Monday, April 21, 2008

Tancredo Trashes Pope [UPDATED]

Former presidential candidate Tom Tancredo (who, thankfully, garnered only about 20 votes total in the GOP caucuses and primaries) not only dislikes Mexicans, but exposes himself as an anti-Catholic bigot, as well:
... Benedict has calibrated his immigration stance with care, stating the need to protect family unity and immigrants’ human rights, but pointedly avoiding any specifics of the American immigration debate, like the issue of whether to grant legal status to illegal immigrants. Yet last week his visit quickly stirred the crosscurrents of the debate.

His comments drew a rebuke from Representative Tom Tancredo, a Republican from Colorado who has been a leading opponent of illegal immigration.

Accusing the pope of “faith-based marketing,” Mr. Tancredo said Benedict’s comments welcoming immigrants “may have less to do with spreading the Gospel than they do about recruiting new members of the Church.” Mr. Tancredo, a former Catholic who now attends an evangelical Christian church, said it was not in the pope’s “job description to engage in American politics.”
(emphasis added to highlight anti-Catholic idiocy)

My Comments:
I can't believe that there were actually orthodox Catholics who supported this bigoted nutjob for President. Can you imagine this Know-Nothing arsehole as leader of the free world? Welcoming the Pope to our country in the effusive manner that President Bush (also an evangelical) did? Give me a frickin' break!

The Democrats have called upon John McCain to repudiate Tancredo's comments (never mind Howard Dean's and the Democrats' lack of moral authority on such matters), a call I'm sure Sen. McCain will heed in short order (McCain has never had qualms about denouncing conservatives, and in this case such a denunciation is not only warranted but demanded).

Not only should McCain denounce Tancredo, but he should say that, given the President's historic reception of the Pope at the White House last week - an event that symbolically put to bed our nation's anti-Catholic past - there is no room in the GOP for Tancredo's brand of throwback Know-Nothingism.

Creative Minority Report has more:
Well this sets off Tancredo on what is one of the most ridiculous and misconstrued political attacks I've ever seen. To think this guy wanted to be President is a little scary.

I guess by issuing this release he wanted to make sure that he could never ever and I mean never again run for nationwide political office.
“I would like to know what part of our lax immigration policy is considered violent,” Tancredo said. “I fail to see how accepting more refugees than any other nation –and providing free health care, education, housing and social service benefits to millions of illegal aliens is in any way ‘violent’ or ‘degrading.’”

Pope Benedict XVI has made amnesty a key issue in his papacy. He met with President Bush, reportedly adding his voice to the open-border lobby by encouraging Bush to provide blanket amnesty to all illegal immigrants in the United States.

At the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the Pope said, “I want to encourage you and your communities to continue to welcome the immigrants who join your ranks today, to share their joys and hopes, to support them in their sorrows and trials and to help them flourish in their new home.”

“I am not taking issue with the Pope’s moral authority and respect his views on the threat of radical Islam,” Tancredo said. “However, it is not in his job description to engage in American politics.”

Tancredo also cited a recent report indicating that the “Catholic Church…has been losing members rapidly -- as much as a third of the native-born Catholic population. Meanwhile, it has gained members among foreign-born (mostly Hispanic) residents.”

“I suspect the Pope’s immigration comments may have less to do with spreading the gospel than they do about recruiting new members of the church," said Tancredo. "This isn’t preaching it is ‘faith-based’ marketing.”
So much of what he says is completely wrong. The Pope isn't talking politics. He's imploring us to be sensitive and caring to all, including illegal immigrants -which to me is something we would do well to remember.

But when Tancredo impugns the Pope's motives then we swerve into crazyland. Here's the thing - Tancredo thought he could ride the national consensus to secure the border into a referendum for his candidacy. And when it didn't happen his rhetoric became increasingly offensive and anti-immigrant thus leading to his being ostracized from the mainstream.
Exactly. Like I said: Tancredo has shown himself to be a bigoted, anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant, Know-Nothing nutjob of the highest order.

Opinionated Catholic has an excellent post - "A Catholic Republican Responds to Represenative Tancredo's Pope and Catholic Bashing" - likening Tancredo's outburst with traditional 19th and early 20th century anti-Catholicism, and includes a roundup of the blog coverage on this topic.

