Pope Benedict emphasized more the institution of the Church, the beauty of the liturgy with its trappings as well as the trappings of the papacy. But that didn't mean he excluded concern for the poor, taught against war and did not ask people to welcome refugees and immigrants. His symbols though were more symbolic and monarchical.
Point: Pope Francis and the measure of greatnessBy THE REV. LARRY SNYDER InsideSources.com
What qualifies a pope to be considered great?
Well, within less than one year after his election, Pope Francis was named Time magazine’s “Person of the Year” and received top media coverage around the world. His @Pontifex accounts in nine languages on Twitter total more than 14 million followers, and a recent survey reported that he is more widely retweeted than any other world leader — meaning he beats them all in terms of reach and what social media experts call engagement. That should count as a measure of greatness.
But I suspect that when people think of Pope Francis, the first things that come to mind are images burned into memory because of their messages’ sheer power: Pope Francis washing and kissing the foot of a young Muslim woman in a detention center; Francis fully embracing a man with extreme deformities; Francis playfully placing a mischievous young boy on the papal chair, as a doting grandfather might.
With images such as these, Pope Francis teaches us and challenges us. At the center of his teaching and concern are the poor. Has anyone tried to count the times Francis has specifically referenced the poor? Has he ever spoken about social or economic realities without his point of reference — how the poor are faring? Without a doubt, he holds each and every one of them in his heart.
I have lived now under seven popes. Each has brought his own unique gifts and style to the papal office. The last three have given us a dramatic contrast in what constitutes papal leadership.
Pope St. John Paul II was a charismatic leader who commanded a place on the world stage. He was able to touch the hearts of the youth of the world and was the first pope to attain “rock star” status as he filled stadiums with cheering faithful.
Pope Benedict XVI, on the other hand, is a man whose life has been anchored in academia. He is a theologian who taught us through scholarly encyclicals. He appears to be as much of an introvert as his predecessor was an extrovert.
And then there is Francis. His most powerful teaching is by his actions. He shows us what we are to do by giving us an example. He goes where no pope has gone before and bids us to follow him. It is here that we see his vision of a church and a world fully engaged in the messiness of life bringing the message of God’s mercy to where it is needed most: the brokenness of human life.
This is a personal responsibility, but Francis holds social and economic systems just as accountable. A recurring theme for this pope is the responsibility of the economy to respond to the cries of the underprivileged who struggle to survive and of families to provide a future of hope and opportunity for their children. To this end, Pope Francis holds every economic system to the same standard: How are the poor among you faring?
But to stop there would be to miss a greater message. The overarching theme in Francis’ teaching is inclusion. Those deemed worthless or thrown away are held up as being of inestimable value. They are the poor. But they also are those who are mentally challenged, those who are physically disabled, those who are in need of forgiveness and reconciliation. Like the prophets of long ago, Pope Francis measures our society by how we treat the least among us.
It is probably good to point out that Pope Francis is not a politician. When he speaks and acts, he does so out of a prophetic tradition. In the Hebrew Scriptures, the prophets were agents who announced a vision of how God wished society to function. They gave us some of the most beautiful visions in the Bible of society and people living in harmony and accord. They also gave us some clear condemnations of ignoring the will of God, especially as it relates to the poor.
Pope Francis is causing a lot of talk throughout the world these days. Much of it focuses on his actions that show him to be a shepherd who smells like his sheep. Much of it focuses on his message of God’s mercy and compassion, rather than simply on God’s judgment.
The true test of his impact will be on how much all that talk turns into action, on changing systems so that all people receive dignity and respect and opportunity. I believe he is changing the papacy and changing our world for the better. At the very least, he is the new patron saint of the poor and forgotten. And, to me, that is a sure measure of greatness.The Rev. Larry Snyder is vice president for mission at the University of St. Thomas,
Minnesota and former president of Catholic Charities USA.
Counterpoint: Increasingly, the pope does not speak to meBy CHRISTINE FLOWERS InsideSources.com
It’s hard to dislike Pope Francis as a man. He is affable, has a winning smile, likes to hug children and has the most engaging way of throwing journalists off their game.
