Indeed, the pope is no liberal. A shallow and superficial, even trivial understanding of Jesus’ teachings and life is dominant in Christianity. Francis asks us to go deeper. He judges but does not condemn. He does not exclude sinners from the Church but welcomes them to repair their broken lives and receive the blessing of God’s love.
We have become a hate filled church, making enemies of abortionists, homosexuals, environmentalists and others. We must learn to love them into grace not by accepting their sin but by seeing beyond it to their soul.
Surely none of us believe sinners are condemned by their actions. Jesus did not condemn the prostitute, did not allow her to be slain but most importantly did not accept her sin. “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin not more.” As Christians we are commanded to love the unloving. How will we convert the lost of Islam if not with love?
A recent issue of “First Things” magazine had an article by a priest in a town on the Mexican border. He wrote about how his parishioners were learning at the gut level to “Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you,” in the context of the drug industry violence there.
Christianity is hard because this goes against all our (fallen) human instincts. It’s easy to say people have “fallen and they can’t get up,” but Jesus never said that, and this is one reason He was hated.