Less Fear, More Faith

I confess that I find myself more than a little dismayed at the outright snark unleashed in the wake of Pope Francis’ latest interview. I have it on good authority that the translation was very badly done, so I’m waiting until a more reliable one is available before commenting on the interview itself. But in the meantime…I’m starting to understand what the phrase “more Catholic than the Pope” means. I always thought that was kind of a silly phrase, since all the Catholics I knew held the Pope in utmost respect, believing as they did in the unbroken chain of apostolic succession. Lately, though, people seem intent on slapping the body of Christ in the head.

I don’t get it. I understand the confusion. I understand how one could feel betrayed (although I think that’s really an issue with us and not with Pope Francis). But I do not understand the superiority, the self-righteousness, the derisive sneering at the Vicar of Christ. It’s really hard for me to feel derisive of a man who secretly saved at least a hundred people from torture and execution during Argentina’s Dirty War, and then never told anyone about it, refusing to speak up in his own defense even when countless accusations of collaboration with war criminals were leveled against him. That’s the kind of man I trust to follow the promptings of the Spirit. And if he is following the promptings of the Spirit with these interviews, I think it’s safe to say that the problem isn’t with Francis.

Remember, y’all, that the war cannot be lost. It’s already won. The Church will stand firm as she always has. And even if Pope Francis errs a bit here and there, it’s highly unlikely we’re about to have Alexander VI or Leo X deja-vu. It’s more likely that the Spirit is moving in mysterious ways to shake us all out of our certainty and complacency.

Less fear, more faith.

  • Mike Gannome

    Calah, You seem to be in a fantasy world that the pope can do no wrong because he helped save some people in Argentina. People are derisive because he is speaking irresponsibly, causing confusion and misleading many people. He is spouting moral relativism and subjectivism – this is not “of the Spirit.” Saving people from torture doesn’t make him immune from speaking in error and making big mistakes with his comments.

    • Chesire11

      If you think he has spoken in favor of moral relativism, then he isn’t the one who is confused.

      People are derisive for precisely the same reason that the elder brother derided his father for rushing to meet his prodigal brother.

  • chrysalis fx

    There are some would-be “pundit”s who seem to think that they know better than the Pope, even criticizing him on grounds of theology, as if their intellectual capabilities would even match his. Treating Francis as a stepmother who gets the blame for Benedict XVI leaving, their emotional maturity seems to be appallingly arrested. It fills me with dismay too, especially because every choice he has made so far is being dissected. Apparently choosing to be humble and embracing neighbours of all walks isn’t as Christ-like as paying tribute to ostentatious appearances. Though his predecessor made it clear from day one (even before, to those who know him) that he was quite reluctant to accept the responsibility, somehow it is Francis who gets to be viewed as lackluster and careless. It’s hard not to blame anybody for not wanting to be in the position, seeing as how aggressive and hateful some of his own followers can be.

    • steve5656546346

      This is the Popes description of some faithful Catholics: “Pelagians.” “Triumphalists.” “Restorationists.” “Disciplinarians.” “Cowards.” “Hypocrites.” “Legalists”. “Small-minded.” “Obsessed”. “Doctrinal security-ists,” “Narcissists.”

      Do you see the problem now?

      • chrysalis fx

        You are reading all these into his (mostly badly translated) speeches.

  • Andy

    I agree with you wholeheartedly about not politicizing the internal life of the church. I was trying to say – badly I admit, Paul, is that Benedict challenged us to live the entire message/tradition of the church in a scholarly way, Francis is doing it in a more pastoral manner. In either event all of us are challenged to live the entire teaching of the church.

  • Dan C

    I find the attempt at “orthodoxy” as a label reminiscent of the same move 10 years ago, when the “orthodox” Catholics all said that orthodoxy demanded support of George Bush. Hence we had such ludicrous commentary from Oswald Sobrino and others. When the orthodox came out supporting torture and water boarding, as Raymond Arroyo and Fr. Sirico did, most right wing folks of good faith dropped the moniker-”orthodox.”

    I believe that very very clearly, there are 100 times more libertarians in the local County pro-life league, all of whom are likely to have supported the Iraq War than in the diocesan Catholic Charities soup kitchen, who likely are reliable Democratic voters and probably opposed the Gulf Wars. Both of them. I think the conservative Catholic pro-lifers are more likely to find affinity and common ground with political Evangelicals and the soup kitchen volunteers are likely to be interested in hearing Jim Wallis talk at their parish, which does not have a Latin Mass.

    I think the labels have meaning. Why else is their a government shut down, with Catholics on both sides of the brouhaha?


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