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September 21, 2013

My Issues with Pope Francis: Part Two

"If the faith is in imminent peril, prelates ought to be accused by their subjects, even in public." -St. Thomas Aquinas

On September 20th, I wrote a post “My Issues with Pope Francis” where I mentioned my own personal issues in not being able to embrace this Pope as I have with others.  I then dug into parts of Pope Francis interview with the rather ‘liberal, far left leaning’ [see link below] Jesuit magazine “America Magazine”.  

I was attempting to show my frustration with HOW Pope Francis faces the tough social issues BATTERING our world today.  Pope Francis might not want to discuss abortion and gay marriage very often but we HAVE to.  These issues aren’t going away and holding hands while singing Kumbaya isn’t going to help us at this point.

We HAVE to deal with abortion and gay marriage and nuns on the bus because these things are happening now.  Nations are voting on gay marriage and legalizing abortions. The Church MUST speak up and tell its members WHY these things can NOT be supported in any way, shape or form.  If we don't talk about it now it will be far too late- as it is in many nations already.

I have a habit of watching “the other side” to see how they react to things.  When President Bush would speak, I would watch the politically liberal side to see how they reacted.  How did they take what was said, did they get it?  Did they fight against it?  How the other side reacts tells a lot.

When Pope Francis became Pope it was very unusual… every side liked him!  Wonderful!  We NEED a Pope that is respected and listened to by ALL people.  This is unity, if only in the listening stage.  Baby steps is an okay place to start, but we must grow.

If you’ve got their attention, you can begin to TEACH them.

Here is where I personally have my first “issue with Pope Francis”.

You see, I want a TEACHER.  He wants to be a HEALER. Not HIS fault, but there it is.  That is MY issue with Pope Francis. It doesn't mean he is wrong, it means I have an issue with what he is doing.  He would only be wrong if he taught AGAINST the Faith.

Right or wrong, it is my personal opinion that GOD is the Healer, and the Church is to TEACH the Faith She was given by Christ.  

That is NOT to say we don’t apologize, do charitable works, be humble, show kindness etc.  But to me, the FIRST thing we are is TEACHERS.  If you TEACH the Gospel Message the love is obvious.  Jesus died FOR LOVE OF US.  Tell people that!  Tell them our sins HURT God and our relationship with Him.  Tell people what sin is and that we MUST repent to repair the damage WE do.  Teach people they ARE responsible for their sins.  If you don’t tell them abortion is a mortal sin, you are NOT loving them because their salvation is in jeopardy.  

A person’s soul is the most important thing to Jesus- He wants ALL to be saved.  They can’t be saved if they don’t repent and turn from sin.  TEACH what Jesus said to TEACH.  The healing will come from knowing God and His love.  He is The Healer.  Trust Him.

Christ’s Great Commission to the Church was “Go out into the world and TEACH” the Gospel Message- which is salvation from Christ our Savior.

Matthew 28 18 “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

The entire world is FULL of hurt and wounded people- it has been since Cain and Abel and it will be until the Second Coming.  Look at the Commission Jesus gave to His Church... you TELL them about Jesus, you baptize them (that comes AFTER repenting) and you TEACH them to OBEY the Church.  Doing those things IS loving them.  That is the GREATEST act of charity anyone can do- bring Jesus to a sinner!  Salvation! 

We have no idea how much time any of us has left on this earth, so we MUST take EVERY opportunity to TEACH the world what Jesus instructed us to teach. 

In July, at the end of World Youth Day, Pope Francis made a statement about gays.  It was interpreted differently by nearly everyone who heard it.

My frustration is, if he had merely said “I believe exactly what the Catholic Church teaches, that gays are called to celibacy and they are to be respected as all people.”

Period!

Done.  

No misconceptions about that.  

No false hope for “progressive” Catholics.  No error to be spread.  Simply the Truth from God through the Holy Catholic Church, as it should be.


