Who would have guessed that the Pope is Catholic?
It’s funny that Pope Francis is the most quotable of Popes . . . except when he’s not. A few weeks ago, when he appeared to criticize couples who were ‘irresponsible” in having children “in a series”, dismissing the idea that, “in order to be good Catholics, we have to be like rabbits,” it was big news. More recently, when he said that “Not to have children is a selfish choice,” and suggested that a culture that “views children above all as a worry, a burden, a risk, is a depressed society,” well, where was the news media? Where are the “Spirit of Vatican II” Catholics who trumpet every reference to rabbits and every off-the-cuff “who am I to judge” remark? Yes, it was reported (mostly in non-U.S. outlets), but given very little play and quickly forgotten, especially compared to the hullaballoo surrounding some other comments from this Pope.
Not that any of this is a surprise, of course. Since the revolt against the Church’s teaching on contraception that erupted into public view at the issuance of Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae in 1968, reproduction and sexuality have been Ground Zero in the culture of dissidence that exists within the Church. Not coincidentally, those are also the issues that animate the drivers of cultural trends in the secular world as well. The “news” media is a major component in the Spirit of this Age, and so it is happy to run with anything the Pope says that could further its agenda, especially if it can be spun to undercut Catholic moral teaching on their favored issues.
It may be hard for some of us to believe just how important this last point is to the promoters of the new sexual ethic. They quite correctly see the Church as the main obstacle in their way. The Popes agree. In his encyclical letter Casti Connubii (“Of Chaste Marriage”), published in response to the abandonment by the Anglican Church of the age-old Christian ban on contraception, Pope Pius XI describes:
. . . the Catholic Church, to whom God has entrusted the defense of the integrity and purity of morals, standing erect in the midst of the moral ruin which surrounds her . . . (Casti Connubii, 56)
If this description was true in 1930, when Casti Connubii was published, how much more so today? Not only are the moral ruins around us more widespread than ever, but there is a visible group of people who identify as Catholic actively working to pull down the Church into that debris. Pope Francis’ remarks on the selfishness of sterility are most unwelcome both to this set of Catholics, and to the media, not only because he is contradicting their agenda, but specifically because he is re-stating long-standing Catholic teaching. These comments give the lie to the mythical Pope Francis who is freeing the Catholic Church from its judgmental and puritanical past. And we can’t have people think the Pope really is Catholic, can we?
The Past Week at Principium et Finis:
Monday – “Benigno Zerafa – Dixit Dominus,Mov. II” It’s a shame to let anything beautiful go to waste, esprcially something created to glorify God. So, here’s a little musical treasure brought down from the attic . . .
Tuesday –“ J. Puccini the Elder: DixitDominus” When I was researching Zerafa’s “Dominus Dixit” I came across another under as familiar name . . . but not quite as familiar as it looked. Anyway, here’s another treasure
Wednesday – “Ash Wednesday: A Symbol Of Repentance, A Sign Of Hope” I was sitting in the DMV Tuesday morning, waiting for my son to finish his driver’s test, and musing about how curious it is that people who don’t normally attend Sunday Mass show up on Ash Wednesday and, well . . . the result was this post
Thursday – “Richard Dawkins Is Full Of Surprises” Who knew that the celebrated atheist apologist entertained fond memories of the Anglican Church? But then, the whole atheist enterprise is nort as reasonidriven as they’d like us to believe . . .
Friday – “What Adam ate Brought Death, What Christ Gives Us to Eat Brings Eternal Life” Some thoughts on Lent, Sin, and Salvation, inspired by an Ash-Wednesday homily
Sunday - "Sunday Snippets", in which an intrepid group of Catholic bloggers boldly convene to swap posts AND the Lent/Purgatory connection