Recently, someone on the internet claimed that I was “done” with Pope Francis (wrong) and also that I hoped he would magically wave a wand and destroy our teaching on the indissoluble nature of marriage (so wrong as to border on slander).
I know a lot of people have had fun spinning my plea for a little middle-class encouragement as Francis-hate, if it suits their purposes, while others have amused themselves by willfully-misinterpreting my advocacy for annulment reform as Francis-lovin’ anarchy. Imagine believing both things at once!
So, I appreciate the opportunity to be clear: I love the Holy Father and take no issue with anything he has taught us. I have openly wished for insta-clarity, and that is partly because I am spoiled and want a pope who speaks in English and does not leave us at the mercy of interpreters and secularist headlines. I loved Laudato Si, and I very much look forward to World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation (pdf), because Laudato Si helped to clarify for me the idea that the heinous sins of humanity are reflected in the tumult of creation — with which we are one — a therefore, debated sciences aside, our climate disruptions can truly be said to be man-made.
I’ve also consistently upheld our teaching on marriage, while also arguing that too little attention is paid to our annulment processes, going so far as to blast at how the conversation between Cardinals, last year, seemed to ignore annulment discussions altogether, in an effort to over-or-under emphasize Christ’s teaching on the matter. Annulment is an often misunderstood, healing discipline offered by the church — in some places, offered without cost — and it behooves us, as a church that balances justice and mercy, to do all we can to insure that people seeking the assistance of the church do not lose heart or hope — or the entire connection to the faith, in the process.
I’ll follow up with some more thoughts on annulment reform, later.