Thursday, December 26, 2013

"...when the true doctrine is unpopular, it is not right to seek easy popularity.."

Christopher Stefanick is anxious to dismiss the legitimate concerns of orthodox Catholics who are rightly concerned over recent comments made by Pope Francis. Writing for the "Catholic" Free Press [Diocese of Worcester, Massachusetts], a newspaper with a long history of promoting dissent from Catholic moral teaching, he says, "Pope Francis isn't endearing himself to 'the left' or 'the right' - those poles that have so painfully torn apart the Church since Vatican II...Those who have come to experience the Church as a conservative fortress to keep sinners out rather than as a launching pad for a mission to serve the world, sinners included, are rightly threatened by Francis." (How do you solve a problem like Pope Francis?, The Catholic Free Press, December 20, 2013). Catholics faithful to both Sacred Scripture and Tradition do not view the Church as a "conservative fortress to keep sinners out." But neither do they view the Church as a whorehouse where every sort of sin is either justified and celebrated or at least tolerated. Such Catholics believe the words of Our Lord, "Without Me you can do nothing." And they know asell that, "Unless the Lord builds the house, he labors in vain who builds it." Father Vincent Miceli, himself a Jesuit, warned that, "Only the uncompromising, whole-hearted faith and love of the believer can melt the uncompromising, whole-hearted rebellious hardness of the atheist. Faith begets faith and love, love. Perfect faith dissolves perfect skepticism. To be able to lead men and save ourselves and others, then, believers must be the deepest witnesses of God they can become. The free society of the West is desperately in need of leaders, of men in love with the truth; for only by sharing divine truth and transcendence will man escape the shackles of matter, motion, measurement, and time." We need men in love with the truth. Is Pope Francis such a man? That isn't the perception of many both within and without the Church. For example, E.J. Dionne, a columnist with the Washington Post, writes, "Pope Francis...has won accolades from the gay community for his simple (and very Christian) declaration, 'Who am I to judge them [homosexual persons] if they're seeking the Lord in good faith?'" Of course, the qualifier here is: "if they're seeking the Lord in good faith." But because Pope Francis has succumbed to using the politically-charged propaganda word "gay" while referring to homosexual persons [with all the confusion this can generate, see here:], his intentions are not very clear. Which is why Mr. Dionne writes, "...when even the pope wonders aloud as to whether or not it's appropriate for him to judge, you begin to see the difficulty of deciding what 'true Christians' ought to believe. This raises the question of whether the religiously based principles are merely cultural artifacts that we bend to our own immediate purposes...Pope Francis, for one, has warned against the pursuit of 'an exaggerated doctrinal security,' and criticized 'those who stubbornly try to recover a past that no longer exists.'" (Duck Dynasty, meet Pope Francis). Exaggerated doctrinal security? A past that no longer exists? The authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition, has been entrusted to a Custodian, the living teaching office of the Church, whose authority is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ (see Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 85). The same Christ Jesus Who is, "..the same yesterday, today, and forever" (Hebrews 13: 8). Faithful Catholics do not view the Lord Jesus or His Church - the doctrine of which represents His mind on matters - as belonging to a past that no longer exists. Rather, they understand that Heaven and earth will pass away, but His words will not pass away. (Matthew 24: 35). No, the Church isn't sa fortress built to keep sinners out. But some sinners freely choose to exclude themselves from Christ, His grace and His Church. Those who embrace certain evils - acts which are intrinsically evil such as homosexual acts - exclude themselves from the Kingdom of God by the truths which they violate: "If we sin deliberately after receiving knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains sacrifice for sins but a fearful prospect of judgment and a flaming fire that is going to consume the adversaries. Anyone who rekects the law of Moses is put to death on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Do you not think that a much worse punishment is due the one who has contempt for the Son of God, considers unclean the covenant-blood by which he was consecrated, and insults the spirit of grace?" (Hebrews 10: 26-29). Orthodox Catholics aren't thrteatened by Francis. But they are concerned that he may not be entirely committed to truth, to sound doctrine. At a time when the rabid homosexual agenda is advancing and "gay marriage" continues to spread like a cancer, we have a Pope who seems to be more interested in being popular than in defending sound doctrine. Pope Francis has said that the Church could collapse like a "house of cards" if it continues to take a strong stance against "gay marriage." One has to wonder how much he trusts the Lord Jesus' promise that the gates of Hell will never prevail against His Church. Christ told us that the road to eternal salvation is not broad and comfortable but rather narrow and difficult (Matthew 7: 13-14). No one who claims to be Catholic has a right to abandon that perspective or to change it - not even a pope!

1 comment:

David James said...

Oh my! Did the Pope really say that continued resistance to gay marriage could cause the collapse of the Church. Could you please provide the source of the quote...this is very important
In christ,


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