Father John Zuhlsdorf, the right wing priest who has a penchant for referring to NCR as the "fishwrap," thinks Pope Benedict XVI had NCR in mind when he wrote this sentence: "Jesus' freedom is not the freedom of the liberal."
Let us stipulate: Jesus was not a disciple of Voltaire. But, Zuhlsdorf seems not to understand that in Europe, what is considered a "neo-liberal" in America is considered a "neo-conservative." That is to say, when Benedict makes the observation about the liberal conception of freedom, he is not necessarily using the word liberal the way John Boehner uses the word liberal. In fact, it is people like Zuhlsdorf and other conservative Catholics who have been trying to baptize the First Amendment these past few months who need to ponder Pope Benedict's words. Jesus' freedom was a positive freedom, a freedom for. The First Amendment's guarantee of religious liberty - you know "our first, most cherished freedom" - suggests a negative conception of freedom, a freedom from. It is not only the writers at and readers of NCR who need to ponder the Holy Father's words.