Much to the disappointment of this Catholic, Pope Francis balked on a golden opportunity to convey to the world just how fundamentally, how vehemently, the vision of the Church differs from that of President Obama when the two met a couple of weeks back.
Why? Can it be that Francis is the fellow traveler that the left-wing press has been making him out to be?
Resoundingly, Roman Catholic writer Selwyn Duke answers this question in the negative.
Pope Francis, he writes, has been “victimized” as much as anyone by the “common media tactic” of “cut-and-paste propaganda [.]” Though he’s been depicted as castigating Catholics for obsessing over abortion and other issues of sexual morality, what the Pope has actually said is that “‘it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time’” because “’the teaching of the church…is clear and I am a son of the church (emphasis original) [.]”
For certain, Duke is correct that the left has been determined to makeFrancis appear as one of their own from the outset. But the forgoing quotation from the Pope, far from undermining this appearance, strengthens it.
Francis’ remarks could have just easily flowed from the mouths of any Catholic Democratic politician. In not so many words, they have. Pavlovian-like, Catholic Democrat politicians, particularly at election time, reflexively assure voters that while they personally oppose (say) abortion, they refuse to impose their “religious beliefs” upon others. That “the teaching of the Church is clear” is a proposition that they readily concede.
In short, the Pope sounds evasive.
In Francesca Ambrogetti’s and Sergio Rubin’s, Pope Francis: His Life in His Own Words, Francis is questioned whether the Church’s “reprimands” “scare” people off. He replies: “Of course.” Francis immediately adds that it is not “a good Catholic attitude to go looking solely for the negative,” for this not “only makes our message distorted and frightening,” “it also implies a lack of acceptance [.]”
And “Christ accepted everything.”
There are a few rather disturbing things of which to take note here.
First, like any skilled politician, Francis answers this question without actually answering it. It is obvious that a preoccupation with “the negative” is never a good thing. Yet it is also irrelevant to the question.
Second, only a Biblical illiterate, a New Ageist, or a PC politician could believe that “Christ accepted everything.” Jesus accepted anyone who believed in Him, it is true. But even this was conditional upon the sinner’s admitting their sinfulness and resolving to “go and sin no more.”
Jack Kerwick received his doctoral degree in philosophy from Temple University. His area of specialization is ethics and political philosophy. He is a professor of philosophy at several colleges and universities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Jack blogs at Beliefnet.com: At the Intersection of Faith & Culture. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or friend him on facebook. You can also follow him on twitter.