I generally try not to write about every right-wing raving I run across, but this one, from the hardy wingnut group Accuracy in Media (famous for considering Fox News insufficiently conservative), has a headline that’s hard to resist: “Black Socialist Pope to Follow Black Socialist President?”

The piece, by veteran conspiracy theorist Cliff Kincaid, was festooned with a large photo of Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, accompanying this lurid lede:

With African Catholic Cardinal Peter Turkson in the running as the next pope, the media have noted that he carries the fancy title of the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, an arm of the Vatican. But they have failed to note the existence of a left-wing lobby in the U.S. working feverishly on his behalf. It is the same group of radicals, with connections to billionaire hedge-fund operator George Soros, who backed Obama for president by claiming he shared their Catholic values.

Hmmm, that’s interesting. A vastly more authoritative source than Kincaid, the National Catholic Reporter‘s much-respected Vatican correspondent John Allen, did a piece on Turkson as one of many papal possibilities, and noted he had recently been dubbed “Conservatism’s Caped Crusader” for his traditionalist position on sexual morality. Allen does note some American hyper-traditionalists like George Weigel consider Turkson “a bit too center-left” on economic justice issues, but that’s probably true of every pontiff in living memory.

In any event, it appears Kincaid is just using Turkson to provide a Scary Black Man teaser for his real mission, which is to attack American Catholics allegedly in the satanic grip of George Soros. Turkson’s main connection to this red cabal ssems to be that he attended an American conference on the legacy of Pope Leo XIII famous encyclical Rerum Novarum, which put the Vatican firmly into a “third way” position of accepting unions and other workers organizations without abandoning the Church’s traditional hostility to socialism.

But that’s not how Kincaid sees it:

Rerum Novarum is a papal encyclical in which, as William Mayer notes, “the Church proclaimed itself competent to speak on economic matters, establishing a justification for governmental control, to a greater or lesser degree, of the marketplace and by extension, players within the economy, including everyday citizens and businesses.”

Rerum Novarum is the basis for many “social justice” theories promoted by leftist and Marxist operatives in the church.

Pretty sinister, eh? Until you realize Rerum Novarum was issued in 1891, and has been affirmed as central to Church teachings by the well-known Marxists Pius XI, John XXIII, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI.

Only now do we realize the secret import of the red hats!

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.