Unlike his predecessors, who were a bit more measured in the way they communicated (and in the case of Pope Benedict XVI, infinitely more measured,) Francis is much more of a pastoral cleric who takes his role as shepherd quite seriously. And that is part of the problem.
I am not a theologian, nor do I presume to have the knowledge and specialized expertise of a canon lawyer. My opinions are based entirely upon my fifty-some years of living a Catholic life with a view from the pew, so to speak. I was taught by the good Sisters of Mercy for most of my educational experience, and even chose a Catholic institution when I pursued a law degree. I attend church regularly, and am far from the stereotype of the “cafeteria Catholic,” unlike so many of my generation.
You can check off the topics, and I’m in sync with the church: Abortion is not just a sin, it is murder. Same-sex marriage violates the teachings against the essential value of one man, one woman in spiritual union. Artificial birth control, while necessary from a pragmatic standpoint in a world with limited resources, flies in the face of Catholic doctrine that each instance of human intercourse must be open to the creation of life. Secular divorce does not extinguish the lifelong, sacramental nature of a religious marriage. A female priesthood is not necessary to elevate my gender, because we have always been held in high regard through the Marian veneration.
I would, then, be the archetype of the “good sheep” who did not stray.
Increasingly, I am getting the sense that Pope Francis does not speak to me. He has been looking over my head to gather the lost ones, the prodigals who have strayed from the church because of disagreement with her precepts or dissent from her standards. And while I understand that this is the goal of evangelism, and that the pope as the head of the international church is in the “business” of bringing souls into the family business, I can’t help but feel that some of the steps that he has taken are off-putting to those of us who accept the beauty and grace of what we were taught from infancy.
The idea that Pope Francis is the greatest prelate in modern times is one that many in the secular world, and some in the religious world, have embraced wholeheartedly. Perhaps it is because his style is warm and welcoming, and his attitude of tolerance seems designed to spread the holy message to those who might otherwise close their ears against it. To them, being all things to all people and having a large tent is more important than emphasizing certain core, eternal principles.
I would respectfully suggest that they are both incorrect on the merits of that argument, and incorrect in their perception of Pope Francis. While I do think that he is more open to accepting human frailty as a given and trying to bring forgiveness rather than chastise those who fall short, the idea that Pope Francis is in any way changing fundamental church doctrine is erroneous.
He has talked about streamlining the process through which annulments can be obtained, but he has not said that annulments are good things in and of themselves. He has made it easier for women who have had abortions to seek absolution, but he has not said that abortion is not sinful. In fact, he has made it quite clear that it is the greatest sin that one human being can commit, an outrage against nature and humanity. He has said “Who Am I To Judge” when discussing the issue of homosexuals in the church, but he has not said that homosexual acts are now forgiven, much less accepted.
What Pope Francis has done is to try to shift the focus of Catholic debate to how do we make people feel welcomed and loved, as opposed to how do we make them aware of their sinful nature. The tone has changed, and it is a monumental shift to those of us in the pews. But the fundamental doctrine has not.
That is why I think it is far, far too soon to anoint Pope Francis as the greatest prelate in modern history. He has brought a happier expression to a weathered face, one battered by scandal and hostility, and yes, discrimination.
But it remains to be seen if his outreach to the lost will strengthen the church, or alienate those who never wandered off in the first place.Christine Flowers is a proud, lifelong
Catholic and an immigration lawyer in
"And while I understand that this is the goal of evangelism, and that the pope as the head of the international church is in the “business” of bringing souls into the family business, I can’t help but feel that some of the steps that he has taken are off-putting to those of us who accept the beauty and grace of what we were taught from infancy."
Ms. Flowers, Jesus did not come to call saints, but sinners. He did not come for those who are righteous, but those who have failed in righteousness.
And Jesus, too, was criticized by those who "accepted the beauty and grace of what they were taught from infancy."