"Not to oppose error is to approve it; and not to defend truth is to suppress it; and indeed to neglect to confound evil men, when we can do it, is no less a sin than to encourage them." -Pope St. Felix III

I don’t like ‘gray areas’ (I used to be protestant and I LIVED in those gray areas- I won't go back and I HATE to see others in it) and while I know the Pope isn’t IN a gray area of teaching, his subtly in speaking is putting what he says in a gray area, where anyone can interpreted it any way they like.  And they are!

For example, remember how I said I ‘watch the other side’ to see how they react to things?


After Pope Francis' statements on the plane about gays, the “other side” cheered as if the Pope had suddenly approved gay marriage.  We KNOW he didn’t, but he confused them and others with his words.  These “progressive” Catholics now have a false hope put in their hearts by the Pope’s unclear statements.

The "Freedom To Marry" gay folks have hijacked Pope Francis as their 
see link to their website
POSTER CHILD- literally! 

The Catholic Church Reform came out with a letter to Pope Francis [http://catholicchurchreform.com/newsletters.html ] making five requests to the Pope, 
1) “radical justice”, 
2) “open dialogue”- namely free reign to the liberal nuns and priests, 
3) “equality for all members”- open communion for anyone who wants it and openly gay couples serving in all areas of the Church with no one to tell them gay sexual relationships are sin, 
4) letting the “faithful select” their own bishops- men or women, which ever they want to lead them, 
and 5) confronting and preventing clergy abuse.

They believe (per their website) that Pope Francis is the Pope they have been waiting for to “set them free” of the yoke they’ve been suffering under for so long as progressive Catholics.

The “Catholics United” group came out with:
PRESS RELEASE: Pope to Right-Wingers: I’m Not One of You
Posted September 19, 2013
 In startlingly honest interview, Pope confirms he believes the “imbalance” caused by the far right is damaging to the reputation of the churchWASHINGTON—Today, lay Catholics across the world are celebrating a wide-ranging interview given by Pope Francis to 17 Jesuit-affiliated periodicals. In the interview, published in English by the Catholic magazine America, Francis articulates his vision of moving the priorities of the Catholic faith away from divisive social issues, like what he calls an “obsession” with gay marriage, abortion and contraception, while refocusing on core Gospel teachings relating to poverty.In the interview, found at America’s website, americamagazine.org, Pope Francis makes a number of statements that provide hope to lay Catholics who want a church more rooted in social justice values [end- full story in links below]
And this one from a “Catholics United” Fox News Contributor who wrote the above article: …
Thank God -- Pope Francis tells Catholics they need an attitude adjustment
By James Salt
Published September 20, 2013 
 [In part] “Lay Catholics across the world are celebrating a wide-ranging interview given by Pope Francis to 17 Jesuit-affiliated periodicals. In the interview, published in English by the Catholic magazine America, Francis offers us some of his most startling thoughts, such that our church needs an attitude adjustment and should be more in tune with the needs of the laity.And most notably, he suggests the Catholic Church has become obsessed with divisive social issues like abortion, gay marriage and contraception. In his own words, he suggests that reducing the faith to these issues threatens to collapse the “moral edifice” of the Church and fails to honor the “full fragrance of the Gospel.”To be clear, Francis is not suggesting a change in Catholic teaching. Instead, he is suggesting we must revisit how our teachings are manifested. Rather than leading the culture war against abortion, gay marriage and contraception, perhaps, he suggests, the church would be better served by walking with those who are struggling with these very human conditions. Instead of judging people with the rigidity of doctrine, why don’t we minister to their needs?The pope’s comments are groundbreaking because of their stark contrast with what we’ve been hearing from the American Catholic bishops lately.”
 [More from the same article]

“And this trend offers hope to more than just Catholics. As many fallen away Catholics find renewed hope in a church institution that has lost relevance, so, too, can conservatives learn to be more responsible in how they govern.Francis offers conservative lawmakers a roadmap for how to regain credibility. Instead of embracing socially-divisive issue campaigns, perhaps the conservative movement would be better served by focusing on what can unite us.What if, like Francis, they led by example?Perhaps a more humble, less strident approach would help people better understand the merits of their argument.So this Sunday, I expect to see more faces of formerly lost sheep in the pews. I know many of my progressive friends are planning to give Sunday services a second look. Let’s hope priests and bishops take Francis’ advice and welcome them with open arms.” [Link below]
Here's another one:


