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We know what Pope Francis is saying: "You must try to seek God in every human life." And, of believing gays, "Who am I to judge them?"

But what does Pope Francis think, really? What is his theology and what is his vision for the Catholic church?

Perhaps there is a clue in one of the pontif''s most recent appointments -- the naming of the Rev. Robert Barron to auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. If Barron's writing reflects the pope's own thinking, then Francis's theology is both lucid -- and traditional.

The Central Truth

For Fr. Barron, the central truth of all Christianity is the Incarnation. It is the shocking notion that God, the Creator and Ground of the Universe, humbled itself to take on human form, to enter into and enhance creation.

The difference between Catholicism and the rest of Christianity, according to Barron, is that other denominations fail to take the Incarnation seriously enough. If one does

indeed accept Jesus as the human face of God, after all, the ramifications are huge and - quite literally - awesome.

In his book, "Catholicism: A Journey to the Heart of the Faith" (Image), Barron cites an often overlooked passage in Mark (10:32): "And they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem and Jesus was walking ahead of them; and they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid."

And why not? If that is indeed God Incarnate walking up the road ahead of you, fear and amazement would be the most fitting response. And that, according to Barron, is why Christianity in general, and Catholicism in particular asks for a commitment: Is Jesus divine? Or not?

And the Doctrine That Follows

Barron says yes, and from there his text marches boldly on to explain and assert the body of Catholic belief as centuries of church authorities have built and elaborated upon it -- beginning with the Incarnation and extending to the Resurrection, Pentecost, the Immaculate Conception of Mary, the apparitions at Lourdes, the communion of saints like Therese of Lisieux and Katharine Drexel, and the doctrines of heaven, hell and purgatory.

Barron also tackles - fearlessly - the Catholic church's age-old understanding of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, which Barron characterizes as "nothing other than a sacramental extension of the Incarnation across space and time, the manner in which Christ continues to abide, in an embodied way with his church."

Protestant and Orthodox Christians, of course, would assert that accepting the Incarnation does not necessarily lead to faith in an Immaculate Conception, in miracles at Lourdes or many of the other doctrines of the Catholic church -- including those prohibiting the use of birth control.

But Barron, to his credit, is a wonderfully lucid writer who, like his church, is not afraid to commit to a clear and powerful understanding of who Jesus was. Which maybe explains why the Catholic church continues to be such a powerful force in the lives of millions of Catholics around the world, and why all those Catholics, including their newest pope, are so darned Catholic.
I think Bishop-Elect Barron has done a lot of really great things, and will continue to do so as Bishop.  I just wish he would drop his silly belief in the 'reasonable hope' that there is nobody in Hell.

God Bless

Michael it's easier to think the way Bishop Barron does, you don't have to tell people what they don't want to hear, but need to hear.
(08-26-2015, 02:15 AM)Poche Wrote: [ -> ]Perhaps there is a clue in one of the pontif''s most recent appointments -- the naming of
Blasé Cupich as the Archbishop of Chicago.
(08-26-2015, 04:19 PM)Michael Levanduski Wrote: [ -> ]I just wish he would drop his silly belief in the 'reasonable hope' that there is nobody in Hell.

God Bless


Well, it does fit right in to the 'who am I to judge' horse hockey.