5 Shocking Things Pope Francis Believes

Have you been on the internet this week? Just in case you haven’t, here’s what you missed:

Pope dopeAnyone who’s been paying attention for the past 4 months knows that Pope Francis is nothing at all like his predecessors. In fact, he’s finally modernizing the Catholic Church’s teaching, taking “huge steps forward” with his “radical changes”!1 After millennia of bigotry and backwardness, the 1.2 billion-member-Church is finally becoming relevant to the modern world. Check out the pontiff’s outrageous new doctrines:

1. Catholics should love gay people.

Cool Pope: “If a person is gay and seeks the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge that person?  The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this point beautifully but says, wait a moment, how does it say, it says, these persons must never be marginalized and ‘they must be integrated into society.’ The problem is not that one has this tendency; no, we must be brothers, this is the first matter.”2

The Old Guard:

It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church’s pastors wherever it occurs. It reveals a kind of disregard for others which endangers the most fundamental principles of a healthy society. The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action and in law. -Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI)3

[Homosexual persons] must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. -Catechism of the Catholic Church 2358

2. Catholics should love sinners.

Cool Pope: “How much do I love the church? Do I pray for it? Do I feel part of the church family? What do I do to make the church a community where everyone feels welcomed and understood, everyone feels the mercy and love of God who renews life?”4

The Old Guard:

[The Church] must do everything possible so that [those who are divorced and remarried] feel loved and accepted, that they are not ‘outsiders’ even if they cannot receive absolution and the Eucharist. They must see that they too live fully within the Church. -Pope Benedict XVI5

The Church, however, clasping sinners to her bosom, at once holy and always in need of purification, follows constantly the path of penance and renewal.” All members of the Church, including her ministers, must acknowledge that they are sinners. -Catechism of the Catholic Church 827

3. Unbridled capitalism is bad news.

Cool Pope: “A savage capitalism has taught the logic of profit at any cost, of giving in order to get, of exploitation without thinking of people… and we see the results in the crisis we are experiencing.”6

The Old Guard:

The entirety of the encyclical Caritas in Veritate -Pope Benedict XVI

[The Church] has likewise refused to accept, in the practice of “capitalism,” individualism and the absolute primacy of the law of the marketplace over human labor. Regulating the economy … solely by the law of the marketplace fails social justice, for “there are many human needs which cannot be satisfied by the market.” -Catechism of the Catholic Church 2425

4. Jesus died for atheists.

Cool Pope: “The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone!”7

The Old Guard:

Did the Lord not die for all? That Jesus Christ, as the Son of God made man, is the man for all men, the new Adam, belongs to the fundamental certainties of our faith. -Pope Benedict XVI8

The Church, following the apostles, teaches that Christ died for all men without exception: “There is not, never has been, and never will be a single human being for whom Christ did not suffer.” -Catechism of the Catholic Church 605, quoting the regional Council of Quiercy

5. All people should care for the poor.

Cool Pope: “Throwing away food is like stealing from the table of the poor and the hungry.”9

The Old Guard:

Opulence and waste are no longer acceptable when the tragedy of hunger is assuming ever greater proportions. -Pope Benedict XVI10

Not to enable the poor to share in our goods is to steal from them and deprive them of life. The goods we possess are not ours, but theirs. -Catechism of the Catholic Church 2446, quoting St. John Chrysostom

WYD 2013If these brand new dogmas aren’t enough to convince you, consider how popular Francis is with the youth: 3 million people traveled to Rio to celebrate this past week’s World Youth Day. In contrast, only a few thousand went to Benedict’s celebration in Madrid in 201111 while slightly more attended John Paul’s World Youth Day in Manila in 1995!12

Want more? Here’s some photographic evidence of how much more approachable Francis is than standoffish Ratzinger, who was the Vatican’s doctrinal watchdog before he engineered his successful papal campaign.

So take heart, people of the world. He loves gay people, he loves the poor, he believes in mercy and compassion…in short, the Pope is Catholic!!

