Pope Francis’ culture war

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World War II field hospital, Royal Air Force

Wikimedia Commons

World War II field hospital, Royal Air Force

World War II field hospital, Royal Air Force

World War II field hospital, Royal Air Force

It’s inside his own church, and here it is in a nutshell.

Last month, the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois released a report commissioned by Bishop Thomas Paprocki examining why attendance at Mass has fallen by 30 percent over the past 15 years. Produced by social scientists at Benedictine University, the report paints a striking portrait of a significant portion of parishioners turned off by unpalatable doctrines, lack of community, and bad priests.

In his response to the findings, Paprocki — one of the American hierarchy’s outspoken conservatives — unsurprisingly showed no interest in reexamining doctrine on such issues as birth control, the marital status of priests, and divorce/remarriage, each of which was cited by over 60 percent of disaffected Springfield Catholics as reasons for leaving or distancing themselves from the church.

To address the challenge of bringing them back, he instead pointed to a talk on “a strategy of resource-based analysis that has proved successful in both the business world and the not-for-profit sector” that a Notre Dame business professor delivered to a priests’ convocation on “Strategic Planning for Growth in the Church.” He also stressed the need to enhance evangelization by developing “communities of missionary disciples” and working to “make disciples of all nations.”

Now consider the comments on lapsed Catholics that Pope Francis made to the Argentine newspaper of record La Nacion in an interview published yesterday:

Q. Does the renovation of the Church which you have been calling upon since you were elected, and precisely in Evangelii Gaudium, also target strayed sheep and stopping the faithful from dropping out?

A. I don’t like the “dropping out” image because it is all too close to proselytism. I don’t like to use terms connected with proselytism because that’s not the truth. I like to use the image of the field hospital: some people are very much injured and are waiting for us to heal their wounds, they are injured for a thousand reasons. We must reach out to them and heal their wounds.

Q. Is that, then, the strategy to recover those that have left?

A. I don’t like the word “strategy,” I’d much rather speak about the Lord’s pastoral call, otherwise it sounds like an NGO. It’s the Lord’s call, what the Church is asking from us today, not as a strategy, because the Church isn’t into proselytism. The Church doesn’t want to engage in proselytism because the Church does not grow on proselytism, it grows on attraction, as Benedict said. The Church needs to be a field hospital and we need to set out to heal wounds, just as the good Samaritan did. Some people’s wounds result from neglect, others are wounded because they have been forsaken by the Church itself, some people are suffering terribly.

The Pope is trying to create a church that is pastoral in the fullest sense of the term. That’s the kind of “new evangelism” his namesake, St. Francis, employed to redeem the church from bureaucratization and crusading zeal in the 13th century. It didn’t come easy then, and won’t come easy now.

  • JuneAnnette

    “Physician heal thyself.” Luke 4:23

  • Karla

    The compromise today is shocking because there is a culture war yet many
    only want to talk about gay marriage or abortion which are both wrong but so
    is getting drunk,coveting/greed,gambling,gossip,premarital sex,being mean,
    jealousy,pride and taking the Lords name in vain! 1 Corinthians 6:9-12 lists
    many sins right along with homosexuals so all sin is wrong! We all must Repent!

  • Isabel Sinton

    Um, Did Bishop Paprocki read the report? Parishioners find unpalatable doctrines unacceptable, as is , lack of community and bad priests.. Dictating who shouldn’t use birth control, bu someone who has never changed a poop filled diaper is ridiculous. Sometimes divorce is necessary – physical violence , foe example and remarriage happens. But PUL-EEESE stop calling some of us ‘fallen away Catholics’ .
    We ran screaming into the sunset right after we saw that ‘God’s Plan’ and the bishops pet projects were suspiciously identical.

  • drwho13

    I dropped out because the RCC has nothing to offer in the way of moral and ethical guidance. At my age, I know the difference between right and wrong. I don’t need advice from an organization that almost stood before the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity for the coverup of sexual abuse. I simply don’t trust them. Many Catholics and former Catholics feel the same, and they’re not coming back for more abuse of any type from creepy clerics.

  • ClevelandGirl

    So, any/all of us who have left/fled are sick and in need of healing? Really?!!! Uh, maybe we left/fled because RCC Inc. *made us sick* and we needed to leave in order to heal, not the other way around.

    Abuse, bullying, social abuse, horrible sermons all about money week after week, misogyny, homohatred, enforcement of conformity and homogeneity, etc. When the air is toxic, it’s stupid to keep breathing it when you can leave the building and get fresh and clean air to breath. The longer you stay, the sicker you get.

