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Pope Francis, Striking Out or Hitting a Home Run?
Townhall ^ | 09/25/2013 | Michael Brown

Posted on 09/26/2013 12:05:47 PM PDT by SeekAndFind

Cardinal Timothy Dolan is certainly right when he says that Pope Francis “wants to shake us [Catholics] up.” But is he doing more harm than good?

Among his most quoted recent statements are:

“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.”

And, “The most important thing is the first proclamation: Jesus Christ has saved you. And the ministers of the Church must be ministers of mercy above all.”

And, explaining how someone once asked him if he “approved” of homosexuality, Pope Francis noted, “I replied with another question. ‘Tell me, when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ We must always consider the person. Here we enter into the mystery of the human being.”

What are we to make of this? Here’s my assessment (as a non-Catholic) of the positive vs. the negative.

Positive. Jesus often said controversial things that were easily misunderstood, and Pope Francis is following in his footsteps. There is nothing wrong with that, and it actually stimulates thoughtful discussion.

Negative. Moral ambiguity helps no one, and as Paul taught, “if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle?” (1 Corinthians 14:8)

Positive. The Pope is putting first things first, making clear that the mission of the church is not to oppose abortion and homosexuality but rather to bring the gospel to those in need.

Negative. If the church doesn’t stand for the sanctity of life – defending the rights of the most defenseless of all – and if it doesn’t uphold marriage and sexuality as God intended it, who will?

Positive. The Pope is opening the door wide to atheists and gays and lesbians, not condemning them but offering them grace.

Negative. It is one thing to open the door; it is another thing to say, “Once you walk through our non-condemning door, if you really want to follow Jesus, you will radically change.” This is similar to Jesus telling the woman caught in adultery that he didn’t condemn her before telling her, “Go and sin no more.” (See John 8:1-11.)

Positive. The Pope is right in saying that, “The church has sometimes locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules.”

Negative. Many people believe that he is placing opposition to abortion and homosexual practice in the category of “small things” and “small-minded rules.”

Positive. The Pope is putting a much-needed, new face on the church, which many Americans currently view as hypocritical, judgmental, mean spirited, and homophobic.

Negative. Jesus said to his disciples, “If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own” (John 15:19). It’s a dangerous sign when MSNBC, CNN, and the New York Times think you’re great and speak well of you.

Positive. The Pope has said plainly, “I am a sinner. This is the most accurate definition. It is not a figure of speech, a literary genre. I am a sinner.” This means that we can say to all the Pope’s new fans, “Well, if he is a sinner, where does that leave you? It looks like you need a Savior too.”

Negative. The idea that the leader of the Catholic Church is just a sinner like the rest of us makes it easy for us to justify sinful behavior in our own lives. After all, we’re just a bunch of sinners!

All this being said, I find it interesting that the same media that was shouting the Pope’s controversial comments from the rooftops took very little note of his more recent comments, dating to September 20th, when he told Catholic gynecologists that, “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.”

He also “strongly condemned abortion as a manifestation of a ‘throwaway culture’” and reaffirmed that life begins at conception. Why hasn’t the media reported on this?

And how long will the media’s love affair with the pope continue if the reports prove true that the Pope “defrocked and excommunicated” an Australian priest in May “because of his radical views on women clergy and gay marriage.”

As noted by Tim Stanley in the UK Telegraph, “From all of last week's headlines saying that the Pope wants to forget this nonsense about abortion and gays, you'd imagine that Germaine Greer had been elected to run the Catholic Church. Actually what the Pope was saying was that he wants the Church to talk more about what it's for than what it’s against. But that doesn't mean it won't still be against those things that contradict its teachings and traditions.” Exactly.

From my perspective, it’s too soon to come to conclusions about Pope Francis, but if he proves to be a radical reformer who holds to core biblical values while challenging the religious system, I say bring it on. If he proves to be more in tune with the spirit of the age then with the Scriptures (and the church’s scripture-affirming traditions), that would be a disaster.

What’s your take?


TOPICS: Catholic; Ministry/Outreach; Moral Issues; Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS: abortion; brown; homosexuality; michaelbrown; popefrancis; romancatholic

1 posted on 09/26/2013 12:05:47 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

part of the confusion has to be that the Vatican doesn’t do PR well at all.


