Pope Francis Finally Gets Something Right
Or at least half right.
In his Christmas message, the Pope warned against Catholics who are too rigid in their faith:
We have to beware of the temptation of assuming a rigid outlook. Rigidity that is born from fear of change and ends up disseminating stakes and obstacles in the ground of the common good, turning it into a minefield of misunderstanding and hatred.
This is in the vein we are accustomed to hearing Pope Francis's statements. The problem is with Christians who believe too much, especially Catholics who are too loyal to the Church. Nothing new here, but, then, in a rare moment of reflection, the Pope analyzes the Church's current position in the world:
Today we are no longer the only ones that produce culture, no longer the first nor the most listened to..The faith in Europe and in much of the West is no longer an obvious presumption but is often denied, derided, marginalised and ridiculed.'
Truer words have not been spoken in the Vatican since 13 March 2013. Inevitably, the Pope refuses to look at the reason why the Church is no longer listened to. Of course, there are scandals and dissensions that have brought the Church into disrepute, but nothing has so undermined the authority of the Vatican and of the Church as a whole as the irresponsible and demoralizing pronouncements of the Holy Father and his progressive allies.
How many times have we heard, at least since the end of the 1950's, that young people will not return to the Church nor vocations increase until we make everything groovy? And now that they have made everything too groovy for words, with leftist policies on immigration, pop music and pop liturgies, a moral theology so thin it would constitute indecent exposure on a nude beach, what then?
What then is the obvious fact that the Church, judged by external signs, is dying on the vine. Why would an adolescent want to go to Mass to listen to watered pop music, when he has a stereo system and a stash in his bedroom? Why would the unhappy and dissatisfied American masses, those who lead what Thoreau called "lives of quiet desperation" that have become all too noisy--why would these people seek consolation and inspiration from a Church whose hierarchy encourages and protects vice and quite obviously believes in nothing more inspiring than the platform of the Democratic Party?
Our Evangelical friends are in the habit of asking, when they are faced with a crisis, "What would Jesus do?" This is not always an entirely fair question, since few of us can, when the wine runs out at the wedding feast, call for barrels of water and turn them into wine. On the other hand, we do know what our Lord said, when faced with a corrupt ecclesiastical hierarchy:
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness....
Alas, such statements are all too judgmental and reflect a rigidity of attitude Pope Francis could only condemn.