Monday, June 27, 2016

Pope Francis has met the enemy

And it is us.  Not that there is anything wrong with the occasional sermon that looks out on the congregation and proclaims 'thou art the man!'  You can't spend your life pointing out the window and condemning all those sinners out there.  The problem is, again, you have Pope Francis echoing that modern Catholic tendency of wanting to embrace almost everything to do with the modern, post-Christian secular progressive world view ... but with Jesus.

The idea that Christians are the mischief when it comes to homosexuals is well known, and almost universally embraced, by the modern Left.  Just look at Orlando and who our popular culture ended up blaming.  And once again, Pope Francis steps in and echoes that same narrative, despite the fact that ten years after becoming Catholic, I have yet to hear a homily that even mentioned homosexuality.  He doesn't seem to differentiate.  He simply says we Catholics must apologize.

True, he doesn't condone homosexuality.  He already has made it clear that technically the Church still teaches that homosexuality is at least not compatible with God's vision for marriage.  But apart from that, his take on the subject and the take I hear from Dr. Drew are about the same.  It's certainly nothing I won't hear on MSNBC, CNN, or the Huffington Post; several of which were cheering and celebrating the Pope's words this morning.  I also understand that he included other groups in there as well.  But let's face it, what will the modern world focus on, thanks to his choice of words? 

I realize that Jesus reached out to prostitutes and sinners.  I realize that he went after the Pharisees and Scribes.  I get that.  I understand that Christians are never perfect and can do with the occasional kick in the pants.  But Pope Francis is not Jesus.  The Catholic Church is not the Sanhedrin and Catholics are not just a bunch of Scribes and Pharisees.  And the forces arrayed against the Church today, using all powers and abilities to assault the Church, lead astray its followers, and assail the fundamental truths of the Gospel, are not the woman caught in adultery.  

If Jesus praised the Roman Centurion's faith, at no point did he stand alongside the Roman legions, look out among his imperfect disciples, and say to the Romans, "Let's get'em!"  Perhaps the reason was that to do so might have given the Romans a flawed understanding of the Kingdom.  It might have presented an idea that, as long as I'm not like those sinful Jew disciples over there, I must be pretty awesome where I stand, in the pagan empire, venerating Caesar, indulging in the Roman lust for conquest.  I don't know.  Just speculation on my part.  I simply know there's something off kilter about Pope Francis' continued railing against the Church in a manner almost in lockstep with perhaps the greatest heresy to challenge the Faith since Arianism, even if technically there's nothing wrong with what he's saying.

As an aside.  My boys asked, when they heard this, if Pope Francis was calling on Gays to forgive Catholics.  I don't know.  I've not heard.  Perhaps he has.  If so, the press hasn't reported it.  If not, then I wonder why.  


  1. My wife and I have struggled to deal with the Pope's off the cuff remarks now and in the past. At the dinner table last night my wife read the entire content of the Pope's comments (as reported by the media) to me and my daughters. My family's overall reaction was one of disdain for him not taking a more direct stand on things. Yes, his remarks could be interpreted as a Catholic response of invitation, inviting the "marginalized" back to the faith rather than treating them like lepers. And the Pope did take issue with certain politicization by pressure groups. However, I am not so sure about the use of the word "apologize." Perhaps there is a language/translation problem here - given that English is not the Pope's native tongue. But, as a traditional Catholic in a land (especially in Seattle) where that is anathema, I don't feel the need to apologize...but rather feel I need someone to apologize to me! Of course, this keeps me humble.

    My overall question is, given the vague construct of the Pope's remarks, are these words and comments helping anyone with conversion, with holiness, with going to heaven? Are not his words helpful to those who want to run away from those ultimate good things? After all, the Church can never make homosexuality "good."

  2. "And the forces arrayed against the Church today, using all powers and abilities to assault the Church, lead astray its followers, and assail the fundamental truths of the Gospel, are not the woman caught in adultery."

    This is a very important point. Does Pope Francis not understand that his ambiguities, his repeated lack of clarity and precision in his words, provides fodder for the opponents and enemies of the Church? Do any of his close advisors not see this? Are they encouraging it? Hoping for it?

    Now I understand that some journalists, and others, will intentionally twist words for their own purposes. This has always been true and always will be true. But it seems that it doesn't take much twisting these days for journalists and other opponents of the Church to directly utilize what Pope Francis says, on virtually a daily basis, to forward the secular agenda. Or at least place doubt and confusion in the mind. This involves twisting of words of the Vicar of Christ, not just some regular guy from Dubuque. Doesn't anyone close to the Pope see what effect this is having?

  3. Mark, that is a good question. I don't see what he says accomplishing much. He affirms those who hate the Church, almost as if to say they were right to do so. Within the Church, there seems to be those who resist everything he says because of how he says it, and those who love what he says but never seem to apply it to themselves. If we resist the notion that he does what he does because of his biases and own ideologies, then we're stuck trying to figure out just what good it is doing.

  4. Tom, that is another point we've talked about in my family. Pope Francis often appeals to his own cultural context. Perhaps what he says would make more sense for a Catholic growing up in Argentina. But as Americans are often told, the whole Catholic Church isn't just Argentina. There is a big, global Church out there, and many forces arrayed against it. By now, I can't believe he isn't aware of this, or doesn't have people surrounding him who are aware of it. Again, if we aren't willing to accept what he says at face value as evidence of his own particular biases and ideological leanings, we're stuck trying to make sense of a pattern that seems to make little sense at all.


Let me know your thoughts