    Even though I experienced sexual abuse (including public nonconsensual urophilic BDSM abuse by the nun who taught my first grade class, done in front of all my classmates), it was not that issue that caused me to leave (because I was still blocking, still not comprehending over 30 years ago — it was only about four years ago I learned through the Murphy/Ryan reports about nuns and urophilia/coprophilia and their sadistic punishments related to bodily functions that were universal and not just about me and my weak bladder). It was witnessing a conflict between a pedopriest (who was obsessed with the movie Pretty Baby and teen prostitutes downtown) and a stoner over getting a stoner to pay rooming house rent via servicing said priest. It was shunning by parishioners after hubby and I got married and I wasn’t pregnant within six months of the wedding date. It was the mean-spiritedness and bullying that always got rewarded while the victims got punished, something that had gone on my entire life. It was the misogyny probably most of all 30+ years ago and is still a principle reason I don’t even believe in the minimums anymore.

    RCC Inc. and its entire belief system is iatrogenic and toxic. The only real healing is to get as far away from it as possible. You don’t go to hospitals that have high infection and morbidity and mortality rates when you can find a better one or just find a way to get yourself well on your own or via other nonreligious sources.

  • paul

    So in short, the Roman Catholic church should become more like the Episcopalians or Lutherans? How many of those who left “disillusioned at the doctrines of Roman Catholicism” joined those denominations which share their doctrinal outlook? Not many. Given the statistical declines in those traditions as well (and I write this as a Lutheran), my guess is that it is not doctrine that is driving people out of the church it is secularization. Religion in general just has too much competition that didn’t exist in bygone eras, and the social stigma of non-religion no longer holds sway.

  • JP

    “The Pope is trying to create a church that is pastoral in the fullest sense of the term. That’s the kind of “new evangelism” his namesake, St. Francis, employed to redeem the church from bureaucratization and crusading zeal in the 13th century. It didn’t come easy then, and won’t come easy now. ”

    It wasn’t the Church bureaucracy and crusading zeal that Francis was fighting against. And he certainly didn’t redeem the Church. The Church certainly wasn’t established to confirm people in their Sin, which is what many people think is the hallmark of “pastoral” work. The Early Church Fathers went up against pagan societies that were highly bisexual- homosexual, practiced slavery, matricide, and infanticide. The Church Fathers didn’t hide their “doctrine”. And they certainly didn’t believe that Church Doctrine enslaved people – it in fact liberated them. Neither did they hide the Cross – they embraced it. Many if not most died for it. They certainly didn’t think that pastoral work was some means of cutting moral corners.

  • ClevelandGirl

    “The Early Church Fathers went up against pagan societies that were highly bisexual- homosexual, practiced slavery, matricide, and infanticide.”

    Sounds like a description of RCC Inc. right up to and including the present day.

    There’s this misconception that prior to the alleged time of the alleged Jesus, *every* *single* *person* *who* *ever* *lived* prior to that was morally degenerate and evil because they were “pagan” (except the chosen Hebrews, who were into god-ordered genocidal attacks on neighbors and practiced polygamy, concubinage, and slavery as well as human sacrifice even after their god played a seriously psychotic and psychopathic joke on Abram). Pre-christian people were not more homosexual/bisexual, more into enslavement, more prone to kill women and children. No. Those concepts were seen by the “church fathers” as moral goods to be embraced, as they preached the inferiority and disgusting condition of females and that their ladyparts had teeth and despoiled holy male purity and transmitted original sin, that children are to be beaten to death for any offense because they are full of filthy sin, that enslavement of any demonized group was perfectly OK and god-ordained, and well, there’s historical documented evidence (cf. Tom Doyle) that early church clerics were heavily involved in pederasty and pedophilia and had entourages of pretty young boys processing behind them at every opportunity.

    I see absolutely ZERO DIFFERENCE between xtianity and the calumnies that xtians level against their “pagan” rivals right up to the present day (including against neo-Pagans and any/all non-abramic people worldwide). None at all.

    *All* religions cause illness, injury, and harm, especially abramic religions. Harm especially to women and children.

    The truth relationship of the shepherd to the sheep is not loving and benign. It’s an economic relationship where lambs are only “rescued” so that there are more to go to market. Fleece ’em, screw ’em, sell ’em, kill ’em, eat ’em. Shepherds are evil, and sheep are nothing but commodities. Sheep are so stupid that they need their butts wiped for them. But then, the bible says humans are slaves, livestock, plants, and dirt, with no inherent human dignity or worth to their bloodthirsty and psychotic god. So many metaphors about “harvesting” humans for “god”. Ever think for one minute that these metaphors transmit a sickening and unpleasant truth? I have! Think about it!

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