Reading news reports and opinion columns about Pope Francis during the last few days certainly paints a picture of a flock not totally in formation. The usual rants about Catholics idolizing a man are to be expected, but the divide appears to go much broader than the usual anti-Catholic crowd. Catholics are holding quite diverse viewpoints on a number of issues within their own denomination. Once again, the liberal versus conservative viewpoint seems to take center stage. It doesn't appear that we can simply be Roman Catholic. We are American Catholics. Subsequently, are you a Democrat Catholic or a Republican Catholic? Cafeteria Catholic? What does it look like to be a "faithful" Catholic?
What did Pope Francis say? What didn't he say? The interpretations and analysis of his words and actions have been interesting to watch play out. Is the pope playing into the Democratic party's hands. He visited the Little Sisters of the Poor, but why didn't he blast the president for his overbearing HHS Mandate? He mentioned the death penalty but not abortion. The accusations have been harsh. "He is a Marxist. He is a false prophet." On and on the media spins.
Our world is backwards in so many ways. Culture wants us to view our faith through the lens of politics. The reality is just the opposite. Our politics should be viewed through the lens of faith. When a nation strives to squelch the voice of the Church the moral compass is certain to spin out of control. Sin and evil will be accepted and celebrated. Good will be ridiculed and mocked. We have certainly witnessed a glimpse into that reality this week during the visit of Pope Francis.
The pope has a daunting task, and the Church needs to keep lifting him up in prayer. Pope Francis has provided all of us an with an opportunity to look at life through the lens of the Gospel. It is my hope and prayer that we don't get lost in the politics of it all. May we accept the invitation to encounter Christ!