PopeWatch: Bishop James D. Conley



Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln, Nebraska, has a very insightful piece at First Things regarding the Rolling Stone article on the Pope:

This is why Marc Binelli’s profile of Pope Francis, the cover story of February’s Rolling Stone, is so troubling, and so important.

The profile is an exercise in standard revisionism, bent on demonstrating Francis’ break from the supposedly conservative Church of old.  Light on facts, heavy on implication, half-truths and hearsay, the piece remakes Pope Francis as the quiet hero of the liberal left.  It uses the scandals of Vatican finance and sexual abuse, coupled with tired tropes about Opus Dei and the Latin Mass, to craft Pope Benedict XVI as a miserly conservative plotter.  Pope Francis is the foil: the reluctant, populist leader of a move to liberalize and desacralize the Catholic Church. 

It doesn’t matter how much or how little is true.  Certainly, the profile contains a great deal of untruth. Inconvenient facts, such as the affability of an Opus Dei source, or the theological orthodoxy of the Holy Father, are dismissed.  The piece is unbalanced in its sourcing, and it draws unreasonable conclusions from carefully selected vignettes.  Over the next few weeks, bright Catholics will discredit the factual inaccuracies in the article. But what matters most is that Rolling Stone and its collaborators are working to hijack the papacy of a loyal, though often unconventional, son of the Church.

The reason is simple.  Sexual and social libertines have little interest in discrediting Christianity.  They’re far more interested in refashioning it—in claiming Christ, and his vicar, as their supporters. The secularist social agenda is more palatable to impressionable young people if it complements, rather than competes with, the residual Christianity of their families.  The enemy has no interest in eradicating Christianity if he can sublimate it to his own purposes. 

The greatest trick of the devil isn’t convincing the world he doesn’t exist—it’s convincing the world that Jesus Christ is the champion of his causes.

Go here to read the rest.  The Bishop believes that the Church can use the fascination of the World with Pope Francis to spread the Gospel.  Perhaps, although the Church has had such a policy of engagement with the World as official policy since Vatican II with, at the most charitable assessment, mixed results.  Pope Francis largely fascinates the World because the World thinks that he is going to change those teachings of the Church that the World finds so very inconvenient.  In this the World is bound to be disappointed and then what will the World make of Pope Francis?

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  1. What bothers me is that the Pope and his many “staff” members are allowing the trash like Rolling Stone Magizine to DO THIS TO THE POPE! He needs to issue a statement and correct the mis-statements !!…..or is there a reason he doesnt want to correct it????

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