Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A Year with Pope Francis

There are a number of things that need to be addressed here. Perhaps if I put my main points in point-form that will help me to get somewhere:

1) The pope is a priest, not a politician. If either he or we see him more like the latter than the former, we have a problem. We have a problem.

2) Whether you 'like' him or not, this year has fundamentally upset what it took John Paul II and Benedict XVI 30 years to accomplish: to prove to the Church and the world that the Church's teaching does not change. Pope Francis may be able to reverse what has happened over these last 365 days, but he may not. I am not blaming him per se. We all know the media stirs up controversy.

3) Mostly everything that Pope Francis has done is what "I would have done." Perhaps he and I have learned this year that... maybe we shouldn't have...?  I "would have" reduced the status quo power of the Curia by changing up its membership, would have 'discouraged' the erection of a church-within-a-church with the Latin Mass stuff, would have wanted to preach to outsiders, not just insiders, would have wanted to reduce the institutional trappings of the Church. Yet, this is just one year, and we all know that when you attempt to change something, the sharpest pain is in the transition point: when you tear off the band-aid just before the endorphins kick in to deliver the "sweet" part of the pain. How's that for an analogy? I guess that this is where faith in the papacy needs to kick in in me. I mean, there can be bad popes, poor popes, etc. But there cannot be popes who destroy the Church. We need to at least have that much faith in the Church to consider ourselves Catholic. I am thinking that in about a year's time we will feel pretty silly about how worried we were.

4) The above should have been my last word, but I have more to say. One can say this last thing in all sorts of different ways, but I will say it this way. The great problem we have right now in the episcopacy is this: a culture where positions are esteemed. If you refer back to number 1 above, we can add that bishops are priests, but ones, right now, who are acting like politicians. They need to stop talking to the secular media, and only, or almost only, talk to the Catholic media. Those are the people to whom they owe account, not the world. They need to keep themselves within the sanctuary as much as possible. I mean, there is a lot more I could say here, but I am no St. Bernard or St. Catherine of Siena, so I won't. Bishops don't need to have a view, a position. They are servants of the Gospel, that's it. We don't tolerate priests taking a position in their homilies; we shouldn't bishops either. Taking positions is worldly. It has led to world wars and genocides.

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