An Unworthy Pope

 

When Catholic prelates and popes make idiots of themselves or engage in misconduct, Catholics are inclined to respond to Protestants who are scandalized by saying that the presence of fools and scoundrels in high ecclesiastical offices only goes to show that the Catholic church is the one true church. How could it have survived and flourished otherwise?

Not everyone is persuaded by this argument, but everyone must concede that fools and scoundrels sometimes find their way to high ecclesiastical office — and in this particular, our time does not differ from other times.

In the last few decades, the Roman Catholic Church has been fortunate in those whom it has elected to the Papacy. John Paul II was a great man — perhaps the greatest student of philosophy to have ever occupied the chair of Peter. If you doubt my claim, read his encyclicals. Many a Protestant minister, despite sectarian proclivities, has devoted considerable time to this task.

Benedict XV was also a great man — perhaps the finest theologian to have ever occupied the chair of Peter. Reading his encyclicals is also worth your time, whether you are a Catholic or not.

No one of any intelligence is ever, however, going to call Pope Francis a great man. He puts me in mind of the figures described by Socrates in Plato’s Apology. They had three things in common, Socrates discovered. They were experts in one sphere, they supposed that this made them experts in all other fields as well, and they were utterly oblivious to their ignorance.

Francis is a student of theology — not an especially astute student, but he knows a thing or two. What makes him a very great fool is that he is not a student of economics, climate science, or national security, and that this defect does not in any way discourage him from pontificating (I use the word advisedly) on these subjects and making a great display of his ignorance.

Early in his pontificate, he issued an encyclical that touched at some length on economic matters, and in his denunciation of commercial society he gave us a taste of the economic populism that has so bedeviled Argentina now for nearly a century. It was widely recognized as an embarrassment, and it is an indication of Francis’ arrogance that he is still peddling the bromides that have for so long crippled economic growth in Latin America. There is a reason why the cardinals of the Catholic Church never before elected a Jesuit to the Papacy.

Time and again, Francis has pontificated on anthropogenic global warming — treating a question as closed that, many distinguished scientists believe, is very much open. As an expert on the subject, Pope Francis has no standing whatsoever. He is not even a knowledgeable layman.

On the question of immigration, Francis is arguably even more of a fool. Time and again, he has made statements intimating that no political community has a right to control its own borders and exclude outsiders and that it is a moral obligation that it take in every last refugee on the planet. Missing from his understanding is the fact that political communities — whether states or stateless societies — come into existence to provide for the security of their members and that their security requires the careful policing of borders. A mass influx of foreigners can be as dangerous an invasion as a military attack, and in the age of terrorism it tends to be inseparable from military attacks. The moral posturing of Francis and of his bishops on this subject is a disgrace.

All of this is doubly a disgrace because the Catholic Church teaches that prudential questions lie beyond the purview of prelates. Vatican II was quite specific on this subject, instructing the clergy not to meddle in spheres that lay outside the teaching of religious doctrine and morals. This sphere, Vatican II insisted, was reserved for ordinary citizens and for those expert on the questions in dispute. The Church is authorized to lay out the general considerations that statesmen must attend to but not to dictate or even promote policy in spheres where prudence must govern.

Francis’ response to Donald Trump’s decision to cancel Barack Obama’s initiative Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is a case in point. The latter did so in large part because it was his judgment that the President did not have the authority under the Constitution or immigration law to do what he did, and he was surely correct in that judgment. Barack Obama himself acknowledged as much. In effect, as Thomas Farnan has argued cogently in his weekly column on Observer.com, the Pope, followed slavishly by the American bishops, has condemned the President for insisting on the rule of law.

Francis’ response to Trump’s action was, however, especially disgraceful — for he went on to do something that no Pontiff should ever do. He intimated that, in canceling DACA, Trump proved that he was not really pro-life. He pretended to be able to see into the man’s soul.

What makes this worse is that not a single American bishop took the Pope to task for this. But some pro-life American Catholic laymen did — including, according to LifeSiteNews.com, Michael Hichborn, founder and president of the Lepanto Institute. “If Pope Francis is so concerned with the commitment of others to the defense of preborn children, he should consider his own words and actions, as well,” he said. In support of this claim, he pointed out a certain tension between the Pope’s treatment of Trump and Obama:

“One has to ask why Pope Francis, who was silent about President Obama’s full support of the abortion industry, is questioning President Trump’s commitment to the pro-life cause,” Hichborn wondered. “Since ‘the family is the cradle of life and you must defend its unity,’ as Pope Francis says, perhaps he will now clarify that permitting sacrilegious confessions and Communions to divorced and ‘remarried’ Catholics is a direct assault on the unity of the family.”