Pope Francis: music to my progressive Catholic ears
 As I read the pope's lengthy interview in America, a national Catholic weekly, all I could think was, 'this guy gets it'
 But Francis, as he's done since the white smoke rose, confounded my expectations. His words from a lengthy interview in the latest issue of America, a Catholic weekly, rang more like poetry than prose to my progressive Catholic ears.
The church should be a "home for all" and not a "small chapel" limited to a chosen few? Yes.
"I have never been a right-winger"? Me neither.
"I believe consultation is very important"? Call me anytime.
The church is "the people of God, pastors and people together"? Amen.
All I could think was, "This guy gets it". He gets what Catholics have been saying for years. He gets that Catholics don't want our hierarchy to have limited views that don't reflect our own. He gets why so many Catholics have been searching for the nearest exit. He gets that things need to change.[end quote-link below]

Oh yes, the liberals and/or progressives (some don’t like to be called ‘liberal’ anymore) are beside themselves with joy because they did NOT hear a clear message from Pope Francis.  His subtle way of talking has caused confusion among these Catholics (and others) who are now believing the Pope will ordain women and allow for gay marriage.
This frustrates me on three levels.
1)    Because I personally like things nice and tidy, crystal clear.
2)    Because when these “progressives” finally figure out that Church teaching is NOT going to change for gay marriage, abortion, birth control etc, they are going to be CRUSHED and furious.  Why get their hopes up?
3)    And finally because our Bishops and Cardinals here in America are a bit shell shocked right now. Besides jumping on every media outlet they can to explain what the Pope REALLY meant, now they find themselves unsure what to do next.
Think I’m kidding?
Read Cardinal Burkes interview saying just about the exact OPPOSITE of Pope Francis…
Here is [in part] a Q & A from what I believe is THE BEST Catholic interview this year- a must read! [Link to full interview below]
Question: Many faithful Catholics are troubled when high- profile political figures with unconcealed antilife, anti- family positions are honored in such ways as receiving invitations to speak at Catholic university commencement ceremonies and given honorary degrees or memorialized at public Catholic funeral Masses without having renounced their immoral positions. Faithful Catholics, at the same time, are taught they have committed a serious sin if they vote for these same candidates. How are those who are seriously trying to live out their faith to reconcile this apparent contradiction?
Cardinal Burke Responds: You cannot reconcile it — it is a contradiction, it is wrong, it is a scandal, and it must stop! We live in a culture with a false sense of dialogue — which has also crept into the Church — where we pretend to dialogue about open and egregious violations of the moral law. Can we believe it is permissible to recognize publicly people who support open and egregious violations, and then act surprised if someone is scandalized by it? For Catholic institutions or individuals to give recognition to such persons, to honor them in any way, is a source of grave scandal for which they are responsible. In a certain way, they contribute to the sinfulness of the individuals involved. There is no way to reconcile it; it simply is wrong.
Cardinal Burke talking about Mass attendance:  Sadly, in the time after the Second Vatican Council, there was a reform of the sacred liturgy which made it man- centered and banal. In some cases it actually became hard for people to bear because of illicit insertions, foreign agendas, and imposition of the personalities of priests and congregations into the liturgy to the point that people began to think that the Mass was some sort of social activity. If they did not find it acceptable, they did not go anymore.If one understands what the Mass truly is — Christ Himself coming down from Heaven to renew the sacrifice of Calvary — how could you possibly not be there on Sunday? In the past people understood this and Mass attendance was in the 80- 90 percent range. We have to restore the sanctity of the celebration of Holy Eucharist so that those who have fallen away will return to the practice.Secondly, when people are not coming to Mass in great numbers, as is the case, they do not hear the Sunday homily which is the principal means for instruction of faithful adults in the Church. In some places, even where people do attend Mass, they are not being instructed as they should be. The bishops first, and then the priests with them, must be clear and consistent in presenting the truth about the freedom of conscience and the evils of the health-care mandate.Thirdly, in the situation as it is, which we simply must recognize, lay people giving witness to fellow lay people is the only solution. More and more sincere and informed Catholics must be ready to give an account of their Faith to others even if they are not the most eloquent and articulate. The very fact that they approach and speak with a fellow Catholic about a question like freedom of conscience will not go without a positive effect on that individual. [End- see link to full interview below]
And here we see the confusion among our Bishops over Pope Francis interview:

