The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

The thoughts expressed here are my personal thoughts and sometimes reflect my political views. As a private citizen I have every right to express these views.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Misrepresenting Pope Francis

Aren't you glad you're not the pope? Every pope from Peter to Francis has been asked to bear a cross of one kind or another. For some, like Peter himself, the cross was very real, a companion in both life and death. Peter and many of his successors were men who understood their own weaknesses and accepted God's gift of strength. But others, fortunately far fewer in number, rejected the gift, found the weight of the cross too much to bear, and let it fall, too often onto the shoulders of others.

In modern times we have been blessed with remarkable popes who have been asked to bear some very heavy crosses. Each was publicly ridiculed, wantonly misunderstood, and constantly attacked, always by the smallest of men; and yet each was a man of great humility, so we will never know how much they suffered as they led the Church from Peter's chair.

Our current Holy Father, Pope Francis, is no exception. The world, particularly the secular media, seems determined to misunderstand the man and present him as someone he isn't. He is offered to us as a rebel who will overturn Church teaching on any number of issues that just drive the world to distraction. We are told the pope will "clarify" teachings on such things as contraception, abortion, and homosexual marriage. He will be the anti-Ratzinger and tone down the "excesses" of his predecessors. We can expect an easing of the liturgical strictures imposed by John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Of course, none of ths is true. It is all based on a few isolated comments taken out of context, along with a willful disregard of a lifetime of orthodoxy.

A lot of falsehoods have been written about Pope Francis, so many in fact that the Vatican felt compelled to issue a statement on it's news Facebook page. I've included the entire statement below.
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FALSE STATEMENTS ATTRIBUTED TO POPE FRANCIS
Dear friends, we have been notified by many readers that there are stories currently circulating all over the Internet spreading statements by Pope Francis with regard to a number of issues, concerning the Bible’s content, the relations between religions, the renewal of the Church’s doctrine, and even the calling of an alleged “Third Vatican Council”, which are FALSE. These statements were spread by unknown sources. Therefore, we would like to alert all readers to be careful and not to trust too soon news about the Pope that are not from the Vatican.
There are also many social networks pages that try to put false information in circulation, taking advantage of the fact that it is easy to “throw the stone and hide the hand”.
Many people are also now aware that ALL FACEBOOK PROFILES OF POPE FRANCIS /JORGE MARIA BERGOGLIO ARE NOT OFFICIAL PAGES AND THEY HAVE NOT BEEN AUTHORIZED TO OFFICIALLY REPRESENT THE POPE, THEREFORE THEY SHOULD CLEARLY STATE THEY ARE JUST ‘FAN PAGES’.
We encourage all readers to check the official Vatican media sources for further confirmation of Pope Francis’ statements, or even to check what exactly he said with reference to specific issues.
IF THE STATEMENTS ATTRIBUTED TO THE POPE BY ANY MEDIA AGENCY DO NOT APPEAR IN THE OFFICIAL MEDIA SOURCES OF THE VATICAN, IT MEANS THAT THE INFORMATION THEY REPORT IS NOT TRUE.
Below is a list of the official Vatican media which you should use as valid reference to be sure that any reported statement referred to the Pope is true:
- News.va: a news aggregator portal, it reports the news and information from all the Vatican media in one website, available in five languages: www.news.va
News.va also has a facebook page: www.facebook.com/news.va
- L’Osservatore Romano: www.osservatoreromano.va
- Radio Vaticana: www.radiovaticana.va
- VIS (Vatican Information Service): www.vis.va
- Centro Televisivo Vaticano: www.ctv.va
or www.vatican.va/news_services/television/
- Vatican.va: the official website of the Holy See, where you can find the full text of all speeches, homilies and Apostolic documents by the Pope: www.vatican.va
- PopeApp: the official app for smartphones dedicated to the Pope (Copyright News.va)
- @Pontifex: the official Twitter profile of the Pope.
The only official facebook profiles representing the Holy Father and the Vatican are those from News.va and the Vatican media (see the above list of Vatican media).
We would like to thank you all for your kind attention as well as for your notifications and suggestions. Please do share this information as much as possible with your contacts! Thank you very much!
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