An Open Letter to Pope Francis’s new non- (or anti-) Catholic Fairweather Fans

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Dear Society, (and I am talking to YOU, acolytes of RationalWiki and ThinkProgress and MotherJones who keep sharing gleeful articles about the Pope’s “progressivism,”)

I’m glad that you now find Catholicism, as Pope Francis has so deftly revealed it to you, to be something other than the oppressive medieval cult you caricature it to be.

But know this- He bows not to you, but to God.

In the grand tradition of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, and of the great popes through the ages, including most recently John XXIII, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI, Pope Francis now reinvigorates within the Church the discussion of its timeless teachings and ideals with the present realities of the world.

As one of the worst Catholics alive and one whose philosophical principles are far divorced from the Church’s teachings, I am none to condemn anyone for their opinion of my faith. But I would thoroughly appreciate it if me and my fellow Catholics were not painted, as we are in present media discourse, as something of a problem for the advancement of society and the establishment of justice. (I now begin to comprehend, however meanly, what the Muslims have endured at the hands of the media for over a decade.)

Read the publishings of the Church. It is the single greatest advocate of human dignity and social justice in the history of Western Civilization, yet the cartoon of it normally presented tends to portray a corrupt, ancient institution whose time has passed, one which must yield to the forces of individualism and equality. Read, and find that its teachings are indeed often the basis of your own secular political ideals! Too often today, articles and essays praising the Pope have referred to the Church as a whole as a monolithic, conservative behemoth. They depict him as a modernizing figure of light in a sea of darkness. While he is a great leader and certainly a great Pope, we Catholics do not depend on his recent statements for moral guidance- rather, his recent statements reflect the opinions and sentiments of a good portion of a billion Catholics worldwide on a certain array of issues. You are right to praise the Pope for innovation- but you could not be more wrong in the context of your praise.

I adore the Pope, for he has articulated, as John Paul II did before him, the Catholic Church’s true teachings in the face of the present problems of our world. It pains me to see him so terribly misinterpreted by the intellectual elites of our society.

I invite all of you to come visit a Church and see what Catholics are actually like, to hear what we actually believe, to feel as we actually feel. Indeed there is an immense diversity within the Church of all of these categories; and it is far removed from the assessment of it published in editorials. Certainly we have an identity; but it is not what you have painted.

Sincerely,

A Bad Catholic, disgruntled by recent events

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