2 posted on 09/26/2013 12:24:21 PM PDT by frogjerk (We are conservatives. Not libertarians, not "fiscal conservatives", not moderates)
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To: SeekAndFind
From Father Z:

“I remember, when I used go to Germany in the 1980s and ’90s, that I was asked to give interviews and I always knew the questions in advance. They concerned the ordination of women, contraception, abortion and other such constantly recurring problems. If we let ourselves be drawn into these discussions, the Church is then identified with certain commandments or prohibitions; we give the impression that we are moralists with a few somewhat antiquated convictions, and not even a hint of the true greatness of the faith appears. I therefore consider it essential always to highlight the greatness of our faith – a commitment from which we must not allow such situations to divert us. ” Address of his Holiness Benedict XVI – Thursday, 9 November 2006

3 posted on 09/26/2013 12:28:57 PM PDT by frogjerk (We are conservatives. Not libertarians, not "fiscal conservatives", not moderates)
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To: SeekAndFind

bookmark


4 posted on 09/26/2013 12:29:02 PM PDT by GOP Poet
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To: SeekAndFind; Tax-chick; GregB; Berlin_Freeper; SumProVita; narses; bboop; SevenofNine; ...

Catholic ping!


5 posted on 09/26/2013 12:30:21 PM PDT by NYer ("The wise man is the one who can save his soul. - St. Nimatullah Al-Hardini)
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To: SeekAndFind
From my perspective, it’s too soon to come to conclusions about Pope Francis

I have come to the conclusion that the Holy Father is ambiguous in speech.

6 posted on 09/26/2013 12:32:09 PM PDT by Jeff Chandler (Let your 'Yes' mean 'Yes,' and your 'No' mean 'No.' Matthew 5:37)
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To: SeekAndFind
Striking out.

I have essentially ceased to pay any attention to him. He's no Benedict, that's for sure.

7 posted on 09/26/2013 12:40:25 PM PDT by Wyrd bi ful ard (Gone Galt, 11/07/12----No king but Christ! Don't tread on me!)
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To: SeekAndFind

Ask the Australian priest he just excommunicated how Francis is doing.


8 posted on 09/26/2013 12:50:29 PM PDT by jmaroneps37 (Conservatism is truth. Liberalism is lies.)
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To: SeekAndFind

If this keeps up, Rome will join the Southern Baptist Convention in a few years.... :-)


9 posted on 09/26/2013 12:54:16 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (The Lion of Judah will roar again if you give him a big hug and a cheer and mean it. See my page.)
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To: Jeff Chandler; frogjerk

I don’t think he’s ambiguous. He has a message, which is that he wants people to convert and he doesn’t want them to think about it in political terms or even really in the way that the press always presents the Church (repressive, rigid, etc.). He wants them to meet the Lord.

I don’t think, however, that he always considers how the enemies of the Lord will twist things.

On the other hand, BXVI said very little officially, except for the audiences, and gave few live interviews. But even so, the press managed to distort one of them to the point of making it sound like an attack on Catholic doctrine, and made his scholarly Regensburg address sound like he was calling out the Crusaders. So there’s really not much that can be done about this.

If Jesus had waited until he thought he’d be understood, he wouldn’t have been able to open his mouth.


10 posted on 09/26/2013 12:56:37 PM PDT by livius
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To: SeekAndFind
Negative. Moral ambiguity helps no one, and as Paul taught, “if the bugle gives an indistinct sound,who will get ready for battle?” (1 Corinthians 14:8)

Or in this case maybe what the writer hears is an indistinct sound and is unable to hear the bugle. Bingo! The devil resides in mental engagement in such a way that the heart can not be heard. This is the demon that has overtaken many of the faithful.

What the pope is saying is build (or rebuild) a stable foundation to the house first before redoing the kitchen cabinets or buying new windows that may be broken. Once the foundation is righted many other problems (sins) either resolve themselves or can be more easily addressed.

It is when the mind and pride has locked itself into a rut that it can't be open to hear the heart and thus the soul.

11 posted on 09/26/2013 1:04:41 PM PDT by GOP Poet
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To: SeekAndFind

The Pope ain’t playing baseball!


