Beware “Temptation of Rigidity”

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When Jesus walked the earth, the Pharisees felt threatened. Who was this man teaching and preaching? How dare this man call himself Jewish and yet break the Jewish law? And worse, when we admonish him for it, he criticizes us as hypocrites!  But we are the ones holding up the laws of our faith!

Two thousand and more years later, it appears things haven’t changed. Rigid adherence to the law can be good, but this Gospel story is a good reminder that helps us put it in its place.

“23 One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. 24 The Pharisees said to him, ‘Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?’  25 He answered, ‘Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? 26 In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.’ 27 Then he said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.  28  So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.’ ”   ~ Matthew 2: 20-28

Pope Francis has been criticized by those rigid Catholics for what they see as taking liberties with the laws of the Church. However, unlike Jesus, Pope Francis has not violated any doctrine of our great faith.  In this modern day, these current Pharisees go so far as to twist facts, take quotes out of context, and invent violations to support their dislike of Pope Francis because he reaches out to the ones they most disdain – those Catholics who feel most disenfranchised by the Catholic faith.

Pharisaical behavior has always existed, but with the onset of the digital age, new and  younger Pharisees are being born.  Journals and blogs that call themselves Catholic find fault in everything Pope Francis says and does. If they have to misquote, twist, or take his words out of context to support their story that Pope Francis is somehow violating doctrine, they will do it.  Upon careful, honest examination of every criticism that has been made, Pope Francis is exonerated.

In his homily of May 5, Pope Francis speaks about rigidity he sees in young people. About this he cited the story of Saul who went from persecuting Christians from his staunch perspective to patiently evangelizing people. Saul was able to change because he allowed himself to be led by God. Pope Francis said,

 “Pray that those who are too rigid learn to follow the way of Christ and his meekness… many young people in the church today who have fallen into the temptation of rigidity. Some are honest, they are good and we must pray that the Lord help them grow along the path of meekness.”

Read the full story “Pope Francis: many young people in the Church have fallen into the ‘temptation of rigidity’” Catholic Herald

Pope Francis: Being A Christian is Not A Social Status

Defend PF homily april 27
Vatican Radio, Pope Francis celebrates Mass at Casa Santa Maria

From the homily of Pope Francis Thursday, April 27, “The Christian is a witness of obedience; if we are not on this path and growing in our witness we are not Christians. We must at least walk this way.  Jesus is not the testimonial of an idea, of a philosophy, of a company, of a bank or of power: he is a testimonial of obedience”

Read the full message here: Vatican Radio

Pope More Linguistically Gifted Than His Detractors

Off-Center Sunflower with Brick Wall Background

Pope Francis is being accused of insultingly comparing refugee camps with the horrific concentration camps of Nazi Germany.  Those who criticize his words use the following quote from the off-the-cuff portion of his homily when he visited the Basilica of St. Bartholomew in Rome. He said regarding a refugee he met,  “I do not know if he’s been able to get out of that concentration camp. Because refugee camps, many of them, are concentration camps.”

Period, end quote.  That’s how those with an agenda against Pope Francis word their story. But there’s more.

The words that Pope Francis adds are enough to provide a glaringly obvious fact; Pope Francis is far more linguistically gifted than those who have made it their agenda to denigrate his every word and action. Here is his full quote, “This is the icon I bring as a gift here. I do not know if that man is still in Lesbos or if he managed to go somewhere else. I do not know if he’s been able to get out of that concentration camp. Because refugee camps, many of them, are concentration camps, because of the amount of people left there. The generous people who welcome them must bear this weight alone, because international agreements seem more important than human rights. This man had no grudge. He, a Muslim, carried forward this cross of pain without rancor.” Emphasis added

Notice especially the portion that says, “… because refugee camps, many of them, are concentration camps, because of the amount of people left there.”

