So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15). Guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards faith (1 Tim. 6:21-22).

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

For The Love Of Pete

Pope Francis is, in the colloquial lingo of some older folk, a funny duck. He has a big heart and promotes care of the weak, but he routinely derides anyone who, in humility, loves Sacred Tradition and who values beautiful expressions of love for God such as reverent liturgy.

Allies? Alloys?

Pope Francis seems to be having a rough time convincing himself, let alone others, that his insights into marriage and family life, not to mention his views on Tradition and the Liturgy, have merit. Too frequently, we witness him transferring his frustrations on to others who simply do not merit such condescension and discourteous treatment. If he is convinced of his positions, why does he callously resort to name calling and cheap insults which serve little purpose other than to inflame wounds and incite others (of lower character) to unfairly berate and deride Tradition-minded Catholics who are the very disciples of Jesus Christ who are leading the New Evangelization (e.g., by loving the Lord and by practicing the Spiritual and Corporal works of mercy and by defending the sanctity of life and by celebrating the Liturgy worthily and by behaving as penitent Catholics should and...)? Pope Francis seems awkwardly bent on alienating the Church's best allies. His disparaging commentary that afflicts faithful Catholics on the front lines of the culture wars is often not pleasant. It would seem that the Lord is testing His people, strengthening those not willing to abandon the Lord's teaching and support communion for impenitent adulterers.

If the attitudes and actions of fanatical supporters of Amoris Laetitia were the sole gauge of its merit, Pope Francis could be accused of creating an unnecessary or false dichotomy between theology and practice, a rift between truth and mercy capable of destroying the faith of Catholics. Francis' apparent refusal to respond to the dubia of the four Cardinals is puzzling and, to some, a dereliction of duty. In light of Francis' call for open and forthright debate, he has on more than one occasion demonstrated little respect for the worthy counsel of the faithful. He has shut down debate on serious matters and permitted loose play with doctrine. His papal audiences are too often theologically awkward, occasionally circus-like, and frequently demonstrate a defensive tone. How is his example an appropriate one for the Keeper of the Keys?


Veneer?

Is it condescending or imprecise to suggest that, while Pope Francis tries so very hard to model the love of Christ, his seemingly generous acts of deference and mercy toward the poorest and most vulnerable seem forced at times, staged even? His seemingly spontaneous departures from protocol (that delight dissidents and "progressives") seem telegraphed, as if he is more concerned about a favourable media response than the right formation of the faithful.

At times, Pope Francis seems to contradict the very mission of the Church, i.e., the mission to evangelize in the Name of Jesus for the salvation of souls. His reliance on theologically compromised sources is naive. If news reports have been accurate, he has frequently criticized efforts by mission-minded Catholics to persuade people that, if they want to enjoy eternal love and joy, they should embrace the Truth of the Catholic Faith. What are we if not evangelizers ready to give reason for the hope that is within us (1 Peter 3:15)?

Charity

Why ask the above questions? Pope Francis himself has asked for our prayers. All Catholics should not shy away from our obligation to pray for the Pope. He is our spiritual father and the chief shepherd of Jesus' Church on earth. Francis is answerable to God Almighty for every word he speaks and every deed he commits. He needs the truth spoken in love to him, as we all do from time to time, even if the truth stings a bit. His cardinals, at least the brave ones, have reminded him of the dignity of his office. Would it be such a terrible thing if he were to issue a simple affirmation of the Apostolic Faith confirming the brethren in the continuous teaching and practice of the Church regarding Holy Communion?

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