I’m a Catholic and have to admit that I’m not sending Pope Francis a Christmas card. I think he’s suffering from the effects of going from, to mix metaphors, a big fish in a small pond (Argentina? Really?) to a little meatball in a big plate of spaghetti. His statements are confusing the faithful and encouraging the enemies of faith, like, for instance, what your are about to read. His synod on the family a epic fail. I don’t think he will be favorably remembered once he’s passed from the scene. Having said that, his theology is very orthodox and so it was utterly horrific reading the utterly horrific Vox explanation of a statement by Pope Francis. To write the article they selected a homosexual writer (which differs from a writer who happens to be homosexual) named Brandon Ambrosino. I’m guessing that Ambrosino’s Italian surname makes him an authority in Catholic theology (he attended Liberty University, hardly a hotbed of Romishness). These are the people who found the bridge linking the West Bank to the Gaza strip.
At a conference on the Complementarity of Men and Women in Rome, Pope Francis set left wing heads in full-Linda-Blair mode:
“The family is the foundation of coexistence and a remedy against social fragmentation,” the Pope said at the opening of an inter-religious conference in Rome on marriage.
“Children have a right to grow up in a family with a father and a mother capable of creating a suitable environment for the child’s development and emotional maturity.”
He also condemned divorce, saying it had brought “spiritual and material devastation to countless human beings, especially the poorest and most vulnerable”. There was “mounting” evidence that the decline of marriage led to increased poverty “and a host of other social ills,” particularly for women and children, the Pope said.
Amborsino is tasked to explain to the lumpen proletarian “What did Pope Francis mean when he said children should grow up with a father and mother?” Interesting because I would have thought turning to a dictionary would have cleared up what the really big words “father” and “mother” mean. But then you wouldn’t need Voxsplaining:
As many theologians and commentators are pointing out, the most important part of Francis’ lecture was this:
When we speak of complementarity between man and woman in this context, let us not confuse that term with the simplistic idea that all the roles and relations of the two sexes are fixed in a single, static pattern. Complementarity will take many forms as each man and woman brings his or her distinctive contributions to their marriage and to the formation of their children — his or her personal richness, personal charisma.
According to [Patrick} Hornbeck [chair of Fordham University’s theology department] these words signal a departure from Francis’ predecessors. For one thing, Hornbeck notes, Francis didn’t go out of his way to condemn homosexuality. Second, Francis’ comments display a certain level of openness often lacking in discussions about complementarity.
“What Francis tells us in his address is complementarity is not about a rigid demarcation of gender roles,” said Hornbeck.
In other words, Francis has displayed a more nuanced understanding of sex and gender than we’ve seen from a recent pope. He understands that human sexuality is complex and that it resists easy categorization, which is why his lecture warns against simplistic, static, reductionistic ways of looking at it.
There is a reason Ambrosino turned to the Fordham faculty to justify his bizarre and twisted take on Pope Francis’s statement. Fordham is nominally a Jesuit university but it has, or has had in the very recent past, university sponsored groups in favor of abortion and opposing the Church’s teachings on human sexuality. It’s theology department is home to a professor whose book has been condemned by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops for undermining the Gospels and the faith of readers.
This, according to Ambrosino and presumably the guy he was talking to this means the Pope is all down with homosexual marriage and what he’s talking about is men acting like women, women like men rather than what he’s obviously talking about, gender roles in today’s society are flexible and for every stay at home Mom there is a stay at home Dad.
From the address (short and well worth reading):
It is fitting that you have gathered here in this international colloquium to explore the complementarity of man and woman. This complementarity is a root of marriage and family. For the family grounded in marriage is the first school where we learn to appreciate our own and others’ gifts, and where we begin to acquire the arts of cooperative living. For most of us, the family provides the principal place where we can aspire to greatness as we strive to realize our full capacity for virtue and charity. At the same time, as we know, families give rise to tensions: between egoism and altruism, reason and passion, immediate desires and long-range goals. But families also provide frameworks for resolving such tensions. This is important. When we speak of complementarity between man and woman in this context, let us not confuse that term with the simplistic idea that all the roles and relations of the two sexes are fixed in a single, static pattern. Complementarity will take many forms as each man and woman brings his or her distinctive contributions to their marriage and to the formation of their children — his or her personal richness, personal charisma. Complementarity becomes a great wealth. It is not just a good thing but it is also beautiful.
As you can see, especially given the title of the symposium, this is not a dog whistle that buggery is okay. If you have doubt, let’s look at what Pope Francis has said about homosexual marriage and the mangling of the modern family:
1. A Senate vote on gay marriage is a destructive pretension against the plan of God
From a letter to the Carmelite Sisters of Buenos Aires on the perils of marriage equality:
“Let’s not be naïve, we’re not talking about a simple political battle; it is a destructive pretension against the plan of God. We are not talking about a mere bill, but rather a machination of the Father of Lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.”
2. Gay marriage will destroy the family
More from the same letter to the four monasteries of Argentina:
“The Argentine people will face a situation whose outcome can seriously harm the family… At stake is the identity and survival of the family: father, mother and children.
3. Gay parenting is a rejection of God’s law engraved in our hearts
“At stake are the lives of many children who will be discriminated against in advance, and deprived of their human development given by a father and a mother and willed by God. At stake is the total rejection of God’s law engraved in our hearts.”
4. The political struggle against marriage equality is war
“The bill will be discussed in the Senate after July 13. Look at San Jose, Maria, Child and ask them [to] fervently defend Argentina’s family at this time. [Be reminded] what God told his people in a time of great anguish: ‘This war is not yours but God’s.’ May they succor, defend and join God in this war.”
5. Gay adoption is discrimination against children
According to the National Catholic Reporter, Francis called gay adoption a form of “discrimination against children.” A comment that resulted in a public rebuke from Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who said that Francis’ remarks suggested “medieval times and the Inquisition.”
So sorry to break it to you. Vox knows as much about Catholicism as it does about Mid-east geography.