Pope Francis I, shortly after being elected as pontiff
As if on que, “traditional” Christians and their respective news sources raced to their computers – in order to quell their own fears that the first South American Pope was pulling the rug out from under their feet.
They have a point.
In my post from yesterday, I praised the Pope for calling out “traditional” Christians and their dogged obsession with what happens in people's bedrooms. His point was not to change Catholic doctrine concerning the LBGT community, abortion and the like, but to say that Christians are making themselves obselete by hatefully obsessing over the same social issues.
Since the Sexual Revolution of the 1960's – at least in America – Catholics and evangelicals have been obsessively fighting the advance of people's rights, especially in there areas. In a mostly hateful fashion (I use that adjective unapologetically), Christians have fought, wailed, whined and cried “Persecution!” whenever they don't get their way in these matters.
I still hold that it is this and other of their actions that contribute greatly to the church's decline over the last 10 years.
In a statement I thought I wouldn't hear for quite some time, The Christian Post correctly points out that Francis hasn't changed church doctrine – neither has he indicated as much.
So, what's the big deal, then?
Francis has sought to change the church's tone on matters such as these. If alien life forms set foot on our little rock – and looked at the actions, demonstrations and sermons in the typical Catholic or evangelical church today – they would be forgiven for thinking that the only issues that matter to this population segment are the cultural hot-buttons. All Francis is doing is saying the church has been doing it wrong.
In my opinion, really, really, REALLY wrong.
So, then, why are so many people warming to this Pontiff?
He's a straight shooter, grace-filled listener and honest arbiter in the conversation. Far too much of the debates surrounding our cultural hot-buttons are dominated by religious conservatives screaming to get their way, then crying “persecution” when it doesn't.
Francis calls all Christians to be more grace-filled, and to practice much less toolbaggery.
So, traditionalists, rest easy and don't have another conniption over Francis increasingly grace-filled words. You can rest easy, because he still believes like you.