Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Crisis of Faith...

So, Pope Francis, the titular head of my religion, has apparently decided to alienate a good portion of his followers. It was bad enough when he was waxing philosophical on global warming. It's disheartening to see the head of the Catholic faith swallow the rhetoric and come to a conclusion  based on what has been proven to be chicanery in the form of anthropogenic global warming. The "science" is far from settled, and to be giving what skates on the edge of official Church doctrine based on biased and one-sided accounts and anecdotes (wasn't NYC supposed to be underwater by 2015?) is sad to see.

But what's really bothering me is the latest missive regarding Francis' personal views on weapons and manufacturers:
People who manufacture weapons or invest in weapons industries are hypocrites if they call themselves Christian, Pope Francis said on Sunday.
Um, no. They would be hypocrites if they called themselves Christians but did not accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their savior. Full stop. There is nothing unchristian about manufacturing a piece of metal, and it's complete and utter lunacy to suggest otherwise. Knives, bats, tire irons, automobiles, gasoline; the list is endless of items that can and have been used to kill our fellow humans.

It gets worse:
He also criticised those who invest in weapons industries, saying “duplicity is the currency of today ... they say one thing and do another.”
Excuse me, but isn't he bearing false witness? He's extrapolating mal intent on the part of someone who might invest in a weapon-related industry and assigning a sin to them - duplicity, a.k.a. lying. For starters, pretty much every major company has ties to someone that makes weapons. Folks that worked for GE - heck, folks that work for Home Depot, where GE appliances are sold - are they all hypocrites and liars?

And let's not even get into the vast array of weaponry issued to the Pope's Vatican Guard.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the guard added bolt-action rifles, like the German K98 Mauser, and early automatic pistols to the arsenal. Guardsmen later trained on SIG submachine guns. Today, the soldiers have access to an assortment of compact automatic weapons guns like the HK MP-5 and Steyr TMP, as well as SIG assault rifles and Glock pistols.
Submachine guns, assault rifles, and high capacity handguns. Those are the weapons issued to the soldiers tasked with guarding Pope Francis. Are the men sworn to defend His Holiness not Christians? Do they get a pass, like American police officers being exempt from NFA regulations or cops in NY being able to load more than 7 rounds in a magazine?

And don't even get me started on the absolute FLAMING hypocrisy of the media. NOW, the Catholic faith is relevant. What the Pope has to say is front page news, and they're cheering lustily when the Pope is taking holy swings at gun control and global warming deniers. It's in stark contrast to the seemingly endless number of reports a few years back about abuse in the Church - oh, the media couldn't hate hard enough, and in this case, rightfully so.

A more skeptical person might question Francis' motives for eagerly aiding and abetting his new "friends" in the media.

But I digress. I take this quite personally. I've struggled with my own faith for many years - I do firmly believe in a higher power, and in His son Jesus Christ, but I do *not* trust fallible men to interpret His will. Throughout all of recorded human history, stories of men using religion as a cudgel abound, and any time you expect mortal, fallible humans to faithfully interpret His will, you are setting yourself up for disappointment.

But to hear the Pope - the head of the damn Church - giving such inflammatory, hateful speeches? Impugning my Christianity? Telling me I'm being duplicitous? Pardon me, Pope Francis, but you have no place here, sir. And, quite frankly, it disturbs me how judgmental you are being - you know, all that "judge not, lest ye be judged" business. Without knowing me, without knowing what kind of person I am, what kind of *Christian* I am, you have pronounced me a hypocrite based solely on my line of work.

Most of the responses I can craft would most likely lead to my excommunication. But you know what? If my Church is going to be hijacked by a leftist pandering to the extremists in the media, I'm not certain that's a bad thing. Because, frankly, I want nothing to do with an organization fronted by someone that would eagerly and willingly throw me - and the thousands of wonderful people in many organizations I know - under the bus.

For now, I urge my fellow Christians to do the one thing that has always gotten the Church to take notice: Stop donating. I fully intend to let my church know that, bearing in mind what the Pope has to say about me and my Christianity, that I cannot in good conscience fund their efforts. If enough of us send enough letters, and more importantly stop filling coffers, perhaps the next group the Pope decides to toss under the leftist bus will get out before they become wheel chocks.

In closing, can you impeach a Pope?

That is all.


