The following is excerpted from “Why Americans Misunderstand Pope Francis” By Jose Mena | December 24, 2013
In most of the early reactions to Pope Francis’ papacy, one finds the severely confused notion that Catholic social teaching is readily reducible to American political categories. The problem is that these categories are totally inapplicable—if not wholly alien—to the majesty that is the corpus of Catholic social teaching.
It strikes me that few Catholics today are willing to place their Catholicism first and their party allegiance second. Catholics ought to religiously submit their intellect and will to Church teachings in all cases, and not just in those instances in which Church teaching happens to accord with that of one’s favorite politician.
That Pope Francis manages to preach his critiques of the modern Western way of life in a spirit of Christlike joy and compassion is itself a minor miracle. His attitude reflects the ultimate truth that what the Catholic Church is in the business of doing with its social teaching is to proclaim a particularly vivid, compelling, intellectually rigorous, and genuinely beautiful account of what the human person is and what is good for the human person to pursue.
We Catholics must approach this account with humility and grace, and discard whatever cultural and intellectual presuppositions do not concord with this beauty and rigor. We must commit ourselves first to Christ and His Church, clear-eyed and reverently, and trust that they will not lead us astray.
This is the rule that I try to follow:
- If I feel that the Holy Father is criticizing something I hold dear, perhaps I should examine exactly why it is that I value that so highly, instead of leaping immediately to a passionate critique of the Holy Father’s words.
- If, on the contrary, I feel that the Holy Father is endorsing a particular political conviction of mine, I should be immediately skeptical of my comfortable interpretation, and careful that what I want to believe to be true is actually fully justified under Catholic thought.
- And when I do find good reason to disagree with what a pope or a cardinal is saying—and I grant that there are plenty of cases where this holds—, I should do so in a tone and attitude of utter respect and admiration for the intellectual work done by the Church and Her bishops.
Read the original @ https://ethikapolitika.org/2013/12/24/americans-misunderstand-pope-francis/