benefit to them, but what is proper for mankind. That teaching includes being against abortion, contraception, the right to own property, religions liberty, and other fundamental rights of man. But what for the political community? The same document again defines this topic:
The political community exists … for the sake of the common good. The common good embraces the sum of those conditions of the social life whereby men, families and associations more adequately and readily may attain their own perfection (GS, 74).
Remember that the Church says that she is autonomous from the political community, but politically seeks the proper material and formal end of man. See, the Church stands alone from the political parties of the world. The Church is not conservative, libertarian, or green. The Church holds to the teachings developed through God’s divine Revelation, and promulgates this teaching to her faithful. The Church does not simply decide age-to-age what political route to take. Instead, we can observe a Church whose teachings do not rotate or revolve with relative institutions, like the Republican Party or any other party. The Church teaches certain ideas regardless of the developments of the world. If in one century that happens to be called “conservative,” that does not make the Church conservative. The problem with the categorizing of the Pope is that people attempt to make him their own, as though he agrees with them, as if he isn’t a mere Catholic but is their sort of Catholic. There is no such thing. Catholic is Catholic. To be Catholic is to be obedient to the Magisterium. Pope Francis is not a conservative; he is simply a Catholic who is obedient to the Magisterium, serving his flock as the heir of St. Peter, the Vicar of Christ on earth.