Did Pope Francis Undermine US Catholic Bishops?

Rod Dreher in the NY Times suggests that the effect of Pope Francis’ America interview is that American Catholics (and the rest of the liberal gang) now assume that Catholic bishops need to simply shut up about abortion, same sex marriage and contraception because the Pope has told them to. Read the article here.

I fear he is correct. I’ve already read articles by homosexualists Catholics who have said (in effect) “I’m so glad Pope Francis has finally said that he accepts me as I am.” Which means “he condones my lifestyle.”

Yes, yes I know that’s not what the Pope said, but that is how it is being misinterpreted. What is happening is that the secular media are working to establish an artificial new climate and context for debate. They wish for the status quo to be pro abortion, pro same sex marriage, pro contraceptives and a complete sexual free for all. They wish that to be the new establishment, default setting. Anyone who objects will be portrayed as crazy, Amish, Westboro Baptist type freaks and wackos who need to be weeded out.

Their interpretation of the Holy Father’s comments are just one tactic in a much larger strategy.


  • Greg

    I do not think so . I think they are in for the fight of their lives with Francis. Let us set all aright and first things first. The proclamation of the Gospel, the call to repent then what flows from that the Church s moral authority. The Pope is not saying do less but do more, with 50 % or more of Catholics having voted for pro abortion candidates there is an epic failure here. Only when the people who promote the culture of death convert to Christ will their hearts and minds be illuminated with the conviction of Truth.

  • MikeL

    Reading the comments following Rod Dreher’s article (recognizing, of course, that these are from the New York Times reader demographic) I think his fears are more than justified. It seems to be giving cover to those for whom religious freedom – the first freedom addressed in the First Amendment to the Constitution – is a best a nuisance and at worst a threat.

  • lightbearer33

    I believe the larger strategy Father is to set the stage for the soon to come one-world government and one-world religion of the anti-Christ! We must agree to pray for our Holy Father that he will be protected, guided, and in continual union with the Holy Spirit so that when he speaks “off the cuff” he will not give the wrong impression about what he actually believes about homosexuality, abortion, contraception, etc…I do believe he is in line with church teaching on these issues!

    • jenny

      I thought that all messages at Fatima, Lourdes, Medjugorje, etc., are directly and indirectly telling us to pray for unity….. Can we be united only inside the catholic church, and separated from others?

      • lightbearer33

        Jesus prayed at the Last Supper that “they may all be one Father as you and I are one…” Jesus longs for all of His children to be united in one holy catholic church (catholic means universal)…however the one world government and church are a mockery of what Jesus prayed for…this one world church will be a New Age church where anything goes, sin and repentance are thrown out the window, and Jesus is just another “cool prophet”….so unity yes, but unity that follows the Nicene Creed and nothing less than that!

  • Michael

    There is something wrong when the Pope constantly has to be explained in terms of traditional theology and practices by others. It is not good for the church which was finally gaining some stability. It is like deja vu all over again from the 70s.

    • OneTimothyThreeFifteen

      I find it funny that some of the more traditional are beginning to consider themselves a ‘loyal opposition’. I wonder where we’ve heard that before? :-)

  • kenofken

    “They wish for the status quo to be pro abortion, pro same sex marriage, pro contraceptives and a complete sexual free for all. They wish that to be the new establishment, default setting.”…………

    These things have been the new establishment default setting in popular culture for 50 years (gay marriage half that time). Nobody is waiting with baited breath for Francis or any other pope to sign off on it. Nobody outside of practicing Catholics cares what he or the bishops think about anything. The only public debate of any gravity concerned how much the Church as an institution would be able to influence gay marriage in civil law. That has been settled.

    If Francis “undermined” anything, it was the notion that the Church is anyone’s tool or fighting force in culture wars. The American Catholic scene in particular has been consumed by culture wars for going on 20 years. The USCCB, for all intents and purposes, spent most of its time and visibility shilling for NOM and the Republican party, (and making excuses for continuing abuse). At the other end, we had a shrill and wildly unrealistic minority who hope to radically re-tool doctrine.

    Francis has basically said “hey, remember the poor, the Gospels, that Galilean dude whose name is on the incorporation papers?” “Let’s get back to our core business.” People will spin that how they like, but I believe he’s no fool. He sees that angry partisanship and authoritarianism has gotten the Church nowhere in the West and will not work in the forseeable future. It doesn’t have the numbers or the governments or the armies it once had, and it has zero credibility as a moral voice among the larger culture (and even a fair number of its actual members).

    The Church is not going to browbeat anyone into anything, or change the culture from an ever-shrinking fortress garrison of doctrinal purity. Francis knows its only chance is to invest several generations of work to show, not tell, society why its spiritual vision should be persuasive.

    For whatever it’s worth, I’m a pagan ex-Catholic who subscribes to exactly none of the Church’s teachings on sexuality, but I have no desire nor expectation for Francis or anyone to change the Church’s doctrine to suit anyone. That said, I have some respect for Francis where I have none for the American bishops.

  • OneTimothyThreeFifteen

    I actually think he’s overmined them (and ours in the UK, too). :)

    To me, Pope Francis is simply too profound for most people. His level of insight is mind-blowingly razor-sharp. His wisdom and capacity for shrewd discernment simply supersedes the intellectual. He is way beyond it. He lives the Mystery.

    The traddies are upset with him because they are like little children who get completely absorbed with their toys, so have a tantrum when the parent steps in to save them from themselves – some sort of danger – like playing with the light socket or kitchen knife ‘toy’, because they are oblivious of the danger the parent can see.

    With this Holy father we are seeing something of the supernatural vision of discipleship, rather than the mundane and childish.

    His message, to me, is simply one to grow up spiritually. JPII Philosophy, BXVI, Theology, and Francis? Anthropology and Spiritual Theology. It’s as if he’s the culmination and incarnation of these two previous, and magnificent, papacies. He’s like Ignatius, Caussade, Vianney, de Sales, and Scupoli, all rolled into one.

    He blows me away.

  • http://connecticutcatholiccorner.blogspot.com/ CT Catholic Corner

    This is why our poor Bishops have to jump in the media each time the Pope speaks to tell the world what Pope Francis REALLY meant.
    The Pope needs to learn (and quick) to speak more clearly so that the media can NOT twist what he says. He was very clear the next day about abortion- he MUST do the same with gay marriage etc.

  • Karen

    Now we will have, maybe, the “Spirit of Pope Francis” to go along with the “Spirit of Vatican II. Just what we don’t need.