Hichborn doesn’t stop there. “Pope Francis has caused great confusion and concern for Catholics since he took office. He called Emma Bonino, an Italian abortionist, one of Italy’s ‘lost greats.’ He suggested that contraception might be justifiable in light of the Zika outbreak. He has hosted population control enthusiasts in the Vatican. He is collaborating with population control enthusiast Jeffrey Sachs. He gutted the Pontifical Academy for Life and actually appointed a pro-abortion theologian to the academy.”

Of course, Hichborn is more outspoken than most. But he is by no means alone. As the article at LifeSiteNews.com makes clear, virtually every pro-life leader in the United States has come to the President’s defense. What is dismaying is the fact that not a single bishop has spoken up. The current crop is as silent about the Pope’s propensity to speak when he should be quiet as their predecessors were about the misconduct of pederast priests a generation ago. This Pope deserves a stern rebuke, and there is no one of courage in the hierarchy.

What makes all of this especially bad is that the misconduct of Pope Francis is scandalous in the old sense of the word. He has subordinated preaching the faith to his own political agenda. Insofar as he causes individuals to identify the Catholic Church as a partisan political actor, he brings the church itself into contempt. Is there no one in the Catholic hierarchy courageous enough to tell him this to his face?

There are 58 comments.

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  1. Member

    It will be interesting to see how Vatican City deals with all of the immigrants he has invited to come live within its now open borders.

    What? You need to be employed by The Holy See to get citizenship in Vatican City? That doesn’t sound very “pro-life” to me.

    • #1
    • September 15, 2017 at 3:09 pm
    • 17 likes
  2. Thatcher

    Paul A. Rahe:In the last few decades, the Roman Catholic Church has been fortunate in those whom it has elected to the Papacy. John Paul II was a great man — perhaps the greatest student of philosophy to have ever occupied the chair of Peter. If you doubt my claim, read his encyclicals. Many a Protestant minister, despite sectarian proclivities, has devoted considerable time to this task.

    Benedict XV was also a great man — perhaps the finest theologian to have ever occupied the chair of Peter. Reading his encyclicals is also worth your time, whether you are a Catholic or not.

    The two of them back to back made staying a Protestant harder than it otherwise would have been.

    Then Frank pops up and pops off and suddenly it is back to “oh yeah, that’s why.”

    • #2
    • September 15, 2017 at 3:10 pm
    • 24 likes
  3. Member

    I think he can’t see white people or their communities as other than a consumable natural resource. I don’t think he hates anybody, I just think there is a cognitive barrier in his mind.

    I think this is a common affliction of people of the left.

    • #3
    • September 15, 2017 at 3:12 pm
    • 4 likes
  4. Thatcher

    He is a poor Pope. My guess is the Church has gone leftist like everything else does.

    • #4
    • September 15, 2017 at 3:13 pm
    • 3 likes
  5. Member

    Percival (View Comment):

    Paul A. Rahe:In the last few decades, the Roman Catholic Church has been fortunate in those whom it has elected to the Papacy. John Paul II was a great man — perhaps the greatest student of philosophy to have ever occupied the chair of Peter. If you doubt my claim, read his encyclicals. Many a Protestant minister, despite sectarian proclivities, has devoted considerable time to this task.

    Benedict XV was also a great man — perhaps the finest theologian to have ever occupied the chair of Peter. Reading his encyclicals is also worth your time, whether you are a Catholic or not.

    The two of them back to back made staying a Protestant harder than it otherwise would have been.

    Then Frank pops up and pops off and suddenly it is back to “oh yeah, that’s why.”

    Well, not if you consider what the Protestants are currently selling.

    • #5
    • September 15, 2017 at 3:18 pm
    • 17 likes
  6. Member

    I would not say he is very knowledgeable on theology either. All the unedit stuff I have read that was translated basically ignored most scripture even when there was plenty of scripture to back his point. He will write tens of thousands of words and refrence a hand full a scriptue. There is so much theology on money (over 2000 verse on the bible on the subject) which he seems to have read none of it. I question if he has actually read the whole Bible cover to cover because when he opens his mouth he comes off almost as ignorant on scripture as your average journalist who is writing about religion.

