Pope Francis is off to a great start. He has instantly gained popularity with his display of humility, but will he change the Church to adapt to modern society?
Already our new Pope Francis has shown a tendency to use his office to provide Catholics with an example of humility. It seems a simple and obvious message, yet one vitally important in every era, and why the Pope is traditionally called the Servant of Servants.
Pride is always a great temptation for those who believe they know the truth. Filled with pride, it is easy to be lured into quarrels with unbelievers. These are often wasted battles of the ego. The beginning and end of all arguments is faith. Either you have it or you don’t. Christians can demonstrate their faith with two tools so adeptly used by St. Francis of Assisi, giving and forgiving. Supporting Pope Francis means understanding and joining the struggle against greed and pride.
What can Pope Francis do about the priests who raped children, or their superiors who failed to report these crimes? Promote a culture of transparency in the Church. “Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness, but rather expose them, for it is shameful even to mention the things done by them in secret, for everything that becomes visible is light.” Ephesians 5:11-14. Pope Francis should also be aware that there are two types of people interested in this issue. Those who have a genuine interest in improving the Church, and whose efforts are predicated on never letting these abuses happen again, should be encouraged. For those who are bent on revenge, and who will never be satisfied with any response the Church gives, patience and understanding are always the correct attitude to have.
Then there is the media, who lives on scandal after scandal and have an interest in never letting it die. This is a valuable lesson for Christians to learn. Just as good deeds provide an example that encourages people to pick up their cross and follow Christ, acts of evil can destroy people’s faith. How can Catholics put the focus back on doing good works, so that their lives can be a testament to the glory of God? For Catholics, that path has always been paved by a dedication to the Holy Sacraments.
What about the so-called need to change to appease some “modern” idea or group? The Church must face all challenges in one way; united. “And he gave some as apostles, others as prophets, others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers, to equip the holy ones for the work of their ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the extant of the full stature of Christ, so that we may no longer be infants, tossed by waves, and swept along by every wind of teaching arising from human trickery, from their cunning in the interest of deceitful scheming.” Ephesians 4:11-14. Most of the harping about the need for the Church to adapt to the times, does not emanate from the faithful. We must remain one body! “God is not man that he should speak falsely, nor human, that he should change his mind.” Numbers 23:19.
The Church’s objective is not to adapt to the world simply to gain popularity. The Pope is not a politician. If the church is in conflict with the world, usually that’s a good sign. This was the crux of what Pope John Paul II was criticizing regarding our “Culture of Death.” Or, as Jesus explained, “If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you.” John 15:18-19. Polls and popular opinion are meaningless to true Christians. There is only truth or falsehood.
To see more on the role of the Catholic church, please read:
To see more on rejecting what passes for worldly wisdom, and how our leaders pursuit of mammon has devastated our nation, please read America Unraveled, 2008-2012, The Political, Cultural and Economic Collapse, available on Amazon.com, at Barnes& Noble and also on Kindle.