Why Catholicism Is Neither Progressive, Conservative, Liberal or Marxist

From a Reddit thread about the new pope:

You may “not get it” because Catholicism defies modern notions of “progressive” or “conservative.” Pope Francis appears to confound many people by talking peace and love and nonjudgment[1] , preaching against the evils and excesses of capitalism[2] , and then calling abortion “horrific[3] ” and expressing “shock[4] ” at the idea of gay adoption in Malta. Some people have called him a “liberal.” He is not a liberal. Nor is he a conservative, or a progressive, or a Marxist, or any of the rest of it. He’s the Pope. He is an elected monarch, sitting on a throne that was fifteen hundred years old when the continent he was born on was discovered by the people of Europe. He was made a bishop by a bishop who was made a bishop by a bishop… and so on… who was made a bishop by Christ himself[5] .

The Church has clawed its way through two thousand years of history. It survived the horrors[6]   of Roman persecution[7] , the fall of the West[8] , a millennium of dangerous entanglement in European feudal politics[9] , theGreat Schism[10] , the Western Schism[11] , the Reformation[12] , and the modern age[13] . The Papacy has raised its fist and sent thousands to conquer foreign lands[14] , it has led armies on horseback[15] , and has lived as a Prisoner in the Vatican[16] . The Papacy supported hundreds of scientists[17] that helped usher in a modern age of astronomy, physics, chemistry, genetics, and science, and fought like a wounded animal against the rise of democracy in Europe and elsewhere[18] .

It, and Catholicism as a doctrine, does not fit your modern political categories. It towers over you–the standing, living pillar of a dead empire. It will not fit in your box.”

Full thread http://www.reddit.com/r/todayilearned/comments/1wqszj/til_the_vaticans_chief_astonomer_fr_george_coyne/cf4ragg?context=1