Pope Francis Found Attractive by Sinners!

Another conservative panics that Francis attracts people to Jesus.

I remember when it was considered a good thing that non-Catholics were attracted to the faith by the witness of her evangelists.  Now the denizens of the Fortress are filled with fear that the riff raff might want to talk.  If they touch us we might get cooties!  We’ll be ritually defiled!  If this pope were from God, he would know what sort of unclean people were listening to him.

If this is what “faithful conservative Catholic” means now, count me out.

  • Dave G.

    Did you read the article? He’s not saying ‘I hate it when sinners come to believe in Jesus.’ He’s saying that many aren’t saying ‘I need to come to Jesus’, but instead are saying ‘thank God we have a Pope who is going to change this Church once and for all.’ He’s saying that the Pope’s words were misrepresented and are being celebrated for the wrong reasons. Is there a problem with pointing that out?

    • http://hjg.com.ar/ Hernán J. González

      “Said the writer: “We Communists … have much to learn” from Pope Francis.”‘
      Instead, conservatives have nothing to learn. And they have no risk of misunderstanding anything the Pope says, and they have already (and for once) “come to Jesus”, and they always celebrate (or refuse to celebrate) for just the right reasons.

      No, I don’t think Mark is being unfair here.

      • Greg P

        What’s up with the label “conservative”? Because somebody holds a different viewpoint? We are all liberal and conservative depending on the subject. We should be thinking with a Catholic mindset and conscience instead of resorting to name calling like children.

      • Dave G.

        Not really. I’m sure there are conservatives that fall into such a portrait. I’m sure there are non-conservatives that fall into others. But I saw nothing in this article other than someone saying ‘I know folks personally who are grossly misreading what the Pope is saying and the Pope needs to be more careful.’ He’s not the first.

    • chezami

      At which point, somebody who care about evangelism says, “What a golden opportunity to talk with people who used to be closed to the gospel and build on the foundation Francis has laid!” But the reaction of most conservatives is, “Ew! Cooties! Those people getting it all wrong! Pope Francis is a reckless old fool who is spreading a false gospel! His handlers need to rein this garrulous and naive old man in!”

      • Stu

        I find it ironic that in your zeal to speak out against those who take the Holy Father’s word to extreme that you routinely take a point that someone else has made and characterize it in the most extreme fashion.

      • Dave G.

        Couldn’t the same be said about those of a more traditional leaning who are equally misreading and mischaracterizing the Pope’s statements?

        FWIW, I didn’t see this fellow saying such a thing. I saw him saying ‘people are misreading what the Pope says, the Pope needs to be careful about how he’s presenting his message.’ Fair enough, he’s not the first to concede there could be cause for hearing what the Pope has said in ways the Pope didn’t mean.

  • ThomasP

    I agree with Dave G’s comment. Mr Shea you are being unduly harsh to the writer of the article. His point is much more concerned with folks misunderstanding Pope Francis than with sinners being attracted to him. I think most faithful Catholics are concerned that groups like NARAL thank the Pope for perceived softening on church teaching on abortion. Many indeed are celebrating Pope Francis based on misinterpretation of his comments. I believe your harsh criticism and ridicule go way beyond the gist of the article. Let’s all celebrate Francis for the right reasons–a fresh presentation of the whole Gospel w/o any change to essential teaching.

    • chezami

      I’m not talking about the writer of the article primarily (though he is, in fact, griping in the tedious way that conservatives have fallen into the habit of doing). I’m primarily talking about the fact that one of the consistent complaints I encounter every time some person from the wrong tribe speaks well of Francis is that self-described conservative Catholics fret that the Wrong Sort of people like him so he must be sending subliminal pro-choice, pro-commie, pro-whatever messages out that undermine the True Faith.

      • chezami

        Don’t you think it’s kind of weird that you attempt to rhetorically deny the existence of the Fortress dwellers? “Who are these ‘inhabitants of Fortress Katolicus?” and then go on to detail the absurd things they keep fretting the Pope is up to? The Pope is, mirabile dictu, a Catholic. Full stop. The combox bishops and bedwetters who keep imaginng that they are bravely protecting the Church from him and that they are “defending the faith” by hiding in the bunker and complaining while he evangelizes need to stop carping listening to him. If that shoe does not fit you, then don’t wear it. But it does in fact fit a goodly number of self-described Faithful Catholics.

  • Greg P

    Wow,
    Did you actually read from that article that “conservatives” panic when those outside the Church are attracted to Jesus? That’s a stretch even for an extreme left winger. I’m a fan, Mr Shea. But this time I think you missed the Mark.

    • chezami

      No. I have read from months of personal experience that self-described conservative Catholics panic when those outside the Church find Pope Francis’ witness to Christ attractive.

      • Stu

        You didn’t read that in the article you cited.

        • chezami

          What I didn’t read was any indication that this was an *opportunity*. What came through clearly was that this is primarily a problem, a threat, and a danger. It’s not how an evangelist thinks. It’s how a Fortress defender thinks. Francis thinks like an evangelist.

          • Stu

            Then why didn’t you say that to begin with instead of making stuff up?

            Increasingly, you come across as the guy in the fortress of your own.

            • chezami

              I didn’t make anything up. I think it is ridiculous that conservatives are treating it as a problem and not an opportunity when people are attracted to the gospel Francis preaches. I also think, by the way, that the use of the tu quoque (“No! *You’re the one in the Fortress!” is stupid.) It is not a *problem* that Francis is getting a hearing–except to one very consistently fretful subculture in the Church. That is not a commentary on the problems with Francis. It’s a commentary on the pathologies of that subculture–which has been bursting with people who think they need to defend the faith from the pope and have acted and spoken like it almost from the moment of his election. This article is just the latest manifestation.

