Tag: Pope Francis I
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Pope Francis Is Bringing “Traditional” Christians Back to Christianity @Pontifex

Pope Francis I, shortly after being elected as pontiff

As if on que, “traditional” Christians and their respective news sources raced to their computers – in order to quell their own fears that the first South American Pope was pulling the rug out from under their feet.

They have a point.

In my post from yesterday, I praised the Pope for calling out “traditional” Christians and their dogged obsession with what happens in people's bedrooms. His point was not to change Catholic doctrine concerning the LBGT community, abortion and the like, but to say that Christians are making themselves obselete by hatefully obsessing over the same social issues.

Since the Sexual Revolution of the 1960's – at least in America – Catholics and evangelicals have been obsessively fighting the advance of people's rights, especially in there areas. In a mostly hateful fashion (I use that adjective unapologetically), Christians have fought, wailed, whined and cried “Persecution!” whenever they don't get their way in these matters.

I still hold that it is this and other of their actions that contribute greatly to the church's decline over the last 10 years.

Anywho…

In a statement I thought I wouldn't hear for quite some time, The Christian Post correctly points out that Francis hasn't changed church doctrine – neither has he indicated as much.

So, what's the big deal, then?

Francis has sought to change the church's tone on matters such as these. If alien life forms set foot on our little rock – and looked at the actions, demonstrations and sermons in the typical Catholic or evangelical church today – they would be forgiven for thinking that the only issues that matter to this population segment are the cultural hot-buttons. All Francis is doing is saying the church has been doing it wrong.

In my opinion, really, really, REALLY wrong.

So, then, why are so many people warming to this Pontiff?

He's a straight shooter, grace-filled listener and honest arbiter in the conversation. Far too much of the debates surrounding our cultural hot-buttons are dominated by religious conservatives screaming to get their way, then crying “persecution” when it doesn't.

Francis calls all Christians to be more grace-filled, and to practice much less toolbaggery.

So, traditionalists, rest easy and don't have another conniption over Francis increasingly grace-filled words. You can rest easy, because he still believes like you.

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NOT SURPRISED #4 – Conservative US Bishops Don’t Like This Pope (VIDEO)

Pope Francis tweaked conservative Catholics this summer with this quote

Il Papa is at it again.

His latest journey into tweaking-off conservative Catholic faithful comes from an interview you can read here.

His point was to say that the church has made too much of it's business about hot-button social issues. He shares his fears about it in this excerpt:

The church can share its views on homosexuality, abortion and other issues, but should not “interfere spiritually” with the lives of gays and lesbians, the pope added in the interview, which was published in La Civilta Cattolica, a Rome-based Jesuit journal.

“We have to find a new balance, otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel,” Francis said in the interview.

“The church has sometimes locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules,' Francis said. “The people of God want pastors, not clergy acting like bureaucrats or government officials.”

I suppose there will be more overly critical and unecessary reactions to this latest interview. After the dust-up caused by Francis' words above, @CardinalDolan tried to blame the media – and obfuscate the Pope's obvious inclusive overtones:

But, as usual, the press predictably brought these weary issues up, and have given them more ink than any of the other noble themes that rang through Copacabana Beach. It’s not the Church that is obsessed with those topics, but the media!

Oh, Timothy Cardinal Dolan, I would point your attention to the above excerpt from the Holy Father.

By and large, modern Christians cannot stand when their beliefs aren't trumeted from the tops of the tallest towers by those in power. But when their own guy starts to undermine their own schtick, they come out with an impotent fury unmatched by modern humanity.

This guy had some harsh – and slightly creepy – words about the Pope, himself:

The other thing I want to say though, is that I'm a little bit disappointed in Pope Francis that he hasn't, at least that I'm aware of, said much about unborn children, about abortion, and many people have noticed that. I think it would be very helpful if Pope Francis would address more directly the evil of abortion and to encourage those who are involved in the pro-life movement. It's one thing for him to reach out and embrace and kiss little children and infants as he has on many occasions. It strikes me that it would also be wonderful if in a spiritual way he would reach out and embrace and kiss unborn children.

What's clear is that Pope Francis isn't going to stop speaking these types of truths any time soon. I'm waiting for the time he decides to say something that tweaks liberals – or everybody – off. I also await reports on how he's handling ongoing child sex abuse scandals. However, I am pleased with this Pope so far.

