Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

10/16/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Movements are attempting to claim Pope Francis for their own and are not listening to his messages.

If the media is to be believed, Pope Francis has shaken the Catholic Church to its foundation with all the force of an earthquake. Tuned to much of the media, some Catholics are speaking up, voicing critical opinions and concerns about Pope Francis. We suggest people listen more carefully to his words and not the media spin.

Pope Francis took questions on his flight returning from World Youth Day in Brazil. His comments were so misconstrued by the media they even overshadowed the event in Rio.

Pope Francis took questions on his flight returning from World Youth Day in Brazil. His comments were so misconstrued by the media they even overshadowed the event in Rio.

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

10/16/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Pope Francis, media, wrong, message, liberal, conservative, Jesus, orthodox


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - When Jesus began his public ministry, he shook the Jewish world to its core. He reminded God's people that how we treat one another is more important than any label we wear. Now, Pope Francis is doing more of the same, reminding people that how we treat the least members of our society is more important than what we label ourselves, even if that label happens to be "gay" or "atheist."

Some Catholics, described as "conservative" in a recent Washington Post story have taken exception to Pope Francis's recent interviews, comments and admonishments and, according to the report, "are openly questioning the pope."

One of the interesting comments in the WP article came from Robert Royal, the president of Faith and Reason in Washington D.C., "When NARAL [abortion advocates] sends you a thank-you note, it's clear something got miscommunicated."

However, the Holy Father has been quite clear in his communication, if we read his words and understand their context. The problem is how much the media filters his message because they are so eager to co-opt the Pope and somehow re-cast him in their own image. Media outlets have proclaimed that "Atheists go to heaven" and that homosexual behavior is allegedly now acceptable to the Church.   

These are both errors. No statement by Pope Francis has ever affirmed such a sweeping claim about all atheists. Nor has any statement ever affirmed the moral disorder of homosexual acts. The Pope is, after all, Catholic. He does not and cannot change the teaching of the Catholic Church, to the scriptures and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Furthermore, some of the people who pass on these falsehoods reveal their lack of understanding of both what the Church teaches and how she is governed. 

The same criticism applies to those who would criticize Pope Francis for merely echoing the message of Jesus Christ to love the poor, and, yes, even to love your enemies!

So where is the bombshell 180 reversal in Church doctrine? It doesn't exist. It is made up.

Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI worked hard to help Catholics understand Church doctrine with greater clarity than ever before. They emphasized Catholic identity and what it means to be a Catholic Christian. As a new era of moral relativism accelerated out of the 1960's and gained converts during the past few decades, Church leaders have been compelled to speak clearly and firmly about Church doctrine. Among those messages were explicit teachings that reaffirmed that homosexual behavior is sinful. In addition, that the fullness of truth is found within the Catholic Church. And that procured abortion, contraception, and sterilization are great moral evils.

These are clear messages and to the soft ears of a morally relativistic society, they sound harsh and unyielding. Yet, this is not the law of a few old men in Rome. This is the Law of God, revealed in in Natural Moral Law and capable of being known through reason because it is etched onto the heart of every being. This Natural Moral Law is further elevated and built upon by God's revelation of His loving plan in creation and the re-creation which comes through redemption in Jesus Christ. That Revelation is found in the Sacred Scripture and the unbroken Tradition of the Church. The words are clear, but our eyes and ears are obstructed. Jesus Christ often dealt with the same issue.

Catholics have finally become acclimated to these profoundly important moral teachings. Informed, orthodox (not conservative!) Catholics understand these teachings with clarity. Pope Francis is among that number and he speaks clearly about these issues. However, he now emphasizes the need to share the liberating Gospel of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth. He calls us all to go out to the margins! He keeps company with prisoners, the poor and even atheists. Sound familiar? Jesus kept company with harlots, tax collectors, and gentiles. Pope Francis is simply doing the same thing and calling Christians to follow.

Likewise, he is on-point with his message and timely. The tone of his delivery is unique to his personality, but the content of the message is entirely consistent with Church doctrine. What has changed is our media interpretation of the message.

Some Catholics have run afoul, succumbing to the same snare that has entrapped many who are not Catholic. They listen to the media hype and wrongly conclude that Pope Francis is somehow changing Church doctrine.

What must be understood is that the pope cannot change Church doctrine. Doctrine comes not from the pope, but from the Holy Spirit who continues to reveal the fullness of Truth as given to us by a loving God. Under certain specific conditions, the Holy Father, in communion with the bishops of the Church, can speak infallibly to issues concerning faith and morality. Let's be clear, the Pope cannot change what God has established, even if he were the most "liberal" soul on Earth.

Which brings us to a second point. The media tends to refer to Catholics as "conservative" and "liberal." These are politicized labels. This is a reflection of how pervasive the misunderstanding has become, for Catholics are neither. Catholics are orthodox, meaning they fully embrace the teaching of the magisterium (teaching office) of the Church or they are not fully Catholic. One may claim the label all they want, but one's standing with God is based on faith expressed in lived behavior which flows from it, which is judged by God alone and God cannot be fooled.

