Is the Pope causing confusion?

I think he is. Some don’t. I thought I would start posting examples of people being evidently confused by the messages being sent by Pope Francis:

“You may argue that the bible tells you to go to church and observe the sabbath and by not doing so I can’t stake a claim in living as a catholic is intended too. Or just by believing and practicing on my own terms is not ok, and that’s alright. To each his own. Society has evolved and the practice of religion should evolve along with it if retaining the younger generation is to happen. Which is why I admire the philosophies and teachings of Pope Francis. I can relate to what he says and am constantly in awe at how he has identified with current society and adapted the scripture to today’s context. His lenten message was no different to the way I lead my life on a daily basis, and all that is essentially part of what the bible asks you to do in the first place.”

A Perspective on Faith,” Notes on Mirrors blog, April 18, 2016.

“Reducing the stigma around divorced couples is not the church saying divorce is okay. It’s the church’s way of adapting to the changing family values and definitions of what it means to be a family.

“Francis … recognized that life isn’t always perfect. Sometimes marriages just don’t work out, but these couples are now encouraged to continue to be an active member of the church and to receive the nourishment from the Eucharist.

“So that’s a leap forward in one aspect of family life.”

Rosie Kean, “The Definition of Family is Evolving But Will the Church Evolve with It?,” The Writer’s Bloc blog, April 18, 2016.

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8 thoughts on “Is the Pope causing confusion?

  1. All who would attempt to teach the faith would do well to humbly and prayerfully meditate upon these words of Christ: “It were better for him, that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should scandalize one of these little ones” (Luke xvii. 21). Pope St. Pius X’s encyclical Pascendi dominici gregis is no less relevant today than when he wrote it in 1907.

    God bless!

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  2. The impression I get is that he’s advocating for changes to Catholic moral teachings, without wanting to come right out and say it clearly. I’m not so sure that the above impressions are outright mistakes so much as desired interpretations 😦

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  3. I agree that those are desired interpretations, but I think he leaves himself open to them by expressing himself so imprecisely. After all, this type of thing was never a problem for Pope Benedict. : )

    I don’t think the Pope wants to change the Church’s moral teachings. I think he’s just really, really concerned about people not feeling loved by God or by the Church and he’s entirely focused on remedying that problem, pretty much to the exclusion of all other considerations. It would be equally bad if his only concern were to browbeat people into obeying the commandments lest they burn in hell. Either tendency is bad when not balanced by the other.

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    • Everyone I know who wants to be loved by God loves Him and seeks to please Him by obeying Him, knowing that His commandments are for our good. A good way to feel loved by God is by seeking to please Him, even as a child seeks to please his parent to win greater affection. Or as in a marriage a man who is lovingly faithful to his wife finds that she reciprocates with a deeper love for him, and he consequently achieves greater happiness.

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  4. SS:

    That’s a heckuva good point. It’s hard to feel loved by God when you know your actions don’t please him.

    I know some would say that God loves us even before we repent of our sins; that we don’t earn his love by good behavior. That’s certainly true. But I still think that we begin to *feel* loved by God when we begin to consciously do his will.

    Before what I consider my initial repentance, in my mid-20s, I had something of a belief in God, but my attitude towards him was mostly one of anger and resentment that he didn’t make my life better and happier. I can’t say that I felt loved by him during that time. When I came to realize that he had been loving me all that time, was not until after I had surrendered myself to his will and resolved to obey him rather than expecting him to obey me, so to speak. He loved me the whole time, obviously, or I never could have come to repentance. But I could not feel that love so long as I was resisting him rather than submitting to his will.

    Maybe the Pope never had such an experience … ?

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  5. As someone who is returning to the Catholic Church, I can appreciate Pope Francis’ emphasis on mercy. I find some things particularly confusing but there always seems to be a reason behind it without completely disregarding church doctrine.

    I follow Dave Armstrong on Facebook. He’s a Catholic apologist and a strong advocate for defending Pope Francis. I’m not sure what you would think, but he seems to have some valid points. Feel free to check out his blogs on Patheos if you’re interested:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/davearmstrong/2016/04/more-defenses-of-amoris-laetitia-pope-francis.html

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  6. Jesus is pretty clear on divorce: “whoever leaves his wife, unless she herself is an adulteress, causes her to commit adultery, and anyone that marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery”

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