Pope Francis says conservative American Catholics are backward? That’s rich from him | Opinion

Pontiff’s politics

As a conservative Catholic, I found recent criticism from Pope Francis to be highly hypocritical. Accusing conservative American Catholics of being political, ideological and backward is tantamount to the pot calling the kettle black. (Aug. 29, 5A, “Pope criticizes US conservatives’ ‘backwardness’”)

It was under Francis that a representative of the Chinese Community Party was allowed to attend a Vatican conference on human organ trafficking, and he has not strongly criticized China for its alleged involvement in the practice. The pontiff is not vocal denouncing the enslavement of ethnic Muslims and the decimation of the Tibetan culture, as long as the communist government allows some semblance of Catholicism to exist in China.

All previous popes since Pius IX in 1849, in response to Marx’s Communist Manifesto, have condemned socialism and communism’s siren song of peace, justice and fraternity. In his 2020 encyclical “Fratelli Tutti” (“Brothers All”), Francis condemns free-market capitalism (he previously described “unfettered pursuit of money” as the “dung of the devil”) and goes on to embrace an economy that favors productive diversity and business creativity — a new version of Marxism.

Francis has a close relationship to American Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who had sexual abuse charges levied against him and was a concelebrant at the 2015 funeral of then-Vice President Joe Biden’s son Beau.

Catholics should not look to his spiritual guidance, which has been quite worldly and bankrupt, if not totally political.

- Mike Kalny, Shawnee

Doing just fine?

Tyler Cowen’s Sept. 9 commentary “Yes, there are rich men north of Richmond,” where he argues that lower-income Americans are essentially prosperous, is misleading. (6A) While poor people pay much less in federal income taxes, they pay more as a percentage of income in federal payroll (Social Security), sales and excise taxes. And if they own a home, they pay more in property taxes as a percentage of their income. A homeless person who unwisely spends money on cigarettes or alcohol is paying a higher percentage on taxes than most millionaires.

Also, saying people should move to where wages are higher completely ignores the values that people place on relationships with friends and family. And a $13,000 per-capita income in a small town is still an income of $52,000 for a family of four.

Cowen as an economist reduces everything to money and nothing else and as a libertarian disregards or ignores the ties that connect people to each other and to the place they live.

I find that sad.

- Gary Brush, Kansas City

Power to Kansans

Evergy’s wealthy managers and board members make millions in annual compensation. Its president, David Campbell, received $6.89 million last year, according to the AFL-CIO. Along with hedge funds Bluescape and Elliott Management, the utility is seeking exorbitant rate hikes from Kansas customers and is already planning another rate hike request for next year.

Evergy’s high-dollar managers awarded most of the company’s record 2022 income to shareholders instead of improving customer service, wages or infrastructure. “We remain committed to returning capital to our shareholders,” said CFO Kirk Andrews, who makes $3 million a year, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

Bluescape and Elliott Management leveraged their financial stake in Evergy, securing multiple members on the utility’s finance committee. Jeff Rosenbaum, Elliott’s portfolio manager, urged Evergy to take steps to boost stock prices. Elliott is looking for “equity value creation of up to $5 billion.” Under Evergy’s plan to raise rates, customers would pay more so shareholders would get more.

Because Evergy is a monopoly, customers have no recourse to shop elsewhere for their electrical needs. The Kansas Corporation Committee’s approval is required before Evergy can raise its rates. Please tell the KCC to instruct Evergy to deliver an energy plan that works for Kansans.

- Angela Schieferecke, Prairie Village