It's Tuesday, and the news aggregators report the tsunami of headlines concerning the Unholy Father's latest scandal.
Francis is “inclusive”; he signals a “shift”; he indicates sex outside of marriage is, even, “not a sin”. Things like that. A lot of them.
As always, the planet is now divided in two. The first group are the Pollyannas and the stupid (often the same people) believing that Francis is being “merciful”, without explaining to us why it seems not that the concubines have repented of their real sins, but rather that the Church has repented of her alleged ones. The second are all other, those with a functioning brain and the will to use it, who see what is all too plain and executed completely under the sun: the pickaxing of Catholic teaching in favour of a new sentimental, shallow, and very stupid imitation Christianity in which poverty and social justice are the only real problems, and sin is the preserve of mafia bosses and rosary-counting faithful.
No one can say with a straight face that this umpteenth tsunami of headlines is not exactly what Francis wanted. It is too obvious, and it has happened too many times, to allow any such behaviour. This is a Pope clearly acting with malice aforethought, perfectly aware of what headlines each and every of his antics will generate.
Some people seem to think if they blind themselves and refuse to see the very obvious evidence, this will be counted for them – or at least not against them – when they die.
They are sorely mistaken, because they are being his accomplices and enablers.
I read in one of those “small c” catholic blogs about a priest who would have been so unspeakably bad as to berate the mother of the child he was baptising, in front of all her relatives, for being an unwed mother.
The small c author then proceeds to mention the preparatory document of the upcoming Synod; in which, with usual prostituted hypocrisy, what 2000 years of Christianity have considered a shame has now become praiseworthy, because something even worse (abortion) has not happened. Which is as logical as praising a marijuana smoker for not being a heroin addict; but hey, who are we to judge?
Now, of course issues of prudence play a role here, but it seems to me that the same prudence should not lead us to condemn (or in Francis' parlance, “judge”) the priest. He is the one in charge of souls, he is the one who will answer of how he has taught them, and he should be considered the one who knows how to do it; unless we think that priests have fun in humiliating unwed mother in front of all her relatives.
If I were in the priests' shoes, in such situations I would say – provided I have decided the condition for baptism are given; and no, the child has no right to infant baptism – that a private ceremony is far more fitting, because there is an objectively scandalous situation; and that if the woman insists on the full-scale, bells-and-whistles ceremony I will comply, but also adress the full-blown scandal of a birth outside of marriage, and of a child who is, as 2000 years of Christianity have told us, a soul loved by God, but also the fruit of sin. This, I would do so that no one thinks Father is fine – as the preparatory document of the Synod and the small c “catholic” bloggers both are – with a baptism in which the scandalous circumstances of birth are either not addressed, or even glorified.
We do not know what has happened in this case. What surprises me – or perhaps not – is that everyone should be so ready to attack a priest upholding Christian values, in the name of a false charity that achieves nothing else than encouraging sinful behaviour; apart, of course, from letting everyone feel good with themselves. And in fact, here as in many other cases the priest who teaches Christianity is the automatic guilty party, condemned of all people by – you knew it – the “who am I to judge”-crowd.
Christianity is harsh. It has an awful lot of unpleasant rules, and it promises a lot of suffering – even for their descendants – to those who refuse to follow them. This is the reality on the ground, and no boot licking of the secular world will ever change a iota in that. Our grandmothers knew it very well, and were very vocal in telling the truth in season and out of season, lest the young mother without a wedding were, one day, to be their own granddaughter. They were, in this, helped by priests who taught things properly, like the good priest undoubtedly did on this occasion.
Nowadays, Christianity is supposed to celebrate everything and not condemn anyone; after which we complain – at least those among us who are honest enough to see it – that Christianity is vanishing from “feel-good” Countries.
In my eyes, those who have such a problem with Christian rules should be honest with themselves and admit that they have a problem with Christ, who gave us 2000 years of the very hard, and very “judgmental” religion Christianity has always been before this time.
But they don't.
They shoot the messenger instead.