02-26-2016 Defending Pope Francis
Mar 29, 2016
Feb. 26, 2016
I love you, I love you, I love you! You are so good and unchanging! Thank you for being always and in every way dependable!
I’m sitting here before you in the St. Faustina’s Adoration Chapel. I’m pondering the way the news distorts the words of Pope Francis. They hear what they want to hear instead of what he truly says. The same happened to you, Jesus, 2000 years ago.
Recently Pope Francis said in response to a question about immigration, “A person who thinks only of building walls, whatever they may be and not bridges, is not a Christian. This is not in the Gospel. With regard to what I would advise to vote or not to vote; I would not like to become involved. I would say only that this man is not a Christian. It is necessary to see if he has said these things, and for this reason I would give the benefit of the doubt.”
The pope is right in everything he said but the News reports controversy because that is what sells. They say the Pope is against building walls; they say he judged or questioned someone’s faith. But truly, he gives the benefit of the doubt and affirms building good relationships with neighboring countries. Walls may be built, but dialogue is also necessary.
The other recent issue the news distorted has to do with contraception. Admittedly Pope Francis could have been clearer in his answer. Yet he is clear that Abortion “is a crime, an absolute evil.” This of course includes pills that are abortifacients, pills that for the discharge of a fertilized egg, pills that kill a baby at its time of conception. It is an absolute evil.
Why is it an absolute evil to use contraceptive pills that discharge the conceived baby? Because God never changes. In our reading about God’s revelation to Moses in the burning bush, God says “I am who am”. God is always present. For Him there is no past, there is no future. For Him all of time is always present. He doesn’t say “I was who was” or “I will be who will be”. He says “I am who am”. He is never changing. And it is his nature to be prolific. He is always creative. And what God creates is not for us to destroy. Only He has the right to take a human life He created. Do we not believe God is the one who joins a human soul to each fertilized egg making a human person, a baby in his or her embryonic state? Then God says, the Church says, the bible says, “What God has joined together, no man must divide.” If we believe in abortion or even the contraceptive pills that cause abortion, the conclusion is that - God does not join the human soul to the fertilized egg at the moment of conception. Pope Francis does not try to change this reality. Nor did Pope Francis open the door for this kind of change in Church teaching. The pope is keen on the distinction between avoiding pregnancy and artificial contraception. Avoiding pregnancy can be a good as well as an evil depending on one’s motive. Take celibacy for instance. Priests, sisters, and religious brothers avoid pregnancy all the time for the love of God. But contraception is wrong because it is against life. More than avoiding pregnancy, it views pregnancy as an illness with words like “did you use protection?” Protection from what? An innocent baby?
Let us be a people like God, for life, not against it.
The news about the Zika infection or disease is a great tragedy. But there are better ways to fight it than contraception. Let us, as Pope Francis said, work for finding vaccines and other solutions. Let us pray for God to have mercy on His people.
Let me end with this thought from today’s Gospel. If a fig tree does not bear fruit it is to be cut down. A merciful person will give it a second chance by cultivating it and fertilizing it. Then if it doesn’t bear fruit, it will be cut down. God has given the USA a second chance by allowing His people to rise up against abortion and contraception. But if we do not get our nation back on track with the great value of life, than I fear we will be cut down. Lord, have mercy on us.
In our Father’s hands,
:) Fr. Greg