Now let’s look up the definition of “concentration camp” from various sources:

–“A place in which large numbers of people, especially political prisoners or members of persecuted minorities, are deliberately imprisoned in a relatively small area with inadequate facilities, sometimes to provide forced labour or to await mass execution. The term is most strongly associated with the several hundred camps established by the Nazis in Germany and occupied Europe 1933–45, among the most infamous being Dachau, Belsen, and Auschwitz.” — the Oxford Dictionary

–“a prison camp in which political dissidents, members of minority ethnic groups, etc. are confined”  ~ Collins Dictionary

–“a guarded compound for the detention or imprisonment of aliens, members of ethnic minorities, political opponents, etc., especially any of the camps established by the Nazis prior to and during World War II for the confinement and persecution of prisoners.” ~ Dictionary.com

–“A camp where persons are confined, usually without hearings and typically under harsh conditions, often as a resultof their membership in a group the government has identified as suspect.”  ~ the Free Dictionary

Although the term “concentration camp” has been most closely associated with Nazi Germany, it is a generic term that speaks about imprisonment of large groups innocent people under harsh conditions. Many refugee camps fit all the definitions given above.  Pope Francis even clarifies his reasoning, and yet some journalists with an agenda to provoke criticism chose to ignore it.  Catholic journals with an agenda against Pope Francis have chosen to take the slanted secular editing of his words and use them as another reason to denigrate him.

It appears Pope Francis is correct.  Many refugee camps are concentration camps.  But in all of this fuss, haven’t we missed his bigger point regarding the suffering and persecution of refugees?

The Pharisees missed Jesus’s message for the sake of nit-picking his words and actions. Do any journalists recognize themselves?

 

 

Müller: “The Pope Has Not, Will Not, and Cannot Change Revelation”

Defend PF Cardinal Muller book cover

“The true intention of the apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, was to place at the center the full, complete biblical message concerning marriage as a sacrament and a way of life. In addition, it aimed to take into consideration those who, on account of various circumstances, have failed or have run into trouble, so that we would not say: ‘Here are those who do everything right, whereas the others do not belong to us.’

“We can approach this question only from the perspective of the fullness of the teaching of the Church. The pope has not, will not, and cannot change Revelation. Some claim that the pope has changed the foundations of Church morality and has relativized the sacrament of Holy Matrimony. This he would not and cannot do.”    Emphasis added

Read the full article here: “Exclusive interview: Cardinal Müller on Medjugorje, Amoris Laetitia and radical Islam” Konrad Sawicki, Aleteia

Catholic Blogs That Twist Facts and Even Lie About Pope Francis

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It’s a terrible shame when Catholic writers and editors become so self-important they consider themselves wiser than even the popes.  It’s a terrible shame that in our beautiful faith where Jesus teaches us to avoid gossip, scandal and slander, some Catholic publications do just that about the actions and words of good Pope Francis and any others who dare to agree with him or at the very least stay silent.  When it comes to discussing Pope Francis, these journalists are sophists who take facts and twist them in just a way to pit people against the pope, making themselves appear as the guardians of the faith. They pose a danger to souls when their sinful, deliberately twisted quotes and interpretations are accepted by some Catholics as facts and spread around the globe to anyone who will listen. The apparent goal of these writers is to convince people to rebel against Pope Francis because they say he is violating or even attempting to change Catholic doctrine. However, he has not done this as yet and this writer will venture to say he never will.

Take, for example, the new information that the personal secretary of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has revealed.  Georg Gänswein has recently stated that Benedict is aware of and is going to stay silent on the controversies surrounding Amoris Laetitia.  Controversies, by the way, that the Catholic journals themselves actively stirred up.  Instead of learning from the silence of Pope Benedict, a blog called One Peter Five criticizes, “Sadly, it does appear as though he (Benedict) is not concerned about what has befallen the Church in his absence. If that’s so, more’s the pity.”  Imagine having the temerity to state unequivocally that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is not concerned about the Church because he won’t speak about, preferably in a negative light, Pope Francis.  Surprising too, since many of these very same writers consider Pope Benedict to be a proper pope, perhaps even the “real” pope.  Here, I won’t get into the conspiracy theories that Pope Benedict was secretly pressured to resign by liberal Cardinals who schemed to elect Pope Francis for the purpose of changing Church doctrine, a vicious rumor that still hasn’t materialized in four years of this pontificate and one that Pope Benedict has solidly refuted.

