Recognising the Reality of People

Another look at the ongoing denunciation of Pope Francis by a vocal minority of conservative Catholic bishops, priests and pundits, particularly in light of the open letter from the former head of the US BIshops Conference Doctrine Commission. John Gehring writes

Fr Weinandy and other self-styled guardians of orthodoxy remind me of the righteous Pharisees of Jesus’ time. Fixated on the letter of the law, they missed its deeper spiritual meaning: love, mercy, and justice.

Pope Francis isn’t undermining doctrine. In fact, he is rescuing doctrine from dusty theology books, insisting that human beings, in all our complexity and messiness, must be at the center of the church’s vision. His call for accompanying people, rather than reciting lines from the Catechism at them, is a reflection of how Jesus met people where they were and walked with them.

The continuing rejection of the Pope’s pastoral approach to the application of theology and doctrine is disturbing, elevating dry theological concepts about the reality of human beings, imperfectly created in the image and likeness of God.

What would Jesus do? I think he’d prefer to spend the effort in walking with people along the journey rather than judging them solely against theological categories.

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