|Cover of Pope Fiction|
- powerless to change Church teaching, that is.
Every time a new Pope is elected, the media begins to buzz as to whether or not this new Pope will be more "liberal," and bring Church teaching up to date with the "modern" world. We even hear it among fellow Catholics.
Will this new Pope:
- ease restrictions on the use of contraceptives?
- recognize same-sex "marriage"?
- allow women to be ordained to the priesthood?
- change Church "rules" on divorce and remarriage?
The world has shown itself to be a place of opinion, not moral conviction. Its understanding of sexuality and the meaning of marriage has morphed in the past 50 years. But Jesus' understanding has not. Many, many Christian groups have slowly let go of elements of Christ's teaching in this area. But the Successor of Peter, because Christ appointed him to share His own role of acting as a Rock to the faithful, cannot. (See here, here, and here.) Take an issue such as "same-sex marriage" - it is oxymoronic to the mind of Christ and thus, must be to the Pope's as well (and honestly, to anyone who believes that Jesus' words were not just those of a man, but God).
The Pope's ministry is to strengthen his fellow bishops and all of the faithful in living out Christ's teachings. He has no authority to change them.
Please keep our new Pope in your prayers; he has a tough row to hoe - but in the end God will make his work fruitful. A couple of verses to keep in the back of our minds as we pray:
"In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (Jn.16:33)
"Whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith." (1 Jn. 5:4)