When the New York Times said...
'Conservative U.S. Catholics Feel Left Out of the Pope’s Embrace'
Today's story from the NYT's reminded me of the Elton John/Bernie Taupin song, Levon, hence the reference in the post title.
Did you know the full title of the Times piece which the lyrics referenced went like this: "The actual New York Times page 1 headline that included the phrase "God Is Dead" is dated March 24, 1968; the full headline read, "'God Is Dead' Doctrine Losing Ground to 'Theology of Hope'."
Ironic, don't you think? Because the so-called conservative Catholics might well be saying the same thing today as back then - just fiddle with the subject a bit. "Under Pope Francis, Catholic Doctrine gaining ground to 'Theology of Hope'." (Incidentally - Benedict XVI started all of this, with his particular emphasis on the theology of Hope.)
Perhaps not the best analogy, but if you'll pardon the reference, it seems to me the elder sons and daughters of the Church seem to feel left out as the Pope welcomes the prodigal sons and daughters who fell away back home. Just a thought.
The New York Times story.
Some Catholics in the church’s conservative wing in the United States say Francis has left them feeling abandoned and deeply unsettled. On the Internet and in conversations among themselves, they despair that after 35 years in which the previous popes, John Paul II and Benedict XVI, drew clear boundaries between right and wrong, Francis is muddying Catholic doctrine to appeal to the broadest possible audience. -NYT
Any Catholic with a blog or who reads Catholic blogs know the story. Many spread the story.
This weekend in my Archdiocese protesters are picketing outside the Archbishop's residence demanding Archbishop Nienstedt resign - because cases of sexual abuse were mishandled in the archdiocese. Many of the protesters are considered dissident Catholic because they are in favor of women's ordination and same sex marriage.
Just goes to show you can't please everybody.
Inevitably, journalists find there way to Catholic blogs to enhance their stories. The Times article favored this one:
Steve Skojec, the vice president of a real estate firm in Virginia and a blogger who has written for several conservative Catholic websites, wrote of Francis’ statements: “Are they explicitly heretical? No. Are they dangerously close? Absolutely. What kind of a Christian tells an atheist he has no intention to convert him? That alone should disturb Catholics everywhere.”
In an interview on Friday, Mr. Skojec said he was overwhelmed by the positive response to his blog from people who said they were thinking the same things but had not wanted to say them in public. He said he had come to suspect that Francis is a “self-styled revolutionary” who wants to change the church fundamentally.
“There have been bad popes in the history of the church,” Mr. Skojec said. “Popes that murdered, popes that had mistresses. I’m not saying Pope Francis is terrible, but there’s no divine protection that keeps him from being the type of guy who with subtlety undermines the teachings of the church to bring about a different vision.” - NYT
What is so hard to understand? Especially when the Holy Father affirmed:
"The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church..."
We don't have to like the pope, we don't even have to read what he says - except if he speaks ex-cathedra. Popes don't do it that often anyway. We don't have to get our approval for the good works we do from the pope, the bishop or any priest. We can't depend upon approval or support or even thanks and praise from any person or human organization - only from God.
I love this comment on the Times article from Fr. Martin:
Laurie Goodstein's new piece, "Conservative US Catholics Feel Left Out of the Pope's Embrace," gives voice to a strain of Catholicism in this country that has been increasingly noticeable. A few of the quotes in this piece are patently ridiculous - like the person who accuses Pope Francis of being "dangerously close" to heresy. But the greatest irony is that some Catholics from this part of the church were the same ones who would excoriate anyone who disagreed in the slightest with any statement of Pope John Paul II or Pope Benedict XVI. Apparently, it's now okay to disagree with the Pope. - Fr. James Martin, S.J.
I wanted to say that.