Archbishops Gone Wild: Sorondo’s Crush on Chinese Commies
Stream readers might have been shocked to read that Pope Francis sold out the underground Catholic Church in China. He essentially put them under the Communist Quisling bishops whom they’ve been fighting for decades. It was stunning to read what the top Vatican authority on science and on social sciences (i.e., economics, politics), Abp. Archishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo had to say about Communist China. Namely, that its government does a better job of practicing Catholic social teaching than the U.S. does. China expert and prolife hero Steven Mosher unpacked that bizarre claim yesterday.
A Grasping Renaissance Cardinal, Playing Environmentalist
You should find out more about Abp. Sánchez Sorondo. He’s a magnificent self-caricature. He might have escaped from the pages of Flannery O’Connor. There’s a certain type of person who gravitates toward Church circles. But what draws him isn’t the faith. It’s opportunity. We saw many such men back in the Renaissance. At that time making “cardinal” meant piles of wealth and power. In fact, wherever the Church is too rich or too mighty (as in South America still) the ranks of the clergy fill up with people like this.
They have intellectual pretensions. It’s just that they aren’t too bright. They yearn to command the lives of other people. But they can’t quite control themselves. They fancy themselves as creative, but in fact are plagiarists. They’re not artistic but “artsy.” They’re statists without being statesmen. They can ape the style and rhetoric of real saints like Francis of Assisi. But do a little digging, and you usually find a slush fund. They talk a lot of folderol about “liberation” and “freedom.” Try questioning them, though. In turn, they’ll try to crush you like a bug.
Please Support The Stream: Equipping Christians to Think Clearly About the Political, Economic, and Moral Issues of Our Day.
The Rage of the Ambitious Mediocrity
People like this feel a bone-deep hatred for freedom. They suspect that in any kind of meritocracy, they’d end up just like most of us somewhere in the middle-bottom. But unlike most of us, that prospect galls them. It fills them with fury. Somewhere along the line they decided that they were meant for greatness. To command the lives of others, and nod with satisfaction as their petty orders were carried out. Each of them has looked in the bathroom mirror, and nodded like Mussolini to imaginary crowds.
Some years ago, Archbishop Sánchez Sorondo unfolded his multihued wings and showed his true colors. It happened in a grudging email interview he granted to the heroic pro-life group C-FAM, led by occasional Stream columnist Austin Ruse. C-FAM’s Stefano Gennarini, also a Stream contributor, asked some tough questions of Sorondo, after the archbishop invited pro-abortion and population control activists to speak at the Vatican.
Spitting and Sneering
Maybe I’m too caught up in Anglo-American niceties of courtesy (though few have ever accused me of that). But I was actually shocked by the churlish, openly sneering tone that the Archbishop took in his written responses. As I noted on Twitter immediately after reading the exchange:
He answered like a deposed generalissimo snarling in the dock during a war crimes trial.
— John Zmirak (@JZmirak) February 7, 2018
Go read the interview for yourself. I think you’ll be staggered. Remember: This is a priest. A bishop. A pastor of souls. He’s not writing back to a pornographer or a criminal. Or even to a Communist bureaucrat in China (ahem). No, he’s answering serious, polite, but probing questions from a pro-life activist. From an NGO at the U.N. that fights for the rights of unborn children, parents, and the church. But Sorondo repeatedly insults Gennarini.
He calls him a liar. Sánchez Sorondo implies that C-FAM serves as the paid shill for U.S. oil companies. He spits fire, evades honest inquiries, and stamps his foot like Rumplestiltskin.
People like this feel a bone-deep hatred for freedom. They know that in any kind of meritocracy, they’d end up just like most of us somewhere in the middle-bottom. But unlike most of us, that prospect galls them.
Yes, much of what goads Sánchez Sorondo is ideology. He clearly despises the “cowboy” freedom we Americans take for granted. But the rot goes deeper than that. This is a cleric, a member of a self-selected elite, who deeply resents having even to answer questions from some lowly, rutting layman. What shepherd takes back-talk from livestock? It’s our part to bleat reassuringly, fertilize the ground, and stand still when it’s time to be fleeced or slaughtered.
But go even deeper. Most priests or even bishops do not engage in that kind of clericalism. And plenty of bureaucrats with power in the secular world now do. There’s something much more basic going on when Sánchez Sorondo sneers at questions about his playing footsie with abortionists.
The Archbishop’s snarl is that of an angry, self-conscious mediocrity lashing out at his moral and natural betters. No wonder such men find kindred spirits in the gray, vicious ranks of the Chinese Communist Party.