A young reader writes about her confusion over Pope Francis

A young reader writes about her confusion over Pope Francis February 8, 2017

She writes:

I’m a teenaged Catholic who tries to follow your blog and very much respects your insight into topics.  Lately I’ve been having a hard time understanding all the news on amoris laetitia, Pope Francis, and the Dubia:

  • What should a Catholic think and say when people ask?

I can only speak for myself and say that Amoris Laetitia is a pastoral document meant to help people doing ministry navigate the extreme complexity of the postmodern family.  Because of this, it doesn’t surprise me in the least that it allows for  a huge amount of flexibility.

  • Why has Pope Francis not been clear on what he meant by “in some circumstances”?

Depends on what you mean by “clear”.  I tend to think it’s not a problem of clarity so much as it is a problem of people looking to catch the Pope in his words and attack him.  This relates to your next question:

  • And WHY are the tones of news sources I used to trust sound like they’ve already condemned our Pope?

Because a lot of them have.  The hostility to this pope from right wing American conservative Catholics (and just plain American conservatives) has been plain from virtually the day he was elected.  They hate him because he threatens a great deal of the American conservative project, particularly the adoration of mammon and the trampling of the poor.  The normal practice for 30 years has been to pit the unborn against whoever the conservative wants to trample and rob.  So we are constantly told that “abortion is our core non-negotiable and we should focus on it alone”.  And yet our time is spent, not on abortion, but on attacking the pope when he speaks on behalf of the Church’s whole teaching on the death penalty, a living wage for the poor, refugees, or any other issue American conservatives don’t like.  If the focus were *really* on the unborn, we would simply agree with the Holy Father (since what he says is in fact in agreement with the Church’s teaching).  But instead, the time and energy goes to *fighting him*.  And the unborn only get trotted out as human shields to protect the people fighting the Church (as in “Why are we opposing the death penalty or talking about lazy people wanting more money for their work?  What about abortion?”)  Never mind that there’s no need for the death penalty and never mind that the principle driver for abortion is poverty so that a living wage will help drive down the abortion rate.  We spend our time and energy *saying* we put the unborn first, but it really goes to fighting the Church–and especially Pope Francis.

  • Can we still have faith that God has placed this Pope in our midst for the good of His church?

Sure.  He’s a very good man.  Not a perfect man (no pope is, starting with Peter).  But a good one.  We are far better employed listening to his teaching and trying to do it than listening to his critics constantly finding fault with him.

I’ve just had a discussion with my family members (I have a rather large family and we all have strong opinions) which has confused me more than I can say.

I can’t seem to find anything on your blog about this, so I was wondering if you could just give me your opinion on the matter.

Here’s a piece I wrote sometime ago that might help.

Don’t give up hope.  God has blessed us in this pope.  A holy man and a one who loves the Church and our Lord.

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