Political labels should not be applied to God, or to His Church. Jesus was not a Republican. Nor was He a liberal hippie as popular memes circulating on the internet attempt to claim.

Christ and the Pope are not individuals to be claimed by various political apparatus to promote their own agendas. The Holy Father does not belong to the atheist movement or to homosexual equivalency movement, nor to the conservatives or any other group with an agenda. The media may insist otherwise, but what else can we expect from institutions corrupted by decades of moral relativism and decay?

It's time for the world to get it right about Pope Francis. It's the height of disrespect to see sensationalist headlines claiming the pope for one thing or another.

If Pope Francis is about anything, he is about you -- you as a human person with a soul and an eternal destiny. If that sounds "liberal" to you, we suggest you look up John 3:16 again.

A birth foretold: click here to learn more!

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2014
Christmas, hope for humanity:
That the birth of the Redeemer may bring peace and hope to all people of good will.
Parents: That parents may be true evangelizers, passing on to their children the precious gift of faith.



Comments


More Living Faith

No one should be hungry during the Christmas season

Image of

By Tony Magliano

In early December, the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) stopped feeding 1.7 million Syrian refugees. For two weeks these poor, battered fellow human beings who had fled the misery of civil war, and the barbarism of the "Islamic State," were told there is no ... continue reading


HAPPY BIRTHDAY POPE FRANCIS! Beloved Pontiff turns 78 today Watch

Image of Happy Birthday, Pope Francis!

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY POPE FRANCIS! Today is Pope Francis' 78th birthday and well-wishers celebrated the day singing and dancing for the Holy Father in St. Peter's Square. VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - Born on December 17, 1936, the man who would become Pope Francis has ... continue reading


Turned into the wild, Pope Francis offers hope to displaced faithful in Middle East Watch

Image of Patriarch Younan said a major focus of their synod was on priestly formation since their communities have faced so much upheaval.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Times are hard and arduous for those who practice their Catholic faith in the Middle East. In a special audience with Patriarch Ignatius Ephrem Joseph III Younan, along with about 350 of his faithful from the Syriac Catholic Church, Pope Francis offered words ... continue reading


Mary hailed as 'great missionary' who brought Gospel to Americas by Pope Francis Watch

Image of Pope Francis and the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis along with thousands of Catholics from across the Atlantic celebrated the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe at the Vatican. The Pope celebrated Mass to the sounds and rhythms of many of South America's indigenous peoples. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Your Friday Feel Good Story: Watch what happens when the mic goes out during the American National Anthem at a hockey game in Canada! Watch

Image of Ina  heartwarming gesture of respect, Canadians sing the Star Spangled Banner when the microphone game out before a game featuring a team from the USA.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Here's your Friday Feel Good story! Enjoy your Friday and don't forget to share! During a hockey game in Canada between American and Canadian players, the microphone failed, silencing the singer. Without audio, the Americans would be without their national anthem, but ... continue reading


Irenaeus of Lyon on Eve and Mary

Image of An Icon of Ireneaus of Lyon

By Ireneaus of Lyon

The Lord, coming into his own creation in visible form, was sustained by his own creation which he himself sustains in being. His obedience on the tree of the cross reversed the disobedience at the tree in Eden; the good news of the truth announced by an angel to ... continue reading


Taking the Kingdom by Force: Learning from John the Baptizer Watch

Image of The choice is ours. Just as it was with John the Baptizer. He shows us the way to give away our freedom in love - and then find it anew in the One who truly sets us free. (John 8:36). The kingdom of heaven is still being taken by force. The force of love. The Lord is seeking men and women in this hour who will take the kingdom by force like John the Baptizer.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

John the Baptizer was a man of Joy because he was a man of true humility! Humility is a powerful weapon when wielded by a soldier of love like John. He was a man who understood that life wasn't all about him. He emptied himself willingly and was thus able to ... continue reading


Faith restored in humanity! A random act of kindness changes a woman's life forever during the Christmas season Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While protests are wreaking havoc all around the world, wars are being fought, and people are being brutally killed, the warm sensation and fuzzy feeling of Christmas gets overshadowed. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Although good deeds and random acts of kindness ... continue reading


Do We Really Believe in the Resurrection of the Body and the Life of the World to Come? Watch

Image of Seated at the right hand of the Father, he works unceasingly in the world, to draw men into the Church and through it to join them more closely to himself.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Jesus Christ is Savior and Lord. His salvation is offered extended to all men and women. That salvation is not only about our souls, but about the whole human person. It will only be complete when we are raised from the dead and dwell in the kingdom to come. He ... continue reading


A Christmas gift for suffering South Sudan

Image of The people of South Sudan have the same feeling and love for one another we do. Now is the time for us to extend our arms in compassion.

By Tony Magliano

The world's newest nation is in big trouble. After more than 20 years of civil war between the southern and northern areas of Sudan, the southern part of that country on July 9, 2011, became the independent nation of the Republic of South Sudan.But the situation on the ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for December 18th, 2014 Image

St. Rufus
December 18: Rufus and Zosimus were citizens of Antioch (or perhaps Philippi) ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter