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'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for June 2015
Universal:
That immigrants and refugees may find welcome and respect in the countries to which they come.
Evangelization: That the personal encounter with Jesus may arouse in many young people the desire to offer their own lives in priesthood or consecrated life.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Living Faith

Pope Francis to meet with president, prisoners and homeless during U.S. visit Watch

Image of Pope Francis will celebrate Mass at Madison Square Garden and preside over a vespers service at the newly spruced-up St. Patrick's Cathedral.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis' visit to both the United States and Cuba will be hectic. In addition to meeting with political officials in both countries, the Pontiff will meet with prisoners at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility in Philadelphia and the homeless at the ... continue reading


Learning from Elijah: Shipwreck, Struggle and the Broom Tree

Image of Elijah under the broom tree

By Deacon Keith Fournier

There are lessons that can only be learned under the broom tree. The lesson St Paul gave to the early Christians in Greece about the reality of being shipwrecked and experiencing daily struggles in life is critical in our age. God is searching for men and ... continue reading


Head of Russian Orthodox Church to meet with Pope Francis to repair rift between branches Watch

Image of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow is a Russian Orthodox bishop. He became Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus' and Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church in February of 2009.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It is definitely going to happen -- but where and when has yet to be decided. The head of the Russian Orthodox Church and Pope Francis have agreed to meet in an attempt to repair the major rift between the Eastern and Western branches of Christianity. LOS ... continue reading


Pope Francis explains the nature of faith - the whole Gospel is written in its light Watch

Image of Francis lamented that

By CNA/EWTN News

The Pope focused on the virtue of faith during his Sunday Angelus address, saying the whole gospel is written in its light. VATICAN CITY (CNA/EWTN News) - "Faith is this: to touch Jesus and to draw from him the grace which saves," Pope Francis explained June 28 at ... continue reading


Pope Francis admonishes archbishops to be convinced by what themselves teach Watch

Image of The Pope added that, in being witnesses to the faith, archbishops should practice what they preach.

By CNA/EWTN News

During his Mass for the feast of Saints Peter and Paul on Monday, Pope Francis called on the Church's new archbishops to be courageous witnesses who are not ashamed of Christ, and who are convinced by what they themselves teach. VATICAN CITY (CNA/EWTN News) - ... continue reading


Parents of St. Therese of Lisieux to be canonized by Pope Francis later this year Watch

Image of The canonizations of the married couple will coincide with the Synod on the Family, to be held on Oct. 4-25.

By CNA/EWTN News

Pope Francis formally approved on Saturday the decrees necessary for Blesseds Louis and Zelie Martin - known for being the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux - to be declared saints later this year. VATICAN CITY (CNA/EWTN News) - The two blesseds will be the first ... continue reading


Itinerary of the Pope's trip to Cuba and the U.S.A. and his visit to the United Nations

Image of Pope Francis boarding airline.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

VATICAN CITY - The Vatican on Tuesday released the comprehensive itinerary for Pope Francis' journey to the United States and Cuba, including his schedule for Philadelphia for Sept. 26-27.Here is the Holy Father's complete schedule for his September visit to Cuba and ... continue reading


The Ultimate Bucket List: 20 things to do before joining God in Heaven Watch

Image of Add your own bucket list goals.

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Bucket listing has become a popular trend within social media sites and all over the world, ranging from reading best-selling books, to traveling to exotic places on holiday, favorite places to eat, enchanting tourist destinations and so forth. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES ... continue reading


Religious lawyer calls out to people of faith warning what will happen if they don't 'STAND UP' following gay marriage ruling Watch

Image of Photo credit: Dave Crenshaw - Eastern Oklahoma Catholic

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Supreme Court gave in to LGBT rights advocates on June 26 and legalized same-sex marriage throughout the United States. Now the entire United States court system must recognize the union of two same-sex individuals as legal, creating a social media frenzy around ... continue reading


'Holy Grail' recovered after stolen by burglars Watch

Image of One depiction of the Holy Grail.

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A year after it was stolen, the police finally recovered a wooden relic believed by some to be the Holy Grail. In July 2014, the invaluable medieval relic was stolen during a raid in Weston Under Penyard near Ross-on-Wye in Herefordshire. The Nanteos Cup has now been ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Genesis 21:5, 8-20
5 Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 34:7-8, 10-11, 12-13
7 The angel of Yahweh encamps around those who fear ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 8:28-34
28 When he reached the territory of the Gadarenes on ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 1st, 2015 Image

Bl. Junipero Serra
July 1: Miguel Jose Serra was born on the island of Majorca on November ... 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