We have reached the point where people are openly asking a pope to his face whether or not he is in fact a Catholic and whether or not he is a Communist. I don't care how you spin things Father, this papacy is a disaster. And please before you even go to the "I can recite the Creed if needed" quote. The arrogance and distain of that statement is a whole other topic. As is "the woman is rigid, but a Catholic non the less". The complete lack of charity and arrogance of that statement requires a book. But anyway...
Most people who identify as Catholic do not believe in the Catholic Faith. They are more or less Episcopalians. And the ugly truth is that these people love Francis because they don't really believe that he believes in the Catholic Faith. It is crystal clear Francis knows he is causing confusion. Confusion isn't exactly a gift of the Holy Spirit the last time I checked.
Another truth....the Catholic Faith does not belong to Francis. It is not in his authority to change, alter, water down ANY revealed truth. He can't say that there is good in an evil action. Example, he can't say that "stable" homosexual relationships have good qualities because they don't. That would be heresy. And guess who wouldn't be pope anymore. He can't say that divorced "re married" Catholics, adulterers, can go to confession and never mention that they are currently and have every intention of continuing, an objective immoral life. He can't say that.
Everything that man does is about him and his agenda. He will not say one word about those butchered babies and their bodies being sold like pieces of meat............. for money. I would bet my soul he will be silent. But he will go on about trees and unemployment. He will not mention the acceptance of sodomy as "marriage" he will be silent. But he will cry about ILLEGAL aliens and how we need to just take in everybody regardless of the law. There is something seriously wrong with that man and everybody knows it. Start spinning Father.
Francis has spoken extensively about abortion and talked extensively about same-sex marriage.
Conservatives are upset that he's discussing other issues -- social justice, immigration, economic fairness, war and peace, love, acceptance, protecting God's Earth, caring for the least among us -- that have been swept under the run in the past.
He's exposing them as the cafeteria Catholics that they are.
The way I look at this is simple: If I had a self-professed Catholic co-worker who said the things that Pope Francis says, would I conclude that they believe what the Church teaches wholly and entirely?
The pope doesn't get special treatment because he is the pope -- we have the right to expect the pope to be Catholic.
Dave I have to agree with you. I have followed what this pope has actually said and from day one and he has upheld everything you say and has focused on some new agendas that are Catholics. Cafeteria Catholics need to come to their senses no matter who they are if they want to be called good orthodox Catholics!
Dave, there's a reason that people are upset that the pope continues to focus on climate change -- no one goes to hell for polluting the planet. Contrariwise, it would seem that millions of people are objectively in the state of mortal sin for having procured or assisted in abortions, co-habiting, or engaging in homosexual activities.
It is not cafeteria Catholicism to recognize that the major social issues of our time are related to the on-going cultural/sexual revolution. Popes, bishops, priests, and all people of good will have a sacred duty to care about the eternal life of every person. By focusing on things that have no bearing on the eternal life, the pope signals that there is something more important. In reality, there is nothing more important than the salvation of souls.
It would seem that the cafeteria Catholics are those who have decided that papal positivism is correct so that whatever the current pope happens to say must be the way of things. The teaching de jour might whet the palate during this earthly life, but it seems completely unrelated to the life to come.
Lefebvrian, the nuns taught me there are the Seven Deadly Sins, and any one of them can land us in hell:
Lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, pride.
Lately, it seems like lust gets most of the attention, but I always felt the others get off pretty easy.
Which ones do traditionalists get a pass on?
"Conservatives are upset that he's discussing other issues -- social justice, immigration, economic fairness, war and peace, love, acceptance, protecting God's Earth, caring for the least among us -- that have been swept under the run in the past."
That seems to me to be an uncharitable remark, an unfair accusation directed against Pope Francis' predecessors. Maybe that is not what you intended, but it came across to me that way. Other popes wrote about what needed to be written about and they spoke to the issues that needed to be spoken about at the time. Yes, they did write and speak about "social justice, immigration, economic fairness, war and peace, love, acceptance, protecting God's Earth, caring for the least among us."You need to read more papal encyclicals and thereby realize that Pope Francis did not "discover" these issues.
