Yesterday, I received an email from a person I know worried about the things that Pope Francis said on the plane between Mexico and Italy. This person’s main concern was that his non-Catholic family members, and even some of his Catholics friends, were giving him a difficult time about the way things were being reported by the media on what Pope Francis said to certain questions from reporters. I realize this seems to happen more and more with our current Pope, but we must breath easy, answer them with reason and charity, and really first of all – Get Your News about the Catholic Church from Reliable Sources.
Below are a few things to keep in mind when speaking with non-Catholic family/friends or even Catholic family/friends –
Take a deep breath and say a Hail Mary that you answer things with charity and reason. You might even take 24 hours before answering your family members or friends.
You need to obtain information from reliable Catholic sources. If its not coming from these sources, I would tell you to avoid it. You should read the National Catholic Register, any of their bloggers (Jimmy Akin is excellent), EWTN, New Advent, Big Pulpit, and Catholic Vote. These are good places to start, although there are other reliable sources that are faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church as well.
Avoid anything written by the National Catholic Reporter. They are “catholic in name only” and deep down inside really despise the Catholic Church. Definitely avoid reading the mainstream media such as CNN, Yahoo News, Associated Press, MSNBC, New York Times, and the other ills that compose the mainstream media associated with these sources. Although Fox News tends to report more objectively than the others, they still have their agenda as well. Tread with care. If you are reading these sources to get your news about the Catholic Church, stop it and start reading good Catholic media outlets.
With this being said, here are two links that will assist you in understanding what was said and not said by Pope Francis –
If you are getting upset that your Pastor/Priests in your parish are not speaking about what the Holy Father is saying in their homilies, I have three words for you – get over it! The primary purpose of a homily is to focus on the readings for the day and how to apply the readings to our daily lives. They are not meant to be commentaries on what the Pope says or doesn’t say in an off the cuff press conference.
When I see people freaking out on social media about what the Pope supposedly said in a press conference, I usually ignore it and move on with my day. The majority of the time the media either deliberately takes things out of context, or they don’t understand Church teaching enough to report on it properly. The vast population of journalism today does not properly research their material before writing. They use sound bites and poorly (or not so poorly…agenda driven) written headlines to grab your attention. I believe the days of good journalism are way behind us.
With this all being said, I will agree that Pope Francis tends to not be the most clear when he speaks off the cuff on some matters in these press conferences. I think he believes he is answering these questions well, but for some reason we have confusion. I believe that God is in control when it comes to the Catholic Church and the Papacy. The Holy Spirit knows what He is doing. If you think I am engaging in blind faith, I don’t really care. The Catholic Church has faced many challenges and even some rather corrupt Popes in her 2000-year history, but you know what – The Church still remains! We will get through these times as well.
Breathe easy and say a Hail Mary. She’s got our back.