(LifeSiteNews) – Your Holiness,
I am writing in response to the many articles published around the world about you calling conservative American Catholics “reactionary” and “backward.”
It has taken me some time to respond to these articles because I did not want to be considered a reactionary when really, I’m just a mom, grandma, and retired teacher, not a theologian or holy saint. I am female and I am a Catholic, I assume, in good standing with our local church and diocese. I attend the Novus Ordo parish in the city nearest me. I like the Traditional Mass as well as the Maronite and Anglican Ordinariate Masses. They are truly beautiful and reverent. I thank Holy Mother Church for them all.
I also believe that you are the pope and that is precisely why I feel led to write this note to you. As a child who grew up without a father, it was always a comfort to think that I had a Holy Father as head of my church. But I am pretty sure I’m not alone in seeking clarification regarding the above claims.
I would like to tell you, as my father, that I am greatly saddened. Why are you calling me names and insinuating that I am an ignorant, “backward” woman and thinker? What is my crime? And what do these words mean to you? These are fair questions. I have tried so hard my entire life to be a good Catholic and to live by what Holy Mother Church teaches, often at great cost. This is why I am so sad and so tired.
Why the labels, “conservative American Catholics” and “reactionary Catholics”? What do these terms mean to you? They seem, without a clear definition, to be almost verbally abusive, glittering generalities that we try so hard to avoid.
You might say, “Oh you’re taking this too personally.” What could be more personal than a person’s faith? I think every Catholic should take these things personally and seriously.
And can you clarify, Holy Father, these labels? “Conservative”? “Backwards”? “Reactionary”? Aren’t all Catholics called to conserve themselves from the secularization of “the world”? Or is it that we should no longer believe the words of Jesus Christ when He says in John 17:16, “Be in the world but not of the world”?
Are we not all supposed to conserve ourselves in virtues? As I said, I’ve worked hard over the decades, so I guess by association if nothing else, I am conserving myself, and therefore guilty of that label, though I still do not understand its pejorative use.
When you call me “backwards,” is that because I try hard to live by and cherish the long-held teachings of the Church as passed on to us by Jesus through the Apostles? Wasn’t that what I was supposed to be doing all these years? What does “backwards” mean to you?
I thought all we were supposed to hold fast to the traditions and truths taught to mankind by Jesus Christ himself.
I’d like to ask: if you call us backward for believing in the very words spoken by Jesus Christ (as He has revealed Himself to be both God and man), does this mean, Pope Francis, that you as my spiritual father, do not believe in the words Jesus spoke? And that you and others think you have the duty or right to change the very words of God Almighty? How is that possible when even the Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us it cannot be done?
Or is it that you and your group no longer believe in God, but rather in ideologies of humanism or transhumanism wherein humanity is to “evolve” to some “next step” on its own? Are you saying these ideas should replace the divine revelation and doctrines of God? That the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church needs to become…a political organization? If that is true, may I ask then, what is the point of the Catholic Church – and wouldn’t you be putting yourself out of a job? Do I need to only believe and conform to the world and its various secular tenets? I beg for clarification.
You also say that I am only concerned with abortion, gay “marriage,” and Holy Communion given to sexually active non-married people and that I am ignoring the poor. Dear Holy Father, American Catholics were helping the poor through groups like the Knights of Columbus and St. Vincent de Paul Society long before these other items were even an issue! How do you not know this?
Are you not aware of our Mercy Hospital system, set up by the Sisters of Mercy, or the work being done here by the Sisters of Charity? Catholic Americans not only financially support these institutions, but work for them.
In the upcoming meeting of clergy and laity in October, it appears that there are concerning items on the agenda to be discussed and perhaps even voted on. One of my “crimes,” I think, is that I don’t agree with what is being proposed.
I’d like to address a few of these things, if you don’t mind. One of these items is the “ordination” of women as “deacons” and perhaps eventually as “priests.”
I speak as one woman. (Is asking questions what makes me reactionary? I prayed and fasted before even putting my thoughts on paper.) So, does this mean that there are not enough men in the world to serve as deacons and priests?
We do not seem to have that problem in the area where I attend Mass and I live in a very small town. I cannot imagine any real woman standing in front of a congregation, holding up a host saying the words, “This is my body.” That would be almost humorous if it weren’t so very wrong and embarrassing. It would also be a lie and I am certain that is not your intent or the intent of the magisterium. Humans are not androgynous beings. We are, as Holy Scripture clearly states, “male and female.” I’m no theologian but those words seem very clear. So why is this an issue?
As for American Catholics’ alleged lack of concern about the environment, I’d like to say that good Catholic parents know they are to teach their children good stewardship. To be good stewards of God’s earth is part of our heritage as Catholics.
And politically speaking, Americans seem to be leading the world in all the “green agenda” items. Many Catholics are involved in this secular issue. My husband was one such person as a planner, helping to build new “green” buildings at his job.
Other issues you seem concerned about are slavery and the death penalty. You say that the Church’s understanding of these issues evolved. But hasn’t the Church always taught that the death penalty is a matter of justice? Didn’t Christ Himself suffer the death penalty for our sins? And although God has permitted forms of slavery to exist, has not the Church always condemned racial slavery?
Slavery, which as a social ill ended with our civil war but is currently replaced by human trafficking, is repugnant to us Americans.
The real issues, Holy Father, that people are facing today are slavery to every kind of sin (sin is still a thing, yes?) and the death of the human soul. Where are our pastors, priests, bishops, and even you, Holy Father, teaching about these more permanent problems? Or am I to no longer believe in sin and death?
And are we to consign people to an eternity of hell by allowing them to receive Jesus in a state of mortal sin? We know from Our Lady of Fatima that souls are falling into hell like snowflakes. We still believe in Hell, right? Or have the concepts of mortal sin and hell evolved out of existence? Does the Church still teach that sexual acts have moral and social consequences? We could certainly benefit from some powerfully clear teachings in this area. It seems to me that mankind is so very focused on the use or abuse of their genitals that we’ve lost any sense of the sacredness of the parts of the body and the elevation of our minds and hearts to greater things.
Whatever happened to truth, beauty, and goodness? When our focus is down, it cannot be up. (Or maybe I’m just too old and “backward” because I believe that an eternity of bliss is preferable to an eternity of suffering.)
If any of these things which I outlined here is incorrect, I beg you to forgive my ignorance, Holy Father. In today’s world we are often told half-truths, twisted truths, or outright lies. If I have spoken out of turn or misunderstood your actual intentions, I deeply apologize and humbly ask for you to clarify my understanding.
I have been told you will not likely get this letter, which is why I have chosen to send it to the sources that printed your words. Perhaps someone there can get it to you. I must believe that I am not the only American Catholic who has these questions. So, I hope we can receive clarity soon.
We pray for you daily, Holy Father. Your job is a difficult one and our Church has been a mess for a long time. None of us Catholics are called to leave Holy Mother Church in the throes of her passions, which seems to be what she is experiencing. At the very least, she seems to be confused. As a conservative American, I will pray, fast, and give alms, as many of our leaders have requested, for you and for the dealings in October.
I hope all of those involved will listen to Jesus (through his Apostles) when He says, “Test everything, retain what is good.” And my fervent prayer is that when Jesus returns and He asks (as in Luke), “When the Son of Man returns will He find faith on the earth?”, that we can all answer, “Yes, Lord.”
Blessings, Holy Father.
Your spiritual child,