Dave, have you noticed that the Supreme Court just found a right to homosexual "marriage" and that our culture is awash in images that put one in a near occasion of sin simply by stepping outside?
If you're wondering why there appears to be a focus on lust at present, that's the reason.
I would also note that the deadly sins are all actually sins; whereas, polluting and not being "accepting" are not sins. Since it is a requirement of this earthly sojourn to repent, it is necessarily more important to focus on eliminating things that are actually sins and not to waste one's time on the superfluous.
Catholics do not get a pass on any of the sins as we have the duty to remove all stain from our souls. If you go to a traditional parish, you'll hear about all the sins and their opposite virtues.
Would God not allow the destruction of earth (if that were necessary) in order to save souls? Human beings, who are comprised of more than just physical matter, take precedence over that which is only physical matter.
Of course no one would desire that such an exchange would be necessary. That being said, yes the earth, which is to say the environment it provides, is necessary because it is needed for human beings to subsist and to exist.Responsible management and conservation of natural resources is a necessity. We should therefor be concerned about the environment.That man is a significant factor in causing adverse climate change is not settled science at this point, however. I know there are those who assert we should take action now anyway, but that is a prudential decision and not one arising from ontological certitude.
What we should be very concerned about is the polluted environment that is ever present to us on the internet, and on TV ,and in other media, and the effect it is having on us and especially our young people.
What we should be very concerned about is the continuing destruction of human life in the environment of the womb.
Gluttony: name one Conservative Catholic who is banging the pots and pans for people to pig out or defending gluttony as a 'way of life'.
Greed: name one Conservative Catholic who teaches that greed is good. You might sputter "but capitalism" - but the greed of our age is not run up by small to mid-size privately owned companies but governments and oligarchic/crony capitalists in bed with regulators.... it's not too much capitalism at fault for greed but too little.
Sloth: where's the conservative Catholic promoting indolence, lifestyles dependent on wealth transfers from the workers to people who could, but don't work?
Wrath: explain to me how Political Correct lynch mobs aren't wrathful? Conservative Catholics will argue with someone. Leftists demand they be fired from jobs, hounded out of polite society and in some cases - such as against "deniers" of man-made global warming, incarcerated.
Envy: the entire communist/fascist/socialist world view is premised on promoting envy of outcomes, demanding every greater police power to level all serfs to a single degree of dependency (while curiously giving waivers to the ruling classes).
Pride: nothing says pride quite like the Leftists who declare that human nature has changed because opinions about God and man have changed...that their "modern" ideas mean that objective truth and morals need not be applied to their enlightened selves.
I would say conservatives are upset that the Media is predictably using Pope Francis to further their own anti-Catholic agenda.
Social Justice/immigration, "economic fairness" is, in the eyes of many on the Left the wholesale introduction of the Cloward/Piven plan. No nation with 19 Trillion in debt (held at 2% and costing $221 billion per year in service costs..) that also runs a $1 trillion budget deficit (annual federal budget is $3.5 trillion while tax revenues are only $2.5 trillion) can sustain the sorts of "social justice/immigration/economic fairness policies being bandied about. When this all crashes the poor and vulnerable will be hurt the worst.
Meanwhile note who actually runs the major inner cities, school system, police departments, and means of social engineering: the same folk who claim to be the lovers of the poor and immigrants. It's the spectacle of the slave master claiming to love the slave class that galls us. If that's what love is I'd hate to see what hatred must be.
War and Peace: Mr. Nobel Peace Prize President has troops fighting in a dozen African countries, drone strikes continuing across the Middle East and Asia, and watching as alliances unravel and a nuclear arms race is starting across the world...
The vast majority of pollution is caused by Socialist, one-party regimes... the same regimes whom the Left points to as their heroes and idols.
So yes, we're galled by the media claiming the Pope as their own and using him to justify their own malignant treachery against the very people they claim to 'love'.
