Friday, December 20, 2013

Concerns about this pope

I have deliberately refrained from posting anything about Pope Francis. I have been waiting and watching, and will continue to do so until I am more certain about this new pope.

I find that Michael Coren, a Sun News Network host, is very sensible on these kind of issues and he has just released a new book The Future of Catholicism. He was asked by Random House to write this, when Pope Francis took office.

Coren states that we are not to worry, that doctrines of the Catholic faith cannot be changed even if they are presented in a different way by a new pope.

... there are certain aspects of Catholicism that not only will not but cannot change. The moral and Scriptural teaching of Catholicism is precisely that, and morality and Scriptural truth, Biblical teaching, and early Church history do not change.
Coren thinks that Pope Francis is moving the conversation a little, "that if we are to be heard we should not compromise, but we should approach others more empathetically, more graciously and more gracefully."

The Church of the future will be a different colour, have its heartland in different places, face greater persecution, and resemble its earliest ages rather than its middle ages. Once again, this will not be comfortable to everybody.

Coren also states:
The pope has obviously beguiled the media, and for the moment, they adore him. I predict that the honeymoon will not last. He has also, however, rattled a few serious and devout Catholic out of their comfort zones.
I hope that he is right. About the honeymoon, that is.

However, a recent development has me concerned. The Canadian publication Catholic Insight arrived in the mail today. At the back is a synopsis of recent events in the church around the world.
The first item is from the Vatican and is about Cardinal Raymond Burke and his outspoken words on the homosexual agenda. Cardinal Burke is a personal favourite of mine, he is a man who does not mince words, and I was secretly hoping that he would be elected pope.

In September he spoke about the deceit of some activists who are pursuing a radical homosexual agenda. The cardinal said, "The alarming rapidity of the realization of the homosexual agenda ought to awaken all of us and frighten us with regard to the future of the American nation. This is a work of deceit, a lie about the most fundamental aspect of our human nature, our human sexuality, which after life itself defines us. There is only one place these types of lies come from, namely Satan. It is a diabolical situation which is aimed at destroying individuals, families, and eventually our nation."  - Catholic Insight, Dec. 2013, Vol 21, No 11

This week, Cardinal Burke was removed from the Pope's Congregation for Bishops. He has been replaced by another US cardinal, Cardinal Weurl who does not favour denying Communion to pro-abortion politicians, something for which Cardinal Burke was well known.

Now, it may be that the Pope wants to have more bishops around him who are fluent in Spanish, as that is his preferred language of communication. But I find it worrisome that the one cardinal who is outspoken on the issues of abortion and homosexuality is the one who has been replaced. Something about softening the message coming from the Vatican would seem to be in the works, and that should concern us all.

The softer approach is precisely what the spirit of Vatican II was all about, and look where that got us. Churches emptying out, not because the message was clearer and fresher but because it became soft.


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