Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Obedience to Petrine Office Doesn't Depend on " Liking" the Pope" Says Shrewsbury Bishop

From the UK I found a wonderful and insightful homily by the Bishop of Shrewsbury Mark Davies that he gave this past Mothers Day. An overview and the full text is here at Bishop of Shrewsbury: loyalty to the Pope is not based on personal 'likes' or 'dislikes'

He interesting notes that he is seeing signs that the UK media is souring a bit on Pope Francis. He also makes an interesting and indeed true observation that people really misinterpret St Francis , the Pope's namesake, even today. It's an excellent homily with some good teaching insights.

Here is just a part :

Pope Francis has himself become the focus of fascination in the media - much as his Blessed predecessor John Paul II was following his election in 1978. I can’t remember how many times I have been asked everywhere from radio stations to petrol stations whether I liked the new Pope? To the Catholic mind this is a strange question as the loyalty we owe to the Pope is not based upon personal “likes” or “dislikes”. My invariable reply is that “We love the Pope whoever he is.” This may seem just as puzzling to my questioners. Those long experienced in the media warn of something we may already see taking shape and will require of us the very supernatural perspective Pope Francis urges. They tell of how a public personality can be built up in the media. In this case, it is based on the Pope’s evident goodness and an informal style which is then contrasted even with his most saintly predecessors. Expectations are subtly or less subtly raised that this is the man who will change the Catholic faith itself in accordance with the commentator’s own wishes and agenda. However, when the Pope fails to conform to these false expectations a souring begins to take place.

I noticed only last week a concern being expressed in our national media that our Holy Father is proving as “hard-line” as his predecessors. “Likes” may quickly turn to “dislikes” in the public forum.
We know, as Catholics, that the loyalty we owe to the Pope is greater than the passing loyalties people give to political figures or celebrity personalities whose popularity may fade. Our loyalty is given to the Pope because he is the one called to take the Chair of St. Peter in our time and to continue an Apostolic ministry for us. Here I wish to make a heartfelt plea. In our life-times, we have been gifted with great and saintly Popes. We think of the Venerable Paul VI, Blessed John Paul II and our Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. I have no doubt that generations of Catholics to come will continue to find great encouragement in their profound teaching and courageous example. However, the media often misunderstood their witness. And so I hope today amidst the sometimes superficial focus of the media we won’t fail to appreciate the gift the Church has now received in the witness and teaching of Pope Francis.

Read it all

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