By Tom Quiner

“Enjoy.”

This was the smug e-mail I received from a fellow Catholic. He sent me a link to the New York Time’s article on Pope Francis’ interview that appeared in the Jesuit publication, La Civiltà Cattolica.

I haven’t talked to this guy in years. I always liked him, even if we disagreed politically on issues. So his e-mail out of the blue took me by surprise.

I responded:

“A beautiful message from the Pope. I hope many Catholics read the entire interview which places his remarks in proper context. Thanks for sharing this.  Great to hear from you.”

I had a hunch that wouldn’t be the end of it. He responded forcefully:

“I predicted you would follow the party line and recite the talking points.

Yes, I read the entire interview and he is saying to stop obsessing over abortion and gay marriage and start being true to the communal, if not socialist, teachings of Jesus.  What I truly love about this is that it presents us all with an opportunity to examine the role and propriety of dissent in the Church, which has sadly been quashed in the last many years.

I fully anticipate that as the Pope’s vision unfolds, there will be many dissenters among those who have claimed to have the exclusive truth these many years.  This is my opportunity to say to those people that I think it is fine and good and healthy to have some disagreement and debate, and that none of us, as mere humans, have an exclusive claim on all that is true and good.  This, my friend, is a message I have never heard among the zealots who have hijacked the Catholic Church in America and turned it into a wing of an intolerant Republican Party.

All of these comments we are seeing by The Establishment to make all of this sound like business as usual is just posturing to deceive the faithful into believing that nothing is changing so that power will not be challenged.  All of the doctrine to which these folks cling is man-made.  It came from dust, and to dust it may return.

I predict Pope Francis is going to pre-empt all of that nonsense with the central Message of loving-kindness.   Oh, he will leave the doctrinal edifice in place so as not to alienate those whose beliefs are so dependent upon it, but it will take a back seat.  Heck, just his statement that Vatican II is valid church teaching is practically a revolution when one considers all that has been done in the last 30 years to turn the clock back.

I hope you read the guest editorial today from the pro life gentleman who correctly suggests that if we want to reduce abortions, we should support Obamacare.  There is hope, after all.”

Let’s look at how the media covered the Pope’s interview. The New York Times led with this headline:

“Pope Bluntly Faults Church’s Focus on Gays and Abortion.”

But he didn’t.

Realizing they had been a bit too dramatic, the NYT moderated their headline to:

“Pope, Criticizing Narrow Focus, Calls for Church as ‘Home for All.’”

The USA Today came on strong with their headline:

“Pope seeks less focus on abortion, gays, contraception.”

CBS followed the MSM herd:

“Pope Francis: Catholic Church must focus beyond ‘small-minded rules.’”

Is that really what the Pope said? I read the full interview. I didn’t come away with the same interpretation as my liberal friends and the MSM came away with. When the Pope talked about homosexuality, he talked beautifully about the need for mercy for our wounded brothers and sisters with these desires. He immediately juxtaposed the call for mercy with the need for reconciliation:

“This is also the great benefit of confession as a sacrament: evaluating case by case and discerning what is the best thing to do for a person who seeks God and grace. The confessional is not a torture chamber, but the place in which the Lord’s mercy motivates us to do better.”

As Pope Francis points out, the sacrament of reconciliation is an opportunity for healing, an opportunity for us to seek and experience God’s grace, regardless of the sin(s) in our life. It is an opportunity to ask for forgiveness for the sins which separate us from God.

Pope Francis spoke eloquently about the need for Christians to accentuate the overwhelming positive promise of Christ, that glorious, eternal salvation awaits those with faith in Christ. He suggests we shouldn’t emphasize our impediments to faith, nor did he tell us to ignore them.

Liberals suggest that the Pope says abortion, contraception, and homosexual sin is no longer relevant. And yet the next day, the Pope said:

“Every unborn child, though unjustly condemned to be aborted, has the face of the Lord, who even before his birth, and then as soon as he was born, experienced the rejection of the world.”

Talking to Catholic doctors, he expanded on his remarks:

“Your being Catholic entails greater responsibility: first of all to yourself, in the effort to be consistent with the Christian vocation, and then to contemporary culture, to help recognize the transcendent dimension in human life, the imprint of the creative work of God, from the very first moment of conception. This is a commitment to the new evangelization that often requires going against the tide, paying a personal price. The Lord counts on you to spread the ‘Gospel of life.'”

The Pope condemned the “throwaway culture” in no uncertain terms:

“Our response to this mentality is a ‘yes’ to life, decisive and without hesitation. ‘The first right of the human person is his life. He has other goods and some are precious, but this one is fundamental – the condition for all the others.

… bear witness to and disseminate this ‘culture of life’ … remind all, through actions and words, that in all its phases and at any age, life is always sacred and always of quality. And not as a matter of faith, but of reason and science! There is no human life more sacred than another, just as there exists no human life qualitatively more meaningful than another”.

Doesn’t sound to me like Pope Francis is going to “preempt all of this [pro life] nonsense” to me. In fact, any honest reading of the Holy See’s remarks confirm EVERY SINGLE WORD of the teachings of the Catholic Church.

