The "liberal media" strike again. This is just unbelievable. I'm not sure if this bothers me because of Blitzer's arrogance, or because of CNN's ignorance. The idea that this Pope--and Catholicism generally--is some kind of monolithic "conservative" institution (or even one with "American" values) is one which American conservatives certainly have, but it bears no relationship with reality.
Yes, the Catholic Church is very conservative regarding sexual morality. That is no secret. And I won't try to argue against it. But I could argue equally that, forced to impose the "liberal"/"conservative" dichotomy, the Church and John Paul II was downright radical when it came to social justice issues. But that doesn't play in the "liberal" American media. We want the Church to be "conservative, so we ignore everything that doesn't look or sound conservative.
And then we get this kind of stupidity:
BLITZER: While they were united today in mourning the death of the pope, U.S. Catholics are a diverse group, as illustrated by two of our Crossfire co-hosts, the conservative Robert Novak, the liberal Paul Begala. Both good Catholics -- I don't know 'good' Catholics, but both Catholics. I'm sure Bob is a good Catholic, I'm not so sure about Paul Begala.
BEGALA: Well, now, who are you to pass moral judgment on my religion, Mr. Blitzer? My goodness gracious.
BLITZER: All right, go ahead, go ahead.
BEGALA: On the day of my Holy Father's funeral. My eldest son is named John Paul, after the Pope.
BLITZER: So you are a good Catholic?
BEGALA: I'm serious, that annoys me. I don't think anybody should presume that a liberal is not a good Catholic.
NOVAK: Paul, Paul, Paul is a good Catholic.
BEGALA: The Holy Father is liberal. And in fact, when [CNN contributor] Carlos [Watson] was speaking [earlier in the program], I was in the green room. Underneath, some producer had written, 'Many Catholic doctrines are conservative.' Absolutely correct. Many are liberal as well. The Holy Father bitterly opposed President Bush's war in Iraq. He came to St. Louis -- and I was there -- and he begged America to give up the death penalty. President Bush strongly supports it, as did President Clinton and others. Many of the Holy Father's views -- my church's views -- are extraordinarily liberal. The Pope talked about savage, unbridled capitalism, not Bob Novak's kind --
BLITZER: I was certainly not questioning -- I was only teasing.
BLITZER: Don't be so sensitive.
BEGALA: Well, it's an important day for my faith.
BLITZER: It's a very important day --
BEGALA: It's the only pope of my adult lifetime, so I'm a little emotional tonight.
BLITZER: It's a very important day for Bob Novak. Go ahead, Bob.