Friday, August 14, 2020

Mike Lewis, the managing editor of a U.S. catholic website, reports in a blog post how is mother was captured by the movement that criticizes Pope Francis.

What I and many other Catholics recognized in Pope Francis was how he put the principles of our faith—the Gospel of Jesus Christ—into action. (…) Unfortunately, not everyone in the U.S. church agrees. Since the early days of this papacy, there has been a growing and concentrated effort to undercut Pope Francis’ message. (…) The opposition to Francis (…) has become relentless. (…) I have several friends who belong to Catholic book clubs where members will refuse to read anything by Pope Francis. (…) In some parishes (…) negativity toward Francis has become so commonplace that those who support him feel compelled to keep their views to themselves. One priest told me that several seminarians referred to their seminaries as “Francis-free zones.” (…) My mother, who never read anything Pope Francis actually wrote, became convinced he was a heretic by her friends at church (…) Similarly, whenever (…), she would insist—relying on commentary she read in Catholic media—that these decisions were further proof that Pope Francis was deliberately trying to destroy the church. Any attempt I made to clarify or correct this narrative was immediately shut down. At a certain point, I realized that I would never persuade her, and I tried to avoid the subject rather than create more division.

—Mike Lewis, Pope Francis’ critics are dividing the church and families—including mine.

This report reminds me when Jesus says:

Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

Matthew 10:34-37

My comments

It seems obvious to me that humans will always have this kind of discussion. We will never know whether it can be good to show homosexuality in public, whether it can be good to spend more money than you have, whether it can be good to use a cheat sheet in a school exam or whether Pope Francis might be a good leader for Church. We will always just believe these things (or their opposite).

To believe in Jesus Christ cannot exclude our love for those who follow another faith culture and therefore have a different answer to some controversial question. Loving other humans means to meet them with an open-minded attitude that is based on respect for their differences and compassion for their problems.

Lewis’s report (the full version) gives many examples that show how the movement which criticizes Pope Francis is based on ignorance and a lack of love for those who have a different opinion. Which is a clear sign for me to know my side. It seems obvious to me that a faith culture based on ignorance and hate will die sooner or later. Let’s hope that it dies soon and in peace. But let’s also avoid the temptation to accelerate its death by answering hatefully to hate and ignorance.