I’m surprised by Pope Francis’ comment that the Catholic church has become obsessed by “small-minded rules” about how to be faithful, and that pastors should instead emphasize compassion over condemnation when discussing divisive social issues of abortion, gays and contraception. Abortion, gays and contraception are not about small-minded rules; they are prominent in the sins that affect all Catholics.
Almost all former Popes emphasized doctrine when it came to sins that affect abortion, gays and contraception. Most conservative Catholic clergy were against nuns who were accused of letting doctrine take a back seat to their social justice work, similar to the right-to-life movement.
Is social justice an easy way out of serious situations that affect marriage, abortion, gays and contraception? Almost 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce, and most people feel abortion is the killing of an innocent human being. Even gays have multiple partners, and contraception (the morning after pill) is also an easy way out of a difficult situation.
If this is the wave of the future in the Catholic church, there will be many who oppose these measures.
It seems to me that there will be a liberal and a conservative argument that will take place in the Catholic church in the near future. Naturally the liberal view will succeed because there are more liberals when it comes to defining sin than conservatives. Who is to define sin — the crowd (the masses) of the people who want their laws and not the laws of the church?
The Pope should not be following the people’s (crowds) views. He should be telling them what is right and just, and they should adhere to church teaching. It is easy to follow the crowd, for — “it is better to be alone and be yourself than to be in a crowd and be somebody else.” Today we don’t speak for ourselves, we follow the crowd in many liberal, social justice issues.
Jesus tells us, “Enter by the narrow gate, for the gate is wide and the way easy that leads to Hell, and those who enter are many. And the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to Heaven and those who enter are few.” He also says, “Many are called, but few are chosen.”
I would ask all people to read Sister Agnes Sasagawa’s six comments on the Chastisement. The fifth statement states, “Cardinals, Bishops and Priests are on the road to perdition. Cardinals will be against Cardinals, Bishops will be against Bishops, and Priests will be against Priests.” And in the sixth statement she says, “Churches and altars will be desecrated and Satan will lead priests away from God and there will be no forgiveness, if sins continue.”
Is the statement by Pope Francis going to cause dissension among the liberal and conservative religious in the Catholic ranks of the church, and lead to what Sister Sasagawa talked about in the Chastisement?