Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A Brief Suggestion Concerning the Pontiff

Recently, His Holiness Pope Francis caused a bit of a stir by a few of the things he said, especially in conjunction with some other things he has said. From my perspective, I have never known any religious leader who has had so many people rush to "explain" his every utterance. The language never seemed particularly obscure to me and yet, it seems everything Pope Francis says requires a horde of 'talking heads' and e-people to relate to everyone 'what he really meant' by this or that. The latest stir came about because of an interview in which the Pope said, "We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time." This, combined with words about finding a "new balance" between the pastoral ministry and enforcing doctrine caused some people to jump to the conclusion that the Catholics were throwing out the rule book and others, on the other end of the political spectrum usually, to think that the Pope means to purposely de-emphasize these issues in favor of his obviously favorite position and cause of being humble and helping the poor.

My brief suggestion, to the Pope or anyone upset that others are upset by this new "tone" is simple. The reason why Catholics (and other Christians) seem to go on so much about abortion, gay marriage and birth control is because modern society at large is telling people that these are all not wrong but are all, in fact, very good things; rights that are beneficial. No one is going around saying that we should not be taking care of the poor. In fact, in modern times, there seems to be no shortage of supporters for that cause (yet the poor remain -isn't that strange, it's almost like hand-outs don't help or something, but I know that can't be correct). In the old days, the Church was the only source of charity for widows, orphans, the sick and the disabled. Today the government funded welfare state takes care of all of that or at least purports to and, frankly, the Catholic Church has been a pretty big supporter of the government taking that job. It does not surprise me in the least that some people might slack off on helping the poor when everyone has been taught to believe that such is the duty of the government and all you have to do is vote for social justice and pay your taxes. And that's all I'm going to say on the matter. If it seems some Christians focus too much on abortion and gay marriage rather than helping the poor, I would suggest it is because it often seems the whole world is trying to say abortion and gay marriage are okay. No one is saying helping the poor is bad. That's all.


  1. MM, what's your take on his latest 'interview' in which he says that, 'Proselytism is solemn nonsense' and other things that the talking heads now have to explain (if they can!) in a Catholic sense?

    1. My response would be utter shock. You mean Catholics used to try to convert people to Catholicism?

  2. Wow! For once I read something that makes sense! Honesty is rare nowadays.

  3. An excellent prognosis, sir. Pope Francis speaks as though people actually study the faith and some things just go without saying; I like that. It forces people to read, more often than not. Suddenly all my friends who decry the Pope are almost reading encyclicals and papal bulls as much as I do!

    I believe he's traditional, but the stringent vow of poverty Jesuits must observe prevents his conscience from letting him necessarily look it. I think, perhaps, it is time we focus on doctrinally and philosophically cleaning house; take the dust off of certain objects from our collection and bring them back to the open air.


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