Oh, and he can forgive your sins through Twitter, too.

</sarcasm>

That'd be greatIn keeping with the above, check out this NY Times Quiz on the differing positions of our recent 3 popes. And these ten quotes that prove the Pope is a liberal.

  1. Language culled from The Atlantic Wire. []
  2. Via []
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  11. 2 thousand thousand, but Europe has about 55% the Catholics of Latin America. []
  12. 4 million. At the time, the third largest gathering of human beings ever. []

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About Meg

I'm a Catholic, madly in love with the Lord, His Word, His Bride the Church, and especially His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the Eucharist. I'm committed to the Church not because I was raised this way but because the Lord has drawn my heart and convicted my reason. After 2 degrees in theology and 5 years in the classroom, I quit my 9-5 to follow Christ more literally. Since May of 2012, I've been a hobo for Christ; I live out of my car and travel the country speaking to youth and adults, giving retreats, blogging, and trying to rock the world for Jesus.
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25 Responses to 5 Shocking Things Pope Francis Believes

  1. Dee says:

    Hi Meg. Love your posts–you always have so many interesting insights! I appreciate that you spark others to look at who we are as Catholics, and to think outside the box and ourselves.
    Just a little note about the latest blog on the Popes…I do appreciate why you set the post up the way you did…Pope Francis, Pope Benedict, CCC references…as much as I followed it easily as a comparison, I am afraid that people will follow it negatively…sure, many people didn’t really like or fully understand Pope Benedict, but we cannot fault him for not being as charismatic as his colleagues. I noticed that essentially, they were saying almost the same things (for the most part–PBVI being more verbose) and others may just see it as a good Pope vs bad Pope thing.
    Just my two cents! Still love your posts and all the work that you are doing to foster God in our lives! God bless!

    • Christina says:

      Hi Dee,

      I think that Meg was using the “cool pope”/”old guard” set up as a literary device to show how silly the mainstream media has been in trying to contrast Pope Francis and Pope Benedict when they are ultimately teaching the exact same things. She’s not actually pitting the two popes against each other or putting Benedict down. As long as people read the post as a satire, there won’t be any confusion about Meg’s respect for Pope Benedict.

    • Meg says:

      Dee, thank you so much for the charitable response! I so appreciate your willingness to correct me–and so kindly! But Christina is right: I was trying to show the media’s frenzy surrounding a pope who’s just saying what the Church has always said. That’s why I used quotations that are so clearly parallel. The only difference is style! But really, I’m grateful for your lovingly-phrased comment!

      • Millie Hill says:

        Thank goodness! I thought I was misreading this post as I couldn’t see the difference between the Cool Pope and The Old Guard. I had to read it twice to see if I was missing something!

      • Tina says:

        Thank goodness! I was reading your other blogs (love them!) and then came across this one and was unsure of what you were really saying… Thanks for clarifying and keep up the good work :)

  2. Melissa H-K says:

    The Pope is Catholic? Whaaaaaaat? That’s just crazy talk. Don’t you know that he is non-denominational? Because he’s cool like that.

  3. Zoé says:

    Thanks for this text! I’ve been telling people that all week! I love Pope Francis, and yes, he project more of a «people guy» impression, Benedict was and will always be a scholar more than a leader in my opinion, but that’s doesn’t mean Francis is pulling some ”brand new way to be a catholic” out of nowhere!
    Nonetheless, if the way he says things resonnate within more people, I’m not going to complain about that!

    From day one, Pope Benedict was approach from a bad angle by the media. He was that old German (perhaps a Nazi dun dun duuuuun! ) who was like you said it, the doctrinal doberman pinscher! I must admit, when JPII died and Pope Benedict was elected, I was a bit dissapointed. I was full of judgements, even if I didn’t even knew him really. I went to Cologne, thinking WYD would not be the same without JPII and how will that man be able to inspire the youth (he seemed so far from is own youth!) Then, during the vigil, he talked to us about love. I unfortunatly slept through part of it (we walked all night before to arrive first thing in the morning to save place for like 50 people, we were 5!). But I read the text afterward and it was so beautiful, so full of truth! But it was, to my opinion, not SUPER accessible, because the man is a scholar and used to big concept and complicated sentences, but it’s worth pushing through.
    Francis on the other hand talks with simple words. And I think the contrast between the two shows how deep AND simple the love of God is. you can talk about it with deep concepts, explanations etc, or you can talk about it with the simplest words, it’s the same love, the same truth.

