Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Pope and the Hornets' Nest

"Many of us have been questioning the wisdom of the pope's conduct of these interviews for they have often led individuals to believe that he is altering the Church's age-old teachings on faith and morals - particularly the latter in regards to the life issues.  In the latest interview with La Repubblica there was even talk of the necessity of each individual to follow their concept of right and wrong - minimizing the need for a properly formed conscience."  

"The Pope is undermining his own credibility so that if an occasion does arise when he must, some might conclude that the occasion is just another "off-the-cuff" affair."

"I would say it’s more than a small problem when we have to have an interpretive key to understand the wildly varying content of statements coming from the Pope.  If people who are deeply involved in the Faith every day of their lives are confused, what about the masses of barely involved souls?"

"While I realize that there might have been some loss of meaning in the translation process, there couldn't have been that much.  That said, the proceeds of this interview are most troubling.  Many of His Holiness' replies seem to fly in the face of Sacred Tradition and Scripture.  Of course Our Lord Himself guarantees that the Pope cannot teach error, presuming that he is speaking solemnly "ex cathedra".  By no stretch of the imagination is this "ex cathedra". But there's no way to put a positive spin, a "happy face" if you will, on this."

 "An Open Letter to the Pope on His Statements to Civiltà Cattolica
Your Holiness,
I am sure it will not displease you if I address you in this way I saw that everyone is writing to you. Permit me to address you as well for some questions that lie in my heart.
After I read your recent statements, the most recent being those included in the “interview” given by you and released by Father Antonio Spadaro, S.J., I must admit that I was very surprised, and some distressing doubts welled up within me. These doubts have enveloped me like a noxious weed that weighs down and takes away air and light, those things that have been until today my knowledge of doctrinal certainties."

There are those voices in the Church who are very upset with Pope Francis—questioning not only his judgment but his aptitude for the papal office.  This would have been unthinkable a year ago when Pope Benedict sat in the Chair of Peter and it demonstrates how one becomes a “cafeteria Catholic” only when he or she disagrees with your particular menu choices.  In fact Pope Francis has changed nothing of Catholic teaching.  Abortion is still a serious sin and a tragedy in society.  Same-sex relationships have not been given the blessings of the Church.  Artificial means of contraception are still objectively wrong.  The Church is not endorsing in vitro fertilization.  It is just that the Pope wants to put things in a bigger perspective, as he says, “in context.” The plight of the migrants is every bit as serious a moral issue as are the issues of sexual behaviors.  The Pope wants us to know that the issues confronting youth today, the lack of opportunity and hope for them—are matters of as much moral import as are various behaviors traditionally considered to be ‘aberrant.’  The Holy Father is as worried about the pain and the loneliness of the huge numbers of elderly who have been all but abandoned by their families in modern society, but those who are fixated on sexual sins cannot even understand to what the Pope is referring.   This “context” is threatening to those who want the Pope to be their captain in the Culture Wars.  They do not want the social and economic structures of Western society to be examined—only the sexual ones.  As long as the sins we condemn are confined to the evils for which others are responsible, all is well—but what happens if we have to look at our roles in the complexity of evil?  I don’t want to know if child labor produced the slacks I am wearing or if the computer screen on which I am writing my blog was made by someone in China working under conditions exposing her to carcinogens.  I don’t want the Pope commenting on how Europeans must welcome African migrants who risk their lives crossing the sea in small boats because it means that I have to rethink my political opinions on Latinos risking their lives crossing the deserts of the Southwest.  I don’t want the man to speak out on the plight of the abandoned elderly because it has implications for those in our society without access to health care.  Keep your moral focus in the bedroom—the bedrooms of those “other people”—and let me walk the path of self-righteousness with my head held high, so high that I gaze on heaven even as I make my way to hell. 

1 comment:

  1. I liked this: http://ncronline.org/blogs/distinctly-catholic/stop-parsing-pope

    The final paragraph, especially, resonated for me: "Pope Francis is inviting the entire church, from the Curia to the pews, to get out of ourselves and get over ourselves and, trusting in the Lord, go out into the world with confidence and joy. He is not asking us to abandon our moral doctrines. He is asking us to live them in such a way that they shine and do not scold. He is inviting us to love the poor, to encounter Christ in the poor and not to be so overly concerned with our own moral purity that fear of the messiness of life deters us from being with the poor. He is calling us to trust, to really trust, in God's mercy. This is not doctrinal imprecision. This is not a slur on his predecessors. This is the Gospel."