    • #6
    • September 15, 2017 at 3:23 pm
    • 4 likes
  7. Thatcher

    Basil Fawlty (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Paul A. Rahe:In the last few decades, the Roman Catholic Church has been fortunate in those whom it has elected to the Papacy. John Paul II was a great man — perhaps the greatest student of philosophy to have ever occupied the chair of Peter. If you doubt my claim, read his encyclicals. Many a Protestant minister, despite sectarian proclivities, has devoted considerable time to this task.

    Benedict XV was also a great man — perhaps the finest theologian to have ever occupied the chair of Peter. Reading his encyclicals is also worth your time, whether you are a Catholic or not.

    The two of them back to back made staying a Protestant harder than it otherwise would have been.

    Then Frank pops up and pops off and suddenly it is back to “oh yeah, that’s why.”

    Well, not if you consider what the Protestants are currently selling.

    Depends on which Protestants you’re talking about.

    It used to be when I said that I was more Catholic than the Pope, I was exaggerating for comedic effect.

    • #7
    • September 15, 2017 at 3:56 pm
    • 18 likes
  8. Contributor

    I don’t have dog in this fight, but what seems obvious to me is that the papacy of Francis, like that of many regrettable popes in the last two millennia, demonstrates the fragility of monarchy and similar top-down organisations. Their entire heritage is on the line every time they choose, by whatever means, an absolute ruler, whether they call him pontiff, emperor, king, or supreme leader. Sooner or later you’re going to get a bad one, and the damage a bad one can do far outweighs the good a whole series of excellent ones can work.

    Usually, there’s a permanent structure, whether it’s called a council of elders, civil service, curia, politburo, etc. which constrains the person at the top, but ultimately, if there are no institutional checks and balances and the guy at the top of the pyramid is patient and willing to replace those who oppose him (as Francis appears to be doing), he can ultimately have his way.

    A system with no central governance, Islam for example, does not have this fragility. There is no Islamic pope—if one leader veers off into destructive doctrine, others will attract those who defect. The many Protestant churches are similar, in a way. When the “mainstream” denominations go full-on social justice warrior, they find their pews emptying out in favour of evangelical and fundamentalist sects which haven’t compromised.

    Maybe the Roman Catholic curia needs to read Prof. Rahe’s book (Member Feed post—join to read!) The Spartans set up the ephors to counter the power of their kings (they had two of them), and then subjected the ephors to independent scrutiny of their actions after their one year term in office. The key point, which many people who haven’t designed computer operating systems miss, is that checks and balances are not so much about what happens when they’re actually invoked, but all of the bad things which don’t happen because those in power don’t want to get risk getting to the point where their power would actively be challenged or checked.

    I’m not recommending Sparta as a model for governance—much of it was repellent—but looking at their unwritten constitution through engineering eyes, they got some of the key feedback loops right in a way many other classical societies (among which I think we can include the Roman Catholic church) did not.

    • #8
    • September 15, 2017 at 4:13 pm
    • 16 likes
  9. Member

    I wrote almost these exact sentiments in a memo to my bishop who suggested I send it on to the President of the USCCB…I do not expect any reply, much less a warm one.

    (Well, this traditional Catholic is thrilled that infallibility is so proscribed!)

    • #9
    • September 15, 2017 at 4:28 pm
    • 9 likes
  10. Inactive

    August 29, 2012
    The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Migration and Refugee Services has published its 2011 annual report.

    According to the report, over 92.5% of Migration and Refugee Services’ $72.1 million budget came from federal grants and contracts, while under $25,000 came from private donations.

    Nearly 80% of expenses were allotted to diocesan programs and direct assistance to refugees and other clients. In 2011, Migration and Refugee Services resettled 14,285 people–25% of refugees entering the United States.

    Between 2006 and 2011, Migration and Refugee Services assisted 2,735 victims of human trafficking before the Department of Health and Human Services’ controversial decision not to renew its grant to the USCCB.

    During 2011, Migration and Refugee Services also advocated for the passage of the DREAM Act.

    Follow. The. Money.

    • #10
    • September 15, 2017 at 4:34 pm
    • 20 likes
  11. Thatcher

    Confutatis maledictis (View Comment):

    August 29, 2012
    The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Migration and Refugee Services has published its 2011 annual report.

    According to the report, over 92.5% of Migration and Refugee Services’ $72.1 million budget came from federal grants and contracts, while under $25,000 came from private donations.

    Nearly 80% of expenses were allotted to diocesan programs and direct assistance to refugees and other clients. In 2011, Migration and Refugee Services resettled 14,285 people–25% of refugees entering the United States.

