Pope Francis, the first Jesuit to become pope, said that the focus on social issues like abortion, traditional marriage, homosexuality and contraception is harming the Catholic church.
Francis said, “It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.” He added that the church will fall "like a house of cards" unless it strikes a "new balance" between preaching the gospel and addressing social issues.
He also said that the church should act like a "field hospital after battle" to "heal wounds and to warm the hearts" of people so that they feel welcome.
But the idea that the Catholic church focuses “all the time” on abortion, homosexuality and contraception is false and is a story line of the Liberal Media. In fact it is government action that has forced these discussions in the first place; for instance it is government legitimization of unfettered access to abortion has led the Catholic church to talk so often about abortion. Thus Christians have no alternative except to talk about these issues, and the Catholic church is leading the way. Good.
Meanwhile the Catholic church has spent decades, even centuries, doing many great things – spreading the word of Christ, ministering to the spiritually needy and the poor around the world, celebrating mass, building communities and giving a spiritual home to people who find themselves adrift. And of course this all comes on top of its core function which it to guide its followers toward eternal salvation.
This is why there are 1 billion Catholics in the world. These people certainly have not been attracted by an institution that talks in dire tones about social issues “all the time.”
What about the heavenly pageantry of the Vatican all the way down to a Christmas or Easter service at your local church? Are they not always events of peace, uplift and grace?
Yes. And it is the success of the Catholic church that enrages its critics. Then in the liberal way of thinking Catholics are supposed to become more liberal, which is what this debate is really all about. Because in fact the Catholic church is one of the most significant international and institutional bastions against left-wing social dissolution. Thus the liberals want to undermine its foundations as they wish to erode all of genuine Christianity.
Francis certainly was referring to issues like these: The US Conference of Catholic Bishops said that Catholics who vote for abortion-rights supporters could endanger their souls. Catholic leaders in Minnesota, Maine and elsewhere took prominent roles in opposing legal recognition for same-sex marriage in their states. Bishops censured some Catholic officials and prompted a Vatican takeover of the largest association for American nuns by saying that the sisters had strayed from church doctrine and minimized abortion. There are many, many stories like these.
To which a rational response is: Good. The church stood for its beliefs. This is a positive thing. What good is an institution that does not stand for its principles? On the other hand Catholicism has been irrevocably harmed and many millions have fallen away in the last 20 years not because of its strong theological pronouncements on social issues but because of the abuse scandal among homosexual priests in which the church badly failed its own doctrinal standards.
Few of the American bishops who have commented so far on Pope Francis’ comments have indicated that they plan to change. This means that many in the Catholic church are staying strong while some are continuing to act defensively, just as many Christians are acting defensively these days when they should not. Because it is Christianity and its discipline and God-ly order that have shepherded Western man for 1,700 years. It has been the United States and Europe, which have been officially and often devoutly Christian, that have been the incubators of all of our modern world’s political, scientific, artistic, and technological advancement.
Christian monasteries for 1,000 years between the fall of Rome and the rise of the Renaissance were not only homes for the spirit but were major European centers of scholarship and preservation of ancient wisdom, while they also acted as banks, schools, hospitals and shelters for the poor. They even refined agricultural practices to increase the food supply.
Meanwhile the media narrative is that Christianity and the Catholic church are out of step with an increasingly secular global society. But look at the condition of that society and you will see that it is often eroded and unhappy. Families and marriage have been destroyed in many places. Western society is adrift in the temporal pursuit of pleasure, money and a social utopia that will never arrive. At the same time those who have remained faithful to authentic Christian doctrines are happier and healthier that those who haven’t.
Still many Christians and Catholics have become entrapped in the media narrative that they are backward and rigid and must somehow reform and become more ‘modern’.
Friends, in our troubled world we need stability. We need rules and boundaries and guardrails so that we do not go off of the road. We need historical moorings. Genuine Christianity, with its Biblical underpinnings and its eternal word of God, is a beacon of solidity and security in these times. Nothing is more certain and more instructive than the Ten Commandments or the five simple words in the gospel of Matthew – “love your neighbour as yourself”. At the same time many of the world’s people feel deflated and lost even when surrounded by great material wealth.
Take the issue of contraception and ObamaCare. Catholic bishops are continuing to seek religious exemptions from the contraception coverage rule in the so-called Affordable Care Act. Many Catholic charities and dioceses, along with evangelical colleges and other institutions, are taking the Obama administration to court over the regulation saying that the provision violates the religious freedom of faith-based employers.
This contraception mandate is a clear violation of the First Amendment to the US Constitution, of the “separation of church and state” standard that liberals are always using against Christians. It is precisely what the Founders warned about in the First Amendment which states in its very first words:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof
Liberals say over and over and over that this amendment is clear proof that the Founders wanted religion kept out of the government and the public square, which accounts for their proclivity to seek to ban prayers in public schools, meetings or at school football games. But liberals never want us to think about the other side of the coin – the side that we conservative know is vastly more germane – and that is that the Founders wanted to insure that the government does not interfere with the “free exercise” of religion, as the Catholics wish to do with their rules on contraception.
… Francis denounced abortion as a symptom of a "throw-away culture," in an address to Catholic gynecologists. He encouraged the physicians to refuse to perform abortions. But in the interview last month, conducted in Rome by the editor of the Jesuit journal La Civilta Cattolica, Francis said "it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time."
New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the bishops' conference, said he thought the pope was telling everyone — inside and outside the church — to focus less on polarizing debates on sex and morals.
… "What I think he's saying is, ‘Those are important issues and the church has got to keep talking about them, but we need to talk about them in a fresh new way.' If we keep kind of a negative, finger-wagging tone, it's counterproductive." (end of foxnews.com excerpt)
Note the defensive tone of the statement – that opposition to abortion is “negative, finger wagging.”
No it isn’t. It is positive and essential. Because in a culture with more than 1 million abortions per year in America alone, finger-wagging is required. Francis is right; we have become a throw-away culture and human life has been degraded. In fact the Catholic church is wagging its finger into a tidal wave of abortions. Yet somehow the church is supposed to feel out-of-touch and change its ways, and the pro-abortionists are not? Unbelievable…
The Catholic church, and all genuine Christians, should be talking about these issues as if their lives depended on it. Because the life of Christianity is at stake. Millions of poseurs and charlatans are taking over the Christian faith, establishing ‘gay churches’ or preaching ‘global warming’ or other social and economic paradigms rather than the word of God. This is what in the long run is the greatest threat to the Catholic church and to all of Christianity. Meanwhile foxnews.com reported:
During the 2004 presidential election, then Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis launched what was dubbed "wafer watch" when he said he would deny Communion to Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, a Catholic who supported abortion rights. Other bishops followed suit or suggested that abortion-rights supporters refrain from the sacrament. (Benedict later appointed Burke head of the Vatican high court and elevated him to cardinal.) (end of foxnews.com excerpt)
Burke’s action is perfectly legitimate unless you read the Liberal Media, which wants to make Catholics feel even more uncertain than they do already under the relentless attacks from secular socialism. And so they attack Burke as a throwback to the past when in fact he is a timeless representative for God’s good.
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