George, I can't tell if you are taking issue with something I've written or not. It is clear that the earth exists for man and not man for earth. Without man, there is no need for the earth to exist since, as you rightly point out, the existence of the earth is due to God's solicitude in choosing to create us. He keeps the earth in existence so that we might reach salvation.
It would be better if the earth and all its creatures were destroyed than that one soul go to hell.
As I said, it is not possible to sin against the earth. It is possible only to sin against God. Of course we have a duty to be sure that the earth is ordered in such a way as to be maximally conducive to the salvation of souls. It doesn't follow from that that we need to be overly concerned about the environment -- after all, God keeps the earth in existence since it is his will do so. If it is possible for humans to destroy the earth, then it will happen if God wills it to happen. Since we have no idea whether it is possible for humans to destroy the earth through imprudent environmental choices, it is not something to cause concern or even to justify discussion. It is, stated simply, a waste of time to discuss it.
As you say, we should be more concerned about people being murdered in the womb, which robs them of eternal life. And we should be concerned about all the people in the world who have such obstacles placed in the way of their salvation by our culture, by our Churchmen, and by other forces, including political waste.
Let me add to my previous comment something a bit simpler:
The Church only exists in order to save souls -- that is the crux of the Great Commission. The Church has one singular task to carry out in this world. All the Church's resources should be allocated to the task of baptizing souls into the Church and nourishing them with the Truth and the Sacraments so that as many people as possible can reach the Beatific vision.
Any deviation from that singular goal is a waste of time and does not fall within the Church's mandate. It is a usurpation of the Kingship of Christ when the Church fails to carry out its mission, instead focusing on nonsensical wastes of time and resources not to mention good will amongst the peoples waiting to be converted.
Educating children, operating hospitals and clinics, defending the oppressed, etc., are not "deviations" from the mission of the Church. They are part and parcel of that mission, and cannot be reduced to nonsensical wastes of time.
You are right on!
Fr. MacDonald please give this person a Gold Star!
"Educating children, operating hospitals and clinics, defending the oppressed, etc., are not "deviations" from the mission of the Church. They are part and parcel of that mission, and cannot be reduced to nonsensical wastes of time."
Who said these things were nonsensical wastes of time?
Careless use of God's creation is at least bad stewardship, clearly foolish, probably a sin. However, what is careless or abusive can be difficult to determine, even situation dependent. This is the source of frustration among the faithful when Popes make comments. On the other hand, it drives us to actually think about what we do rather mindlessly acting.
Many "Traditional" Catholic blogs today are, as usual, bashing and trashing His Holiness Pope Francis.
None of the blogs in question that I visited had the Catholic decency to even post a "Welcome, Pope Francis" message.
None of the blogs in question last week or this week called for prayers for the safe journey of Pope Francis and others aboard the Papal airplane Shepherd One.
Instead, they have attacked him...he's a "communist...the Anti-Christ...the False Prophet...evil...determined to destroy the Church..."
Pope Francis is everything except a decent Catholic man, according to more than a few "Traditional" "Catholics."
Rorate Caeli today even found time to trash Pope Francis' address at the White House.
Well, as I noted earlier on a different blog, here is what His Holiness Pope Francis has done today.
Just one hour ago, Pope Francis exhorted our bishops not to remain silent in regard to abortion.
Pope Francis made it clear to the bishops that it's unacceptable for Catholics to "look the other way or to remain silent" in regard to abortion.
Pope Francis highlighted the need to always call attention to the "innocent victim of abortion..." not mention "children who die of hunger or from bombings..."
During his earlier address at the White House, Pope Francis called immediate attention to his Culture of Life agenda when he noted that he would "travel to Philadelphia for the Eighth World Meeting of Families, to celebrate and support the institutions of marriage and the family at this, a critical moment in the history of our civilization.'
Pope Francis today made it clear that his agenda in America is focused upon the Culture of Life.
Again, Pope Francis today attacked abortion...he called immediate attention to his determination during his Apostolic Visit to the United States to promote the Culture of Life...to the Church's teachings on marriage and family.
