By Frank Wessling
Another recent news story had a surprise of a different kind.
England’s Catholic weekly, The Tablet of London, reported this: “People who believe in God are more likely to be politically left wing and ‘progressive’ than those of no faith.” If that sounds so strange as to be false, it’s because we tend to think of the United States as representing the whole world. Not necessarily.
This news was from a survey and study of attitudes in Europe. There, 55 percent of religious people placed themselves on the political left, compared with 40 percent on the right. They put a greater value on equality than the non-religious and are more likely to be welcoming of immigrants as neighbors. They are also unafraid of socialism.
It reminds us of that old European, Joseph Ratzinger, now known as Pope Benedict XVI, who wrote in 2006 that “…democratic socialism was and is close to Catholic social doctrine.” He wrote those words in an article about conditions in Europe for an American audience in the January 2006 issue of the magazine First Things. Few of us paid attention.