Does Doctrine Matter Anymore?
For being nice.
“But what makes this Pope so important is the speed with which he has captured the imaginations of millions who had given up on hoping for the church at all. People weary of the endless parsing of sexual ethics, the buck-passing infighting over lines of authority when all the while (to borrow from Milton), “the hungry Sheep look up, and are not fed.” In a matter of months, Francis has elevated the healing mission of the church—the church as servant and comforter of hurting people in an often harsh world—above the doctrinal police work so important to his recent predecessors. “
He hasn’t changed the churches doctrinal stances, he just chooses not to talk about them.
“And so Francis signals great change while giving the same answers to the uncomfortable questions. On the question of female priests: “We need to work harder to develop a profound theology of the woman.” Which means: no. No to abortion, because an individual life begins at conception. No to gay marriage, because the male-female bond is established by God. “The teaching of the church … is clear,” he has said, “and I am a son of the church, but”—and here he adds his prayer for himself—“it is not necessary to talk about those issues all the time.””
The anathemas of the Council of Trent against Protestants still stand as well, among them:
If anyone says that men are justified either by the sole imputation of the justice of Christ or by the sole remission of sins, to the exclusion of the grace and the charity which is poured forth in their hearts by the Holy Ghost, and remains in them, or also that the grace by which we are justified is only the good will of God, let him be anathema.
Now “anathema”at best means “excommunicated”, at worst, “devoted to destruction” or “damned”.
That is the official doctrine of Roman Catholicism.
I personally fall under around 20 “anathemas”.
I greatly appreciate Francis’s emphasis on the care of the poor and the humility he displays as a Christian leader.
He appears to reflect the biblical principles of servant leadership and compassion far more than many visible American evangelical celebrities.
Still, the same doctrinal issues that caused the Reformation are still in place.
Does a winsome character trump doctrine?
Why do so many find Francis such a breath of fresh air?