Regarding the recent letter charging the Holy Father with heresy…

I will begin by [shamefully] admitting I’ve not yet read the letter in question. And so I come at this issue only from an observation perspective. That said, I count myself among the rank of faithful Catholics who may occasionally scratch their heads at what appear to be unclear statements from the Holy Father…at least on 1st glance and through the lens of someone’s translation. Many folks feel statements need to be clarified. But I think the real issue is on several levels.

First, we have a Pope who is clearly unlike the previous two…and if compared to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, seemingly falls short in his teaching ability. But is every pope gifted in the same way? No. Where we might point to Benedict as a great teaching pontiff, Francis exceeds in showing great love and mercy.

Second, in Francis’ strong push of Social Teaching (which compliments his uniqueness), he has pushed the buttons of those who favor stronger apologetics in areas of dogma. But, again, wasn’t the reverse said at times of Benedict XVI? I remember hearing those who felt he should show more outward gentleness and compassion.

Finally, when push comes to shove, Pope Francis has always stated Church teaching regarding dogma and doctrine with no wiggle room. He has made strong statements against women priests, so-called gay marriage and abortion. I don’t recall him making any statements, ex cathedra or not, that fit the definition of heresy. This should be taken into account.

Who exactly is ultimately in charge of the election of popes? I believe God has the right man for the right time and for His right purpose in each age…even those whom some may define as ‘bad’ popes. The Gates of Hell are still in lockdown, thanks to the Holy Spirit. Desiring clarity is understandable. But we all need to be careful in strong attacks against the one God deemed the Pope for our time.

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