The so-called man-made doctrines to which faithful Catholics cling have, in fact, been intact for 2000 years. After all, they flowed directly from the Holy Trinity.

11 Comments

  1. kqduane on September 21, 2013 at 8:04 am

    That was excellent!

  2. JoeC on September 21, 2013 at 8:51 am

    “I see the church as a field hospital after battle, It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars. You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else.”

    I am not Catholic but this is such good advise for the Republican Party today.

  3. oarubio on September 21, 2013 at 11:14 am

    Sooner or later, many of our separated brethren will come to recognize that the 2,000 Church has always taught Truth! Each pope has his own way of emphasizing it.

  4. lisa bourne on September 21, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    Every last word, thought and assertion coming from your liberal friend is pure projection – classic tactic in the alternate universe of the left.

    • JoeC on September 22, 2013 at 8:47 am

      “I see the church as a field hospital after battle, It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars. You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else.”

      Maybe making sure homeless children are getting fed is time better spent than protesting gay marriage. It doesn’t mean anyone [liberals or MSM] is asking you to endorse gay marriage. Even if some do then that is their issue for judging you. Remember “Who am I to judge…”. His message seems pretty clear to me: Stop judging others for their sins and start helping those who need it.

      My question would be why haven’t you talked to this man in years?

      • JoeC on September 22, 2013 at 8:49 am

        This comment started out as a reply to Lisa but became more of a reply to Tom so sorry for any confusion.

      • quinersdiner on September 22, 2013 at 9:09 am

        Haven’t seen him at Mass.

  5. JoeC on September 22, 2013 at 9:32 am

    “Haven’t seen him at Mass.”

    To me, this seems to be exactly what the Pope is talking about. Why hasn’t he been at Mass? It would seem obvious that he is not happy with his church. I think your new Pope is working to bring people back together and back to the church.

    I am not Catholic and I am not even religious so why should I care? Because I see this as the same problem we are having in politics today. The lines have been drawn and it has become a “You’re either with us or against us” mentality and it just isn’t working.

    • karensiena on September 22, 2013 at 1:30 pm

      The fact that we haven’t seen him may be simply that he is going to a different church in town.

      You seem to be of the understanding Joe, that if we speak out against abortion, or against gay marriage, that we have an “us vs. them” mentality. That is not the case with the people we associate with. I see abortion as the killing of an innocent human being. I don’t see all women who have had abortions as murderers. Many of them “know not what they do”, or do it out of desperation, and I have great compassion for them.

      Speaking out against evil does not mean that we are not loving sinners, because every one of us has our own particular sins.

      Abortion kills not only the child, but the women who have had them suffer great consequences from it. What kind of a world would this be if we don;t speak out against the wrongs that we see?

      I love Pope Francis and I love his message. The message not being that we don’t speak out against these things, but that that can’t be our primary or first message to the world, because the world won’t hear it if it is. The message has to be primarily one of love and of acceptance and forgiveness, because that is what Jesus taught us to do.

      And one more thing you need to understand, from the outside of the church and of the pro-life movement, it may appear that there is a lot of anger coming from inside, because that is what you hear and read in the media. But the pro-life movement is full of people on the front line, caring for the poor, taking care of unwed mothers and their children, caring for and loving women wounded by abortion. You have some nut cases like the guy in Kansas or the people who shoot abortion doctors, but those are people full of hatred and evil in their own hearts, and it is not at all representative of the movement.

      I love your analogy of the field hospital, by the way. It is beautiful. You may not be a believer Joe, but you are clearly a good guy and I like reading your comments on this blog.

      The very next day after Pope Francis gave this interview that has gotten so much attention, he spoke out strongly against abortion. He is practicing what he preaches. Lead with love, but speak the truth when necessary. I love the man.

  6. justturnright on September 22, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    Hey, Tom:
    First of all, great post.

    Your friend seems to view his Catholicism through his liberal politics, which I saw for years as I grew up in New England. Faith is faith, and politics is politics: mixing the two is problematic at best, and dangerous at worst.

    Conservative Christianity embraces the ENTIRE message of Christ: both His message of helping the poor and sick, as well as the protection of life. Contrast that to Liberal Christians’ conflating “giving and caring” to the usage of federal funds.
    As you know, this is horribly misguided.

    The Church calls us to personally sacrifice our time and treasure to care for our brothers and sisters, everywhere. We are ALSO called to protect life, including the unborn. Despite your friend’s misunderstanding of Catechism, it is not an “either/or” proposal.

    The Pope didn’t say what the Media tried to SAY he said: your interpretation is 100% correct. It’s not like he was being cryptic, either: they heard what they wished to hear.

    As for your friend: he’d do well to embrace the Church’s entire message, rather than attempting to win debate points, or assuage his own conscience. Deliberately misrepresenting Christ’s teachings only serves to mock God, …and I don’t recall Him liking that too much.

    • quinersdiner on September 22, 2013 at 6:25 pm

      Great points! Thanks for writing.

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