Kudos to the NY Times for a fairly balanced article. I didn’t think they had it in them. From the article:
SMYRNA, Ga. — When Pope Francis was elected in March, Bridget Kurt received a small prayer card with his picture at her church and put it up on her refrigerator at home, next to pictures of her friends and her favorite saints.
She is a regular attender of Mass, a longtime stalwart in her church’s anti-abortion movement and a believer that all the church’s doctrines are true and beautiful and should be obeyed. She loved the last two popes, and keeps a scrapbook with memorabilia from her road trip to Denver in 1993 to see Pope John Paul II at World Youth Day.
But Ms. Kurt recently took the Pope Francis prayer card down and threw it away. “It seems he’s focusing on bringing back the left that’s fallen away, but what about the conservatives?” said Ms. Kurt, a hospice community educator. “Even when it was discouraging working in pro-life, you always felt like Mother Teresa was on your side and the popes were encouraging you. Now I feel kind of thrown under the bus.”
So the very worst thing that could have happened to the Church seems to be underway. It’s not that we have a Jesuit pope reaching out to the lost liberal sheep. It’s that the faithful disciples of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI are bitterly resentful that Francis is going to stink the place up with the party animals who have been living large while we have been keeping the farm going.
It’s the Parable of the Prodigal Son all over again. Ms. Kurt is the faithful son who has stayed loyal to the father while the little brother was off squandering his half of the inheritance (demanded before the old man died!) on wine, women, and song. The father was out on the road awaiting junior’s return, and when it happened the faithful brother was enraged at the joyful welcome. That’s dangerous stuff.
It is impossible to presume upon exactly what Ms. Kurt actually believes, but that statement about “bringing back the left that’s fallen away,” speaks for itself.
Have we who have been faithful to John Paul and Benedict done so for the right or wrong reasons? Did we think all along that this was la cosa nostra (our thing)? Have we defined ourselves less by the Gospel, which calls all men and women to repentance and salvation, and more by self-righteous hubris? Why the indignation at calling the liberals home?
In her article, Goodstein mentions the websites with the private revelations (which sound like the quatrains of Nostradamus). This is a deadly, deadly business. Even if validated, Catholics are under no obligation to accept or abide private revelations. What we have here is a group of Catholics who first consult the Nostradamaesque prophecies and then twist and distort this pope’s words to fit the prophecy. It’s a Procrustean bed approach to the Vicar of Christ on earth. To say the least, it lacks charity.
Imagine, taking private revelations as an object of faith, revelations whose wording is as clear as milk, and then using them to demonize a pope; then resenting that pope for being the monster that we created in our own minds.
It’s as sick as it is sinful.
To Ms. Kurt’s anguished question about the fate of the conservatives, I have only this to offer:
We agreed to do a day’s work in the Lord’s vineyard for a day’s wages. If we have done so faithfully, what business is it of ours if others who have not worked through the heat of the day come in at the last minute and get paid the same wage? Jesus had a parable about that too. If we have contemplated what hell truly is, and what eternity in hell is all about, we should be rejoicing at the outreach to the lost. This pope has watered nothing down.
The question is just how stout our faith has been all along?