ProudHillbilly said...

I miss Benedict and John Paul....

Anonymous said...

Well that is one reason I am a Scottish Episcopalian...
The thing to remember though, is that good Popes and bad Popes come and go. The Church is eternal.

Anonymous said...

I share your struggles with faith and concern over the views of one man.

It is why I am now a Protestant. I believe in Jesus Christ, but I am unable to reconcile my understanding of my autonomy and the requirement that I make the most critical decisions (my salvation) for myself with the view that another human being is infallible and whose pronouncements are to accepted and followed in all things.

Sorry, just can't do it.


libertyman said...

Martin Luther had, I think, the same feelings.

I am not sure what organized religion has to do with faith anyway.

Anonymous said...

Your a proficient blogger. It shouldn't be difficult to nail your thesis to the door and be done with it.

Anonymous said...

This Pope hasn't seemed very Catholic from the get go...

The man in the funny had needs to brush up on his Luke 22:36

Jesus understood the need to protect the self, the faith, and the innocents. What a shame that this ignoramus doesn't.

Pam said...

You can count on a liberal to have narrowness of focus and hypocrisy. Left the Catholic church and never looked back. Find a good, independent, and bible teaching church.

Tirno said...

Well, I'm Catholic. And when I miss church on Sundays, as it seems to be that I do most Sundays, the church I'm missing is very definitely the local Catholic parish. I don't really see the need to go find myself a different church to go feeling guilty about missing.

But I don't feel quite so guilty about missing church when I'm looking forward to missing some liberation theology and not-even-half baked Gaia worship wearing a costume store lab coat.

Matt W said...

While I agree with many of your points and sentiments, let's remember a few things:

1) The Pope is only infallible about matters of Church Doctrine. He is still a human being and entitled to his opinions that are not binding on the faithful. His ability to show restraint in voicing his opinion is another matter.

2) Let's keep in mind the context of the quotes the media has put out there. He was discussing war atrocities like the Holocaust and genocide, which may mean his words were supposed to be more narrowly interpreted than the media made it sound. The media is no friend of the Catholic Church and will take any opportunity to use quotes out of context to make it appear the Pope said something he didn't.

3) Also keep in mind that your contribution to your local Parish supports the Parish more than the Vatican. Yes obviously a portion of every contribution goes into the shared coffers, but most of those funds support your local Parish and Diocese. Also remember that your local Priests and Bishops don't necessarily hold the same views as the Pope on non-Doctrine matters. I would suggest you have a conversation with your Parish Priest about this topic before making the decision to completely stop giving to the Church.

All said, I am very disappointed in many of the things the Pope has chosen to say in public on-the-record speeches. My wife and I have had many conversations about his stance on this topic as well as others. But just as many of the quotes originally used to make it appear the Pope was pro gay marriage turned out to be wrong, this too may not be all it appears to be. I will voice my opinion on the matter but will withhold judgment on the Pope's words - at least until I have more concrete information.

ProudHillbilly said...

Unfortunately, this is a misconception. Papal infallibility is very strictly defined. Only 2 papal pronouncements made since that definition are considered to be infalable. This is not one of them.

ProudHillbilly said...

Yeah. 300 pages, I hear. Not going to get read until winter socks me in. And until I read it I can't comment on specifics. I just wish he were less prone to off the cuff statements. It's leading to him being easily used and he doesn't seem to understand that.

ProudHillbilly said...

Yeah. 300 pages, I hear. Not going to get read until winter socks me in. And until I read it I can't comment on specifics. I just wish he were less prone to off the cuff statements. It's leading to him being easily used and he doesn't seem to understand that.

ProudHillbilly said...

Unfortunately, this is a misconception. Papal infallibility is very strictly defined. Only 2 papal pronouncements made since that definition are considered to be infalable. This is not one of them.

azmountaintroll said...

I've recently become more interested in spiritual matters. I was considering joining the Catholic Church because I've always admired the sense of historical continuity it inspires in me. However, now that Pope Francis has made it clear that there's no place for me in his Church, I will have to look elsewhere.

Paul, Dammit! said...

Matt's got some cogent points. It's very relevant that the pope didn't speak ex cathedra over this. It is, literally, his opinion only.