Definitely check it out (just ignore the reference to me as a "Republican" - although I'm a conservative, I claim membership in no party).

And, by the way, if Michelle Malkin is sincere in voicing the sentiment that "Open borders benefit Catholic churches looking to fill their pews and collection baskets" [ED.: What? They weren't Catholic before they came here?] and/or that "The Vatican and American bishops ... have long promoted immigration anarchy and lawlesness", then yes, she is an anti-Catholic bigot, regardless of her attempt to clarify her remarks.

Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Yesterday from the Left, Today Bishops Attacked from the Right

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At 4/21/2008 10:49 AM, Anonymous lwestin said...

There's no-one quite like an 'ex' Catholic...

At 4/21/2008 11:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When our current POPE has a policy difference with America, he expresses his opinion with dignity and respect. Mr. Tancredo should have done the same. We can have disagreements without trashing. For what it is worth, I am inclined to agree with the POPE with regards to the issue at hand, but regardless, I hope Mr. Tancredo expresses disagreements in a more professional manner going forward.


At 4/21/2008 11:34 AM, Blogger Jeff Miller said...

Ever since I heard Tancredo seriously talk about nuking Mecca I knew he was a nut job, this only confirms it.

It is also rather strange since the comments the Pope made on the plain in regards to immigration were quite measured and not the open borders type as for example a Cardinal Mahony.

The Pope talked about fixing the problems in the country of orgin that creates the situation for people to leave to America in the first place. What the Pope actually said was:

"I recent had the ad limina visit from the bishops of Central America, also South America. I saw the scope of this problem, above all the grave problem of the separation of families. This is truly dangerous for the social, human and moral fabric of these countries.
It seems to me that we have to distinguish between measures to be taken immediately, and longer-term solutions. The fundamental solution [would be] that there is no longer any need to immigrate, that there are sufficient opportunities for work and a sufficient social fabric that no one any longer feels the need to immigrate. We all have to work for this objective, that social development is sufficient so that citizens are able to contribute to their own future.
On this point, I want to speak with the President, because above all the United States must help countries develop themselves. Doing so is in the interests of everyone, not just this country but the whole world, including the United States.
In the short term, it’s very important above all to help the families. This is the primary objective, to ensure that families are protected, not destroyed. Whatever can be done, must be done. Naturally, we have to do whatever’s possible against economic insecurity, against all the forms of violence, so that they can have a worthy life.
I’d like also to say that although there are many problems, so much suffering, there’s also much hospitality [in America.] I know that the bishops’ conference in America collaborates a great deal with the Latin American bishops’ conference. Together they work to help priests, laity and so on. With so many painful things, it’s also important not to forget much good and many positive actions."

At 4/21/2008 12:05 PM, Blogger matthew archbold said...

I want the border secured but holy cow I definitely don't want Tancredo talking for my side. His comments are so over the top and unfounded that I sense he's lost all proportion.

At 4/21/2008 12:50 PM, Blogger James H said...

I am trying to keep up with Catholic blog reaction. I have some links at the bottom of my post here you might want to look at

A Catholic Republican Responds to Represenative Tancredo's Pope and Catholic Bashing

At 4/21/2008 1:03 PM, Blogger Paul, just this guy, you know? said...

Tancredo has shown himself to be a bigoted, anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant, Know-Nothing nutjob of the highest order.

Well, maybe not the highest order; I' sure either of us could come up with much worse than this in short order.

Too, I see no reason for McCain to repudiate these remarks as, Tancredo not having endorsed McCain, there is no connection between them to repudiate.

Tancredo certainly shouldn't have said anything about what he thinks the Holy Father's motives are, but he's fully within his rights to criticize a foreign head of state (and to non-Catholic Tancredo, that's what the Holy Father is) for lobbying for a policy that Tancredo disagrees with.

I really think people are overreacting on this one.

At 4/21/2008 2:07 PM, Blogger Jay Anderson said...

"Well, maybe not the highest order; I' sure either of us could come up with much worse than this in short order."

Okay. He hasn't, to my knowledge, donned a white hood or burned any crosses or murdered any priests, so I suppose I'll have to cede that point.

