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Getting Pope Francis Wrong


By Christopher Orlet on 10.4.13 @ 6:07AM

His conservative critics put politics over God’s word.

Writing in the American Conservative, John Zmirak had a few choice words regarding Pope Francis’ recent interview with an Italian Jesuit journal: “We ought to greet papal mistakes with solemn sadness, earnest prayer, and respectful attempts at correction.”

Big of him.

Now, in these very pages, we get this curious, Jane-Fonda-obsessed, anti-Jesuit attack from George Neumayr: “Last week we learned from Pope Francis that the Church is too preoccupied with the killing of unborn children…”

The lambaste continued. At a time when the U.S. is — in the American Conservative’s Patrick Deenan’s phrase — increasingly split into a nation of two economic classes, the meritocratic elite and an increasingly poor, even third-world economic class of underemployed who gather in large ghetto areas with poor public services but plentiful distractions, Neumayr chides the pontiff for being too mindful of the jobless.

Why all this hate for the Holy Father?

As Zmirak the conspiracy theorist breathlessly explained: “The pope’s most controversial statements seem to arise from a single motive: He doesn’t like ‘right-wing’ Catholics, and wants to make it clear to all the world that he’s not one of them.” According to Zmirak, the pope puts all traditional, Latin-mass loving Catholics in the same boat as the vile dictators of his former homeland.

Sorry, but that boat doesn’t float.

Nonetheless many conservative Catholics have reviled this pope since the first days of his papacy when he visited the island of Lampedusa and spoke out against the “globalization of indifference” that leads to the drowning deaths of so many migrants seeking a better life. Then, adding insult to injury, the Holy Father washed the feet of a Muslim girl during Holy Week.

I suppose a real pope would visit Wall Street and advocate for a tax cut for big business.

So what exactly did the pope say to cause such a collective hissy fit? Quoth Francis:

    We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods…. The teaching of the church… is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.

As for gays, Pope Francis reiterated simply, “If they accept the Lord and have goodwill, who am I to judge them?” To me, this sounds very much like the Nazarene who “welcomed and dined with sinners for they needed him most,” a messiah who was poor among the poor.

HYSTERICS ASIDE, what Francis clearly intended was to say was that the Church remains quite clear on the immorality of homosexuality, abortion, etc., but by focusing solely on these sins, we divert ourselves from those good deeds that are expressly required of us: feeding the hungry, welcoming strangers,  clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned. If you are protesting against abortion one day and visiting inmates in prison the next, you earn two Gold Stars in heaven. But too often it is conservatives who march outside abortion mills and liberals who clothe the naked. And never the twain shall meet.

Like Francis, Jesus was quite familiar with the immorality of his times. Evil abounded in the Roman world. There was slavery. There was abortion. There was legal pedophilia. And yes, there was a great deal of homosexuality. How often did Jesus speak of these? How about never? How often did he call homosexuality an “intrinsic disorder,” à la Pope Benedict? As for prostitution: “He who is without sin cast the first stone.”

Perhaps he was too busy preaching his gospel of love and repentance. First and foremost Christ preached that the end times were near and that we should repent of our sins. He asked us to take suffering upon ourselves rather than inflict it upon others. Most of all to serve. In the words of Francis speaking at Rome’s Casal del Marmo prison for minors: “Help one another. This is what Jesus teaches us.”

Charlotte Allen, writing in the Los Angeles Times, said “Francis is the first pope of the Next Christendom.” I would put it a bit differently. This is a pope who is less interested in modernity and mundane politics and more intent on the word of God. And that word is for all time.

Christopher Orlet Christopher Orlet writes from Concord Hill, Missouri.
http://spectator.org/archives/2013/10/04...ncis-wrong
Right. On. Target.
(10-04-2013, 03:36 PM)Clare Brigid Wrote: [ -> ]Right. On. Target.

It. sure. is.
:cheers:

I can't overlook the apparent wishy-washiness Pope Francis exhibits -- and I grant that a lot of that may be due to translation and mischaracterization problems, and I simply have to give him the benefit of the doubt wherever doubt exists (e.g., the sense in which he uses the word "proselytism" and whether, in his mind, it is the same as "evangelism."). But if, for ex., he did tell that reporter he had no intent to convert him, I find that shocking. I mean, it'd be one thing to advertise that fact, to be a jerk about evangelizing, to stress God's Justice rather than Love and Mercy depending on the situation, to convert through example and action rather than words, to use, as I say, the Gospel as a hammer to beat someone over the head with rather than presenting it to him as a gift, etc. -- but when asked, directly, if he has any intent to convert him, I wish the Holy Father had said, "I'd love for the entire world to embrace Christ, including you." At least. Something. His not having said that -- assuming the translations, etc., are true -- is his being seriously remiss, especially as the very Vicar of Christ.

