Friday, October 4, 2013

What to do when Pope Francis misbehaves

1. My friends, we now have a pope who is utterly, completely out of control.  Out of our control, that is. As most popes are wont to be.

Yet with this pope... his "out of controlness" is a tad more unnerving than, say, his predecessors  Let Benedict XVI loose on the media any given day and... they were as mad at the Catholic Church as ever. And we traditional Catholics breathed our martyr sighs and fist-bumped each other, because Benedict was right.

Not so with Francis.  Now it's more like:

2.  Recently even our $*%*! President came out supporting the Bishop of Rome. Oh the horror and travesty of it all!

Do you know what Obama SAID?  This, according to CNBC: "I [Barack] have been hugely impressed with the pope's pronouncements.  Francis is somebody who lives out the teachings of Christ: incredible humility--incredible sense of empathy to the least of these, to the poor."

I mean, that's just--gasp--utterly and completely... AWESOME.  Cuz you know what?  What Francis is doing is right, too.

Why, yes.  The Catholic Church does call us to be humble.  To love the poor.  And while condemning sin, never to condemn a sinner. 

3.  I think our Holy Father is "on" to the fact that it's sooooo fluidly easy to slide from one to the other, from condemning homosexuality to condemning homosexuals, perhaps without even realizing that's what we're doing.  And it seems Francis is looking to change that.

Yes, even Barack Obama is impressed with Pope Francis.  And our knee-jerk reaction would be to automatically be depressed by anything that impresses that guy these days, right?  But you know (darn it):

In this instance, Obama is right, too.  Okay, that hurt to type.  My fingers are aching.  Ouch.

But it's true.

4.  No, I'm not suffering along with my traditional compadres in their maligning of the pope's methods. Frankly, I've been grinning widely every time this man does pretty much anything.  Such as:
And many faithful Catholics are looking askance, deeming this pope to be imprudent, careless, and worse.  They're quoted as saying, "Who is this man who welcomes sinners and eats with them?"

Oh wait, sorry, that's misquoted.  That's Luke 15:2.

Ah, now you see my sadistic side: I have been positively gleeful watching people squirm over this pope. Because I think a pope who makes the complacent uncomfortable ain't no bad thing.

5.  Not that I haven't been made a little uncomfortable myself, so I'm right there with you that way:  I recently heard a friend of mine bemoaning that a liberal-leaning preacher was salivating over the changes that will doubtless take place in the church.  That in his personal misinterpretation of Francis's words, our altars would soon be honored by Mothers as well as Fathers.

And it's frustrating to see the "wrong" people think they're "right."  Darn it!  Because WE are right!


Yeah.  We can stand to be a little uncomfortable.

We committed Catholics are used to Benedict, who consistently presented perfectly chiseled dogma, which we then could wave at the world, stunning the unbelievers with the glory of Truth.  But now... the Holy Spirit (YES ,THE HOLY SPIRIT) has done gone and made "all things new" again.

Like we ask Him too, I might add.  That and kindling in us fires of divine love.  

6.  Now we are forced to be a bit more loving to those who are "wrong."  To be humble along with our humble Pope.  We are forced to dialogue, like he does, with people we haven't chosen to dialogue with before.  We have to slosh through the misunderstandings to find the heart of the matter.

So the next time the Pope "makes your job harder," and you have to tell the jubilant nun who feels ordination is imminent "what the Pope ACTUALLY means"... Make sure you are communicating God's love.  And God's truth.  And thank God that He has graced you with this knowledge.  And thank Francis for giving you the opportunity to share it, personally, again, in your very own words.

Love in action is not as comfortable as virtue in abstraction.

I think we all can agree that Francis is living the Catholic faith perhaps even better than he speaks about it.  He is setting an incredible example, casting a wider net to draw more people closer to God, to show the world what Christians really are supposed to be like.

File:Francisco (20-03-2013).jpg

This Pope has forsaken the trappings of his office to connect with his people, earning the ire of those who fear he has thrown reverence out with ritual.  In choosing his emphasis on humility, he brings to mind a couple of key people.  One is the original St. Francis, running around in a beggar's robes building churches by hand, scandalizing the church of his day.  And another is the Lord Himself, the Messiah who so greatly disappointed the Jewish leaders of His own time.  Who had the nerve to be born among cattle, who neglected to topple Caesar or even come down from the cross during His life as a carpenter and traveling preacher.  Who "stripped himself of glory..." Philippians 2:7.

Not such a bad precedent to follow, after all.

7.  Instead of clarifying what is wrong with what the Pope says, in both English and the original Italian, how about looking, say, for what is right in what he says?  Because I guarantee it, it's there.  Like (gulp) Barack says later in that interview:

"He's somebody who is--I think first and foremost--thinking about how to embrace people as opposed to push them away; how to find what's good in them as opposed to condemn them.  And that spirit, that sense of love and unity, seems to manifest itself in not just what he says, but what he does."

I'm now gonna write something that's gonna hurt my typing hands for a week:

Right on, Obama.  


  1. "Oh wait, sorry, that's misquoted. That's Luke 15:2."

    Hah! I love it. I'm not sure what Catholics think they have to gain from Pope-bashing. For one, he's not saying anything that his predecessors didn't say as well. For another, he's OUR Pope. Let's keep it in the family people.

  2. Ah yes, the great schism of our times: the Benedict-ines and the Francis-cans. It seems that everyone who loved Pope Benedict is really struggling with Francis and vice versa. I think that Popes Benedict and Pope Francis are on the Holy Spirit's tag team. Pope Benedict has gone "underground" and Pope Francis has become the front man. Different styles but the same team. I love our church! As for the president recognizing the Pope's holiness, I think it shows that there is hope for everyone.

  3. Love this Katie! Great post.. Everything you said is so true. I try to stay away from all the media stuff about the I haven't read a lot of the controversy..but he is our Pope and I do love him!,

  4. I absolutely love this post. That is all.

  5. Those who are overly sensitive to the Pope are being played by the media. Does it stink,what the media does? Yes. But No one said being Catholic is easy, people are constantly being martyred for our faith. Dealing with the media, is minor cross compare to the torture some of the Saints endured.

  6. I loved this post, especially the smiley picture at the end. I say: Right on!

  7. Would have been a great article if only you had avoided the swipes at the president.

  8. I loved this post too, especially because of the humility *you* showed in the way you gave credit to a politician you don't like. I admit I was expecting something quite different from this post and was dreading reading it. This was a breath of fresh air. He really hasn't changed anything (well, anything that actually matters; who cares what he wears or where he lives?), but if he's able to speak in a way that connects with the modern world, more power to him!

  9. I can't begin to agree with you enough. I could write about Pope Francis every day and never grow weary of it. While I loved Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI as well for different reasons, this Pope resonates with my Spirit in a more intimate way. It's as though his charisms speak to mine more clearly (whereas my husband resonated with Pope Benedict's scholarly style - fitting for his charisms!). I for one hope your hands heal quickly from that short phrase - hey, ain't no shame in agreeing with a man when he's right, even if it is not so often. It simply goes to show that the human spirit recognizes and revels in truth and goodness. :) And is it wrong that I think it is funny that the person who takes issue with a "swipe" at the president posts anonymously? Really?

  10. I love this post and I absolutely love Papa Francis...and I don't even consider myself a Christian leave alone a Catholic. He has a message and an attitude to life, people and humanity that a lot more people would benefit from paying attention to...and trying to live out even if in some small way.

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