What a beautiful beginning today in the United States for His Holiness Pope Francis.
MT as your comment came in and I post it I am working on another post that ties in with what you write! Great minds think alike!
Mark, I agree with your sentiment. There is a sense in which everyone is looking for Pope Francis to say things contrary to the faith. This is true both of the so-called Traditional blogs, as well as the other media -- they just have different reasons for wanting him to do so.
There is a principle of film criticism wherein one should critique the content and not what one thinks the content should have been. While it is plain that most Catholics would prefer that the pope address issues like abortion and the deterioration of marriage in a more direct manner to the face of our country's leaders, he has elected not to do so.
Instead of critiquing his failure to do so by pointing out what he should have said, perhaps the more honest critique would be to focus on what he actually did say. As usual, some of what he said would be considered very positive, while other things are more problematic. Plainly, he is very concerned about cementing his teaching on the environment, and he sees that as a major issue. In the scheme of things, I disagree with him vehemently. From that perspective, I think it is correct to critique his statements on this topic as being irrelevant to the propagation of the faith and to the salvation of souls.
On the blog onepeterfive, there is an interesting critique comparing what the pope said on the environment with what he could have said on the topic of abortion. While, as I wrote above, this violates certain principles of critique, it is, in a sense, very necessary to point out the lingering problems that he is creating by focusing on irrelevant issues instead of those things that actually matter.
All that said, to the extent he did address some of the major issues plaguing the Church in this country, he should be commended for speaking up. Credit and critique should both be given when they are due.
You are correct in stating that God keeps the earth in existence. Man cannot destroy this planet called earth which God has created. It is however obligatory that we manage and conserve natural resources in a responsible manner. Pollution, for instance, can cause harm to others. The planet we live on, just as our human bodies, is a gift from God. It is wrong to engage in behavior which does harm to our physical body. It is likewise wrong to engage in behavior which harms the earth if by doing so, it has an harmful and adverse effect on others. To me, that is the operative principle:does what we do harm ourselves or others, which means that in addition it also offends God?
George, what natural resources do you have in mind? The premise is assumed that man is somehow harming the earth and overusing the earth's natural resources. In reality, there is no evidence for that premise.
If I come to your house and throw crap on your lawn, I have sinned against you (and God), not against the earth. Do you see the difference between making an issue of that sin against neighbor and turning the earth into some innate being against which we can somehow sin?
Yes, Mark Thomas, thank you! I really am getting sick (literally) of "hearing"/reading the Holy Father trashed. It is one thing to charitably question or disagree with non-dogmatic/doctrinal teaching, but another thing entirely to trash and question the HF's Catholicity.
If I feel this badly, I can only imagine how it sounds to the Blessed Mother and St. Peter. Forgive us Lord when we do not live and speak as Catholic Christians...
"The premise is assumed that man is somehow harming the earth and overusing the earth's natural resources. In reality, there is no evidence for that premise."
No,no.I'm not saying there is. I used the example of pollution which causes harm to others. That would be a sin against man and God. If a person mows their lawn and cuts down some trees in their yard, of course they are not sinning. Insecticides and herbicides are necessary in farming, but if it can be shown that they are doing harm to human beings, then safer, feasible alternatives should be found.
The point is that there are the sins that cry out to heaven for vengence, Genesis 4:10 "The Lord said to Cain ... the voice of thy brother's blood crieth to me from the earth": The "blood of Abel"; the "sin of the Sodomites"; the "cry of the people oppressed in Egypt; the "injustice to the wage earner". Therefore one would expect that Pope Francis would mention these particular sins more than in the superficial way that he has - if at all. We have serious issues facing the world, such as same sex marriage, Planned Parenthood selling baby parts, the murdering of Christians by ISIS and the evils of Islamic fundamentalists. We have Pope Francis inviting these people into the Vatican gardens where Fr Z confirms: "An Imam sang: “grant us victory over the heathen/disbelieving/infidel” (Sura 2: 286) in the Vatican Gardens, in front of the Pope, during an “ecumenical” gathering for peace".
