Pope Francis models Jesus’ way of responding when challenged
Friday, September 20, 2013
When Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected Pope, a strong minority expressed serious reservations. I echoed them on this blog, discussing his passivity during the Argentine Dirty War.
However, his way of talking about issues is very appealing. Here is an excerpt from what First Things has to say editorially today:
If Francis isn’t urging silence on moral issues, what’s his point? Francis is a man who think in terms of particular cases and vivid images. In the words of Father Spadaros, his spirituality “is not made of “harmonized energies,” as he would call them, but of human faces.” It’s helpful, then, to look at the one concrete example he offers of engaging on a difficult moral question:
A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ We must always consider the person. Here we enter into the mystery of the human being. In life, God accompanies persons, and we must accompany them, starting from their situation. It is necessary to accompany them with mercy. When that happens, the Holy Spirit inspires the priest to say the right thing.
The Pope’s approach is one familiar to any reader of the gospels. Pharisees try to discredit the gospel by trapping its teacher; the teacher refuses the terms of their question and raises the spiritual stakes. The point here is not to compromise on or back away from truth, but rather to reject its caricature. This is good practical guidance. If it’s what he meant in his broader remarks, then those remarks offer wise advice well worth taking.
I look forward to reading what Ross Douthat has to say!