Critics of this new pope say he's too conservative or worse. For proof, they point to his reign as head of the Doctrine of Faith (search), which among other things disciplines renegade priests and movements in the church.
One of the movements he cracked down on was liberation theology (search). This group included priests and lay people, who believed they could combine Marxism and Catholicism. They praised Fidel Castro (search), compared Jesus to Marxist revolutionaries, became ministers in leftist governments, like the Sandinistas (search) in Nicaragua, and occasionally picked up guns and joined Marxist guerrillas.
So how did then-Cardinal Ratzinger (search) cool off these radicals? By convincing the church that they were conservatives. Cardinal Ratzinger pointed out that for centuries the Catholic Church was a theocracy, getting deeply involved in politics. Eventually, the old, conservative theocrats were run out of the church by progressives who believed that religion and politics didn't mix. But now, said Cardinal Ratzinger, the liberation theologists were pushing the Church back into politics, just like the old conservatives.
Ratzinger hoisted the Marxists by their own "progressive" petard and won the debate. The Marxists lost their footing and never got it back. So critics of this new pope better watch out. It'll take more than a “conservative” label to write him off.
And that's the Asman Observer.
Watch David Asman on "FOX News Live" weekdays at noon ET.