News surfaced yesterday that there is a cohort of Catholic Church leaders who are not at all happy about where Pope Francis is taking the Church. In a video they created called “Plea to the Pope” they are extremely upset by his hints that the times they are a-changin’. They object specifically to the ideas that
-contraception is OK to combat zika
– divorced Catholics who have remarried should be permitted back into the Church
– Church leaders should be more accepting of gays
The video-makers feel like Francis is creating ambiguity if not chaos within the Church by changing decades of traditional teachings. Their language is apocalyptic:
“I love the Holy Father. I pray for him every day, …but we need to work for Christ and his truth. And I need to defend my own family, and [statements he has made are] a threat to the faith of my children.”
Wow. “Defend”?…”Threat”? One woman calls the present situation “a horror.”
Others mention that the Catholic Church will cease to exist if it accepts contraception. One participant warns that “the contraceptive mentality destroys families, it destroys countries, and it will destroy our Christian civilization.”
The supplicants begin by assuring us that they love the Holy Father but he’s leading the Church to the gates of hell. Most interesting of all is that they all pray for him every day, and urge their listeners to do the same. This is surely a backhanded way of saying that they’re pretty certain they know something the Pope doesn’t know (i.e., what God really wants) and if they pray hard enough God will get him to snap out of whatever blind, bum trip he’s on.
But here is the paradox for Catholics: is the Pope infallible or isn’t he? Just to refresh the memory: infallibility means that whatever the Pope says on matters of great moral import can be considered God’s truth. There is a limit: he cannot contradict what is clearly stated in the Bible, but through study, he can guide the Catholic Church on “solemn, official teachings on faith and morals.” So if the Pope decides there is nothing against condoms in the Bible, then these folks have got to either accept it, or start their own church. That’s what the Protestants did, and for the same reasons. He was the Antichrist then, remember, and though no one has applied that term to Francis, it’s really what they’re hinting at when they say he needs to work for “Christ’s truth.”
The filmmakers are to be admired for their desire for the Good, but surely their reliance on tradition and Bible verses from 2000 plus years ago is misplaced. Isn’t it clear on a pragmatic level, that using no contraception will inevitably result in disaster as overpopulation destroys us? That, and not the Pope, is what is going to lead us to the gates of hell, when starving people driven to desperation try to move en masse to other countries, or start wars to acquire the dwindling food stores and water supplies that remain on this over-burdened, suffering planet.
98% of American Catholic women of child-bearing age have used contraception despite what the Church has taught for decades. Thank God for that.