Pope Francis: Surveys, Selective reporting, Scapegoats and Sin

A lot of fuss is being made about a new worldwide survey being sent out to Catholics to find out the challenges for the faith and the family. in preparation for an extraordinary Synod on the subject.

This survey has not gotten a lot of traction in the US

it’s Pope Francis’s latest initiative that has the greatest potential to shake up one of the world’s oldest institutions. Within the past few weeks the Vatican has begun dispatching a questionnaire to parishes around the world to ask Catholics about their views on family life and sexuality in preparation for a landmark synod (a church-wide conference) on those issues next year. It’s the first time that any Pope has done such a thing.

It’s certainly not a move that’s calculated to soothe traditionalists. (The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, for one, doesn’t seem especially keen on distributing the survey to parishioners, and hasn’t moved to post the document to its website — in notable contrast to their British counterparts.)

However those people quoting the NY Times, Hans Küng and referring to Pope Benedict as Francis’ “hapless predecessor” apparently didn’t take much of a look at the survey consisting of a bunch of essay questions specifically designed for those who teach the faith to others.  It’s not for the faint of heart. Here is question #1

1. The Diffusion of the Teachings on the Family in Sacred Scripture and the Church’s Magisterium

a) Describe how the Catholic Church’s teachings on the value of the family contained in the Bible, Gaudium et spes, Familiaris consortio and other documents of the post-conciliar Magisterium is understood by people today? What formation is given to our people on the Church’s teaching on family life?

b) In those cases where the Church’s teaching is known, is it accepted fully or are there difficulties in putting it into practice? If so, what are they?

c) How widespread is the Church’s teaching in pastoral programmes at the national, diocesan and parish levels? What catechesis is done on the family?

d ) To what extent — and what aspects in particular — is this teaching actually known, accepted, rejected and/or criticized in areas outside the Church? What are the cultural factors which hinder the full reception of the Church’s teaching on the family?

I think the US Bishops took one look at his survey and correctly realized that the doers in the church are too busy actually ministering the faith for essay questions while the non doers are even less likely to take the time to fill it out.

We can be sure that the dissenters who wish to see sin redefined will certainly dive in ready to blame church doctrine for all life’s ills.  We can already see it is generating a lot of talk and excitement among left types such as in the Guardian where they have abandoned Barack Obama for a new idol:

That Obama poster on the wall, promising hope and change, is looking a little faded now. The disappointments, whether over drone warfare or a botched rollout of healthcare reform, have left the world’s liberals and progressives searching for a new pin-up to take the US president’s place. As it happens, there’s an obvious candidate: the head of an organisation those same liberals and progressives have long regarded as sexist, homophobic and, thanks to a series of child abuse scandals, chillingly cruel. The obvious new hero of the left is the pope.

Readers at the BBC are simply beside themselves:

As an out gay Catholic I have been surprised but really very satisfied with the new Pope’s slow but discernible movement away from the orthodoxy on homosexuality. This survey is warmly welcomed and I hope that by listening the Church will learn to accept diversity in sexuality. Darryl Telles, Brighton

The dirty little secret, the media may portray this as a new and exciting change in the church, but it’s a message the faithful have heard before on God’s unconditional love here

God’s passionate love for his people—for humanity—is at the same time a forgiving love. It is so great that it turns God against himself, his love against his justice.

particularly for sinners

When Jesus speaks in his parables of the shepherd who goes after the lost sheep, of the woman who looks for the lost coin, of the father who goes to meet and embrace his prodigal son, these are no mere words: they constitute an explanation of his very being and activity. His death on the Cross is the culmination of that turning of God against himself in which he gives himself in order to raise man up and save him. This is love in its most radical form.

avoiding ideologies:

Christian charitable activity must be independent of parties and ideologies. It is not a means of changing the world ideologically, and it is not at the service of worldly stratagems, but it is a way of making present here and now the love which man always needs.

or even on the limits of proselytism & charity here:

Charity, furthermore, cannot be used as a means of engaging in what is nowadays considered proselytism. Love is free; it is not practiced as a way of achieving other ends

Every single one of those statements come not from Francis but  from Pope Benedict XVI in his Encyclical DEUS CARITAS EST but unless you read the National Catholic Register you likely never saw it.  After all Benedict as a boogeyman was too valuable an image with which to attack the church for such words to get any press.

Interestingly enough our friends on the left who ignored Benedict but are ready to pull down their Obama posters and replace them with ones of Francis (a bit of idolatry that he would not approve) over similar words might be a tad less anxious to redecorate if they went online and read some of the things online that Pope Francis said that didn’t make the news like his Angelus message of November 10th.