    Boy, that was not suppose to be that long!!!

    • Carly says:

      I agree with Ryan on many things but my prayer is that everyone will walk into a personal relationship with God. Tbh, I think the whole idea of popemanship is very misleading n that’s why the veil in the church was divided at Our Lord’s passing. Fathers and Popes are humans and we can’t entirely put our trust in them in the business of our heavenly race. God boldly said the homosexuals have no place in his bosom, so good luck with brainwashing them(gays) into settling in their confusion. Pray and talk to God, He talks back and will teach you personally through the Holy Spirit that he’s given to everyone who confesses Christ as Savior and Lord.

  4. Liz says:

    While the media is certainly portraying Pope Francis as if he was presenting shockingly new Catholic doctrine, there is no doubt that his pastoral and uniquely Jesuit “way of proceeding” IS changing the Church (unlike the meme above that suggests otherwise). This Pope does the same thing as his predecessors — living out the Gospel — in a, yes, radically, different way.

    Let’s stop pretending that loving this Pope means we didn’t love previous Popes. Let’s stop acting as if the secular media is part of an anti-Catholic conspiracy (even with knowledge of the evidence).

    Let’s celebrate this new model of grace. All the saints are radically different from the others simply by being themselves!

    • Meg says:

      Exactly, Liz! I was just trying to hit one angle of the situation with this piece. Here’s a great take on why the media’s reaction to this Pope (misguided as it often is) is a *very* good thing: http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2013/07/donrsquot-tell-the-press-pope-francis-is-using-them While I wouldn’t say he’s changing the Church in any integral way, he’s certainly changing the way the world perceives the Church which changes the way we act. And in a Church that is ever in need of reform, that’s an excellent thing! Thanks for your thoughts :)

      • Liz says:

        Thanks for the reply. I liked the post you linked!

        Still, I think that Pope Francis’s changes are more than just good PR opportunities. While his commitment to Church teaching remains solid, sure, Pope Francis’s words and actions are radical — just as Jesus was radical — and play a role in integrally changing the Church.

        As this blog post (http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/07/29/how-pope-francis-is-revolutionizing-the-church/) states, “Words and gestures mean something.” God might be teaching us something different through this Pope.

        Small gestures, nuances in language, a joyful glance from Pope Francis – these are not only extraordinary, or good PR moments, but they are actually revolutionary. How we do the small things matters – and these small things are hopefully leading to conversions of heart, not just better public perception.

  5. The Old Wolf says:

    Meg, you forgot to use irony marks in this delightful post⸮

    ;)
    The Old Wolf recently posted…My brush with infamy, airplane editionMy Profile

  6. Rabia says:

    I don’t think that all the publicity the church is currently getting is a bad thing at all! I feel that it’s kinda like me trying to teach Frances how to tie her shoes. I spent the entire summer before Kindergarten working on it with her, but she “couldn’t” do it. Then she went to Kindergarten and her amazingly cool, rock star (and incidentally Catholic) Kindergarten teacher taught her in one week. Sometimes maybe it’s more about the listener than the speaker.
    Rabia recently posted…I’m a Much Better Mom When I Only Have one Kid…My Profile

  7. Man says:

    You know how sometimes there’s someone in your life you’ve been counseling for a long time and they never understand your suggestions until somebody else says the same thing just a little differently, or with different timing? And it’s SO annoying, but in the end you’re glad they finally got the message, even if not from you? Maybe that’s what’s happening here, that a fresh-seeming voice is opening hearts and minds to a message they think sounds new? Though it is very hard when people attempt to compliment your Papa by insulting your Mother!

