Sarah Palin may have shrunk from criticism of Pope Francis’ utterances as sounding “kind of liberal.” But her superannuated mentor, Pat Buchanan, is having none of it, per his Townhall column. Speaking of the Vatican-nudged succession of Timothy Cardinal Nolan as by the more irenic Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisvlle as chairman of the U.S. Conference of Bishops, Buchanan smells treason:

[H]ere is further confirmation His Holiness seeks to move the Catholic Church to a stance of non-belligerence, if not neutrality, in the culture war for the soul of the West.

There is a small problem with neutrality. As Trotsky observed, “You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.” For the church to absent itself from the culture war is to not to end that war, but to lose it.

Pat should know, since he popularized the very term “culture war” in his famously inflammatory address to the Republican National Convention of 1992. But I digress:

The cultural revolution preached by Marxist Antonio Gramsci is continuing its “long march” through the institutions of the West and succeeding where the violent revolutions of Lenin and Mao failed. It is effecting a transvaluation of all values. And it is not interested in a truce with the church of Pope Francis, but a triumph over that church which it reviles as the great enemy in its struggle.

Indeed, after decades of culture war waged against Christianity, the Vatican might consider the state of the Faith.

Our civilization is being de-Christianized. Popular culture is a running sewer. Promiscuity and pornography are pandemic. In Europe, the churches empty out as the mosques fill up. In America, Bible reading and prayer are outlawed in schools, as Christian displays are purged from public squares. Officially, Christmas and Easter do not exist.

And we are left to presume, using the Marxist terminology Buchanan so often emulates, that the man in the Shoes of the Fisherman is a dupe, if not a fellow traveler, of this hellish revolution.

Somewhere Rick Santorum is probably calculating whether a platform of being more Catholic than the Pope is a viable launching pad for 2016.

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.