Seven Quick Takes

The Problem with Kim Davis in 7QT

 I did not plan on posting today, although I miss writing–life has just been a little busy.  However, when I saw that Kelly was hosting Link-tober Fest with prizes, I had to jump on board.

The biggest problem is it isn’t a problem at all.  I bet you thought I would rail against the Pope or stand up for gay marriage advocates who feel slighted by this meeting.  The truth is we, as Americans, are making a common ant hill into Mount Everest.  No matter where you stand on gay marriage or Kim Davis, there really isn’t a problem because the Pope meeting her changes nothing about Church doctrine, it changes nothing about the laws of America, it changes nothing about anyone’s civil rights.  It was a conversation, a papal audience, common place–they happen all the time with people from all over the world, all different viewpoints, and all walks of life.
Pope Francis has never pretended to play sides, he has always been open about his openness to everyone.  He is so well loved by even those who are against the Church because of his compassion and mercy.  Pope Francis has brought the papacy to the common man.  He has never asked any of those he embraces, dines with, visits, nor forgives about their political and personal outlooks.  He did not only wash the feet of criminals who support the views of the Church, nor did he only dine with homeless who share his political view.  While many would like to politicize his actions, and dissect his motives, his only motive is love and mercy.  It is a message he preaches with his words, but more importantly with his deeds.
Chruch doctrine precludes the support of gay marriage.  It is completely contrary to our beliefs and the laws of the Church.  While many have decided that Pope Francis has secretly, or even publicly, changed this, it has never changed.  The Church is the Bride of Christ, She walks with Him, not popular opinion.  No matter what you think Church doctrine should be, it is what it is.  And even though Pope Francis has been very welcoming to the gay community and compassionate as he is with all people, that does not change the fact that he supports traditional marriage and has said so in various statements.  {Please read all of the Pope’s public statements in their entirety not just go by the blurbs picked up by the media!} 
Christ dined with sinners, tax collectors, prostitutes, failures, enemies of his mission.  He went out and met Pharisees, Saducees, and worst of all, Samaritans, where they were and preached forgiveness and service to neighbor.  However, never did He waiver in the Truth of the Gospel, the foundation of God’s Law.  Sin was still sin.  He may have sat at table with some of the worst sinners, but He never allowed that to change His position, nor allowed anyone to forget the need to follow the narrow way.  Nothing has changed.  Pope Francis is the Vicar of Christ, we are Christ’s hands and feet.  Our mission is the same as it was during the age of the apostles, and our rules are the same as well.
There is a difference between love and mercy; and acceptance and condoning behavior.  The Pope preaches mercy.  Mercy is a duty of all Christians.  We are to be merciful, most merciful to all.  We are to love and pray for our enemies.  However, we are never to condone, nor accept their sins.  We are to hate all sin, no matter how trivial, no matter how politically correct, no matter how modern.  All sin is evil.  Yet, we are all sinners.  In rejecting sin, we must first begin with ourselves, we must clean up our act before pointing the finger at our brother.  In love we must repent, because the Church and Christ are always willing to forgive us in unsurpassed mercy.   
We truly must hate the sin and love the sinner.  The opposite of agreement is not hate, yet in our country we have drawn a line in the sand.  You are either for us or against us.  There is another way, Jesus preached another way.   The other way is a way of love but reproof, a way of mercy but rules.  Christ came to save all people, but He first demanded they die to self and rise in HIM.  Dying to self means laying down whatever God has forbidden, and sin we find pleasure in, any personal preference that serves ourselves before God.  Jesus asks us to love our neighbor, but reminds us that love sets boundaries and rules, love disciplines the child that goes astray, but also chases after that child to bring him home.   The Greatest Commandment is “Love God with all your heart, all your mind, and all your strength; and love your neighbor as yourself.”  Loving God must come first, and that means following your conscience, abiding by God’s Law, and being in the world but not of it.  Also, the greatest love of neighbor is to point him to heaven not to allow him to run amok and land in hell.
I agree that the Pope often leaves a bit to much to interpretation, but this is not a case of that.  When Pope Francis visits prisons, do you not think that there are people there that Italians think are undeserving of mercy?  When Pope Francis visited Fidel Castro, do you not think there were Cubans who felt he was undeserving of mercy?  When the Pope met with mafia leaders, addicts, beggars on the street, the lame, the poor, the unwanted, the forgotten…wasn’t there someone who thought they did not deserve it?  None of us deserve mercy, and this meeting was an act of mercy.  Everyone has their theories of what was meant by the meeting, what we should take away, who the Pope offended or should have offended.  However, in watching the Pope interact with the world, I believe this was a personal stop to spread his love and mercy as only Pope Francis can.   He came to the United States to spread his message of religious liberty, love for all people, and defense of the family; and I have a sneaking suspicion that while studying up on the current events and issues of our land, he saw a woman who tried to do what she thought was right and was kicked, beaten, and spat upon by the press and virtual world.  No matter if the Pope agreed with her actions nor her beliefs, he saw a human that was dragged through the mud and needed compassion.  He saw someone who was marginalized and villianized and needed to know God still loved her as He loves all people.  He saw someone in need of mercy, because our news outlets and social media do not allow mercy to be offered.
The problems of the world and the Church are so much larger than who the Pope chooses to receive some simple words of encouragement.  Our brothers and sisters are being persecuted, tortured, heinously murdered, and raped half way around the world–yet we cry out that we need more, who have a safe bed to sleep in and a Church whose doors are always open.  We who send our children to school and out to play without fear, have so much food we fill bags of it to rot in landfills, and toss last year’s fashion into the trash; we demand that our ideas be validated, that our enemies be persecuted, that we are forgotten and unsupported.  We have so much in this country, too much really, because we have lost sight of what a problem really is.  We have lost touch with what oppression really feels like.    
As a faithful, traditional, conservative, orthodox Catholic, I stand with the teaching of the Church that have been true for over 2,000 years.  I do not want our doctrine to change, our beliefs to be shaken, our Catechism rewritten. It is not an easy road to walk, but neither was the one to Calvary.  I do not support the national laws on abortion, euthanasia, gay marriage, and contraception.   Yet, I love, and love deeply, people who subscribe to all of those practices.  I honor their personhood and dignity even though I despise their politics.  I warmly welcome them as family and neighbors, serving them before myself, but I will never condone their lifestyles.  All of my loved ones know where I stand, and even the powers of Hell will not change my mind.  Yet, each of them also know that I love them, truly love them, while hating their sin.  If I could I would convert them, but that is God’s job, all I can do is pray and hope that everyone, including myself, will take that narrow path, and make it through those pearly gates, for I am sinner, but God still loves me!

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