  8. Old Guard says:

    Five reasons not to be Catholic anymore…God bless the true Pope Benedict!
    1. God hates gays and commanded they be stoned, along with adultrers, and those that disobey their parents.
    2.Catholics should follow the 10 commandments and pray for those that don’t not love them.
    3. Capitalism is good and Communism is evil.
    4. Jesus died for those that believe in Him not those that deney Him.
    5. We will always have the poor among us.
    I will stick to the “Old Guard” and you all can be lead astray with itching ears.

    • Zoé says:

      I’m sorry but I think you just don’t understand what she wrote. She is basically saying that the meaning of what Pope Francis says is the SAME as what Pope Benidict was saying, which is the same as what the Catechism is saying. The words are different but the meaning is the same. If you think we should stone ANYBODY, you understood nothing about what Jesus told the Samaritan woman…

  9. Ryan says:

    Old Guard,
    There are many reasons to be a Catholic, but there can never be a reason not to be Catholic! In the Church is the only place outside of heaven where the fullness of Truth and Faith (i.e. God ) can be found…as an ‘old guard’ we must be in agreement with that one point at least!
    Now let me address these points:
    1. God hates gays and commanded they be stoned, along with adulterers, and those that disobey their parents.
    God man in his likeness, he made them male and female, and He said they were good…he didn’t think they were good or just good enough…He pronounced them good. Mankind’s sin lead to many consequences not only for Adam and Eve, but for us as well. Every sin committed, even in the thought of our heads has an impact. An impact on us, our relationship with God, the person that is involved, present and future relationships with others, with all mankind, and eternity. Christ also pardoned the woman at the well.

    2.Catholics should follow the 10 commandments and pray for those that don’t not love them.
    We all should follow the 10 commandments…please let me know how you have managed to master doing so…or at least pray for me to do so. Please don’t love them or I in our sin, that I’m okay you’re okay stuff isn’t okay. But love your fellow man enough to wish him not to live in such a miserable state that sin leaves us in and we can’t see until we get out of the valley. He also said love God and love your neighbor.

    3. Capitalism is good and Communism is evil.
    Isms are nothing more than ideas… they are neither good nor evil except in how they allow and help us to help ourselves and others.

    4. Jesus died for those that believe in Him not those that deny Him!
    The bible says: Christ died for all. He died for the ungodly. That if you deny Him, He will deny you…so you may be right…but he also said Go and preach to all nations. And then if the deny Him it is on them, but if you based your belief in Christ on the actions of yourself or others…Would you believe?

    5. We will always have the poor among us.
    True, we will always have the poor among us. Jesus told us that but that do excuse us from our duty to help.
    Indeed God bless our Pope…both of them!!!

  10. Pingback: Shocking Things The Pope Believes | Restless Pilgrim

  11. Caitlin says:

    This is so perfect. I’m so frustrated that everyone assumes that there is a Pope mold somewhere that produces popes who are all exactly alike. We are all unique individuals with unique gifts. JPII, BXVI, and Pope Francis all spoke about and lived the same Gospel, but in different ways because they are individuals. Surely, their individual differences will appeal to different people in different ways. This doesn’t make any of them “better” or “worse,” just different. Isn’t this what it’s supposed to be?!?! Catholic is universal, after all!!!!!
    I think it’s awesome that everyone feels so energized because of Pope Francis’ approach (I think he’s fantastic myself!), but I feel bad for BXVI because he was an incredible pope in his own way. Perhaps not in a touchy-feely grandfatherly way, but he was such an amazing theologian.

    • Melissa H-K says:

      I wonder how Pope Benedict’s old students feel about him. What was he like as a professor? In any case, it’s got to give him a big case of forced humility. That’s always good for one’s soul, right?

  12. Ryan says:

    Meg, you have bewitched me with your theological acumen and erudite sarcasm. Marry me? :P

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