    Between 2006 and 2011, Migration and Refugee Services assisted 2,735 victims of human trafficking before the Department of Health and Human Services’ controversial decision not to renew its grant to the USCCB.

    During 2011, Migration and Refugee Services also advocated for the passage of the DREAM Act.

    Follow. The. Money.

    Thirty pieces of federal silver.

    • #11
    • September 15, 2017 at 4:38 pm
    • 15 likes
  12. Member

    Paul A. Rahe: What makes all of this especially bad is that the misconduct of Pope Francis is scandalous in the old sense of the word. He has subordinated preaching the faith to his own political agenda.

    So Pope Francis makes a fool of himself on climate change, immigration, economics, etc., etc., – all the things that he has no competence on. That the USCCB agrees with him on climate change and immigration but won’t condemn another stupid comment of his on an inflight presser (re your DACA pro-life example) is scandalous, but of minor concern. That is what liberals feed on.

    Let me be blunt.

    You declare him “a student of theology”. That is preposterous, and where you have missed the scandal of Francis.

    The scandal of Francis is Amoris Laetitae. He can’t change Church teaching on marriage and divorce and the administration of the sacraments, but he can and has changed her pastoral practice on marriage and divorce and the administration of the sacraments. He can’t change the sacrifice of the mass into a communal meal that we can share with non-believers but he is trying to water it down to mush (see his latest Motu Proprio).

    This is the scandal of Francis. I appreciate that you raise these issues, but we’ve had lots of discussion of the issues that matter on the member feed: come and join in on what really matters.

    Paul A. Rahe: Is there no one in the Catholic hierarchy courageous enough to tell him this to his face?

    The four Dubia Brothers have called him out but the Pope doesn’t have the guts to answer them.

    • #12
    • September 15, 2017 at 4:38 pm
    • 22 likes
  13. Member

    John Walker (View Comment):
    I’m not recommending Sparta as a model for governance—much of it was repellent—but looking at their unwritten constitution through engineering eyes, they got some of the key feedback loops right in a way many other classical societies (among which I think we can include the Roman Catholic church) did not.

    If you believe, as Catholics do, that the only meaningful feedback loop runs between the church and God, then it seems somewhat presumptuous to expect such feedback to be immediate.

    • #13
    • September 15, 2017 at 4:39 pm
    • 7 likes
  14. Contributor

    Confutatis maledictis (View Comment):

    The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Migration and Refugee Services has published its 2011 annual report.

    According to the report, over 92.5% of Migration and Refugee Services’ $72.1 million budget came from federal grants and contracts, while under $25,000 came from private donations.

    Follow. The. Money.

    Refugee Resettlement Watch is the go-to site for information about this racket, which hides behind the names of legitimate religious denominations to extract funds from the public fisc for their activities.

    • #14
    • September 15, 2017 at 4:40 pm
    • 5 likes
  15. Inactive
    MLH

    John Walker (View Comment):
    Refugee Resettlement Watch is the go-to site for information about this racket, which hides behind the names of legitimate religious denominations to extract funds from the public fisc for their activities.

    Might be interesting to compare to SPLC’s hate group list/map. . .

    • #15
    • September 15, 2017 at 4:45 pm
    • 4 likes
  16. Moderator

    MLH (View Comment):

    John Walker (View Comment):
    Refugee Resettlement Watch is the go-to site for information about this racket, which hides behind the names of legitimate religious denominations to extract funds from the public fisc for their activities.

    Might be interesting to compare to SPLC’s hat group list. . .

    Deerstalkers are definitely signs of cultural oppression.

    • #16
    • September 15, 2017 at 4:51 pm
    • 2 likes
  17. Inactive
    MLH

    Amy Schley (View Comment):

    MLH (View Comment):

    John Walker (View Comment):
    Refugee Resettlement Watch is the go-to site for information about this racket, which hides behind the names of legitimate religious denominations to extract funds from the public fisc for their activities.

    Might be interesting to compare to SPLC’s hat group list. . .

    Deerstalkers are definitely signs of cultural oppression.

    I fixed it.

    • #17
    • September 15, 2017 at 4:53 pm
    • 2 likes
  18. Moderator

    MLH (View Comment):

    Amy Schley (View Comment):

    MLH (View Comment):

    John Walker (View Comment):
    Refugee Resettlement Watch is the go-to site for information about this racket, which hides behind the names of legitimate religious denominations to extract funds from the public fisc for their activities.

