Patrick Archbold is co-founder of Creative Minority Report, a Catholic website that puts a refreshing spin on the intersection of religion, culture, and politics. When not writing, Patrick is director of information technology at a large international logistics company in New York.
The press has been telling us that Pope Francis, in word and deed, is no less than the total renunciation of Pope Benedict's papacy.
Just this weekend, there has been a flurry of articles praising the Pope for his statements on women and homosexuality and a host of other hot button issues and contrasting him with his doctrinaire and unpastoral predecessor.
Pope Francis' papacy is changing everything about the Church and his comments are a direct affront to traditional Catholics everywhere. The John Gehring, in a guest post for the Washington Post put it this way.
"Something unexpected and extraordinary is happening in the Catholic Church. Pope Francis is rescuing the faith from those who hunker down in gilded cathedrals and wield doctrine like a sword. The edifice of fortress Catholicism – in which progressive Catholics, gay Catholics, Catholic women and others who love the church but often feel marginalized by the hierarchy – is starting to crumble."
Now, as much as many of us traditional minded churchgoers have tried to spin it as in continuity with Pope Benedict, I think it is time we face facts. The press is right. The Pope is a liberal and I have the quotes to prove it!
The Pope is soft on Islam.
"It is true that the Muslim world is not totally mistaken when it reproaches the West of Christian tradition of moral decadence and the manipulation of human life."
"It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the church's pastors wherever it occurs."
He is focused on the poor:
"Many people today lack hope. They are perplexed by the questions that present themselves ever more urgently in a confusing world, and they are often uncertain which way to turn for answers. They see poverty and injustice and they long to find solutions. "
"Yet if we refuse to share what we have with the hungry and the poor, we make of our possessions a false god. How many voices in our materialist society tell us that happiness is to be found by acquiring as many possessions and luxuries as we can! But this is to make possessions into a false god. Instead of bringing life, they bring death."
He is overtly humble and does not embrace his office:
"The authority of the pope is not unlimited;"
"The cardinals have elected me, a simple and humble worker in the Lord's vineyard. The fact that the Lord can work and act even with insufficient means consoles me, and above all I entrust myself to your prayers."
He makes a point of extolling women and the Church.
“It is theologically and anthropologically important for woman to be at the center of Christianity. Through Mary, and the other holy women, the feminine element stands at the heart of the Christian religion.”
On those neo-pelagians that think they can earn their way to heaven through piety instead of charity:
“If in my life I fail completely to heed others, solely out of a desire to be 'devout' and to perform my 'religious duties', then my relationship with God will also grow arid. It becomes merely 'proper', but loveless.”
He cares about the environment:
“Listen to the voice of the earth...”
He even hates Capitalism:
"the prevalence of a selfish and individualistic mindset which also finds expression in an unregulated capitalism"
So, it is time we face the facts. It is clear that he is a radical departure from previous Popes, in particular his predecessor.
In fairness, I must note that there might be one small problem with my analysis. So small I hesitate to even bring it up. Every quote above is from Pope Benedict. Every one.