Last week, the media broke a news story about a documentary released at the Roman Film Festival entitled, Francesco, containing previously unseen video clips from two, year-old Pope Francis interviews.
The off-the-cuff, confusing comments made by Pope Francis appear to provide support for same-sex unions, alongside his personal belief that same-sex attracted people should be allowed to start a family with their same-sex partners.
This unexpected release has since thrown the world – Catholic and otherwise – into a tizzy, as many otherwise intelligent people seem now to believe that the Catholic Church has changed its long-held doctrines on homosexuality and marriage that have been supported by every Catholic leader since the time of Jesus Christ. Meanwhile, others deliberately distort what happened for evil purposes.
From Venezuela’s Socialist Dictator Maduro to the gay rights activist priest Fr. James Martin to the Washington Post to those who want all to embrace sexual and gender immorality, many now say we must all accept a new sexual and gender ethic, or else!
And Pope Francis remains silent.
First of all, if the Catholic Church ever officially overturns (and I don’t think they can) 2,000 years of doctrine on an issue of importance like sexuality, marriage, or family, it will not do so by having a gay, Jewish, LGBTQ-activist film director insert a video clip of the Pope into a movie being released at the Rome Film Festival.
Believe it or not, there are official processes to how doctrine is made in the Catholic Church, and it involves formal encyclicals and announcements with clear justifications, and linking to scripture, previous encyclicals, and the magisterium.
However, this reality is deliberately ignored or distorted by those in the media or in the Church who have already abandoned God’s teachings or have an ax to grind with the Catholic Church.
Secondly, Pope Francis, love him or hate him, frequently likes to tell people to make a mess, “..meaning he wants to stir things up, and challenge people to do things they may not have considered.” While it may be okay for college students making a mess at a local campus, the leader of the Catholic Church would be wise to note that “making a mess” at his level divides Christendom and emboldens enemies, especially when no clarifications are made on statements that stand at odds with Church teachings.
For better or worse, the Pope’s leadership and communication style is very similar to President Trump’s. Both leaders make frequent, confusing, and sometimes jaw-clenching, off-the-cuff comments, which can cause public outcry, confusion, and division among supporters and the public, while giving their enemies untold ammunition to cause harm.
Making matters worse, neither seem interested in clarifying statements, or correcting the harm that usually follows their remarks. Both leaders’ followers end up confused or scrambling to try to put together distorted explanations of what “he really meant.”
Meanwhile, their enemies run wild, cackling with glee and responding with deliberate campaigns of disinformation and division that intend to weaken the Catholic Church and the US Government/Republican Party, organizations which the men respectively head.
It is not a coincidence that both leaders largely face the same enemies – the liberal pagan elites, tech companies, mainstream media, and Marxist leftists who wish to radically change Christian teachings on abortion and sexuality/gender, or those who desire to remake both Christianity and America in their image.
The Pope says that he wants more “debates” on some of the issues affecting our society. So, let’s give him a loud, public debate and take to the streets to explain why the best environment for children is living alongside a loving mother and father in a committed marital relationship. Let’s explain that those with same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria must be loved and treated with dignity and respect, given appropriate spiritual or mental health treatments, not be kicked out or scorned by their families or governments, and that they must live a life of sexual chastity, faith, and goodness.
The advice I would give Pope Francis is the same advice I would give President Trump: when you make a speech and a “mess” occurs, learn from your mistakes. Don’t allow it to fester and dirty your reputation, or harm your responsibilities, or give your enemies the tools to destroy you and the people you serve. Ask yourself, are these never-ending “messes” bringing people to Jesus Christ or not?
Now is the time for Catholics and other Christians to speak up, for presidents and popes to provide clarity on the issues of marriages, life, and faith and to be beacons of Truth in a world descending into madness, immorality, and violence.
Our faith leaders must imitate Jesus from Matthew 7:28: “When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.”
Avoid messes, clean them up when made, and always speak with the clarity, wisdom, and authority that amazes and unites those who claim Jesus Christ and the truth that He preached.