    Might be interesting to compare to SPLC’s hat group list. . .

    Deerstalkers are definitely signs of cultural oppression.

    I fixed it.

    Sorry, you make a typo with a funny mental image, you’re going to get a joke. :D

    • #18
    • September 15, 2017 at 6:14 pm
    • 5 likes
  19. Inactive

    Benedict XV was also a great man 

    I think you meant Benedict XVI, but I do enjoy Benedict XV’s document on Dante:

    (note the reference to “deplorable” in 1921!

    10. If then Dante owes so great part of his fame and greatness to the Catholic Faith, let that one example, to say nothing of others, suffice to show the falseness of the assertion that obedience of mind and heart to God is a hindrance to genius, whereas indeed it incites and elevates it. Let it show also the harm done to the cause of learning and civilization by such as desire to banish all idea of religion from public instruction. Deplorable indeed is the system prevalent today of educating young students as if God did not exist and without the least reference to the supernatural. In some places the “sacred poem” is not kept outside the schools, is indeed numbered among the books to be studied specially; but it does not bring to the young students that “vital nourishment” which it should do because through the principle of the “lay school” they are not disposed towards the truths of the Faith as they should be. Heaven grant that this may be the fruit of the Dante Centenary: that wherever literary instruction is given the great poet may be held in due honour and that he himself may be for the pupils the teacher of Christian doctrine, he whose one purpose in his poem was “to raise mortals from the state of misery,” that is from the state of sin, “and lead them to the state of happiness,” that is of divine grace (Epist. III, para. 15).

    11. And you, beloved children, whose lot it is to promote learning under the magisterium of the Church, continue as you are doing to love and tend the noble poet whom We do not hesitate to call the most eloquent singer of the Christian idea. The more profit you draw from study of him the higher will be your culture, irradiated by the splendours of truth, and the stronger and more spontaneous your devotion to the Catholic Faith.

    As pledge of celestial favours and witness of Our paternal benevolence we impart to you, beloved children, with all Our heart, the Apostolic benediction.

    Given at Rome at St. Peter’s, April 30, 1921, the seventh year of Our Pontificate.

    • #19
    • September 15, 2017 at 6:55 pm
    • 12 likes
  20. Inactive

    Pascendi Dominici Gregis
    On the Doctrine of the Modernists
    Pope Pius X – September 8, 1907
    ON THE DOCTRINE OF THE MODERNISTS
    VENERABLE BRETHREN, HEALTH AND THE APOSTOLIC BLESSING:

    1. One of the primary obligations assigned by Christ to the office divinely committed to Us of feeding the Lord’s flock is that of guarding with the greatest vigilance the deposit of the faith delivered to the saints, rejecting the profane novelties of words and the gainsaying of knowledge falsely so called. There has never been a time when this watchfulness of the supreme pastor was not necessary to the Catholic body, for owing to the efforts of the enemy of the human race, there have never been lacking “men speaking perverse things,”1 “vain talkers and seducers,”2 “erring and driving into error.”3 It must, however, be confessed that these latter days have witnessed a notable increase in the number of the enemies of the Cross of Christ, who, by arts entirely new and full of deceit, are striving to destroy the vital energy of the Church, and, as far as in them lies, utterly to subvert the very Kingdom of Christ. Wherefore We may no longer keep silence, lest We should seem to fail in Our most sacred duty, and lest the kindness that, in the hope of wiser counsels, We have hitherto shown them, should be set down to lack of diligence in the discharge of Our office.

    • #20
    • September 15, 2017 at 7:04 pm
    • 5 likes
  21. Member

    Paul A. Rahe: Benedict XV was also a great man — perhaps the finest theologian to have ever occupied the chair of Peter. Reading his encyclicals is also worth your time, whether you are a Catholic or not.

    I agree. :)

    • #21
    • September 15, 2017 at 7:04 pm
    • 3 likes
  22. Member

    Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI were definitely exceptional in their intellect and in their theological understanding. Pope Francis is not alone in not having the same intellect, or theological clarity, whether in the Catholic Church, or outside the Catholic Church. In an institution that is 2,000+ years old there will be outstanding men and some that fall short in the clergy.

    As a Catholic I look to the Catechism, the final authority, when it comes to moral decisions and religious decisions. The Catechism is also my guide when it comes to how I mark my ballot. I will not vote for either a Democrat or a Republican that supports abortion, or euthanasia.

