Sunday, 22 September 2013

This Leftie/Liberal Love-In For The Pope Has Got To Stop

I can't claim to be an expert on Catholicism. I've grown up a cultural Anglican (though thankfully I've been spared a religious upbringing) whose interest in other religions has never stretched to the Roman Catholic church. I think this is perhaps because the Roman Catholic church is so complicated and has so many different organisations, styles and, above all, saints that it would require a lifetime's study to do it justice. And as I believe it is all make-believe I'm not interested in expending the time on it that I instead give to New Religious Movements (those are the things evangelical Christians call "cults"). So this post isn't really about Catholic doctrine, it is instead about the weird and rather disturbing reaction of some needy liberal types out there to media reports on Pope Francis. 

I've got to give Pope Francis credit. He's certainly shaken up the media's perception of the Papacy. Pope Benedict's reign was overshadowed by the child abuse scandals. Pope Francis has managed to change the narrative ever so slightly. Feel good pieces about him responding to an Italian teenagers letter by picking up the phone and having a chat. Stories of him shunning some of the more obvious trappings of wealth normally reserved for the Pope abound. But what the media are really lapping up are snippets of conversations, press releases and interviews that hint at some sort of "liberalising" of Catholic doctrine.

When I say "hint at" what this actually means is "if you read them out of context" or "if you read them and don't quite understand religion at all".

Just take this week's stories on Pope Francis suggesting the Church should "obsess" over gay marriage, contraception and abortion. These stories sprung up from this interview and, more specifically, this paragraph:

“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. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. 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.
What Pope Francis was saying is the Church has a more important mission, preaching the Gospel, and it shouldn't get bogged down in a strict focus on certain moral issues. That isn't to say it is changing its mind on those issues, just that it needs to ensure the main message of the Church isn't overshadowed. This is, from a Christian perspective, a bit like saying "I believe Jesus is the Son of God" (sorry Jehovah Witnesses and Seventh-day Adventists, I know you don't quite support that...). I.e. this is a no-brainer, a given, a non-story.

But the reaction on Twitter, both on my personal feed and on my saved "Gay Marriage" feed, was overwealming positive from non-believers and liberal sorts. You'd think he'd come out in support of abortion and marriage equality if you judged by the tone of some of these folks. And some actually believe he did!!

This has got to stop. @michaelcarre described this as people willing to "accept crumbs" and I have to agree. And, this will be controversial I'm sure, it wouldn't matter to me if the Catholic church suddenly supported every social issue I support. It is still NOT TRUE. The Pope is the head of an organisation based on a false belief. Just because a homeopath supports marriage equality I wouldn't suddenly welcome medical assistance from said homeopath. I'd still think they were mistaken.

Whilst you've all been having your love-in over the Pope, the Catholic church has ex-communicated a former priest for setting up an organisation that supports the ordination of women and equal marriage.

Wake up and stop being taken in by poor reporting of a media-savvy Pope. The Pope is, still, a Catholic. 

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