Another publication called Lifesite News implies that Pope Francis gave carte blanche for anyone committing adultery of any type without examination or repentance to worthily receive communion. This implication is unequivocally false.  Lifesite wrote, “A Malta newspaper also recently reported that Pope Francis thanked the bishops of that country for their allowance of Communion for adulterers who feel ‘at peace with God.’”  These words are a deliberate twisting of the guidelines written by the Maltese bishops on administering chapter eight of Amoris Laetitia. The bishops actually wrote, “Some remarried divorcees can receive Holy Communion after a period of discernment, with an informed and enlightened conscience, and if they are ‘at peace with God.’” This is a sound doctrinal statement through the use of a process called an Internal Forum available to divorced/remarried people who are seeking full reunion with the Church, but the full explanation is for another article. The twisted words of Lifesite are deliberately meant to cause misunderstanding. I daresay the writers, editors and journalists could be guilty of more serious sin than those they feign concern over!

And why do these Catholic writers and their followers promote and participate in this? There are a myriad of reasons including that Pope Francis was not their favored preference for a pope, they don’t like the progressive philosophies of Jesuits, they have a staunch traditional mindset, they are American and inappropriately compare the papacy of the Church to left/right politics, they don’t fully understand their faith, they are conspiracy minded, they follow false prophecies, they don’t trust Christ’s words in Matthew 16:18, ”I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it,”  or they have some other unimaginable agenda.

The bottom line is that the responsibility of the journals should include investigating the full context, meaning, and truth of the words and actions of Pope Francis with comparison to doctrine and report on those facts without a slanted agenda. Readers should also be discerning; just because one agrees and desires it to be true does not necessarily make it true.  All parties involved might surprise themselves by what they learn. Gossip, lies and slander are sins. Period.

Pope opens free laundromat for Rome’s poor

Defend PF Popes Laundromat

“Pope Francis has opened a free laundromat for the poor in Rome, the Vatican said Monday.  Six washing machines, six dryers and a number of irons have been donated by the Whirlpool Corporation, while Proctor and Gamble are furnishing laundry detergent and softener.  The Vatican said the Pope’s laundromat is a service to ‘restore dignity to many people who are our brothers and sisters.'”

Read full article: “Pope Francis has Opened Free Laundromat for the Poor” by Delia Gallagher, CNN

Gänswein, “The rumors about pressures behind Benedict’s renunciation are false”

Defend PF Benedict with Ganswein

La Stampa, 4 April 2017:  “Benedict XVI’s ninetieth birthday is approaching and monsignor Georg Gänswein, Prefect of the Papal Household and his private secretary, denies all the rumors and recent interviews about alleged pressure that led Joseph Ratzinger to resign. Gänswein was interviewed during Matrix an Italian late night TV show, broadcasted Wednesday, April 5, 2017.

 

“’It’s not true, it is invented, it is a groundless statement- Don Georg said – I spoke to Pope Benedict after this interview, and these rumors, he said that it is not true. His renunciation was a free decision, well thought out, as well as prayed for. The things I have read recently are invented and not true. Pope Benedict is not a person who gives into pressure. Quite the contrary. When there were challenges, when both the doctrine and the people of God had to be defended, he was the one who behaved in an exemplary way: he did not flee in front of the wolf, but he resisted, and this would never have been a reason to leave the pontificate and renounce.’

“In the interview, Gänswein also talks about the relationship between Francis and his predecessor: ‘Relations are very cordial, very good, they visit and call each other, they talk. It is clear: Pope Francis is the successor of Peter. Pope Benedict was the Pope, he renounced and now he has retired to pray. To pray means to help his successor and the Church, because the Church is not governed only by words and decisions, but also with prayer and suffering. And that is what he is doing now. There is no misunderstanding. If there are different interpretations, sometimes even a bit mischievous, this… this is life, it is the world and it is the Church. I see no confusion. I see sometimes some nostalgia and some misunderstanding; however, I do not perceive any confusion about the roles, about who is Pope.’  Continue reading “Gänswein, “The rumors about pressures behind Benedict’s renunciation are false””