With only a few minor delays – perhaps owing to last-minute changes in order to forestall more public disquiet than what has already been stirred up in the Catholic world by these videos – the third of the ‘Pope’s video’ series was recently put on air to ‘share the intentions of the month: for children and families in difficulty’.
Even so, the disquiet over the video that came out on the 10th still shows no signs of quieting down…
The video is completely devoid of reference to spiritual issues, and fails to offer the slightest gesture to affirm or defend – or even just include in prayer intentions! – the family constituted upon the law of God. It merely calls the family ‘one of the most precious aspects of humanity’ – granting it the same status enjoyed, in other documents, by the pyramids of Egypt or even the glaciers so defended in Laudato si’. Images of sad and crying children tug away at our heartstrings, but we hear not word on religion, God and his demands for our own good, or on families modeled after what God intended since the creation of the world, and Jesus Christ elevated to a sacramental dignity through the Sacrament of matrimony.
It begins: ‘When the family is exposed to health, economic or other difficulties, the children grow up in an environment of sadness’.
This is the type of talk we would fit perfectly on the lips of the president of UNICEF! But even the UNICEF probably has messages that are a bit more profound…
Really, as Catholics, don’t we have the right to expect more from the one seated on the chair of Saint Peter? Such a notion of the family could just as well apply to our pets. Any veterinary might similarly recommend nourishment and a stress-free environment for cats and dogs, proven highly susceptible to nervous disorders and eventual displays of melancholy.
What truly ‘creates an environment of sadness’, though, is the fact of not hearing a single word from Francis on the sacred character of the family. For Him, the family should be regarded from a strictly sociological point of view, as he himself affirmed: ‘The family is an anthropological fact and consequently a social cultural fact. We cannot qualify it with the ideological concepts which are compelling at only one moment in history, and then decline. Today there can be no talk of the conservative family of the progressive family: family is family!” (see specific Denzinger-Bergoglio study)
These monthly intentions seem more like outlines drawn up for discussion at the UN General Assembly than objectives proposed to the sheep of Jesus Christ’s flock:
‘I want to share with you and with Jesus my prayer intentions for the month: That families in need may receive the necessary support and that children may grow up in healthy and peaceful environments’.
Once again, Francis, we ask: What better way to support a healthy and peaceful environment than with the doctrine of Our Lord Jesus Christ? Or where else might this ‘necessary support’ be sought?
In times past, we were told it was to be found in the sacramental life, in God’s grace, and in prayer. And today? Will families obtain the support they need in an NGO? In a secular program like Scholas Occurrentes (see study)? It would seem that the problem of sin is no longer a contributing factor of family breakdown. And just where would the root of current family problems lie? For him, the most serious ills affecting today’s world are corruption, unemployment, the solitude of the aged, human trafficking… (see specific study). With this line of logic, his theory that ‘youth today are in need of three fundamental pillars: education, sport and culture’ comes as no surprise. This may also explain his keen promotion of all-star football matches, much flaunted by the mass media. – And right when all the talk about corruption in the FIFA is going around…
Further, what exactly would Francis consider the ‘healthy and calm environment’ of which children indeed stand in dire need? It used to be understood as the one where Our Lord Jesus Christ reigns, amidst a family as God meant families to be, faithful to His commandments and to Church teaching. But this mustn’t be in-style anymore, because creating the ideal environment now seems to strictly entail guaranteeing food and education. This may appear to be an exaggeration, but the declarations tend to pile up so that we barely manage to keep track of all he has been saying. During his trip to Brazil, for example, he openly declared his idea concerning children: ‘What matters is to eradicate hunger and educate without bothering about religion – if the education is given by Catholics, by protestants, by orthodox or Jews is of no interest to me.’ (See specific study).
So, we ask, along with Catholic families: what are we to think of all of this?
This whole program does, by all means, favor a ‘cultural encounter’. In fact, it could perfectly well bear the signature of Pablo Iglesias, the Spanish avant-garde socialist or even Hugo Chavez, Francis’ great friend … And if they don’t believe in prayer… that’s not a problem; they can still ‘send positive vibes’…