- (Photo: REUTERS/Giampiero Sposito)
A columnist with the Fox News channel has compared the head of the Roman Catholic Church to President Barack Obama.
Adam Shaw, news editor at Fox, wrote in a column posted on the news channel's website on Wednesday that Pope Francis bears a strong resemblance to Obama in a negative manner.
"Pope Francis is undergoing a popularity surge comparable to the way Barack Obama was greeted by the world in 2008. And just as President Obama has been a disappointment for America, Pope Francis will prove a disaster for the Catholic Church," wrote Shaw.
"Like Obama, Francis is unable to see the problems that are really endangering his people. Like Obama he mistakes the faithful for the enemy, the enemy for his friend, condescension for respect, socialism for justice and capitalism for tyranny."
Shaw also argued that Francis' strategies will harm the Catholic Church, which he interpreted as having been damaged by the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s.
"This softly-softly approach of not making a fuss has been tried before, and failed. The Second Vatican Council of the 1960's aimed to 'open the windows' of the Church to the modern world by doing just this," wrote Shaw.
"The result was the Catholic version of New Coke. Across the West where the effects were felt, seminaries and convents emptied, church attendance plummeted, and adherence to Church doctrine diminished."
Since becoming pope earlier this year, Francis has made many remarks on hot-button issues that some have interpreted as being more socially and religiously liberal than his predecessors.
This included an interview with a Jesuit publication where the Pontiff talked about the need to not focus solely on issues like abortion and homosexuality.
In a recently released essay titled Evangelii Gaudium (or "Joy of the Gospel"), Pope Francis denounced unfettered capitalism, which he dubbed "the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy."
"It is evident that unbridled consumerism combined with inequality proves doubly damaging to the social fabric," wrote the Pontiff.
"This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation. Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control."
In a column published in The Washington Informer earlier this week, leftwing activist, the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., commended the words of Pope Francis.
"Pope Francis is displaying an extraordinary style and passion that demands our attention. He addresses the needs of the poor, embraces outcasts, and loves those on the margins of society," wrote Jackson.
"He is not a revolutionary. He states that the priesthood will remain open only to men, that the Catholic Church's opposition to abortion will continue. But he directs new focus and passion to the growing inequality between and within countries, the stark contrast between the wealth of our technology and invention and the poverty of our ethics."
Shaw of Fox News is not the first conservative commentator to criticize the Pontiff's words. Rush Limbaugh garnered controversy for recently calling Francis' critique of capitalism "political" and a possible indicator of "pure Marxism."