              • Stu

                Your entire characterization of the article you cited is made up. Completely. That’s what is stupid. You are indeed creating your own fortress to stand against this “reactionary enemy” that you “fight” almost daily in posts like this. You have gotten to the point that any critique of Pope Francis, no matter how minor, is tantamount to sedevacantism. You seemingly appear to be the one panicking as if any criticism of the Pope shakes your foundation.

                If people misunderstanding the Pope is a chance for evangelization as you say, then start eating your own dog food. Use it as an opportunity to evangelize the “effing panicky reactionary bedwetters” who you like to rail against because they aren’t like you.

                • Marthe Lépine

                  Well, that is exactly what Mark is doing: Trying to evangelize those “eff…….tters”. Right now, they need to learn a lesson, and there is not really another way to tell them that they are wrong.

                  • Stu

                    When he starts listening to the what the Pope is saying about approaching sinners and actually applies it to people he doesn’t like, then he will be “evangelizing.” Until then he is just another guy on the internet settling a score in a brassy manner.

    • Marthe Lépine

      As I read that article, I indeed got the impression that the author was not particularly pleased to see communists approve of Pope Francis. And the author’s call for more efforts from the Pope to avoid being misunderstood is an unmistakeable tell-tale sign.

  • Stu

    From the article:
    “It’s no exaggeration to say that communists, like secular progressives, are excited about this new pope, and not because they’re suddenly thinking about becoming Catholic. No, they believe he’s more like them. They like him because they think he agrees with them.”
    ——————————–
    The point being made by the writer is that people are attracted to the words of the Pope because they are misconstruing him. He has no issue with people being attracted to the Faith by the witness of her evangelists.

    • Chesire11

      I wonder how many tax collectors, prostitutes and publicans understood the implications of what Christ was telling them. Doubtless, there was a risk that they might misconstrue His company as endorsement of their behaviors (certainly that appears to have been a fear of the Temple authorities).

      Francis is bringing the Church to sinners where they are. Sure he may be misinterpreted, and some will be like the seeds sown in shallow soil, but his critics have so little faith in the power of the Truth, and God’s Providence. Be not afraid! (Now where have I heard that before…)

      • Stu

        So is it possible to bring the Church to sinners where they are and make efforts to not be misinterpreted?

        • Marthe Lépine

          Maybe not, in the way you are saying it. If the Pope approached sinners with words of condemnation, even if he was correct in such condemnation, sinners would just not listen. If he approaches them with the message that God loves them, they might be intrigued and try to listen a little longer, even if they misunderstand what it means. Too obvious “efforts to not be misinterpreted” may in fact prevent sinners from paying attention. Plus: Where is the priority? Telling sinners that God is love, and that He loves them where they are, or reminding them that they are sinners? If people are brought to realize that God loves them, and they begin responding, they are likely to almost automatically (even if it can be slowly) turn away from their sins, as they get to know God better…

          • Stu

            I see no reason why one can’t be clear in what they say and attract sinners. Christ is the Truth. Why be afraid of saying it?

        • Chesire11

          We present the Truth to sinners as clearly as we are able, but aware that we will inevitably be misunderstood, for the simple fact that we ourselves, no matter how well churched misunderstand. St. Thomas Aquinas, granted a glimpse of the beatific vision, concluded that all he had written was mere straw.

          Salvation is not conditioned upon understanding- if it were, then all of us, being finite beings, incapable of grasping the limits of the infinite would be doomed – but upon acceptance of Divine Mercy. If that were not the case than the entire Church, and the Paschal Sacrifice on Calvary would be futile.The overwhelming majority of Catholics throughout history imperfectly understand even the most basic of Catholic Doctrines, and we ALL misunderstand divine mysteries like the Holy Trinity. It is not human ignorance, but human pride and folly, that are obstacles to the work of the Holy Spirit.

          Yes, it is best to express the Truths of the Faith as clearly as possible, but to fault effective evangelization because its converts don’t measure up to our own, more subtly nuanced errors strikes me as unwittingly mistrusting of the Holy Spirit.

          • Stu

            “Yes, it is best to express the Truths of the Faith as clearly as possible…”
            ——
            Good. We agree. There is no dichotomy between witnessing to sinners and making and effort to be clear so as to avoid misinterpretation.

    • http://commonsensecatholicism.blogspot.com/ Kevin Tierney

      And St. Cyril of Jerusalem welcomed those who came to him under false pretenses, and viewed it a challenge, not an opportunity to mock “the pope’s unusual fans”

      • Stu

        Sure. But that’s not my point. It’s that Mark completely mischaracterizes this man’s point to fit Mark’s current narrative. Indeed, it can be an opportunity but it cuts both ways as there are people within the Church using the Pope’s “style” as an opportunity to push their own agenda. It is what it is.

        Regardless, Mark can make his point without totally distorting what the man actually said. At least I think he can.

    • Steve

      In fairness, Mr. Stu, I think he should have re-thought the bit at the end about the communists. In that case, Pope Francis is actually against unbridled corporate greed. So if they find that to be a point in common, then great.

      That said, its not like any Pope has been in favor of corporate greed.

      • Stu

        I agree. If a communist says corporate greed is wrong, then in that regard the communist correct.

  • Marthe Lépine

    It is probably true that many are listening to Pope Francis for the wrong reasons. But at least they have begun to listen – maybe eventually they will actually “hear”. But when they begin to really hear what the Pope is saying, maybe some, of many, of them will have already been more open to h ear the truth because of their initial attraction to Pope Francis, and that attraction might not have been entirely founded on misunderstandings. It just might have been a first manifestation of grace reaching them, and as they listen more, they might come even closer to the truth. There has to be a first step.

    • Stu

      And that is a fair response to the article that actually addresses the author’s real points.


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