So we have another article reflecting the Left's understanding of Pope Francis and how he will ultimately change the Catholic Faith. Again, most are no longer imagining that Pope Francis will stand on high and personally overthrow Catholic Doctrine. But they are becoming aware of a Catholic principal that has been crucial to the Catholic Blogosphere and those who defend the here and now of awesomeness without trashing the history of the Church.
Remember the Torture Debates. This was a major, and I mean major, debate about torture in light of the whole Waterboarding controversies of the Bush administration. For my part, torture is wrong. It's what the bad guys do. Just like removing offensive facts from the public forum and erasing them from our collective memories. It's what the Nazis, the Communists, the Indians (yeah, really), the Vietcong and all those other baddies did. It's not what we should ever have done.
So I was against torture. But I enjoyed the Catholic debates. Those Catholics who, for whatever reason, were trying to argue for the Bush policies often looked back to the darker periods of Church history when, to be honest, people were tortured by Church command. How many were tortured is tough to say. But one person tortured in the name of Christ by Holy Mother Church is a travesty. If you want to believe millions were, go ahead. Given Catholics on the blogosphere who believe the worst about the US or Western Civilization, I'm more willing to accept the inflated numbers. But that's irrelevant. People were tortured by the Church. It's a fact. Let's move on.
And yet opponents of the practice were quick to point out the Church never actually officially doctrinally proclaimed a dogma about torturing people. Therefore, you can't say the Church actually taught it was OK. What the Church did was irrelevant to what the Church actually, officially, doctrinally taught.
See where this is going? The fact that the Church raised armies, launched wars, slaughtered heretical sects, tortured people to death was irrelevant. That it happened over the course of centuries was irrelevant. That was just the times. The Church - Official Church Doctrine - never changed.
Explain how that brings comfort to anyone who died at the hands of the Church during those years. Tell that to anti-Catholics who bring that back at the Church time and again. It doesn't matter. Because if in the old dusty law books, the Church still taught turn the other cheek, in all the world that Catholics and the human race knew, you defended Christendom with the sword.
And that, children, is just what a growing number of liberals are expecting. Pope Francis won't change Church Doctrine. Just like the Medieval Church didn't officially alter the whole 'Love your neighbor as yourself' teaching. It redefined it. It rethought it. It turned it on its head to allow armies and inquisitors to do the unthinkable for countless centuries. And just like that, the growing liberal conclusion is that Pope Francis will do the same. God will forever have declared that a man should leave his parents and cleave unto this wife and the two shall become one flesh. But in the day to day living of Catholic life? In the new understanding of who is awesome, and who simply isn't keeping with the times of where Beautiful Catholics should be? That sign proclaiming the old teaching about marriage between a man and woman will hang right above Ted and Ted as they tie the knot in the corner Parish and Commons.
This growing number of liberals might be wrong. But we're waiting for some clear indicators from Pope Francis to make it obvious that they are wrong. And at least as of now, not seeing them.