Pope: Church must preach what God says not what people want to hear
VATICAN CITY, July 16, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) - In a homily delivered in the town of Frascati in Italy Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI noted that the Apostles were called by Christ to preach the truth even if people don’t want to hear it.
Jesus sends them out two by two and gives them instructions. ... The first instruction concerns the spirit of detachment: the Apostles must not be attached to money and comforts. Jesus warns the disciples that they will not always receive a favourable welcome: at times they will be rejected, and may also be persecuted. But that should not affect them: they must speak in the name of Jesus and preach the Kingdom of God, without worrying about success. They must leave the outcome in the hands of God.
Reflecting on the reading concerning the prophet Amos, the Holy Father added: “But, whether accepted or rejected, Amos continued to prophesy, preaching what God says and not what people wanted to hear.”
Addressing our current times, the Pope said, “This remains the mandate of the Church: she does not preach what the powerful want to hear. Her criterion is truth and justice, even if that garners no applause and collides with human power”.
In North America today, the Christian Church is challenged in the most extreme way in this regard by the issue of homosexuality.
There is no other topic, abortion and contraception included, which has made for more gun-shy Church, political and institutional leadership. And that is quite understandable given the current obsession with homosexuality and all things relating to it by the media and so many of the institutional elites.
For nearly 20 years the labels of ‘hater’ and ‘bigot’ have been cast upon all those who would dare to question the homosexual lifestyle. Christian Mayors have been lambasted and fined for refusing to declare gay pride days; businesses fined and even shut down for refusing their services to homosexual activists. Teachers and sportscasters who dared - on their own time - object to homosexual ‘marriage’ were turfed from their jobs. And now information and news services threatened for daring to report straight facts on situations that may not be complimentary to certain homosexuals.
Christian institutions, especially schools, have been targeted.
Very good men, leaders in the Church, even those who have stood up strong in the fight against abortion have shied away from the matter of homosexuality. Even when confronted with it head-on the preference has been to side step the fight with conciliatory stances.
During the Canadian ‘marriage’ battles back in 2003-2004, prior to the passage of same-sex ‘marriage’ legislation in 2005, the Ontario Bishops regularly consulted a diverse advisory group of lay people for advice on how to confront the issue. Some of the advisers - a minority - warned that the whole issue was really about normalization of homosexuality rather than marriage. Thus, in order to address the heart of the issue, the bishops were compelled to raise the long ignored subject of the harm of homosexual acts. But they declined to do so.
In some 80 public interventions, from that time until the passage of same sex ‘marriage’, the Ontario Bishops decided to avoid in nearly every case the hard issue of homosexuality. Rather, they spoke in glowing terms about the goodness of heterosexual marriage. It seemed it would be just too costly in public relations, or too uncomfortable, to address the subject of homosexuality head-on.
A repeat of the scenario has occurred in Ontario regarding the government’s imposition of ‘gay-straight alliance clubs’ on Ontario Catholic high schools. From the outset, parent groups were warning the Ontario Bishops that the agenda had little to do with ‘anti-bullying’ and everything to do with forcing normalization of homosexuality in Catholic schools.
The Bishops, however, in many interventions and countless meetings spoke only about their common goal with the government in opposing bullying. They took at face-value the claims of the McGuinty government rather than noting the warned about underlying agenda. For those listening closely to the noises coming from the politicians themselves that agenda was painfully clear.
Once, in a statement outside of that heated debate in Ontario, the national bishops’ conference came out with a statement on the matter of homosexuality which requires commendation. It was called, Pastoral Ministry to Young People with Same-Sex Attraction
However, when asked directly by reporters about homosexuality, the lead bishop on the ‘anti-bullying’ fiasco refused to answer. Toronto Cardinal Thomas Collins, only replied that the matter was too complex to explain in a media interview.
Remember who this man is. He is the same bishop who took the bull by the horns when it came to denouncing abortionist Henry Morgentaler being awarded the Order of Canada; the same bishop who laudably took Development and Peace to task over supporting pro-abortion groups.
Are Christians lacking a well-worded way to present Christ’s teachings on homosexuality to our modern culture? We’ve been in this battle for four decades. It’s time to get our talking points in order and face this issue, that clearly cannot be avoided, head on.
Perhaps just speaking the truth in charity and leaving the outcome to the Holy Spirit is all that is necessary. The truth on this issue IS charity - to everyone, Catholic, non-Catholic, and non-Christian. It benefits our entire society.
In words very similar to those the Pope used yesterday, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the Prefect for the Congregation for Bishops, upon his departure from Canada for Rome in 2010 gave an interview wherein he outlined what is needed in a good bishop. Bishops, he said, “need spiritual discernment and not just political calculation of the risk of the possibility of the message being received.” He added, “We have to dare to speak to the deep heart, where the Spirit of the Lord is touching people beyond what we can calculate.”