Mom's Home: A Word to Conservative Critics of Pope Francis

Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D.
Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D. is the President of the Ruth Institute.

For purposes of this article, I set aside my Ph.D. degree: I am speaking strictly on the authority of my MOM degree.

Ok, everyone. I realize I have been out of the loop for a while. I have been trying to finish a book. And I had an unexpected family emergency to deal with.

But Mom's home now. Time to shape up.

What have you kids been doing, talking about your Father like this? Just today on my Facebook feed, I found someone referring our Holy Father Pope Francis as a "world class smart ass!" And this person evidently considers himself a good Catholic! A better Catholic than the Pope!

Some of you are hysterical over the Synod, as though the Holy Father were plotting to change Church doctrine. Haven't you seen this report from the National Catholic Register? The four American bishops said at their press conference, "There must have been two synods, and the four of us must have happened to be at the wrong one."

I don't know what in the world you kids are thinking. You certainly realize that the Holy Father has no authority to change Church doctrine. And he knows it.

Some of you are upset because all the wrong people seem to like the Holy Father. I realize there is a battle to capture the symbolic value of the Papacy. The "Progressives" who want the whole Sexual Revolution, would love to claim the moral authority of the Papacy and the Catholic Church for their team. But do you realize that every time you repeat the liberal media talking points like this, you are scoring for the "Progressive" team?

You kids know me well enough to know that I don't generally go around scolding people. As a matter of fact, refraining from scolding how I get away with my unabashed presentation of Church teaching on marriage and sex, in front of non-Catholic and Catholic audiences alike. (Check out this and this, for instance. Surely you will not accuse me of soft-pedaling Church teaching!) Scolding people is not very attractive. And I like to keep my powder dry for situations that really call for a full-on Mom-Mad.

These attacks on your Holy Father are in that category. This has simply got to stop.

I am not going to sit here and go around the room and name names. You know what you did or did not do. Don't start pointing fingers at each other. You are all old enough to know better. I expected better of you than this.

Have you thought about the fact that every time you repeat the "Pope is about to change the doctrine" line, you are playing right into the hands of people who are trying for a repeat of the confusion of 1968 surrounding the release of Humanae Vitae? Have you been promoting the points where the Synod and the Holy Father affirm the ancient teachings?

For instance, the documents released by the 10 working groups have the same authority as the "relatio" released midway through the Synod. Those documents are wonderful.

Are any of you planning to give them the slightest bit of attention? How about the Holy Father's closing address? Or how about his address at the beatification of Pope Paul VI, the author of Humanae Vitae? You know the Progressive Liberal Elite media is not going to call attention to him saying to Blessed Pope Paul VI, "Thank you for your humble and prophetic witness of love for Christ and his Church!"

Don't roll your eyes at me, young lady! Why don't you call some attention to Francis' praise of Blessed Paul?

Look at Archbishop Kurtz's blog, where he talks positively about the Synod. People don't become Catholics because someone literally or metaphorically bludgeons them into submission. People become Catholics because they attracted to the person of Jesus Christ.

Your basic question should always be: am I drawing people closer to Jesus Christ? If the answer is yes, you are doing something right. If the answer is no, you need to do something different.

If you are going to wear the Catholic label on your forehead, kindly make yourself as attractive as you can. Moaning and complaining and tearing each other down is NOT attractive.

Wipe that smirk off your face, young man. I can tell you are not listening to me. You are planning what you are going to say. Give me the courtesy of listening to the end, will you please?

I realize that Pope Francis is not necessarily your style. He talks about issues you would rather not discuss. He talks about things in a way that is alien to you.

Too bad. He is still your father, even if you don't like everything he says or does. You owe him the respect due to his office, as father.

I insist that you respect your father. That's what good moms do.

I have made a point of publishing this column on a non-Catholic website. Can you imagine how we look to our Separated Brethren? Do you realize that many of them wish us well? Faithful Evangelicals know their lives will be a lot harder if the Catholic Church goes soft on the sexual issues. The Sexual Revolution is causing terrible divisions within their denominations and sometimes within their own congregations. Some of our Separated Brethren are going to be faced with the choice of becoming full-on Pagan Hedonists, or becoming Catholics.

My plan is to hold the door of the Church open for them. What exactly is your plan?

I will probably have to go out of this loop again, at least for a while. It is fundraising season and I have to raise enough money here at the end of the year to keep my little organization afloat.

So while I'm gone, I expect you to behave yourselves. You are all good kids. I know you are. You need to respect your Holy Father, for the good of the whole family. Not just the corner of the family you happen to like.

Let me close with a word from our mutual friend, Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, otherwise known as Fr. Z: Go to confession!

Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D. is the President of the Ruth Institute.

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