Controversies have arisen after Pope Francis’ first papal visit to Africa. As a consequence, the secular media has twisted the pope’s words to fit their crooked agendas.
In his flight back to the Eternal City, Pope Francis answered journalists’ questions and one of his responses led to mass confusion. Upon being asked by a German journalist if it was time for the Church to change its position on the use of condoms to prevent infections, the pontiff answered as follows:
“Yes, it’s one of the methods. The moral of the Church on this point is found here faced with a perplexity: the fifth or sixth commandment? Defend life, or that sexual relations are open to life?”
Although somewhat ambiguous in his answer, the simple fact is that we cannot interpret what the pope has said without using the context that Church teaching provides. It’s ludicrous to conclude that by this response he is advocating the use of condoms. Period.
The question was asked on the grounds that Africa has been struggling with its ongoing battle with HIV and AIDS. However, even Catholic news websites were led astray by Pope Francis’ response. Life Site News wrote, “Confusion about condoms leads to violation of 5th and 6th commandments.” The isolation of the pope’s statement led to confusion, of course, but when used in the context of the Church’s doctrines and disciplines, it makes total sense.
Our beautiful Catholic Faith has been in existence for almost two thousand years, and for individuals to make rash assumptions about statements the Vicar of Christ has said, does not make any difference in possibility of change. From the outset of his papacy in March of 2013, the secular, and sometimes Catholic, media has had it in their minds that Pope Francis is somehow going to change two thousand years of constant Tradition and doctrine. As the psalm says, “Not so the wicked, not so.”
While in Africa, Pope Francis visited the shrine to commemorate the 22 martyrs of Uganda who refused to engage in homosexual actions with the king. The 22 martyrs, along with 23 Anglican martyrs, were burned alive as a result. In his address to the people of Uganda, Pope Francis encouraged all to follow the faith andcourage these martyrs possessed.
His speech was touching and motivational; however, talk exploded when the pope never mentioned just why these martyrs were killed.
Although Pope Francis has humbly said before that he isn’t able to respond to certain questions because he is “no theologian,” he is a very intelligent man and also very careful in what he says. For example, Africa has been plagued with homosexual discrimination for years on end and the mention of this could have made an already bad situation worse.
When Pope Francis visited the United States back in September and addressed Congress, he did not directly addressed abortion or gay marriage. In light of the recent Supreme Court ruling in all 50 states that same-sex “marriage” was now legal, the pope said nothing. But his silence was not overlooking the decision. Instead of presenting people with a set of rules and disciplines, Pope Francis uses the approach of peace, imitating St. Francis of Assisi. He’s leading his flock by using a message of hope and love as inspiration.
My advice to all before making imprudent assumptions about our most Holy Father is to:
- Read the Scriptures
- Read the Catechism
- Read the decrees of the Councils
- Read encyclicals and other Church documents
- Listen so as to hear, not criticize
Being familiar with what the Church teaches and reprimands, is fundamental when defending our Faith and listening to others (even the pope) talk about the Faith.