October 12, 2023

Is the Pope Catholic?

Pope Francis seems less than fully committed to upholding church doctrine.

Trust demands consistency, yet what has come out of the Vatican recently is anything but consistent. Indeed, much of the confusion is due to the pontiff himself, as Pope Francis has repeatedly made statements that appear to challenge long-held church doctrine.

The issues most concerning to many Catholics are those surrounding the ongoing sexual revolution that has effectively taken over the whole of Western culture and is now proliferating throughout the Christian church, both Protestant and Catholic.

Recently, five conservative cardinals from five continents sent five questions to Francis seeking clarification. These formal questions, known as “dubai,” Latin for “doubts,” included a question on liberal priests, predominately in Germany, giving blessings to same-sex couples.

According to church doctrine, marriage is only between one man and one woman, in accordance with God’s intended design for marriage. Anything that deviates from this God-given design is viewed as sinful, and in the case of homosexuality, disordered.

Therefore, since the church does not bless sin, and since homosexual relationships are recognized by the church as sinful, how can priests issue blessings to inherently sinful unions?

Francis responded to the question by reiterating church doctrine. Marriage is an “exclusive, stable, and indissoluble union between a man and a woman, naturally open to conceiving children,” he said. “For this reason, the Church avoids all kinds of rites or sacramentals that could contradict this conviction and imply that it is recognizing as a marriage something that is not.”

However, rather than leave it there, Francis proceeded to muddy the waters. Concern for pastoral charity requires a “defense of the objective truth,” but that “is not the only expression of that charity, which is also made up of kindness, patience, understanding, tenderness, encouragement,” he said. “For that reason, pastoral prudence must adequately discern if there are forms of blessing, solicited by one or various persons, that don’t transmit a mistaken concept of marriage.”

In other words, Francis will not rebuke priests who have been blessing same-sex unions, while at the same time claiming to uphold the church’s doctrine. The problem is that just two years ago, Francis was explicit on the issue, denying that same-sex unions were permissible. Now he says that “pastoral charity should permeate all our decisions and attitudes” and that “we cannot be judges who only deny, reject, and exclude.”

If anything, it appears that Francis is trying to have it both ways. He’s clearly gotten soft on the issue and appears frustrated by the conservative faction of the church that keeps pressing for clarity and consistency with long-established doctrine.

In short, the conservatives want the church’s practice to match its orthodoxy. And this is where the rub is.

According to recent reporting, Francis criticized the U.S. church for developing “a very strong, organized, reactionary attitude,” which he called “backward.” “Doing this,” he warned, “you lose the true tradition and you turn to ideologies to have support. In other words, ideologies replace faith. The vision of the doctrine of the church as a monolith is wrong. When you go backward, you make something closed off, disconnected from the roots of the church.”

So, in an apparent effort to reinforce his views, the Vatican is holding a “Synod on Synodality” this week. National Review’s Michael Brendan Dougherty contends, “The aim of the Synod, rather plainly, is for a large group of bishops to debate each other about survey material they guided some small number of lay Catholics through in their home diocese, and whether this pile of papers gives sufficient cover for the pope to begin chucking certain moral and dogmatic teachings of the church overboard in favor of newer understandings.” He adds that Francis is “basically … going to ask a bunch of bishops to write up a document showing that the church in general has come to a new understanding of itself.”

There is a clear divide developing in the Catholic Church, with the current pontiff siding with the liberal faction. One wonders how the church will bridge this growing theological gap. And this is no shallow ditch, but a deep crevasse.

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!

The Patriot Post and Patriot Foundation Trust, in keeping with our Military Mission of Service to our uniformed service members and veterans, are proud to support and promote the National Medal of Honor Heritage Center, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, both the Honoring the Sacrifice and Warrior Freedom Service Dogs aiding wounded veterans, the National Veterans Entrepreneurship Program, the Folds of Honor outreach, and Officer Christian Fellowship, the Air University Foundation, and Naval War College Foundation, and the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation. "Greater love has no one than this, to lay down one's life for his friends." (John 15:13)


“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

Please join us in prayer for our nation — that righteous leaders would rise and prevail and we would be united as Americans. Pray also for the protection of our Military Patriots, Veterans, First Responders, and their families. Please lift up your Patriot team and our mission to support and defend our Republic's Founding Principle of Liberty, that the fires of freedom would be ignited in the hearts and minds of our countrymen.

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2024 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.