Source: Brian Holdsworth via YouTube
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Music written and generously provided by Paul Jernberg. Find out more about his work as a composer here: https://pauljernberg.com
Spanish translations by Vélez Translations, https://www.veleztranslations.com
In order to understand why I think Catholics should, generally, avoid criticizing the Pope and why I, especially, refuse to do so publicly, is by first understanding the Church through the analogy of a family.
Because God is invisible and all powerful, he can feel remote from us, but out ofa clear desire to be close to us, he’s always made himself available to us in ways that we can experience and understand and that often comes in the form of our human relationships.
The commandment to love God is so often paired with the commandment to love each other as if those two things are inseparable. We learn to love God through our human relationships.
Jesus said that what we do for the least among us, we do for him. He also said that we will be known as his disciples by the way we love one another.
And if you’re still not convinced, what about the obvious fact that God, in his desire to help us relate to him and know him, became one of us. He became human in the most profound example of our need to learn to love him through our human nature and experience.
And what is a more profound example of human love, than the image of the family. The catechism says that, “Christ chose to be born and grow up holy family and that the Church is nothing other than “the family of God.””
And since it is a family, and since God has always designed our relationship with him to follow the patterns of our human relationships, it makes sense that he would appoint a head for the Church, a Father, who we understand to be the Holy Father, the Pope.
Now before anyone throws out the obvious objection that we are to call no man Father, as Jesus says in Matt. 23:9, you should remember that Jesus conceded the reality of spiritual fatherhood when he called Abraham, “Father Abraham”, in John 8:56. And in 1 Corinthians 4:15 St. Paul says that he became a spiritual father to them through the gospel.
So, if the Pope is our spiritual father and, therefore, the head of our family, following God’s lead in learning how to love him by loving each other according to our human experience, we should ask ourselves, how is it that we are called to love our fathers.
Well, for starters the 4th commandment tells us to honor our father and mother. So how do we do that?
When I was a kid, I remember when things seemed to be unravelling in our domestic life as a family, my parents would call a family meeting where we’d have to get together at the kitchen table and work through our problems.
And we hated doing that, but it was a necessary thing and probably the best way to resolve our issues. We would work it out internally. What we didn’t do, is broadcast to the world the things we didn’t like about our parents, or if we did do that, it would absolutely be in violation of the 4th commandment.
I remember seeing a headline recently about one of Donald Trump’s nieces being involved in some tell all book that was designed to injure his character. Now, if that family has a patriarchal figure, I’m sure Donald Trump is it and whether you like him or hate him, he’s obviously a person who has had failures as a father figure in his family. Just the fact that he’s been married three times is a good indication.
But when I saw that his niece was doing this, I couldn’t help but be repelled by it a little. It struck me as a serious betrayal, not just against Trump, but against the whole family.
And the obvious reason is because it’s being used by his and the family’s enemies against their interests. When you attack the head of a family, you attack the family. There’s no separating those two actions.
And this is definitely true of the Church. I can’t count the number of times people who are hostile to the Catholic Church have appeared in the comments on my videos with reasons why the Church is evil and why they will never join it while citing Catholic sources who have been critical of Pope Francis.
Attacking the Pope gives ammunition for those who would attack the whole family.
Read the full transcript at https://brianholdsworth.ca/digressions
Header image: Ashwin Vaswani via unsplash.com