Pope Francis, your honeymoon with the Western press is over.
Of course, media accolades and praise were never his motivation. In fact, hes directly warned against the cult of celebrity that is in danger of missing the point: the Gospel of Christ he teaches.
But when Rolling Stone put him on their cover earlier this year, the piece inside was actually a secularist libertine warning: Dont disappoint us.
Dont be another one of those guys reading from the Catechism.
And now the pope, the Holy See, will be appearing before a United Nations committee on torture. The appearance is voluntary on the part of the Holy See and normal for anyone who has signed the Convention Against Torture. And yet there is a disturbing ideological push on the U.N.s part where Francis and the Catholic Church are concerned.
Earlier this year the U.N.s Committee on the Rights of the Child made accusations against Pope Francis based on misunderstanding, ignorance and politics, which undermine the credibility of the U.N. and betray its agenda. In 2003, the Boston Globe did the world — and the Church — a service when it exposed the depths of a culture where priests were moved around instead of turned over to authorities when they committed crimes. The U.N. bases its accusations on that culture, one that no longer exists, as independent audits make clear.
The time and money and screening and training that the Catholic Church puts into protecting children today have made it a different world than the one the U.N. insists exists.
Further, the accusations from the U.N. made it clear that there is a reason evidence doesnt matter, because theres a campaign at work: Church teaching on the complementarity nature of women and men — that we are made by God with an inherent dignity and a difference that makes sense and is ordered for love and procreation — is its problem. And this is the danger of secularism today. Cloaked in rhetorical tolerance, a tyrannical streak is a temptation.
But dont miss who the pope is and what he has been doing. Embracing, admonishing, renewing, reforming. Embracing the Gospels, encountering Christ Himself so that he might share Gods merciful love with anyone within the sound of his voice, or who can see his tender invitation. In his daily homilies and many addresses, he admonishes sinners — himself, all of us — and in a very direct way, those who work for the Holy See or in the Church and most certainly who are priests. You must act like fathers if you are called Father! Protect your children, help your family flourish.
It made headlines in recent days when Pope Francis asked forgiveness from victims of abuse. To think this is isolated is to miss his papacy entirely.
Our hearts yearn for love and peace and this is what the Church exists to bring to people.
It would be torture to live without that joy, to not see and hear proposals about the way to live it. .
(Kathryn Lopez is the editor-at-large of National Review Online www.nationalreview.com. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)