By JAMES K. FITZPATRICK
I continue to get letters from readers unhappy with what they see as Pope Francis’ left-wing biases. Some of these critics strike me as over-the-top, but not all. Some deserve to be taken seriously. My response to the charges of the latter group is to not jump the gun, to not assume that the Pope is going to make some major change in the Church’s teachings on issues such as same-sex marriage, when the Pope’s instruction is likely to be far more nuanced.
But I will concede this point: There are those on the left, both within and outside the Church, who are seizing the moment of Pope Francis’ popularity and what they see as his left-leaning outlook to coax the Church away from established doctrine. I don’t know how susceptible the Pope will be to this “charm offensive,” but it is important to recognize that it is going on.
There is another angle to consider, even if one is confident, as I am, that the Pope will not be sweet-talked into changing the Church’s teaching on matters of faith and morals. I have in mind the role of the “shadow Magisterium.” By that I mean those in the Church who will push during this time of enthusiasm for Pope Francis for the changes in doctrine that they want, whether or not Rome is calling for the changes. Such a strategy can work. … Continue Reading