Imagine a father who lives in the picturesque suburbs. He has a good job, a loving wife, and several beautiful children of various ages. Many people look up to this man as an exemplary model within the community. Most say he is on his way to sainthood.
As an outsider, this is only a part of the full picture. Now imagine if this same father spends more time playing with the other children in the neighborhood than he does his own children. When his children ask why their father would rather play with the other children and not his own, he in turn starts teasing them, making fun of them, and insisting that they are being whiny brats, instead of getting a loving answer in regards to why he is neglecting their emotional health.
Additionally, his children are victim to several bullies in the neighborhood, tormenters who are relentless and look for any flaw in these children in order to persecute them. The father’s words and actions give these bullies ammunition to use against his children. Then the aggressors pounce upon the children and use the father’s own words against them.
When some of the children get rightfully upset and complain about their father supporting the bullies more than themselves, their siblings yell at them and force their ideas into submission. “You can’t criticize Dad! He’s our father! You have to be obedient and submissive to his will, after all, he knows better than you do.” With this, the family has become more divided than before. Not only is the father allowing the world to abuse his children the same way he does, but some of the children viciously defend his abusive actions.
You are likely in agreement with me that the above father is not a good father at all. While he appears to be a great example to the community, in reality he is a deviant. Yet this is the same attitude in which Pope Francis, the Holy Father, operates his Papacy.
Whether in the Vatican or abroad, there have been numerous times he was scheduled to meet with Bishops or Cardinals only to cancel at the last minute. While it is understandable, as he is in poor health, instead of taking time off to rest, he has spent time with Evangelicals, Lutherans, or even Buddhists, as he did during his trip to Sri Lanka. If spending time with non-Catholics is how he chooses to relax, doesn’t it beg the question: why? His purpose is not to evangelize; at no time does he discuss with them the need to become Catholic, but rather he endorses their views and discusses solidarity.
While he takes his trips abroad, he holds press interviews aboard the papal plane. “Who am I to judge” has become the go to line for non-Catholics to beat the faithful into submission for upholding Catholic teaching. Pope Francis has given the enemies another great line. “Some people think — excuse me for saying this — that to be good Catholics we have to be like rabbits.” Additionally, he even told the world how he reprimanded a faithful mother for getting pregnant again. He accused her of “tempting God” and faulted her for “irresponsible parenting”.
These comments about rabbits and irresponsible parenthood have left some Catholics with the desire to defend the Holy Father’s statements to their dying breath. They accuse Catholics who take issue with the Pope’s choice of words as “taking them out of context”. They admonish their upset brethren for not trusting in God and accuse them of causing division within the Church. “If you just looked at context, you would agree with him!” While in context we agree with Pope Francis, his poor choice of words, especially when being given to newspaper reporters who will actively search for opportunities to take his words out of context and demonize our religion, are what we find fault in. He knew what he was saying, because he prefaced it with “excuse me for saying this”. He gives ammunition to the bullies who in turn use it on his children, who he is supposed to defend and build up into saints.
When a normal father partakes in this destructive behavior against his own children, he is looked upon not as a hero, but a deviant and abusive father. Likewise, if the Holy Father engages in the same acts, he is not being a good father to his children. He engages in the sins of calumny and detraction, and without a public apology for his statements we are left to assume the worst.