Media Strikes Back at Francis

Yesterday’s election of Francis as Pope may prove very illuminating.

The media, being liberal, likes the social justice aspect of this pontiff. They like that he has a concern for the poor. They like that he is humble. But how will they reconcile that with their liberal ideas?

They won’t, because the Pope’s stance on gay marriage, celibacy, contraceptives, abortion and euthanasia invalidates all else for them. These are the issues that count for them; not worshiping God as he told us or actually helping other human beings.

Today we hear all kinds of condescending remarks about the Church from them. Here’s an example. Young Luke Russert went off on a rant on his MSNBC blog:

Faith, guilt and charity. Growing up Catholic I’ve always considered those three ideas to be the hallmarks of my religion. A faith in Catholicism as the embodiment of Christ’s true teaching here on earth, the guilt that comes when we sin or do not live up to Christ’s standard and the charity that is expected from those who are blessed with so much. I was blessed personally by Pope John Paul II twice: once in my mother’s womb and another time when I was an infant. I attended CCD (Confraternity of Christian Doctrine) from when I was six years old till I was fourteen. The church is where I’ve been baptized, confirmed, where I’ve confessed and have even gotten to be a godfather. I graduated from one the world’s preeminent Catholic universities and to this day try to attend Mass (and never miss it on days of obligation). I’m that rare twenty-seven year old that proudly still feels a strong connection to my Catholic faith, yet the actions of many in the church over the last fifteen years have put my own personal faith on edge.

Pope Francis I will inherit an American flock where young Catholics have been outraged by countless pedophilia scandals, discouraged by a focus on politics instead of charity and hardened by a Western society where being Catholic is not so much celebrated but ridiculed. In order to reach these people, the new Pope needs to be honest and quite frankly level with parishioners. Instead of a constant focus on social issues, perhaps a focus on caring for the poor or decrying the influence of media manufactured materialism which will plague an entire American generation. Instead of a Catholic faith where priests are expected to completely suppress their sexuality, an acknowledgement that the many of the Church’s recent problems stem from the unnatural requirement of celibacy. Instead of bishops setting the agenda, maybe the nuns have a say too and more of a role for women in the church, for that matter. These types of practical acknowledgements, even if they do not become the new doctrine of the church, will at least restore some faith in the process.

Guilt is a strong tenet of the Catholic faith, yet it seems not to have any presence in the Vatican over the last fifteen years. The guilt of sin forces many Catholics daily to choose the hard right over the easy wrong. Pope Francis should feel that guilt over the thousands of lives devastated by abuse and make it well known that cover-ups or any inappropriate behavior by priests will not be tolerated and will lead to immediate expulsion. Too many parents have seen abused children never recover, too many millions have gone to settlements instead of charity, too many of the faithful have left the flock due to inaction.

Perhaps young Russert should lump pride in with his other “accomplishments.” He’s a “rare 27 year old.” Probably not rare at all. Many young people don’t adhere to Catholicism; many do. “Try” to attend Mass? That’s not an option to true Catholics. There is nothing especially commendable about this.

“The actions of many in the church have put me on edge,” he says. Not recognizing that the Church is a human institution run by humans who make mistakes puts me on edge about him. No one said being Catholic would be easy. Get used to the ridicule, Luke. It comes with the territory and has since Christ first walked the earth.

Celibacy for priests has been the order pretty much from the days of the early Church. It has worked for 2,000 years. Sure, there have been issues, but there have been with married Protestant preachers, too. Marriage does not eliminate human weakness.

Men have been priests since the early days, too. Why is this invalid today? If anything, our Church has given women more rights than most. Only among Catholics is the Virgin Mary held in such esteem. Catholic nuns have been busy evangelizing, praying and teaching for centuries. Their roles are important and recognized as such. Had Jesus had any women apostles, I’d say you have a case. But he didn’t. Luke, men and women are different and have different talents and abilities. Wake up and look around. You’ll see we are different.

“Guilt is a strong tenet of the Catholic faith,” you write. I wouldn’t say tenet. It’s not doctrine nor dogma. Perhaps you mean conscience. Stop worrying about the guilt of others and take a look at yourself. Pope Francis should feel no guilt over child abuse cases unless he did them. Shame, perhaps, and there has been plenty of that. If people left the flock, that suggests that they are weak. Perhaps it is better to stay in an organization and fix it than to throw up your hands and cowardly walk away.

If Russert doesn’t believe in what the Church teaches, he should walk away. The Left will do anything to deny eternal truths. Catholics believe in them and what was right in the past is right now. That doesn’t change.

Why do these liberals expect the Church to change to their ways? Why should She go seeking them, changing beliefs to fit the temper of the times? She shouldn’t.

Why does he think he knows more than 2,000 years of history and scholarship? Issues weren’t decided on popularity. They were decided by many thinkers who came upon the same, one truth.

It would be better to have a million true Catholics than a billion false ones. Do us a favor, Luke, and find somewhere else to go.

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