Is Pope Francis really preaching the "God wants you to get rich" gospel of Joel Osteen or even the "God wants you to have great sex" gospel of Christopher West? Is this really a Pope who sees Christianity without the Cross?God save us from Pope Joel Osteen [a popular Protestant televangelist]....His Holiness sounds not so much like the leader of a 2,000 year institutions with a deeply complex theology so much as yet another politico bending with the trendy way the winds are blowing....He can have it. If the Pope does not believe what his Faith teaches, why should I? If the Pope thinks it is all just nit-picky details, we can start picking all the nits to pieces until there is nothing left of the garment. Which is where this trendy and vapid Pope is headed....The pope is NOT changing dogma, but in effect what he is offering is "have your cake and eat it too theology." Yes, we have all these rules, but we just won't talk about them if they get too inconvenient. The problem, of course, is that the rules are not an adjunct to, but rather are an integral part of, the Faith.
Let's see what Pope Francis' interview actually said:
Aren't we all, at heart, sinners whom the Lord has looked upon? Faith is a gift. Grace is a gift. Those of us who presume to be more Catholic than the Pope might want to ponder that. I'm not advocating papal idolatry here. The Pope isn't more important than God. But neither are our own preconceptions.“Who is Jorge Mario Bergoglio?” He stares at me in silence. I ask him if I may ask him this question. He nods and replies: “I do not know what might be the most fitting description.... I am a sinner. This is the most accurate definition. It is not a figure of speech, a literary genre. I am a sinner.The pope continues to reflect and concentrate, as if he did not expect this question, as if he were forced to reflect further. “Yes, perhaps I can say that I am a bit astute, that I can adapt to circumstances, but it is also true that I am a bit naïve. Yes, but the best summary, the one that comes more from the inside and I feel most true is this: I am a sinner whom the Lord has looked upon.”
I've written previously about the disheartening battles between self-styled liberal and conservative Catholics in America. I did not convert from Protestantism expecting to enter a Church divided. Not all liberals are heretics and not all conservatives have forgotten God's mercy. We are simply blind men touching different parts of the elephant, unable to comprehend the whole without each other's help.
Pope Francis took a typical liberal approach when he said in the interview, “We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. ... It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.” And yet he also reiterated the conservative position: "The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church."
Ironically, out of a more than 12,000 word interview, these comments about the "pelvic issues" have been reported on more than any others. This meme states it perfectly:
So, I encourage you to read the whole interview and form your own conclusions apart from anyone else's commentary. And then fasten your seatbelts, folks, because we're in for a wild ride.