While I understand that he prefers to focus on God's Love rather than on His Justice, the full picture can't be had of God when that's all that's taught. And, as others have said, we Catholics, as a group, don't hear nearly enough about God's Justice. In the trad world, I think the opposite is true, so I'm in the position of agreeing with Pope Francis when it comes to trads -- but not when it comes to the Church as a whole. But I agree with him again when it comes to the level of the Church and the media. As far as the world's concerned, and thanks in huge part to the media, all we care about is sex, homosexuality, abortion, and not ordaining women. We do have to go further than that; I agree with him about that. We need to be spreading the Gospel and being a light unto the world. But in the typical pew, all most Catholics get is the lovey-dovey stuff, and that has to change.
(10-04-2013, 05:42 PM)Vox Clamantis Wrote: [ -> ]I can't overlook the apparent wishy-washiness Pope Francis exhibits -- and I grant that a lot of that may be due to translation and mischaracterization problems, and I simply have to give him the benefit of the doubt wherever doubt exists (e.g., the sense in which he uses the word "proselytism" and whether, in his mind, it is the same as "evangelism."). But if, for ex., he did tell that reporter he had no intent to convert him, I find that shocking. I mean, it'd be one thing to advertise that fact, to be a jerk about evangelizing, to stress God's Justice rather than Love and Mercy depending on the situation, to convert through example and action rather than words, to use, as I say, the Gospel as a hammer to beat someone over the head with rather than presenting it to him as a gift, etc. -- but when asked, directly, if he has any intent to convert him, I wish the Holy Father had said, "I'd love for the entire world to embrace Christ, including you." At least. Something. His not having said that -- assuming the translations, etc., are true -- is his being seriously remiss, especially as the very Vicar of Christ.

While I understand that he prefers to focus on God's Love rather than on His Justice, the full picture can't be had of God when that's all that's taught. And, as others have said, we Catholics, as a group, don't hear nearly enough about God's Justice. In the trad world, I think the opposite is true, so I'm in the position of agreeing with Pope Francis when it comes to trads -- but not when it comes to the Church as a whole. But I agree with him again when it comes to the level of the Church and the media. As far as the world's concerned, and thanks in huge part to the media, all we care about is sex, homosexuality, abortion, and not ordaining women. We do have to go further than that; I agree with him about that. We need to be spreading the Gospel and being a light unto the world. But in the typical pew, all most Catholics get is the lovey-dovey stuff, and that has to change.


I don't know His Holiness's intentions. I will say this, if I seek to convert someone....I certainly won't let them know before-hand. Otherwise they will have their guard up and everything said will go in one ear and right out the other.

Perhaps this was His Holiness's intentions, however he does need to be reminded he's not an obscure Argentinian bishop anymore and everything he said will be documented by the faithful. Sadly when you are Pope, you do have to change your style. If he wanted to talk like he did, it has to be in private for the sake of avoiding this kind of mess.
This article did not capture my views either.  I am not in the Pope-hating crowd, but I am uneasy with him. 

I suppose my position is wait and see what happens with the pope.  In the meantime, keep calm and focus on growing in holiness.
(10-04-2013, 06:33 PM)JayneK Wrote: [ -> ]This article did not capture my views either.  I am not in the Pope-hating crowd, but I am uneasy with him. 

I suppose my position is wait and see what happens with the pope.  In the meantime, keep calm and focus on growing in holiness.

That's a calm, sane approach, if you ask me. I mean, bottom line, no matter what this Pope does or fails to do, we Catholics are still called to do what Catholics have always been called to do:  evangelize the world, pray, receive the Sacraments, engage in acts of charity and mercy, raise our families to be Catholic, etc.

Still, I am not happy with Pope Francis. I'm glad for some of the things he does say (or is alleged to have said), am bothered by some things he says (or is alleged to have said), am very bothered by what he doesn't say... Sigh.

In fairness to John Zmirak I would say the tiny quote posted in the OP is hardly a basis for judging his article in its totality which in fact is in my opinion a very thoughtful and balanced piece. He also makes a good point that Pope Francis' view of "right wing Catholics" is related to what he saw in Argentina:
"The pope’s most controversial statements seem to arise from a single motive: He doesn’t like “right-wing” Catholics, and wants to make it clear to all the world that he’s not one of them.
Up to a point, I see what he means. From what I have read, in Argentina, a swath of the folks who fought for the Latin Mass also supported the right-wing dictators down there—which means they winked at torture and murder, but their consciences proved too tender to countenance altar girls."

And: "We are not living in fascist Argentina. The Culture of Death does not answer to men like General Galtieri, but to the likes of George Soros and Barack Obama. The bitterest traditionalists are not serving as tools of a grasping government which seeks to impose an anti-Christian ideology. Angry conservatives are not the cat’s paws of a potent political movement that seeks to marginalize the Church. The mass murder occurring throughout the West is not happening with the connivance of the Catholic right, but of the Catholic left, which pretends a moral equivalence between fundamental issues like abortion and prudential disputes over poverty programs and immigration totals, as a pretext for supporting candidates who oppose the natural law and the sanctity of life.

Holy Father: Absurd as some of us are, we on the Catholic right are not your enemy."


Take a look: http://www.theamericanconservative.com/w...the-right/

C.
Even if I assume that Zmirak is right, I am left with a very uncomfortable feeling, that the leader of the UNIVERSAL Church, the Catholic Church, with members from every part of the planet, is so utterly marked by the provincial, limited, small-town view of what he didn't like about people back in his own home town.

That is too small a view for a Pope. And it is not theologically defensible that a pope should have as his central foundation, something that is ultimately a political view. Plus, does this mean that he likes left-wing Catholics more than right-wing Catholics? This is not remotely defensible.

I don't think Zmirak is right, but it is too early to tell.  I think Pope Francis will prove to be very much better or very much worse than what Zmirak thinks. But if he is as Zmirak thinks, well, he will just be very much boring and useless.
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