Pope Francis greets members of the musical group Up With People during his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Dec. 18.
To the Catholic Sentinel:
Much has been written lately about the many Catholics who feel alienated, confused, or even betrayed by Pope Francis’ recent comments, emphasizing love and mercy above dogma. I welcome this change. In years past, some bishops and certain Catholics tried to use select passages of Popes Benedict or John Paul, or the Church’s teachings, to influence Catholic voting for clearly political and secular gains. Some tried to mimic the behavior of well-known, political influence peddlers to drive wedge issues through the Church for purely political reasons.
I recall their dismissiveness of my emphasis that the Church’s “seamless fabric of life” is the correct understanding of Catholic social teaching. At that time, many of these Catholics would have you believe that Church teachings on abortion, gay marriage, and contraception trumped all else and are from a higher God; and unless you pass this litmus test, you had no business considering yourself “a good Catholic.” As responsible Catholics, our discourse, if we engage in the political forum, needs to be neutral of party or ideology. We can and will continue to disagree on how to apply Catholic theology in the civic forum but let’s conduct our discussions in the spirit of Pope Francis’ admonition —with love and mercy over anger and judgment. God Bless.