And as for the reactions of people like @CardinalDolan and the like:


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Pope Francis Sides With Me Against @TheIRD

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A recent quote from the Pontiff

 

Pope Francis has done plenty to ingratiate himself to the widest possible audience – especially progressive and social justice-minded Christians, like myself.

In a papal tidbit I missed, he talks about the people in his own church who are stuck in an earlier time and think that the answer to Christendom’s problems lies in “going back” to some time when they were comfortable with things.

The Institute on Religion & Democracy is one example of a group within United Methodism which thinks that the answer to our denomination’s problems lies in reliving the 1950’s.

In an AP article, Nicole Winfield recalls how Pope Francis has publicly spoken about groups like the IRD:

Francis’ predecessor, Benedict XVI, had coddled traditionalist Catholics attached to the old Latin Mass and opposed to the modernizing reforms of the Second Vatican Council. That group greeted Francis’ election with concern – and now is watching its worst fears come true. Francis has spoken out both publicly and privately against such “restoratist groups,” which he accuses of being navel-gazing retrogrades out of touch with the evangelizing mission of the church in the 21st century.

“Restoratist…navel-gazing retrogrades.”

I couldn’t put it any better myself.

The problem with groups who believe that looking back is the most-significant thing an organization can do to reform is that they are dangerous and out-of-touch.

And, honestly, it’s nice when I can use a story about the Pope to further question the credibility of organizations like the IRD.

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The Pope Okay With The Gays?

A papal quote, made during a press conference on the way to Rome from Brazil

 

The Pope has made an early habit of saying pithy things that instantly get everyone's attention.

Today, he said, “If someone is gay, who searches for the Lord and has goodwill, who am I to judge?”

In no way is he changing church teaching on the practice of Homosexuality, but he is bringing the church in line with the stated position of the United Methodist Church – which is that the church is to be in ministry with and to the LBGT community.

I can't be sure which came first, but the UMC has favored this stance for a while – and I'm just now learning that this is a catholic teaching, as well. So, I'm gonna give the nod to the UMC.

Call me a “homer.”

Anyway, thought this could use a once over on the blog.

 

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Thank You, @eJoelWatts, For Cleaning-Up My Sloppiness

My friend, Joel, is one of the smartest guys I know. He's written this book, and co-edited this one (check 'em out, won't you?). If I need some sight-read exegesis, I go to him.

Alright, slobber-fest over.

You'll remember this post containing this episode of my vlog (you should, since it was this morning) about this article from HuffPo:

First, I used shorthand for the footwashing because I was trying to keep the vlog under 5 minutes. People watch longer and pick up more of your information if your video is between 3-5 minutes. The exact details of that story were the casualty of that effort.

Second, I used the Pope's words incorrectly. I used a short-cut based on HuffPo's short-cut. Like making a copy of a copy, each version is worse than the last.

I made this mistake. As a responsible bloggger, I want to apologize for this sloppiness.

I realized just how sloppy it was because of the diligent scholarship of Joel.

In this post, he adds this response to my response to Pope Francis' Wednesday homily:

You get it. Il Papa is not actually saying our works redeem us. His claim is that all of creation is redeemed by the blood of Christ…to do good works.

I was impressed with the original blurb about the Pope's homily, because it showed how different this Pope is showing himself to be.

My vlog emphasized the Pope's recognition of the sacred in all of us – not just Christians. There are far too few prominent Christians making claims so “bold.”

As for Joel and I, we're cool. He's a scholar. I'm a pastor. Many of the skills required to do either of these things are interchangable, but we are inter-dependent on each other.

Pastors need scholars to stay informed. Scholars need pastors to stay grounded.

To sum up, I'm sorry for using a sloppy illustration. You can count on this not happening very often, from this point on.

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Notes From The Pastor’s Office #22 – “Redeemed Atheists?”

This week, Pope Francis said atheists are just as redeemed by good works as Christians. I discuss that here.

Link to the HuffPo story.

Link to my Gervais post.

 

Oh, Let Me Answer That for You, @eJoelWatts

Joel has certainly taken a liking to the new Holy Father (evidenced here, here and here). He called out those of us who were quick to be pessimistic about this new Pope, once news began to spread about his demeaning comments about the LBGT community.  I was one of them, and I gave my mea culpa:

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Seeing Grey In A World Of @ejoelwatts

I hate that it's shades of grey Joel and I keep butting up against each other on. President Obama supported civil unions because the political danger for him supporting marriage was too grave. He has changed his tune. The new Pope says this: We are not searching to discriminate against same-sex unions. We don’t have

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