Saturday, September 21, 2013


Yesterday, the media was abuzz with the news that Pope Francis had denounced the conservative emphasis on moral issues and had urged our church to be more welcoming and merciful. In media-speak, that means more “liberal”. 

I have been wanting to read the actual interview as posted on the website of the British Jesuits (I don't trust America Magazine - the U.S. Jesuits), but the link currently does not appear to be working. So for now, I’ll need to go with the news reports and try (once again) to decipher what the Pope “really” meant. 

One particular quote caught my attention immediately:
"We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time."
Assuming this is exactly what he said, my first thought is: WHAT CHURCH is he talking about? “It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time”?????

When’s the last time you heard a sermon on the evils of abortion, gay marriage, or the use of contraception. “All the time”???? If we hear it at all, it is tiny fraction compared to the usual fare of how much God loves us, forgives us, etc. and how we are to be more hospitable and welcoming and all that. 

(In fact, from the tone of most sermons we don’t even need to show up for Mass, we’re all going to heaven anyway. And, IN FACT, if you wonder why certain evangelical groups are growing so fast, it is BECAUSE they are challenging their people with hard moral truths!)

On a national level, the bishops do just about everything else OTHER than “insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods”. Just look at their website. On any given day there’s more about immigration, the poor, economic justice, and opposition to war. You have to do a keyword search to bring up anything on the issues the Pope seems to think we are obsessing over. 

The FACT that we DO NOT “insist” on these issues, and hardly speak of them is glaringly apparent in the attitude of practicing U.S. Catholics towards them:

  • 40% of Catholics support abortion as “morally acceptable” (Gallup)
  • 63% support stem cell research on human embryos. (Gallup)
  • 98% of Catholic women use church-banned contraceptive methods (Guttmacher)
  • 75% of Catholics favor gay marriage (Public Religion Research Institute)

In fact, the Gallup poll noted: 

“U.S. Catholics “are actually more liberal than the non-Catholic population.”

See this link to another story I wrote on this for sources. 

The good news is that the pope is only speaking pastorally/personally and not dogmatically, and more than likely, “off the cuff”. The bad news is that due to two generations of our pastors (for the most part) NOT INSISTING on “these issues”,  much of the Catholic world takes these remarks as new teaching. It's NOT the Media! It's us. 

1 comment:

  1. Have to agree there about the homilies.
    If they are trying to use honey instead of vinegar, I think they forgot what they are trying to catch.
    I believe all these things are by products of the root problem, and that is Fornication! all these other issues stem from this sin, and we have not addressed it. It's like putting a band aid on a sore that's festering from the inside.