Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

10/16/2013 (2 years 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 (2 years 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'


Copyright 2015 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for April 2016
Universal:
Small Farmers: That small farmers may receive a just reward for their precious labor.
Evangelization: African Christians: That Christians in Africa may give witness to love and faith in Jesus Christ amid political-religious conflicts.



Comments


More Living Faith

5 tips for Catholics to stay positive Watch

Image of Stay positive by following five simple tips (WikiMedia Commons).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Do you - or someone you know - struggle with maintaining a positive attitude? Are people less inclined to spend time with you due to your poor attitude? Are you tired of wallowing in negativity? Try these simple tips to change the course of your life forever! LOS ... continue reading


LISTEN NOW: Benedictine nuns release new album Watch

Image of Nuns record new album to promote faith (Churchpop).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Benedictine nuns in Missouri recently released their latest album <i>Adoration at Ephesus</i> - and it is amazing! LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Mother Cecilia, the prioress of the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, told <a ... continue reading


Why are these transparent wires being put up in cities around the world? Watch

Image of Eruv lines are set up in cities around the world to make life easier for Orthodox Jews.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Members of an ultra-conservative religious denomination are stringing transparent wires around many urban neighborhoods, all for religious reasons. These nearly invisible wires form webs in cities such as New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. What are these wires and ... continue reading


'[D]on't ignore us:' Pope Francis explains the difference between knowledge and real love Watch

Image of Knowing about God is not the same as loving Him (Vanvick/Wordpress).

By Elise Harris (CNA/EWTN News)

On Wednesday Pope Francis said that just because someone is an expert in God's law and a strict adherent to the rules doesn't necessarily mean they know how to love and serve others. Vatican City, Rome (CNA/EWTN News) - "It's not automatic that whoever frequents the ... continue reading


Miracle in the Philippines: Tribe converted to Christianity after hearing Gospel and watching 'Passion of the Christ' Watch

Image of Manobo tribe embraces Jesus (tikbo).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The Manobo tribe of the Philippines were taught the Gospel and viewed Mel Gibson's "Passion of the Christ" film, which led several to convert to Christianity. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to missionaries from Christian Aid Mission, nearly the entire ... continue reading


'I just couldn't believe it:' Oklahoma officers seize Christian charity money Watch

Image of Christian rocker stripped of charity money after being accused of engaging in drug activities.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Christian rock band Klo & Kweh was driving through Oklahoma when they were pulled over for a broken headlight. What happened next was a shock that rippled throughout the Christian community. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to <a ... continue reading


Pope Francis decrees instances of miracles and martyrdom Watch

Image of Pope Francis spoke of saints on Tuesday.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

On Tuesday, Pope Francis spoke of several men and women worthy of canonization. He included miracle attributions and stories of martyrdom. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis received a private audience with Cardinal Angelo ... continue reading


Christians deserve equal protection too! - Christian baker case may go to Supreme Court Watch

Image of Christian bakers should not be forced to participate in someone else's sin.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The case of a pair of bakers who refused to bake a cake for a lesbian couple, may go all the way to the Supreme Court and resolve the apparent infringement of their First and Fourteenth Amendments. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - The attorney for Aaron and ... continue reading


Pope Francis writes moving letters to prisoners Watch

Image of Prisoners in Velletri receive letters from the Pope.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Inmates at Italian prison Velletri wrote Pope Francis letters earlier this year - and received personal replies. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to Vatican Radio, the prisoners gave their letters to Bishop Marcello Semeraro, the Bishop of Albano, during a ... continue reading


3 inspirational reminders of hope for Catholics facing darkness Watch

Image of (Photo by: AJGIEL)

By Abigail James (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Tears roll down my face as a sea of blankets threaten to pull me completely under. I fight to stay afloat while the darkness continues to pull me down like a thousand needles hooked to anchors. Terrifying thoughts run rampant through my fragile mind, "what's the point ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • A Marriage Blessing Prayer HD Video
  • LISTEN NOW: Benedictine nuns release new album
  • Why are these transparent wires being put up in cities around the world?
  • Daily Readings for Friday, April 29, 2016
  • Daily Reading for Sunday, May 1st, 2016 HD Video
  • St. Catherine of Siena: Saint of the Day for Friday, April 29, 2016
  • 5 tips for Catholics to stay positive

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 15:7-21
7 and after a long discussion, Peter stood up and addressed them. 'My ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 96:1-2, 2-3, 10
1 Sing a new song to Yahweh! Sing to Yahweh, all the earth!2 ... Read More

Gospel, John 15:9-11
9 I have loved you just as the Father has loved me. Remain in my ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 28th, 2016 Image

St. Peter Chanel
April 28: In St. Peter Chanel, Priest and Martyr (Feast day ... Read More