And I wholly disagree, but I understand why I feels the way he did. He comes from the most corrupt nation in the west, a place where the government was the single greatest enemy of the common man. He's from the lowest social class, the peons, and grew up watching people's families get disappeared for opening their mouths, and his fellow priests occasionally shot in the head for doing their job.

I can see why he might not like guns. As I said, I disagree, even if I have a little empathy for his view.

He chooses to slip away from the Swiss guard every chance he gets. His decision, and he says that if someone wants to assasinate him, he'll take his chances rather than be ringed by bodyguards, so the guy does practice what he preaches... still, I remember St. John Paul II was surrounded by innocents when he got shot, some of whom got hit too, and undoubtedly more would have died had there not been armed men standing guard over them all. I'd say to ask the guys who got shot and lived, and you might find some support for armed civilians.

Anyways, they're really reaching out for the low-hanging fruit. Can't help that the current pope, good guy that he is, is a leftist who followed 50 years of conservatives. I feel that the pope should be sticking to being pope, rather than wading in to the cesspools where he seems to be going.

Ben C said...

The leader of the largest pedophile protecting institution in the world does not have any moral high ground to preach on anything.

ProudHillbilly said...

Oh, good grief, Ben C. The sex scandal was more than 80% about homosexuals in the priesthood, not pedophiles. But homosexuality is politically correct and popular, so that is ignored. Then the same people who are happy with a school teaching a teen how to snap on a condom pitched a fit when the Church cracked down on ordaining homosexuals and cried bigotry.

The most dangerous place for a child as far as abuse is where there is a live-in boyfriend, followed by a step-parent situation. And there is no more problem with pedophilia in the priesthood than there is anyplace else. Look to your schools, your gyms, your San Fran gay marriage mover and shaker Democrats for that.

Yeah, and the Church was Nazi, too. Yada, yada. Oh, and we tried to burn Galelio at the stake. Might as well through that in, too.

Stretch said...

There's always High Church Anglican. Catholicism with out the guilt.
Pope Benedict should have specified "No Liberation Theologians from socialist countries!" I use to think Jesuits had their act together. Clearly the teaching of Ignatius of Loyola are no longer "relevant."

Sailorcurt said...

I honestly don't Grok Catholicism. I was raised protestant and simply don't understand the need to have some human person declared the infallible word of God. Seems like an oxymoron to me.

Not trying to denigrate anyone's religion...simply saying that the whole concept the Catholic Church is built around escapes my meager ability to comprehend.

God sent his Son to this earth to straighten out some of the misconceptions and legalism that was going in in the Jewish synagogues of the time. Jesus came here to set us straight and reveal that WE are the church, not some building, or some guy in a funny hat.

The Catholic Church, steadily drifted right back into those old human traits that serve only to empower the "elite" and subjugate the masses to them.

The Catholic church, in my opinion, embodies many of the very same traits that Jesus railed against the Pharisees of the time about.

The bottom line is that in my studies of the Bible, and in my path with Christianity, I've seen very little to justify the political body of the Catholic church (and many of the larger protestant ones as well) and the powers they claim over their

Excommunication seems so trivial to me. Someone please point out the part of the Bible where it says some political organization created, managed and ruled by human beings, gets to determine who makes it to heaven.

The Catholics don't want you? There's always the Baptists, or the Methodist, or the Lutherans. And if none of them catch your fancy, who says you need to be a part of a "named" religion or denomination anyway?

How does it go again?

"Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me."

Hmm. Don't see anything about the Pope there.

Arthur said...

@Anonymous Sailorcurt "The Catholic Church, steadily drifted right back into those old human traits that serve only to empower the "elite" and subjugate the masses to them."

Unfortunately, the Lutheran church I attended when younger, as well as the Lutheran churches friends and family have attended have all fallen into the same practice. The pastors in a Lutheran church might not claim to have the same 'infallibility' of the pope, but they still seem to love to spew lefty politics from the pulpit.

And by 'lefty' I don't mean, "Help your neighbor" I mean, "The state needs to force you to help your neighbor, this week's 'victim group', and any other progressive cause that's wadded up my cassock lately."

0007 said...

Come on,the guy's just another South American Jesuit communist. What do you expect?

Ed said...

Jesuit Communist? You must be familiar with the Department of Redundancy Department.

Anonymous said...

He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.”

— Luke 22:36, NIV