Catholicism is a big tent. It’s a very big tent. Because Christ’s liberality is very great to capture the sensibilities of all human longings, we are all inclined and attracted to certain aspects of the Faith more than others. Much of that is dependent on our upbringing, our environment, our experiences, and even our natural personal tendencies. This is why it should come as no surprise that there is a “right wing” in the Church which prefers high liturgy and sound doctrine. There is also a “left wing” in the Church which is concerned for the poor and ecumenical progress. I am referring here to the Faithful who truly are Catholics – Catholics who do not dissent but stay within the protective boundaries that Holy Mother Church erects to protect us from perdition.
That is why charity is so very important for those who emphasize certain aspects of the Faith that we, ourselves, do not fully comprehend or perhaps are ignorant of. Truth is very important, but so is unity. Holy Mother Church is the arbitrator of what the line is, not any particular “faction” in the Church. If we usurp Holy Mother Church and the Pope, then we can only expect anarchy and division. It brings us to no good end, and we’ve become dupes of the Devil who have favoured our own concealed pride to the good of the Universal Church.
Benedict XVI and Pope Francis represent two sides of the same coin. Benedict’s papacy was given as a gift to the “right wing” of the Church – to lift up the sacred liturgy to its proper nobility, to solidify and vindicate sound Catholic doctrine, and to call the wayward on the Right (i.e. the SSPX) back into full Communion. Pope Francis, on the other hand, is the answer to the Left that Benedict was to the Right. And the same challenge that Benedict posed to the Right, Francis will pose to the Left. Benedict insisted that the Right accept Vatican II. Francis will insist that social justice does not entail accepting Marxism. Authentic social justice, he will remind them, rejects abortion, contraception, and homosexuallity, and the other sexual anarchies of the age.
Both men were reviled in their younger days. The Right thought Benedict was a modernist for his views on Vatican II. The Jesuits attacked Francis because he rejected Liberation Theology. Do we see a pattern here? Every jackass amateur theologian thinks he knows better.
While both men share the same Faith, they have different priorities and they emphasize different things. So God uses them to speak to both sides of the political spectrum to communicate a message of return and to remind us all that the Catholic Faith cannot be put into a political box that cannot possibly hold it. It is a message neither the Right nor the Left particularly want to hear: the Church is not about awarding a political faction power over the other. It’s about holding fast to the Faith once delivered to the saints.
If some parts of the Faith don’t challenge us and shake us out of complacency, then either we’re mega Liars or we’re Saints. Accepting a Pope that isn’t our favourite flavour will make us all grow in sanctity, unity, and truth. And guess what? Not all of the Pope’s pastoral decisions are necessarily going to be good ones. So what? Suck it up and take one for the team because where he might fail in one area, he’ll score hansomely in another place – a place which God thinks is particularly important to heal right now.
Pope Francis is the answer to the socialist cabal that run the joint in the West today. They will not be able to dismiss this Pope lightly (as they might have with Benedict) because Francis has walked the talk of championing the rights of the poor. But while he “speaks their language”, he doesn’t march to their beat. His view of social justice is radically different from theirs, and I think he will show them up for the hypocrites they are.
It’s all about experiential credibility these days. The Pope cooks his own food, takes the bus, and ministers to patients with AIDS. He genuinely loves the poor.
Like his liberal friends, Obama plays golf a lot and uses the poor to get elected.
I call that checkmate.