Pope's blunt remarks pose challenge for bishops

AP-RACHEL ZOLL 
 [In part]The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops warned Catholics that voting for abortion-rights supporters could endanger their souls. Church leaders in Minnesota, Maine and elsewhere took prominent roles in opposing legal recognition for same-sex marriage in their states. Bishops censured some theologians and prompted a Vatican-directed takeover of the largest association for American nuns by bringing complaints to Rome that the sisters strayed from church teaching and paid too little attention to abortion. 
Terrence Tilley, a theologian at Fordham University, said Francis wasn't silencing discussion of abortion or gay marriage, but indicating those issues should be less central, for the sake of evangelizing. But he noted that bishops have independence to decide how they should handle local political issues."Although Francis is sending a clear signal that he's not a culture warrior, that doesn't mean the bishops will follow in lockstep," Tilley said. 
Few of the U.S. bishops who have commented so far on Francis' interview indicated they planned to change. 
Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, head of the bishops' religious liberty committee, said in a phone interview, "Issues do arise and we cannot always control the timing." However, he added, "Every time I make a statement about one of these things I will certainly take another look at it and ask, 'Does this really lead people back to the heart of the Gospel?" 
And… 
“Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, head of the bishops' defense-of-marriage committee, said in a brief statement, "We must address key issues and if key issues are in the minds of those who are talking with us we will address them."
 "In San Francisco, these issues are very relevant to daily life for the people of this archdiocese," said Christine Mugridge, a spokeswoman for Cordileone. "As long as the people of the archdiocese have particular talking points that are pressing upon them, the archbishop will respond to those talking points."
And…”New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the bishops' conference, said he thought the pope was telling everyone — inside and outside the church — to focus less on polarizing debates on sex and morals." 
I don't know if it's just the church that seems obsessed with those issues. It seems to be culture and society," Dolan said on "CBS This Morning." 
"What I think he's saying is, 'Those are important issues and the church has got to keep talking about them, but we need to talk about them in a fresh new way.' If we keep kind of a negative, finger-wagging tone, it's counterproductive. "
 And…Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, R.I., just last week had said in an interview with his diocesan newspaper that he was "a little bit disappointed" that Francis hadn't spoken out about abortion. On Friday, in a statement responding to the pope's remarks, Tobin said he admired Francis' leadership.” [End]
**Note: Even Dolan isn't SURE what Pope Francis is saying** 

While the Bishops jumped to attention getting on news program, after news program to CLARIFY what Pope Francis REALLY meant, other Bishops were wondering how to proceed- especially when dealing with Obama’s HHS Mandate.  Had Pope Francis spoken clearly, he would not need Bishops and Cardinals going to the media and social news outlets to tell the world ‘Calm down, it’s not what you think!’.

I know Pope’s have been misunderstood in the past, but have you ever seen one THIS misunderstood THIS often?  He hasn’t even been Pope for a year yet, the world is topsy turvy with trying to figure out just what he means every time he opens his mouth.

That is my frustration.

I KNOW he believes and keeps the official beliefs of the Holy Catholic Church- I just wish the rest of the world knew it too.

So my post “My Issues with Pope Francis” caused a stir with many. One person seemed to think I was going to leave the Church because I couldn’t embrace Pope Francis as easily as I had Benedict before him!

Twitter follower: Pray for Him [Pope Francis], but I highly recommend you submit yourself to the highest authority we have on earth, else soon a Protestant.

