Wednesday, May 28, 2014
POPE FRANCIS AND POPE BENEDICT: BIRDS OF THE SAME FEATHER EXCEPT IN COLORS OF FEATHERS
What is different is the style and personality of the two popes. Pope Benedict, the academic and the intellectual, measured in his speech (but not always, a few gaffs alone the way) and Pope Francis, far from an academic intellectual who prefers the simple faith of grandmothers and mothers of my mother's generation, her mother's generation and her grandmother's generation, speaks and acts in symbol and gesture and loose lips sometimes. The very thing that Pope Francis criticizes, he participates in and foments.Pope Francis is as good at "chiacchiere" as the best of them.
But Pope Francis and Pope Benedict are on the same page as it concerns the Church being only preoccupied by the hot-button social issues of the day to the detriment of other important teachings of the Church. Pope Francis stated his case differently from Pope Benedict, but both basically said the same thing!
The same thing about the LCWR and now about marriage, Pope Francis upholds what Pope Benedict taught and wrote. And as Pope Benedict, with a great deal of push back from the supporters of the Legionaries of Christ, was not afraid to investigate that order and reorient it, so too Pope Francis with the Franciscans of Mary Immaculate who have tended toward schismatic sympathies with the SSPX is being investigated and purified. Good for both popes showing some muscle!
And now on his return from the Holy Land, the Holy Father held up Pope Benedict's teachings about marriage and divorce and family life in face of ridiculous predictions concerning the upcoming synod on the family.
But this article by Kevin Cotter of Lakewood, CO, who serves FOCUS as the Director of FOCUS Equip and the Director of Web is excellent. Previously, Kevin served FOCUS as an on campus missionary at Benedictine College. Kevin holds a BA degree in Religious Studies from Benedictine College and a MA degree in Sacred Scripture from the Augustine Institute. Kevin currently resides in Denver, CO with his wife, Lisa, and their children.
This is his article from a post HERE!
I read a lot of news articles on Pope Francis. Lately, there have been some really good ones. See:
One of the more interesting stories of the month is on the Vatican’s recent statement to the Leadership Conference of Religious Women (LCRW). I find this story to be an apt reflection of both the secular media’s reporting of Catholicism and the current battle within Catholicism here in America.
Here’s the background as quickly as possible.
The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (known as the CDF) has an ongoing evaluation and critique of the Leadership Conference of Religious Women (LCRW) because of theologians and stances they have promoted that the Vatican deems outside of Church teaching. Many, but certainly not all, American sisters belong to the LCRW.
Here’s the spin.
Both the secular media and many within the Church have made this situation political. LCRW’s outspoken support of President Obama and the Affordable Health Care Act (ObamaCare) probably aided this. Particularly under Pope Benedict, there was a critique that the Vatican and the USCCB was against helping the poor and only cared about doctrine and abortion.
Enter Pope Francis.
With the election of Pope Francis, the idea from some was that, unlike Pope Benedict, Pope Francis would be quick to promote and defend the sisters. Recently, Cardinal Muller, head of the CDF, issued a statement reaffirming the Vatican’s position against the LCRW and eroded the fact that Pope Francis would defend the LCRW.
A sample of headlines on this issue include:
American nuns at rough end of Pope Francis’ mixed messages
Cool Pope Francis Not So Cool When It Comes to American Nuns
Pope Francis is throwing nuns under the bus for sharing his own beliefs: The pontiff’s silence, while nuns are censured for not focusing on abortion and same sex marriage speaks volumes
A picture of a crying habited nun who must certainly doesn’t belong to the LCRW was also included in the article for good measure.
From the article headlines (and their content as well) you get the impression that the Vatican and Pope Francis are against the LCRW because they serve the poor and all the good work that the sisters are doing. This isn't true.
We must emphasize: Some sisters are doing good work, especially in their service of the poor. But, Pope Francis and the Vatican aren’t arguing this. Instead, the sisters are supporting theologians that are promoting beliefs contrary to the core of Christianity and the Catholic faith.
Here are samples from Cardinal Muller’s statement:
“For the last several years, the Congregation has been following with increasing concern a focalizing of attention within the LCWR around the concept of Conscious Evolution. Since Barbara Marx Hubbard addressed the Assembly on this topic two years ago, every issue of your newsletter has discussed Conscious Evolution in some way. Issues of Occasional Papers have been devoted to it.”
“The fundamental theses of Conscious Evolution are opposed to Christian Revelation and, when taken unreflectively, lead almost necessarily to fundamental errors regarding the omnipotence of God, the Incarnation of Christ, the reality of Original Sin, the necessity of salvation and the definitive nature of the salvific action of Christ in the Paschal Mystery.”
One thing I have emphasized in the past is the request for folks to read texts for themselves, whether it be something that Pope Francis has said or something someone else has.
Read the text carefully yourself.
Archbishop Muller isn’t someone who is upset because the sisters are pushing for a specific doctrine to evolve or have a specific style of Catholicism that he doesn’t like; rather, he is questioning – are these ideas outside the boundaries of what it means to be Christian? Are they leading you outside of what we believe about Christ and his Church at a basic fundamental level?
I think the answer is easily yes to both questions. It’s important to agree on this before the issue is lost in the media spin that sweet nuns who are trying to help the poor are being criticized because they are a little progressive. It isn’t about whether we should serve the poor or trying to eliminate abortion. This isn’t a progressive/conservative debate. This is about the very heart of Christianity.
Let’s at least agree on this.
I have dozens of friends who passionately live out their Catholic faith who I interact with in person and online. Do you know how many of these friends have brought up the Vatican’s issue with LCRW over the last two years? None. Zero. Zilch. I like this topic because it reveals media bias and a current battle within the Church. It needs to be addressed because the media confuses people. But let’s be clear, this battle is for an older generation. My generation is moving on. There are too many souls that need Christ and too many souls that need to be helped to be invovled in a fight that distracts and deteriorates from the faith.