Media coverage of this papacy is beginning to grate. Seriously. Pope Francis I has been transmogrified into a pop(e)star. He is the only hope of a decrepit and decadent Catholic Church. I bet it won’t be long before people start calling him Frankie…
Don’t judge homosexual people, he said. You can still go to Heaven if you’re an atheist. He phoned an unmarried mother-to-be, offering to baptise her child when the time comes, and so on.
In a previous post I had remarked on how frequently Pope Francis referred (up till then, at least) to the Novissimi – i.e. Death, Judgement, Heaven and Hell. He calls the devil the Prince of the World. You don’t get much of this sort of thing reported in mainstream media.
The Pope appears to want to reach out to society’s outcasts even – much like Jesus did, after all. But we must bear in mind that when Jesus saved the adulteress from stoning, for example, and forgave her her sins, he told her to not sin any more.
Although Pope Francis tells us to not judge homosexual people, I have never heard him tell them “Well done, please carry on, you’re doing the right thing.”
When he says that atheists can go to Heaven – obviously – he doesn’t mean that unconverted atheists can go to Heaven. Especially when by “atheist” we mean a person who deliberately rejects God. Why would such a person want to go to heaven, anyway? There’s no such thing as Heaven for atheists, I thought.
He expressed his solidarity with that young woman not because she is going to have a child out of wedlock but because rather than picking the easy way and aborting the pregnancy, she chose to bring the child into the world - which means giving it a fighting chance of going to Heaven – and presumably bring it up to the best of her abilities.
I don’t like this deliberate (?) misrepresentation of what Pope Francis says and does. It may even be a concerted attempt to make him appear spineless, for all I know.
Please read this (longish) interview to get a glimpse of the man and the pope. And please allow me, by way of corroboration to my remarks above, to ruin the introduction for you. When Fr Spadaro SJ (yay!) asked the pope who he is as a person, the pope replied “A sinner.”
I was relieved to learn that our Church is led by a man who still thinks that sin is objective and real. Thank heavens for little mercies …
My wife gave me this mug as a surprise. It came with a decorative teaspoon. Now this teaspoon was something else again. I hung it on the key holder for all the world to see … Julian (my older son) wanted to have a closer look, so he slips the ribbon off the hook and drops the teaspoon on the floor, returning it to its constituent atoms. I stood there looking at the fine white dust on the floor, closing and opening my mouth and flapping my arms like a singularly inarticulate guppy who can’t think of what to say. I was sure that when the words came they’d flow smoothly …
Julian’s face sagged. Tears welled in his eyes.
“Naughty!” (That was my first word)
How he bawled.
I couldn’t continue. He was obviously heartbroken. He knew he’d done something he shouldn’t. I just had to call him for a quick hug and a milk shake – or was it a yoghurt? (You can’t give whiskey to five year-olds, you know)
Point of this story is that when you see someone who’s wronged you feel genuinely sorry for what he (or she) has done, you can’t be angry at them. It brought to mind the logic of God’s apparently contradictory intolerance to sin and infinite mercy. I was mightily annoyed at Julian for smashing my Guinness spoon to smithereens, but having seen how sincere his tears were I couldn’t not forgive him. I guess we’re all Julians in God’s eyes; nothing can’t be fixed with a genuine “Sorry” (I know, I know, the double negatives are atrocious. Sorry )
There’s another bit to this story. After the milkshake/yoghurt he caught sight of the mug and made a beeline for it. I nipped a potential cataclysm in the bud and held it for him while he examined it. To lift a phrase from Oscar Wilde, “To lose a teaspoon is a tragedy, but to lose both [a teaspoon and a mug] is sheer carelessness”
Last father’s day my sons (2 and 5) gave me 2 books, both by Joseph Ratzinger one of which he wrote while he was pope – the first book of his Jesus of Nazareth trilogy. The other is the first part in a series about great Christian thinkers – the Fathers of the Church. Precocious, my kids, aren’t they? Though I suspect the wife had a hand in all this.
I was talking about these books to this guy. He looks up (he was sitting down, you know) and goes “Listen, I don’t mind you reading this sort of book as long as you don’t go all happy clappy on me and join a prayer group.”
Now the thing that attracts me to Catholicism (on an intellectual level) is the unassailable logic employed to extrapolate and infer from Scripture and Tradition. One cannot help the jaw dropping even upon a half-hearted skim through the Catechism, for instance. I explained as much to him. The hand shot up again.
“You’ll be telling me how much you enjoy your prayer groups next.”
I gave up. Again. It’s not so the invulnerability *ahem* of the remark that makes me pack it in. I see the futility of the endeavour. A man with a purportedly scientific outlook to life could do better than dismiss another means of gleaning knowledge just because said knowledge is not hard science. Admittedly I am no Cicero, but still …
Such episodes make me wonder why people just build an impenetrable bastion around themselves when they hear the words “Catholic Church”
Minutes after Pope Francis’ visit to Lampedusa, our intrepid prime minister announced that he’s going to push back the latest influx of illegal immigrants to Libya, because “we’re not push overs”, apparently.
The saga has taken more twists and turns than a breakdancing snake, with everybody throwing in his weight on either side of the *ahem* struggle.
I don’t think there’s much to say other than remind anyone who’s interested of Matthew 25:40, viz: [...] Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.
Think about that.
I came across a video in which an author “blurbs” his own book. It’s a book about how the popes in the last century have become more apocalyptic. How they have been increasingly exhorting us to repent because the end is nigh. The Second Coming is imminent.
The Catholic Church can’t wait for the Second Coming. It is the duty of every Catholic to repent of his or her sins. Jesus himself told us he was coming again to judge the living and the dead. But he didn’t say when. There’s one sign (which in my opinion is difficult to miss) between now and the Second Coming that still hasn’t materialised viz the “corporate” conversion of the Jews to Catholicism (Romans 11:25). And I don’t think that this means that the Jews will convert on a Saturday and the Second Coming will be the following Sunday.
I really don’t care for the “Discovery Channelization” of faith. Educate yes, but don’t sensationalise.
Christ is coming again. Definitely. But our house still needs a thorough cleaning before we can let Him in.
As they said on that show … “A plan so cunning you could stick a tail on it and call it a weasel.”
Our sense of the person as an image of God has been eroded by the Cult of the Disposable Commodity. The marketing was focused yet imperceptible, sliding in like a wedge. You only realise what happened when you look back.
I greatly admire the Bishop of Gozo, Mgr Mario Grech. In this day and age he is the perfect antidote to the sly and underhanded deceit of the Devil.
He is a regular candidate for media ridicule. To my knowledge, his career as a media target blossomed in the run up to the divorce referendum, when he quoted Christ, when he said Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.(Mt7:15)
The rest is history as they say. Whatever he says attracts flak from all (or nearly all) the local media.
I have another quote for him (And for all those who strive to do the right thing.)
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.(Mt 5:10)