The culture wars have come to the Catholic Church
What is a faithful Catholic to do?
Every Church and denomination is in the thick of the culture wars. The Catholic Church is under strong pressure normalize same sex, contraception, abortion, sex before and outside marriage, divorce, porn and masturbation, and new age spirituality. There is not much debate on these issues in the mainstream. Christian denominations that follow the culture find their congregations dwindling. Historians may find Pope Francis' appointments, statements and actions among the most confusing of all 266 popes. What's a faithful Catholic to do?
We are baptized children of the Church and the pope is our father (with a small "f"). We love and pray for him. He was validly elected and if there's a schism, we'll be found next to the seat of Peter. Pope Francis deserves our respect, because of where he sits.
How do children of an alcoholic father compensate when things get crazy at home?
Much like children of an alcoholic, the children of the church have taken on various roles. Evangelist Mark Mallett made a great analysis that these times are a test. Below is a table of roles and compensation behaviours and whether they pass the test.
|Role||In Alcoholic family||Under this papacy||Test|
|The Angry Accuser||Publicly takes out their anger on father.||Angrily and publicly condemns Pope.||Fail|
|The Denier||Says there's nothing wrong with father, ridicules concerned brothers & sisters.||Says there's nothing wrong with Pope Francis, ridicules those who are concerned.||Fail|
|The Abandoner||Disowns father & the family||Leaves the Church.||Fail|
|The Wild One||Irresponsible teenager happy about dad's alcoholism because they can get away anything.||Hopes the Pope will follow the Anglicans into sexual permissiveness.||Fail|
|The Opportunist||Takes advantage of situation to draw attention to one's self.||Bloggers & Catholic media who become minor celebrities with sensational coverage of turbulent Vatican politics.||Fail|
|The Nostalgic||Longs for the old days when family was "stable".||Thinks the Church made a wrong turn at Vatican II, that popes and liturgy since then have been severely flawed (reactionaries) or invalid (sedevacantists).||Fail|
|The Lost Child||Oblivious but still part of the family.||Sunday cultural Catholics in the mushy middle.||Fail|
|The Saint||Accepts the situation looks inward, open about father's problems, prays for a solution and tries to fix what they can.||
Uses the situation to strengthen their character and faith, and deepen their prayer life, works within one's sphere of influence to improve the situation without disrespecting the pope. Prays sincerely for the Pope (rather than the patronizing "the Pope needs prayer" line). Doesn't fall into the trap of psuedo sedevacantism
The Lord is Faithful
The Lord promised us the following.
And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. (Mat 16:18)
The legacy of Pope Francis will largely be determined by the popes who follow. He has pressed the Church just about as far as it can go into dialog with the world without directly accepting sin as legitimate. He has appointed dozens of like minded people at high levels to ensure his line of thinking will continue. We trust our Lord's promise to Peter, and that we'll be OK in the long run. The current confusion will serve the Church in some way known to God. In the meantime, God is calling us to remain faithful Catholics, children of our Father in Heaven and obedient to the Magistieral Teachings of the Church and the deposit of faith. Here's a list of 20 characteristics we often find in sincere Catholics. who pass the test.