Not believing in climate change is not going to send someone to hell but homosexuality, abortion and euthanasia will if they are not repented of and confessed. We need a Pope who will lead the way in telling people that these things are wrong.
Then we have Pope Francis more or less granting annulments on demand - something that no one can put a positive spin on.
As for abortion and gay marriage six months into his pontificate Pope Francis admitted himself that he had not said much about these things and said that it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time. Well, come on, he's the Pope if he doesn't lead the way on these issues who will? Instead he seems to prefer to stick to the political issues. Here is what he said in the interview with Antonio Spadaro:
“We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that ... The dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all equivalent. The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently".
I agree with Leferbrian that we have a right to expect the Pope to be Catholic. Nearly everything Pope Francis has said has been ambiguous. No matter what spin people try to put on it, we're not silly. We can read and we can read his quotes and his papers and it has become obvious that this papacy is unique for its ambiguity and lack of clarity.
If Mark Thomas, Jenny and Dave are prepared to accept wishy-washy statements such as "Who am I to judge", with a few weak statements here and there on abortion, well, bully for them but it is not the Catholic Church that I was brought up in or what I expect from a Pope. Yes, Pope Francis might have mentioned abortion - along with many other things - in recent days but I understand his last statement on abortion was in 2013 - almost two years ago. When I contrast that with the tireless promotion of the right to life of the unborn by St John Paul II The Great, then I think this Pope is sadly lacking. He only ever seems to say something after being prompted. That is not what Catholics need or want. We want a fearless defender of the Faith; a fearless defender for the unborn, a fearless defender of morality, not some afterthought thrown in at the last minute.
Also, I could do without the negative comments from Pope Francis about priests and religious. He has shown no love for them from what I have read.
Also, far from trashing Pope Francis' address at the White House as Mark Thomas claims, Rorate Caeli is merely pointing out a difference in the traditional teaching on religious liberty to that contained in the US Constitution. Rorate states that what Pope Francis said "This is hardly surprising or new — several recent popes have praised the religious liberty assured by the American Constitution. Nevertheless, one can question the advisability of such words. It is scarcely necessary to remind our readers that the Catholic position on religious liberty was traditionally held to be quite different from that of the American founders. In Longinqua Oceani, Pope Leo XIII gave moderate praise to the liberty of the Church in America, but coupled that with a reminder that the American situation was far from the ideal held up by the Church:
"... it would be very erroneous to draw the conclusion that in America is to be sought the type of the most desirable status of the Church, or that it would be universally lawful or expedient for State and Church to be, as in America, dissevered and divorced."
Mark Thomas has given a false impression of what is stated in the Rorate Caeli article and seems quick to jump on the bandwagon and criticise traditional blogs, most of which are merely upholding Church teaching.
No one has to believe in Climate change per se, but we do have to believe in the principles of the Church which underlie Pope Francis' theology of ecology and that it that there is an interrelationship between God, the individual and others with the earth and all on it. Even if we don't believe that climate change is a human factor or simply a cycle of nature, we do have to follow what the Church teaches about the care of the earth as contained in Scripture. Read Chapter 2 of Laudato Si and find out what Original Sin is, actual sin, and sins against Natural Law and the implications of these sins not just for the climate or the earth but for individuals and collective groups of people in their relationship to the Creator who has given us to sustain life.
Naturally, Father, there is an interrelationship between God, the individual and others with the earth and all on it, as you put it so well, but to deny climate change, per se, is not something that the Church teaches we have to believe in, so therefore it is not something that will lead us to hell or the lack of belief in that we have to confess. On the other hand, sins against the 10 Commandments, unrepented and not confessed can lead to hell. Therefore, any good shepherd would be anxious to inform his flock and lead them away from a life of sin that could lead to the loss of heaven and being cast into hell for all eternity, and it is a sobering thought that the Shepherd himself will be held to account for his stewardship.
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