12 posted on 09/26/2013 1:06:17 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Bad things are wrong! Ice cream is delicious!)
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To: livius

He is converting souls that have been lost for a long time. The rest is just collateral damage. He is not preaching to the converted in fact he is saying, “He who has no sin . . . “ to the faithful and he is right to do so. The evil one will always do evil. It never stopped Jesus from doing the tough work. The evil one will always twist everything but it will reach many souls and already has reach millions that would never even mention the word Catholic or pope. He is the talk of the globe now and his message is getting deep into peoples craws that would never have otherwise. The present faithful already have the foundational tools of Christ and need to pick them up and get to work.


13 posted on 09/26/2013 1:10:53 PM PDT by GOP Poet
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To: SeekAndFind

I think Pope Francis is excellent. I thought Pope Benedict was excellent. I thought Pope John Paul II was outrageously extremely excellent. (From what I’ve read of Pope John Paul I, he was a great guy.) I’d probably have liked Pope Paul just fine, but I was a 9-year-old Protestant at the time, give me a break.


14 posted on 09/26/2013 3:30:14 PM PDT by Tax-chick (" Decency requires that they be voted out of office as an act of urgent political hygiene." Steyn)
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To: SeekAndFind

Jeff Pope Swinging

Well, I'll say the Pope hasn't fully completed his swing yet, so the jury is still out (to mix and match metaphors).

I will cautiously say that while Christians should of course always emphasize God's love, they should also make sure they do not ignore the greatest evils facing their time, or bury their heads in the sand.

For example, Christians faced with Hitler and the Nazis, or Stalin and the Communists, would have been wrong to have kept quiet about those monstrous evils during those times, and only talk about the love of Jesus.    Strongly opposing those evils actually demonstrated the love of Jesus.

The same rule applies to the greatest evils of today, such as the hideous, monstrous act of baby killing.    And if we really love and care about homosexuals, we will proclaim loudly and clearly that the Bible calls homosexual behavior "an abomination", and St. Paul plainly says that homosexuals will not make it into the kingdom of God (with the implication being that that is true, barring repentence and God's forgiveness, of course). (See Leviticus 18:22, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10)

15 posted on 09/26/2013 4:50:29 PM PDT by Heart-Rest (Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. Gal 6:7)
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To: Heart-Rest

(Also see “Catechism of the Catholic Church” paragraphs 2357, 2358, and 2359.)


16 posted on 09/26/2013 4:54:42 PM PDT by Heart-Rest (Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. Gal 6:7)
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To: Jeff Chandler

My priest is Jesuit educated and does a very reverent Novus Ordo.

He says that Jesuits like to talk in riddles/be edgy to make people think. He always right on the edge.

This describes Pope Francis all the way.


17 posted on 09/26/2013 5:16:15 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

**He always right on the edge.**

Indeed, the Pope is always right on the edge.


18 posted on 09/26/2013 5:21:25 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
He says that Jesuits like to talk in riddles

.


19 posted on 09/26/2013 5:40:16 PM PDT by Jeff Chandler (Let your 'Yes' mean 'Yes,' and your 'No' mean 'No.' Matthew 5:37)
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To: Heart-Rest

That was so until Blessed John Paul II came on the scene in leadership in Poland and the Solidary movement took off. The rest is history.


20 posted on 09/27/2013 3:41:51 AM PDT by Biggirl (“Go, do not be afraid, and serve”-Pope Francis)
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To: Biggirl
"That was so until Blessed John Paul II came on the scene in leadership in Poland and the Solidary movement took off. The rest is history."

Well, actually, I believe that has been true all along.

Many, many Christians spoke up loudly with both words and deeds against both the Nazis and the Communists (including Pope Pius XII), and I think now, Christians also HAVE to speak up loudly, vociferously, and continously, out of deep, profound love for "the least of these brothers and sisters of Jesus", the unborn children given their life by Almighty God, those precious ones who cannot speak for themselves.

Now is NOT the time to try to stifle the truth, or draw attention away from that monstrously murderous holocaust called abortion.    In that case, the love of God COMPELS us to speak out boldly and regularly in defense of the defenseless, no matter who "gets their feelings hurt".

21 posted on 09/27/2013 5:29:03 AM PDT by Heart-Rest (Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. Gal 6:7)
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