Sunday, November 10, 2013

Pope Francis and the Conservatives

Pope Francis and the Conservatives
P. Schultz
November 10, 2013

            The NY Times published an article today entitled “Conservative U.S. Catholics Feel Left Out of Pope’s Embrace.” And while I don’t usually comment on religion herein, I cannot resist doing so about this article, or rather about the substance of the article.

            I am not only not a biblical expert but I am also quite ignorant of the Bible and especially it’s words. But from what I recall, I can’t recall Jesus talking about abortion, gays and lesbians, married or otherwise, the trinity, attending mass on Sunday, or papal infallibility. Of course, that might be because Jesus was then still Jewish and the Catholic Church was not even a twinkle in the eyes of his disciples, who were, if I remember correctly, also Jewish. I do recall something called “The Sermon on the Mount,” but that “sermon” – and I am sure that is not the word used in the Bible to describe this event – seemed to focus on other matters, such as who would inherit the earth…….and that would be the meek, as I remember it.

            Conservative Catholics as described here remind me of those politicians and political advisers, many of them Democrats, who bemoan the fact that elections often turn not on “the issues” as they define them but rather on the persona of those seeking office. Well, I guess the same thing could be said of Jesus, viz., that he ignored “the issues” and focused his “ministry” on, well, on people, real, live people and not on abstractions like “pregnant women in ‘crisis’” or those lovers deemed “deviants.”

“When a pope makes a statement off the cuff or in an interview, it’s not an infallible statement,” said Chris Baran, the president of the clinic’s board. “What he said in a statement does not change any teaching of the church that’s been around over 2,000 years.”

            This would be Chris Baran, the president of “the Pregnancy Aid Clinic in Hapeville, Ga., a Catholic-run nonprofit center where women who come for pregnancy tests are counseled against abortion,” and as an “educator” I must point out that the Catholic Church is not 2000 years old and its “teachings” – if enforcing commands disguised as absolute truth can be called “teaching” – are not 2000 years old either. Mr. Baran seems to think that “the truth” appeared whole at one moment in time, which isn’t, as I understand it, even the opinion of his church. But then, doesn’t he have to believe this to maintain and justify his “conservatism,” conservatism that is difficult to distinguish from obstinacy? Just wondering.

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