    What you are seeing from Pope Francis is the last throes of those who misused Vatican II. In a sense Vatican II let loose clergy, and laity that are terrified that something they write will not be read, or something the say will not be heard. Like Luther they could not abide the thought of one Pope, and like Luther they have given us thousands of Popes. It is odd that those within the Church for whom disobedience became a common virtue are now demanding obedience to Pope Francis.

    I’m somewhat bemused and heartened when those who are outside the Catholic Church are concerned about the direction that Pope Francis has taken. I’m concerned about it as well, but Pope Francis will pass away and there will be another Pope.

    • #22
    • September 15, 2017 at 9:32 pm
    • 11 likes
  23. Member

    “You think our church ( the Roman Catholic Church) has done everything right in the last 600 years? I’ve got two words for you “Borgia” and “Medici””. – John Michael Talbot

    NB- I’m a Protestant Charismatic who is generally friendly toward the Catholic Church, if that is relevant to the conversation.

    Thanks for the conversation starter, Dr. Rahe.

    • #23
    • September 16, 2017 at 2:21 am
    • 3 likes
  24. Lincoln

    Dumb question: I’m assuming Dr. Rahe is Catholic?

    • #24
    • September 16, 2017 at 5:07 am
    • Like
  25. Coolidge

    Doug Watt (View Comment):
    I’m concerned about it as well, but Pope Francis will pass away and there will be another Pope.

    Hopefully Cardinal Robert Sarah. Pius XIII has a nice ring to it.

    • #25
    • September 16, 2017 at 5:16 am
    • 5 likes
  26. Coolidge

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):
    The four Dubia Brothers have called him out but the Pope doesn’t have the guts to answer them.

    Alas, we are now down to two Dubia Cardinals.

    • #26
    • September 16, 2017 at 5:18 am
    • 4 likes
  27. Member

    Umbrasjg (View Comment):
    Dumb question: I’m assuming Dr. Rahe is Catholic?

    Is the Pope Catholic? (Oops! Bad response.)

    • #27
    • September 16, 2017 at 5:30 am
    • 6 likes
  28. Lincoln

    Basil Fawlty (View Comment):

    Umbrasjg (View Comment):
    Dumb question: I’m assuming Dr. Rahe is Catholic?

    Is the Pope Catholic? (Oops! Bad response.)

    The Pope certainly is, just checking on the author. I’m assuming he is.

    • #28
    • September 16, 2017 at 5:45 am
    • Like
  29. Member

    Umbrasjg (View Comment):

    Basil Fawlty (View Comment):

    Umbrasjg (View Comment):
    Dumb question: I’m assuming Dr. Rahe is Catholic?

    Is the Pope Catholic? (Oops! Bad response.)

    The Pope certainly is, just checking on the author. I’m assuming he is.

    Sufficiently so to raise Dianne Feinstein’s hackles.

    • #29
    • September 16, 2017 at 6:13 am
    • 3 likes
  30. Coolidge

    I am a fairly new Catholic. I grew up occasionally going to mass, but we were not what you’d call a “churched” home. I wasn’t baptized as a baby, and I eventually became a Protestant after years of agnosticism.

    Then one day in church, I got hung up on pre-destination and tuned back into the priests I could hear in the culture. Bishop Robert Barron has had more to do with my personal conversion to Rome than anyone else speaking in the world. I go to his ministry when I am confused about particular questions in the culture, and I find he speaks with incredible clarity that rings intellectually and emotionally true.

    As a new Catholic, I can only say of Pope Francis that some of his positions are confusing, and this is important because the Catholic church does a p*** poor job of teaching Catholics outside of 10 minute homilies once a Sunday. While RCIA is required for conversion, there are few opportunities for further learning that aren’t self-directed, so it’s quite easy to get befuddled by the messages one hears coming down from above. I used to think that this was because I lived in Georgia where Catholics are not as common. But I live in Texas now with a lot of Catholics, and there are still no Bible studies. There are few opportunities to hear what I know are robust discussions about the religion itself per those I see on Ricochet, and this is all difficult for me.

    I guess I’m saying that it seems to me that Pope Francis has it right when he says the church needs to have more shepherds… do more pastoral care. While I know enough about the pope to know I don’t like his politics much, I am not educated enough to know when he contradicts this or that precept of Catholicism. (I’m trying to learn more independently, of course, but that is self-directed. There is no shepherd apart from a bishop on You Tube.)

    This is the problem.

    Pope Francis will probably be around for a long time.

    Dissonance is corroding.

    • #30
    • September 16, 2017 at 6:19 am
    • 9 likes
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