Wednesday, May 23, 2018

What the Pope said ... I spoke too soon.

Mr. Cruz and Pope Francis.

The story and commentary is growing and getting dissected.

Not to worry.  Prayer obtains all.  I should have known better than to respond to the story so quickly, but it is a really good reminder of how deeply I need 'to allow myself to be taught', to paraphrase St. John of the Cross.

So anyway.  I think I get it now. What the Holy Father reportedly said is entirely consistent with his way of approaching those alienated from the Church. It is consistent with his style of evangelization and his concept of the Church as field hospital.

Having more background on the story helped me out - Juan Carlos Cruz was reportedly discredited by the Chilean bishops, whose spokesmen pointed out that he was gay and therefore unreliable, a blame and shame the victim strategy.  So it fits that the Holy Father would make such a comment privately and personally, without feeling the need to hold up the catechism and point out what actual teaching is.  I'm sure Mr. Cruz knew it already.  It was a private exchange and was a kindly affirmation of an individual person, and as I've said before, it was not 'for me' nor did it change Catholic teaching.  I'm not sure the Pope expected it to be made public, nor did he intend it as a correction of doctrinal teaching, and I highly doubt he will clarify it.  

My initial reaction had more to do with how media and social media especially erupted, and it reveals how deeply my own 'doctrinal adhesion' if you will, became a barrier to a basic sense of empathy. On one level, it reveals my own self-righteousness based upon my personal sense of 'dogmatic fidelity'.  (It kind of adds credence to what Pope Francis warns us all about regarding strains of 'Neo-Pelagianism and Neo-Gnosticism' infecting Catholics.)  

That said, it's amazing how many outside the Church, especially former practicing Catholic celebrities, seemed to have understood the gesture immediately.  I know conservative writers seem to think 'liberals' consider the Pope's gesture to be a sea change in Catholic doctrinal teaching, but I don't see it that way at all.  Of course Fr. Martin, S.J. might see it that way, yet so do traditionalists, who are already predicting the Youth Synod will be corrupted by the 'liberal' POV.  This sort of projection of what could happen or not happen is typical of those who have come through the culture wars, and it is outside my expertise and competence.  It's also very often completely devoid of charity.

Again, I love the Holy Father and I am grateful for his humble leadership.


  1. "It's also very often completely devoid of charity." That's an extremely bold and totally judgemental statement without any evidence whatsoever. If you are saying that people who uphold Church teaching are, by definition, devoid of charity then so be it although such a statement would be ridiculous. If you are saying that some people who uphold Church teaching are devoid of charity then that is a judgement which we are called upon not to make. Only God sees into out hearts. The Church teaches that we should always strive to put the best possible interpretation on what people say or do. But it can be said that as Church teaching is based on God's Revelation then any reminder of the Church's teaching can only, by definition, be charitable. Being charitable means seeking the good of others and warning others of sin is only seeking their good.Suggesting, in any way whatsoever, that people can commit grievous sins without any consequences to their souls is anything but charitable. Nor can anybody, including Popes, make exceptions for people who want to commit grievous sins. Suggesting to somebody that they are in some way an exception is misleading to the [person concerned and therefiore the opposite of being charitable - or "pastoral" in the sense used by certain people in the Church. As far as the Youth Synod is concerned, people have every right to be concerned. We only need to look at the rigging of the previous Synods and then how their decisions were ignored when they did not come up with the 'right' decisions. People have every right to worry that the same will happen with the Youth Synod. It is perfectly possible that after the Synod a document will be issued which will include a highly ambiguous footnote which will be interpreted by many in a way which the Synod did not decide and then all sorts of nods and winks will be given that these interpretations are the only ones possible.

  2. “I saw a compassionate man, I saw someone who was caring for someone, not worrying about if we are gay, straight, brown, white. He was hearing from someone who has been hurt, abused."

    He is describing our Lord Jesus Christ.

    I believe our Lord would have been there to listen, to heal, to love.

    His Vicar was only doing the same. Compassion takes a hold in people's hearts. It can bring about so much healing and conversion.

    I know because it certainly did for me.

    Thanks Terry.


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