Pope Francis

Pope Francis

Christians everywhere  are being persecuted.  Some are beheaded.  Some are murdered by drowning.  Some are being driven out of their homes and becoming refugees in foreign lands.  And, some are slowly being killed by repressive policies, even here in America.

The persecutions are a human tragedy. Lives lost.  Lives destroyed.  Futures and dreams never to be realized.

Amid all this chaos, the Catholic Church is a beacon of hope through its outreach to the poor, oppressed, and hopeless.

As Catholics, we accept the responsibility to try to make the world a better place.  Although we can never create a perfect world, we try.  Our goal is to live according to Jesus’ command:  do unto others as we would have them do unto us.

As the Shepherd of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis’ responsibility is to help us be better Christians, better Catholics, and  better human beings.  To that end, he reminds us of our personal goals and how to avoid the sins we might not be able to resist.  Because we are all human and sin, his mission is monumental.  It should be all encompassing.

Unfortunately, Pope Francis  must not find it satisfying enough because he has now  stepped outside of his priestly role and entered the political arena when he states that denying Climate Change is a sin.  And, to unilaterally recognize Palestine as a state or to say that Abbas is “an angel of peace” is to establish a rift between the Church and Israel, America’s strongest ally.

In effect, the Pope has taken sides in a political matter and is leading our Church into more confrontation.  Rather than leading us into a holier state, he is becoming a politician  and making us pawns in his personal philosophy of the world.

That is not only sad, it is the wrong role for a Pope.

Instead of playing politics, Pope Francis should concentrate on leading “all souls to heaven”.

 


Pope Francis “stepping out”……

Pope Francis is the undisputed, spiritual leader of the Roman Catholic Church.  And most of us Catholics respect his moral authority in spiritual matters because few of us have the training or the time to study and contemplate spiritual matters.  For most of us, working and living consume almost all our time whereas for Pope Francis, living IS the study of all things spiritual.  When he speaks of our relationship with God, he speaks with authority.  When he issues an encyclical on a spiritual topic, he is infallible.

For this, I admire him.

However, Pope Francis is NOT a scientist.  And, though he is an expert on God and how we should conduct our spiritual lives, many of us believe that we know as much, if not more, on some issues than he does.

For example, I would say that there are many of us who have a better handle on daily living than he does.  After all, we live IN the world and must deal with earning a living, raising our children, and maintaining our personal relationships with our spouses, family and friends.   Many of us are more familiar with subjects such as sewing, or computers, or sports than he is.  More people understand astronomy or business than he does.  And, there are even more who understand farming or plumbing or carpentry than he does.  He is NOT an expert in many areas of life.

And, because we know more than Pope Francis on some of these subjects, it truly bothers me that there are rumors he intends to write an encyclical, an infallible document, on the subject of global warming.  Although he has company if he believes in this, there are many, many  scientists who disagree with that theory.  And, because the science is NOT settled, despite what President Obama opined, it is dangerous for Pope Francis to write a one-sided opinion and expect Catholics to accept his beliefs when they know them to be false.  While his motives might be good, it is unwise, if not arrogant, for Pope Francis to believe that he knows enough science to dictate what Catholics should believe and how we must act on the issue of global warming.

By positing an erroneous theory as true,  he will lose the aura of authority he now possesses as Pope.  If he tries to insist that all of us believe his theory about a scientific issue like global warming, and a crowd of scientists dispute his theory, the Pope loses even the moral authority that is his due as Pope.  If he maintains that there is global warming and it can be demonstrated that he is wrong, it will be much easier to question whether he is correct about spiritual matters.

In short, by stepping outside the circle of the Church and spiritual issues, he is exposing himself, the Church, and future Popes, to proof that he does NOT know everything. And,  once proven wrong, many Catholics will begin to question his right to expound even on spiritual issues.

There have been other Popes in other times who have tried to force  their flocks in secular areas,  rather than leading them toward God.  In eras when Catholics were illiterate, Popes could easily direct, and even force,  people to act and speak in accordance with Church teachings.  However, in today’s world, where most of us can not only read and write, but think about matters which affect our lives, it is much more difficult for a Pope to insist that he alone knows everything.

So, maybe the Pope should stay “home”, and deal with religious issues, as he was elected to do.  He was not elected King over us.  He was elected Pope, or shepherd.  When he “steps out” into areas where we all have knowledge and some of us are true experts, he is no longer infallible.  He is just another man trying to force his own beliefs upon others.

 


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