"Pope Francis is winning hearts and minds around the world for his emphasis on mercy, personal simplicity and vision for a church that is “bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets.” He rejects culture-war Christianity and aloof moralizing from the safety of the sanctuary. He warns that a fixation on “small-minded rules” can stand in the way of ministering to those on the margins. A look at at a few recent headlines shows that some Catholic leaders never got the memo from Pope Francis or tossed it in the trash.
A patient who suffered a heart attack at a Washington hospital recently told the Washington Post that a Catholic chaplain denied him last rites because he was gay.
Earlier this year, a Catholic middle school in Montana fired an unmarried teacher after she became pregnant. The superintendent of Catholic schools for the diocese defended the decision with a cold legalism that would have made those letter-of-the-law Pharisees Jesus called to task proud.
Nothing sends a better “pro-life" message than kicking a vulnerable pregnant woman into unemployment, right? The Catholic superintendent must have missed that part in Pope Francis’s groundbreaking interview with a Jesuit journal where he said:
"If the Christian is a restorationist, a legalist, if he wants everything clear and safe, then he will find nothing…Those who today always look for disciplinarian solutions, those who long for an exaggerated doctrinal ‘security,’ those who stubbornly try to recover a past that no longer exists —they have a static and inward-directed view of things. In this way, faith becomes an ideology among other ideologies..."