Pope Francis and “Liberal Catholics”

I remember being glued to the TV for those two days of the Conclave, waiting to see the white smoke come from the chimney in St. Peter’s Square.  Then the moment of great excitement and anticipation had arrived, with the whole world waiting to see who was going to be the next Pope.  We were introduced to our first Latin American Pope in the man formerly known as Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio.  “Pope Francis” was introduced to the whole world.  After speaking in beautiful Italian, Pope Francis then humbly bowed his head, asking everyone gathered in St. Peter’s Square to pray for him.  In his short six months as the Vicar of Christ on earth, Pope Francis continues to be a great spiritual leader and example for the whole world, and especially all Catholics.  He is the third Pope in my lifetime, following the beautiful footsteps of Blessed Pope John Paul II and His Holiness Benedict XVI.  What amazes me so much and makes me appreciate my Catholic Faith even more, is the different personalities and style of each of these three Popes, yet the continuity of our beautiful Catholic Teachings!  Pope Francis has been especially unique in his way of being attractive to “liberal Catholics”.  I use this title in quotations because I personally don’t like the title.  I prefer to say that there are those baptized Catholics who practice and love their Catholic Faith, and then there are many baptized Catholics who are always trying to live their brand of Catholicism, picking and choosing which teachings and Commandments of the Church that they want to follow (i.e. “liberal Catholics”).  With this in mind, it has been a very interesting week for Catholicism.  Pope Francis gave three interviews in Italy that were recently published in the very liberal “Catholic” magazine known as America.  In these interviews, Pope Francis spoke of the need for members of the Church to present the WHOLE faith to others.  He said, “the Catholic Church sometimes has locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules.  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. The proclamation of the saving love of God comes before moral and religious imperatives.  Today, sometimes it seems that the opposite order is prevailing.”  The secular media loved the Pope’s words and ran numerous articles of how the Pope has now changed the Teachings of the Catholic Church.  The “liberal Catholics” immediately jumped on board.  Unfortunately for both groups, they will be disappointed to find out that the Pope hasn’t changed anything about our beautiful Catholic Faith.  Whether it be abortion or same sex “marriage” or whatever other moral issue that the secular world and “liberal Catholics” have problems with, all they have to do is not only look at who Pope Francis is and what he has always taught as a priest, bishop, and then Cardinal, but also study the history of the Church.  In our 2000 year history, the Catholic Church has ALWAYS taught that ALL human life is sacred, that Marriage is ONLY between one man and one woman, that homosexual acts are sinful, et cetera.  In other words, the Church has always taught the Teachings of Jesus Christ Himself.  The Pope’s recent remarks serve as a great reminder that our Catholic Faith is more than just about stating what we believe.  He challenges us to also live our faith in a relationship with Jesus Christ.  The more that we fall in love with Him, the more that we will want to follow the “rules”, and then be able to present our Catholic Faith in a more appealing way to those who struggle to embrace the Faith.  May the Pope’s words and actions continue to inspire everyone, especially those who have left the practice of their Catholic Faith (“liberal Catholics”), and even those in the secular media, that they may embrace “the saving love of God”.  God bless!

English: Cardinal Jorge M. Bergoglio SJ, Archb...

English: Cardinal Jorge M. Bergoglio SJ, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, celebrating mass at the XX Exposición del Libro Católico (20th Catholic Book Fair), in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Español: Cardenal Jorge M. Bergoglio SJ, Arzobispo de Buenos Aires, celebrando misa en la XX Exposición del Libro Católico, en Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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