One person asked me if I thought the Pope was a heretic and how could I still call him “pope”!  I never suggested the Pope was a heretic.  

My issues- note these are MY personal issues I posted about – are that he does not 1) speak clearly enough (if he did the Bishops wouldn’t be on the media 24/7 clarifying) and 2) that he doesn’t talk about sin and repentance ALONG with all the love and charitable stuff.  Jesus wasn't stingy on teaching against sins and going to Hell, I wish our clergy- from the pope down- wouldn't be stingy either.  Repentance is what the Apostles in the Bible taught, so should our clergy today.

Even atheists are loving and charitable, yet you’ll find no salvation there.

There is nothing on earth more important than the Eucharist and a person’s soul, so when I feel either have been slighted or put in jeopardy in anyway by anyone, I am going to say something. That's just how I'm wired.

My frustration with Pope Francis is that I feel the salvation of people’s souls are in danger because they are confused by his words.  I do not believe he INTENDED to cause confusion; nevertheless, confusion has ensued and must be dealt with.  God bless all the Bishops for going to the media and trying to explain what our Pope means each time he speaks.  Without the Bishops to clarify, we’d be in a far worse predicament.

You HAVE to know that SOMETHING is being lost in translation when you have “progressive” and “liberal” Catholics CHEERING for a pope.  Watch the “other side” and you will see what a mess they are in over all of this.

That is my opinion.  

I am not, now nor ever leaving the Catholic Church- not even if Obama himself was made pope.  I know there is no other place in the world for me, but the Catholic Church.  I will love Her and defend her to my last breath, regardless of who is sitting at the Vatican.  Because who the pope is doesn’t affect the official teachings of the Church. Our Church has survived far too many ‘Bad Popes’ to worry about a new pope who makes some confusing statements.  I didn't join Christ's Holy Catholic Church because of who the current pope is and I wouldn't leave because of any pope either. I am Catholic because it is the ONLY Church Jesus Christ created on earth and that is all I need to know.

My hope is that Pope Francis gets tired of having to have the Bishops explain what he means all the time and will instead learn to speak more clearly in the future to prevent confusion.

I will pray for him, my Church and myself to find more patience, understanding and that I come to love this pope as I have loved others before him.  Love isn't always at 'first sight', sometimes it takes time.

I hope I have clarified myself on my personal views of Pope Francis.  And I hope you all will pray for me and with me.

In Christ,

Julie @ Connecticut Catholic Corner

May God bless us all and strengthen our Holy Catholic Church.


Is America Magazine liberal? [Wiki]- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/America_(magazine)

Catholic Church Reform: http://catholicchurchreform.com/

3 comments:

Lynne said...

There have been bad popes but I don't believe that list is 100% correct. Pope Honorius I spoke heresy. LINK

Popes are necessary to the Catholic Church but not all of them have been good and/or holy. So to be a good Catholic does not require one to love *all* popes.

Connecticut Catholic Corner said...

Thanks for the comment Lynne, and I agree- not all our popes have been good and we certainly don't have to like all the "bad" popes in our Church history.
We do need to pray for them and our Church.

God bless,

Julie @ Connecticut Catholic Corner


MillieJ said...

Most countries like mine have abortion rights in law, that are never going to change and they have some kind of health service which is paid for through taxes and provides low cost or free Contraceptives...
The Gay Marriage issue is already law across many countries in the world, including Argentina. Pope Francis is not against civil unions. Gay couples making a commitment to each other. Most of the issues you mention as big topics in the US and The Philippines. It is not relevent to the rest of us. He has emphasised the evils of abortion by saying it cheapens life. It is cheap to politicans, big business, banks and everyone that cares nothing for the child once it is born. His speech was brilliant. It is possible to be progressive and against abortion...Yet he has given Arch Bishop Vincent Nicholls a red hat, he who instigates the Soho Gay Mass..which has not disbanded but found a home in a Jesuit parish in London. I continue to be excited by this Pope, I didn't dislike the last Pope but I didn't care that much either about him.