"I see no reason for McCain to repudiate these remarks as, Tancredo not having endorsed McCain, there is no connection between them to repudiate."

Tancredo claims membership in the same party of which Sen. McCain will be de facto leader upon accepting its nomination for President. I think some distancing is in order.

"... he's fully within his rights to criticize a foreign head of state (and to non-Catholic Tancredo, that's what the Holy Father is) for lobbying for a policy that Tancredo disagrees with."

To clarify, Tancredo isn't merely a "non-Catholic"; he's an EX-Catholic. Furthermore, the Holy Father is MUCH more than a "foreign head of state", even to a non-Catholic - he should be viewed as a moral leader. President Bush treated the Pope as more than merely a "foreign head of state". Before my conversion to Catholicism, I always gave JPII more deference than would otherwise be accorded a "foreign head of state". And let's be clear. We should be careful about excusing such comments by allowing the speaker the out of saying he was merely criticizing a "foreign head of state", because it is dangerously close to the stuff traditional anti-Catholics used to spew - that Catholics couldn't be trusted because we owed obeisance to "a foreign power" who would seek to "interfere" in our internal affairs. Finally, as Jeff points out, the Holy Father wasn't lobbying for a change in America's public policy.

"I really think people are overreacting on this one."

We'll just have to agree to disagree on that.

At 4/21/2008 2:35 PM, Blogger Matt Hurley said...

I just wish that the Pope would stop sticking his nose into American politics. We'd all be better off that way.

I find it curious that ANYBODY who has a different view from the Pope is labeled a bigot...I've seen those tactics before and I didn't particularly care for them then either.

If His Holiness can't take the heat, he should stay out of the kitchen.

At 4/21/2008 2:57 PM, Blogger Jay Anderson said...

"I just wish that the Pope would stop sticking his nose into American politics."

Exactly WHERE has the Pope "stuck his nose into American politics"? I'd like to know where and when this has happened, because I seem to have missed it. He didn't do it during his visit, that's for sure. In fact, he went out of his way to avoid politics.

Usually, the complaint that I hear is that the Pope hasn't done ENOUGH, such as excommunicating Catholic politicians whose public stands are at odds with Church teaching.

The Pope's job is to speak to moral truths. That's what he does. Sometimes those moral truths don't always line up with what many Americans see as our "national interest", but then the Pope isn't here to rubber stamp the agenda of American politicians.

So, please do tell me where exactly the Pope has been "sticking his nose into American politics".

At 4/21/2008 3:39 PM, Blogger Jay Anderson said...

As for labeling people as "bigots", I'm not a big fan of how easily that gets tossed around either. I grew up an evangelical. Most of my friends and family are evangelicals. They disagree with the Pope on a whole range of issues - theological, ecclesiological, and political. That doesn't make them bigots (although some Catholics often mistakenly ascribe some of these differences to bigotry).

But sometimes the shoe DOES fit, such as in the case of the screeds from Tancredo and Malkin.

At 4/21/2008 3:44 PM, Anonymous Chelsea said...

Lou Dobbs might put Tancredo to shame in the Pope bashing department - though I don't think he's quite caught up to Bill Maher. See here and here if you haven't already.

At 4/21/2008 5:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't Tancredo also kind of interested in the whole "population control" thing? I thought I recalled that a few of his big donnors were also big givers to Planned Parenthood and wanted to go full steam ahead on all sorts of birth-control measures in Latin America. Tancredo's fear of immigrants is downright sickening, especailly since I'd figure with a last name like his, one does not have to go too far back in the family tree to find Italian immigrants who would have been hated on by the KKK and other nativist/anti-Catholic types.

Saddly, as fringe as he is, his rhetoric has probably hurt the GOP very seriously among the hispanic community.

At 4/23/2008 12:26 AM, Blogger Leticia said...

If any of you watched the Papal rally at Dunwoodie you couldn't have missed the scores of orthodox, cassock-clad Legionary of Christ seminarians. Most of them are from Mexico.Pope Benedict spoke to them in beautiful Spanish, and enjoyed their ebullience.
In 2030 half of the Catholic Church will be Hispanic. We either embrace them as brothers in Christ, or lose them to other denominations.


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