A sign of modernism? I don’t think so

I have noticed in several places in the blogosphere that a certain quote from Pope Francis is taken as evidence he is a modernist.

Here it is:

More recently, on August 7th, Pope Francis offered this gem as reported by CNS:

“Do you need to convince the other to become Catholic? No, no, no! Go out and meet him, he is your brother. This is enough. Go out and help him and Jesus will do the rest.”

I do not interpret this the same way at all.  If you look at “Do you need to convince the other to become Catholic?  No, no, no!” and stop there, then of course it does look like Pope Francis is saying it does not matter if one is Catholic or not.

But this rhetorical question and answer is qualified by this:  “Go out and help him and Jesus will do the rest.”

This is what I understand.  We do not have to convince people using our own abilities, strength of argument, and means of persuasion to convince people to become Catholic.  In fact, if I speak from my own experience, when Catholics intellectually assaulted me with “There is no salvation outside of the Catholic Church” or other like doctrines, I shrank from them and the Church because of the pressure that did not seem to come from God at all.

What drew me was love, patience, kindness and not heavy-handed doctrinal arguments.  Do we have enough faith to let Jesus do the rest?  Can we stop our “doing” and our “persuading” and our running out ahead of the Lord, working, working, working from our own steam and have faith He will act if we do not?

This is not some loosey-goosey, live and let live, relativism the Pope is preaching here, but a profoundly mystical confidence that God does work if we don’t rush out and get in His way like a bunch of stern scolds, waving the letter of the law without expressing any of the Spirit.

Believing the right way is of crucial, crucial importance.  But did we learn the faith from memorizing a book or from having the Creeds drilled into our head or from a personal encounter with Jesus Christ and a trust that the Holy Spirit will guide us into all Truth?

Pope Francis is putting the stress on the latter.

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6 Responses to A sign of modernism? I don’t think so

  1. Pingback: A sign of modernism? I don’t think so | Catholic Canada

  2. Of course I strongly disagree with you! And one cannot diminish either Christ as the “Logos” or the “Rhema”! And sadly the Creedal life of Catholicism today is very weak. Here both the EO and some Protestants are quite alive and aware! Indeed, RC’s are simply stuck with this pope for now! And I do say this with sadness, myself.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      Fr. Robert,

      You wrote: Indeed, RC’s are simply stuck with this pope for now!

      Rather, there are two groups within the Catholic Church who might be stuck with this pope — the most radical of liberals and the most hard-core of conservatives. The rest of us are very blessed to have him. I applaud the fact that he is taking a pastoral tact, but I applaud most especially that he is putting the gospel of salvation at the center of his message while quietly starting the process of cleaning house where a good housecleaning is needed.


      • @Norm: I personally don’t see how anybody with a conservative and biblical theological brain, Catholic or otherwise can support “Francis”! He has really already shown ignorance and even distain for his predecessor Benedict/Ratzinger. Simply put, Ratzinger buries this guy in proper theology, Catholic, biblical, and certainly in the Covenantal! Would that Catholic laymen would read Scott Hahn’s book: Covenant and Communion, The Biblical Theology of Pope Benedict XVI. It is simply theological books and works like this that show how really liberal minded “Francis” is! Btw, note three conservative and Reformed theolog’s wrote positive blubs for Hahn’s book on Ratzinger’s theology: Kevin Vanhoozer, Tremper Longman III, and Michael Horton! That will never happen for the social-liberal Jesuit “Francis”! As I have noted before “Francis” appears to hide behind a sort of Traditional type Catholicism when it suits him, but when push comes to shove, he presents a liberal Catholic face and theology! Sorry mate, the track record always tells the tale! Thankfully, not all Roman Catholics (both priest and layman) are buying this guy, or his theology. Many are coming out in almost full antagonism against his so-called “Catholic” teaching, may God give them courage and ability in such an hour!

      • Stephen K says:

        Father Robert, I think you have unwittingly hit the nail on the head: a conservative will have difficulty accepting Pope Francis. He seems to be trying to free us from preoccupation with status quo and neat solutions and control mechanisms.

      • @SK: Here’s a quote that I seek to stand and live by, I am a conservative both politically and biblically-theologically…
        “Conservatism is not so much a philosophy as an attitude, a constant force, performing a timeless function in the development of a free society, and corresponding to a deep and permanent requirement of human nature itself.”

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