Going Where I’m Needed

pf1Pope Francis has lit up the world, including the blogosphere, with his many surprising actions and words. In short order, a sort of wedge has been created between those who love his fresh style, and those who distrust it.

He says things off the cuff. He turns right instead of left and leaves his frantic security scrambling to protect him. He eschews the trappings of the papacy.

Unsurprisingly, the mainstream media jumps on anything that he says or does that can be spun as sensational: “follow the pope on twitter and get out of hell!” or “gay priests are a-okay with Francis!”

And, almost overnight, a bustling cottage industry has grown up among Catholic bloggers of interpreting, explaining, and even kibitizing his every move and statement. That’s not a bad thing in my opinion–it’s a great thing!–but it’s not what I think I’m called to do.

The Pope is the Pope and the Church is the Church. I love Pope Francis, just as I loved Pope Benedict and Blessed John Paul II. Just as I love St. Peter and St. Linus and St. Clement and St. Martin I and St. Leo IX. God is guiding the Pope, and that is enough for me. He will not, cannot, teach heresy as truth, not because he is so smart or faithful (though I pray he is) but because the Holy Spirit protects him from erring on such matters. Let people go into apoplexy about him; none of this will change the glorious charisms he has been given.

With a small army of popular Catholics defending the Pope and making sure the record is set straight, I can content myself with other tasks. Occasionally my coworkers will say, “Hey Devin, what’s with this latest thing from the Pope? Do you like him or not?” And I will respond to them, but otherwise I see no reason to weigh in. Others are doing a good job of it, and I’m not needed on that front.

Instead, I want to go where I’m needed. Maybe that’s staying local here in central Texas, working on our farm. Maybe it’s writing the historical fiction book on the Catholic-Orthodox schism (25,000 words in!). Maybe it’s finally getting If Protestantism is True published through Catholic Answers. Maybe it’s giving a class at my parish this fall on Bible Verses Every Catholic Should Know (note to self: need a shorter title).

Pope Francis remains in my prayers, and goes with my appreciation and respect. To my fellow Catholic bloggers, I encourage unity in the bond of peace, especially with those bloggers who disagree with you, or who rub you the wrong way. We have enough enemies, without turning on our own and ripping each other to shreds. God bless.

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10 thoughts on “Going Where I’m Needed”

  1. I almost feel sorry for the RC apologists who have to defend what the pope says. Clearly he is going against what the previous pope said and what your church says in regards to homosexuality.
    In the linked article where he was interviewed http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2013/07/29/pope-francis-talks-women-in-the-church-gay-issues-on-recent-trip/

    he said “Mary is more important than the apostles,…”

    That statement alone is truly anti-biblical given that the church is built on the teachings of the apostles and not Mary.

    1. Bob,

      No he is not going against what the Church teaches on homosexuality. He differentiated, as the Church has always done, between homosexual acts, which are always objectively immoral, and the person who has those temptations. Hate the sin, love the sinner, same old, same old.

      With regard to Mary, I would need to see the full transcript to know the context, but even taken at face value, it is accurate. Firstly, notice you inadvertently followed John Calvin’s modification of God’s Word when you said the Church is built *on the teachings* of the Apostles. In fact Ephesians 2:20 says: “Built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets”–the men themselves, not “their teachings.”

      That aside, Mary is the mother of Jesus Christ. No greater vocation has ever been given to a human being, period. No greater honor has ever been given. This is what the Pope is alluding to, when he says “more important.” It may not be the ideal word choice, since “importance” can be calculated based on different factors, and in some of those, the Apostles could be thought of as “more” important. But the idea is the same.

  2. Devin,
    Where did the pope “differentiate” in the interview? I didn’t see anything in the interviews that he did this.

    How can the church be built on fallible men i.e. the apostles? It is the teachings of the apostles i.e. the NT is what they left for the church. It is the Scripture alone that is inspired-inerrant and not men.

    1. Hi Bob,

      Here is more context from the transcript, which was in answer to the question of whether there is a “gay lobby” at the Vatican–a cabal of homosexual priests who are trying to advance an agenda:

      Then you spoke of the gay lobby. Agh… so much is written about the gay lobby. I have yet to find on a Vatican identity card the word gay. They say there are some gay people here. I think that when we encounter a gay person, we must make the distinction between the fact of a person being gay and the fact of a lobby, because lobbies are not good. They are bad. If a person is gay and seeks the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge that person? The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this point beautifully but says, wait a moment, how does it say, it says, these persons must never be marginalized and “they must be integrated into society.”

      The problem is not that one has this tendency; no, we must be brothers, this is the first matter. There is another problem, another one: the problem is to form a lobby of those who have this tendency

      So Pope Francis differentiates between those who have same-sex attraction (“gay”), but are people of good will who seek the Lord and resist the temptation to do homosexual acts, and who have same-sex attraction and embrace it, forming lobbies with others to promote an immoral agenda.

  3. I know I’m third in line to say this, but I’ll echo anyway because it bears repeating.


    I’m so done with folks trying to prove themselves translators of the Pope’s deepest meanings. Let’s just give him our prayers and allow him to explain himself in his own time. Sheesh.

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