This excerpt from an article by Maureen Mullarkey on thefederalist.com, a conservative commentary site, does a pretty concise job of summarizing the growing emotional agita being caused this pope's interpretation of Christianity.
"Under the tutelage of a pope who ascribes to himself an omnicompetency in geopolitical and scientific matters, the Catholic Church is at risk of a death walk of its own. Its descent into a left-leaning political entity is underway while we circle the wagons and measure our tones. It is a serious matter when a pope confuses political and ideological symbols for religious ones.
Civil society has an immense stake in that confusion. And the stakes are raised when papal preferences, masked in a Christian idiom, align themselves with ideological agendas (e.g. radical environmentalism)"
My God, think about it: Telling Catholics they "don't need to breed like rabbits," refusing to "judge homosexuals," condemning unfettered capitalism, advising the flock to take care of the earth, decrying war and all the attendant miseries that come with it, and most difficult of all to contemplate, asking us to love each other unconditionally because we all belong to one human race. It makes my head spin.
Not just me, but many American Christians seem to be in a tizzy because of this man's pronouncements. Specifically, there seems to be lots of confusion in the right wing extremes of American Christian churches; confusion exacerbated by an identity crisis that is slowly emerging into consciousness. Hopefully, a new found consciousness that paves the way for these folks to rediscover the true teachings of their savior, the Jewish Jesus, who never heard of a Christian.
But here's my fear: To these Pauline Christians, the task of extricating extremist right wing politics from their perverted religious interpretations is onerous. An onerous task made more difficult because when their form of religion is used as an ideological pretext to political ambitions, there is no inspirational core on which to stand.
In other words, remove their political beliefs from the mix and there remains an incoherent and unsustainable morality in this kind of quasi- Christianity.
Here's the good news. This confusion is the prerequisite level to higher consciousness necessary for new learning to take place. Or better yet, renewed learning of old principles that have been distorted by political agendas.
Too much certainty is an effective enemy of learning. When we are certain of our beliefs, we don't think we need to learn anything new. And there is probably no place where certainty plays such an important role as in religious belief. The irony of course, is that no theological beliefs can be proven with physical evidence. Even more ironic is the upset extreme-right religious folks who are bothered by this pope's acclamations tend to be traditionalists and biblical literalists; the same traditions and bible that have spawned over 30,000 different Christian sects.
Now, if your reading comprehension is above the fourth grade level, you can understand my point: There simply cannot be 30,000 correct ,conflicting, literal interpretations of the bible. Aristotle called this the excluded middle over 2000 years ago. It's either right or wrong. It cannot be both. Of course, this is exactly why there is so much disagreement in the various Christian narratives. Everybody thinks they're right.
This pope is pumping fresh air into today's stale religious atmosphere. He is preaching the message that Jesus himself taught his followers: Love, compassion, empathy and caring for each other, regardless of who you are.
Is it any wonder why this pope has condemned any system, political, economic, social or religious, that privileges the few at the expense of the many? The pope's message to Christians today seems to be, "preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words," an admonition directly from his namesake, St. Francis of Assisi,
Real Christianity is easy to talk about but much tougher to