Read the daily quote from Pope Francis


2016 DF 33

Dear Friends,

Pope Francis is exceptional in his ability to communicate to people the very heart of what he thinks and what he believes.  Sometimes he can be critical of others and even leaders of the Church.  Many believe that he is accenting the compassion and the heart of the Church.  In striking out on this new path he is sometimes unclear and there have been times when the Vatican or he himself has clarified his own words.  Sometimes the media will misinterpret the Pope’s words which is not helpful.

William Donohue took to task The Washington Post for an editorial they published that printed incorrectly an interview he gave and even added beyond what the Pope said.  Donohue writes,

                “Here is the Washington Post’s interpretation of what Pope Francis allegedly said aboard the papal plane last week: ‘In this case, the pontiff has acknowledged that, at times, the Church has been and can still be the oppressor – whether by discriminating against gay people, treating women in its ranks as second-class citizens or preaching clerical celibacy while protecting child abusers in the priesthood.

                This is a lie – that is not what the pope said.  After initially saying that the Church “must not only ask forgiveness to the gay person who is offended – she must ask forgiveness to the poor too, to women who are exploited, to children who are exploited for labor,” he quickly explained what he meant by ‘the Church.’

                “When I say the Church,” the pope said, “I mean Christians!  The Church is holy, we are sinners!”  In other words, it is not the institutional Church and its teachings that are the problem, it is Christians who sin.  That is not a small difference – it’s a huge difference.”

By the way, Donohue notes that the pope had nothing to say about priestly sexual abuse during the interview.  Now, the pope has spoken many times before about abuse but to say he did during an interview when he didn’t is bad journalism.  This is part of the ongoing manipulation of public words and figures that is rampant in our society.  It reminds me of a quote from the infamous Vladimir Lenin who said, “A lie told often enough becomes the truth.”

The pope was right to correct himself.  The doctrine of Catholic Faith is that the Church is the Bride of Christ present on earth, in Purgatory and in Heaven.  She is the creation of Christ and is not able to lead astray.  People in the Church, however, are a whole different kettle of fish.  Throughout the history of the Church there have been terrible sins and decisions by people who belonged to her.  I suppose there will be till the end of the world.  But the Gospel and the Church created on the rock of St. Peter are, as Pope Francis reminds us, holy.  The Gospel given us by Christ is our path to Heaven and the Church is the only interpreter that was ever given to us by Jesus Christ.  The Church’s doctrine is guided by the Holy Spirit and impossible of error (Remember that not all teaching is doctrine).  The essence and essentials of Catholic faith are always sturdy, trustworthy and unchanging.

Fr Al