Before us stands the final defeat of sin and death, the beginning of a new time of joy and of endless light. But already on this earth, in prayer, in the Sacraments, in fraternity, we encounter Jesus and his love, and thus we may already taste something of the risen life.

or this sermon from November 13th on the Creed

 This saving intervention does not take away our human nature and its weakness — we are all weak and we are all sinners — and it does not take from us our responsibility to ask for forgiveness every time we err! I cannot be baptized many times, but I can go to Confession and by doing so renew the grace of Baptism. It is as though I were being baptized for a second time. The Lord Jesus is very very good and never tires of forgiving us. Even when the door that Baptism opens to us in order to enter the Church is a little closed, due to our weaknesses and our sins. Confession reopens it, precisely because it is a second Baptism that forgives us of everything and illuminates us to go forward with the light of the Lord.  (emphasis mine)

And you don’t have to go back into the archives at the Vatican Website to find this stuff.  Here is a tweet is from Yesterday:

Confessing our sins may be difficult for us, but it brings us peace. We are sinners, and we need God’s forgiveness.

— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) November 18, 2013

Take a close look at what he says, it’s inviting, it’s warm, it’s welcoming, it offers peace in a hard moment but it requires a proactive acknowledgement of one’s own sinfulness.

What he says isn’t even odd for a pope after all the infinite measure of forgiveness Christ offers i  intrinsic to the very concept of Christianity, but note what does he says about sin or rather doesn’t say…

Francis doesn’t claim sin isn’t sin.

Francis doesn’t redefine it.

Francis says when it comes to sin it is our responsibility to ask for forgiveness, not once not twice but,  every time we sin.

But the media isn’t interested, you would never know Francis ever said these things.  No wonder Sarah Palin wasn’t sure about what the Pope actually believed.

For similar words Pope Benedict, the holy Grandfather would be excoriated.  Francis is a very different story.

The left doesn’t DARE critique the first Latin American Pope both because of their own political correctness and their fear of alienating the millions of color who love him and are proud of him.

Thus an awful lot of pixels are spent by an awful lot of leftists trying to convince their followers and perhaps themselves that this survey is another sign that Pope Francis is on the verge of going to full Andrew Sullivan, instead of accepting the sinner and calling for repentance (which the Church as always done), accepting and re-defining Sin (which the Church has not and will not). They will use his style and humble nature to push this narrative for all it’s worth for as long as they can get away with it.

And when this doesn’t happen, when this bill of goods is not delivered after years of anticipation those same leftists will use Francis not as a boogeyman, like Benedict but as a victim. They will claim that Francis waned to make all the changes that the left promised but it was the entrenched Church that they have always despised that he simply couldn’t defeat…

…but it won’t matter.  While there have been some on the right who have been fooled by the left’s portrait Francis has drawn millions through the doors of the church with this effect:

POPE FRANCIS has inspired a surge in attendances and confessions in the Roman Catholic Church, reversing decades of decline.

some will eventually fall away as is the nature of man but many will grow and slowly find themselves on the way toward salvation.

Never doubt for on second the Holy Spirit knows what he’s doing.

HUGE UPDATE from the Curt Jester

I just love the story about Pope Francis calling up a Traditional Catholic writer who had criticized him.

“Pope Francis told me that he was very close to me, having learned of my health condition, of my grave illness, and I clearly noticed his deep empathy, the attention for a person as such, beyond ideas and opinions, while I live through a time of trial and suffering.”

“I was astonished, amazed, above all moved: for me, as a Catholic, that which I was experiencing was one of the most beautiful experiences in my life. But I felt the duty to remind the Pope that I, together wih Gnocchi, had expressed specific criticisms regarding his work, while I renewed my total fidelity [to him] as a son of the Church. The Pope almost did not let me finish the sentence, saying that he had understood that those criticisms had been made with love, and how important it had been for him to receive them.” [These words] “comforted me greatly.”

I can see heads exploding all over the left, it’s one thing to reach out and speak to atheists, dissenters and the poor, it’s quite another to reach out to conservative critics.

Update 2: Heard from the Anchoress via e-mail who doesn’t excuse Palin:

If people are ignorant about the reality of the pope, it’s really not the press’ fault. Every word he speaks is out there on Catholic sites, either from the Vatican or else, you know…at places like Patheos. If people want to understand the pope, the way to do that — for any pope — was never through the msm. Palin of all ppl should know that.

She should know she wrote the book on the subject

She followed up with a second e-mail but that’s another post.


Olimometer 2.52

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