Putting the Soul
back in Psychology!
A balance is in order for both the all-or-nothing "blind lovers" and "self-righteous haters" of Pope Francis.
In response to the mounting criticisms and defenses of what Pope Francis has said or fails to say, a balance is in order for both the all-or-nothing "blind lovers" and "self-righteous haters" of the Pope. While good intentioned, each creates the dysfunctional triangle of: "savior", "persecutor", "innocent victim". None of us (including Pope Francis) are the "savior" of anyone; that role has already been fulfilled by Jesus Christ. None of us (including Pope Francis) are an "innocent victim" because we are all imperfect sinners. And all of us (including Pope Francis) are the "persecutors", because we are all imperfect sinners.
The "blind lovers" speak and defend Pope Francis as if he is sinless (everything he says and does is perfect and the objective Truth) and is always infallible when he speaks and they don't have to pray for the conversion of their Pope. All three are false. The "self-righteous haters" speak and criticize Pope Francis as if he "should be" sinless, (is expected to believe, understand, and speak all objective Truth) and "shouldn't" speak unless what he is going to say will be infallible and it is embarrassing if they have to pray for the conversion of their Pope. All three are false.
The objective Truth is that Pope Francis like the rest of us is an imperfect sinner, who does not know all Truth and is not infallible every time he speaks. Nor should Pope Francis, or any Pope for that matter, be expected to be perfect, sinless, know all Truth, and be infallible every time he speaks. It is wrong to compare Pope Francis to any Popes before him, especially those who are canonized saints. Being ready for the canonization papers to arrive in the mail from the Vatican is not a prerequisite to being Pope, even though it would be nice. The perfectionism and unrealistic expectations of both sides of the social media fence need to end. We need to seek conversion for ourselves and take the logs of out of our own eyes before we can lovingly call out the speck in Pope Francis'.
As an American bilingual psychologist, living in Mexico for several years, as well as being married to a Mexican National, I have some understanding of how the Latinos' culturally think and prioritize differently than us Caucasians, so when my good friends who are Caucasians are exacerbated by the behaviors and priorities of Pope Francis, I charitably try to explain the cultural how's and why's of his behaviors such as: passiveness, avoiding conflict, and not defending himself. I explain why his priorities are: making everyone feel welcome, corruption and violence, the environment, the poor and marginalized, and immigration because these are personal and the biggest problems of his and all Latino countries.
After my husband and I reality checked each other, we have refused to believe hearsay about Pope Francis no matter who it is published by nor how it is secondarily "documented". I then began saying, unless I hear it directly from the Pope in full context, I am not going to hold any critiques as credible. That time has come. Pope Francis speaking in his native language (Spanish) has been filmed (view on youtube), and completely quoted in full context of his homily during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, from a credible media source who had no criticisms of what he said. The Pope directly states: "Fiel a su Maestro, que es su Hijo, el único Redentor, jamás quiso para sí tomar algo de su Hijo. Jamás se presentó como co-redentora. No, discípula." In context, the Pope says how Jesus' Mother Mary was "Faithful to her Master/Teacher, who is her Son, the only Redeemer, never wanted to take anything away from her Son. She never presented/displayed herself as a Co-Redemptoris, but rather, a disciple." This is objectively True and by itself does not negate the Catholic doctrine of Mary being the "Co-Redemptoris".
A little further along in the homily the Pope says: "María mujer, María madre, sin otro título esencial. Los otros títulos —pensemos en las letanías lauretanas— son títulos de hijos enamorados que le cantan a la Madre, pero no tocan la esencialidad del ser de María: mujer y madre." This says, "Woman Mary, Mother Mary, without other essential title....the other titles--we think in the Litany of Loreto--are titles of sons in love who sing to the Mother, but they do not touch the essentiality of the being of Mary: mother and woman." This statement, being ignorant in part because the Litany of Loreto repeatedly mentions Mary as Mother and there are many essential titles for Mary listed, does not negate the Catholic doctrine of Mary being "Co-Redemptoris". Nowhere in the "Litany of Loreto" does it say "Co-Redempteris". And we cannot assume that Pope Francis was relating this comment to his previous one.
At the end of the homily the Pope says: "Cuando nos vengan con historias de que había que declararla esto, o hacer este otro dogma o esto, no nos perdamos en tonteras: María es mujer, es Nuestra Señora, María es Madre de su Hijo y de la Santa Madre Iglesia jerárquica y María es mestiza, mujer de nuestros pueblos, pero que mestizó a Dios." This means: "When they come to us with stories that I had to declare this, or do this other dogma or this, let's not get lost in foolishness/silliness... Mary is woman, she is Our Lady, Mary is Mother of her Son and of the Hierarchical Holy Mother Church and Mary is interracial, woman of our peoples, but made interracial by God." Again, this directly does not negate any doctrine or dogma. Yes it is inappropriate for any priest to vent his personal disagreements with colleagues in a homily or make the homily a pulpit to defend himself, (if he is doing either) but I've heard these done frequently by many a priest, and to expect the Pope to be any different is not realistic. The Pope says here that he doesn't need to declare a dogma. This could mean that he is defending the fact that he either does not need to speak on any other dogma during this homily, or he may be saying that he doesn't need to declare a dogma what has already been declared a dogma or that he doesn't need to declare a new dogma. Unless the Pope further explains what he himself means, we have nothing more.
Giving Pope Francis the benefit of the doubt, these statements from the Pope show, without the clarification from the Pope himself, only the possibilities that either Pope Francis 1) may or may not be well educated in the doctrine of Mary Co-Redemptoris, 2) his priority at the time of the homily was not on Mary as Co-Redemptoris because of his audience or it is not his priority at all, 3) he wasn't trying to negate the doctrine of Mary Co-Redemptoris with these three statements or 4) he completely disagrees with Catholic doctrine of Mary as Co-Redemptoris. However, for anyone to only assume the later (#4) without seeking and receiving clarification directly from the Pope himself, is wrong.
Homily quotes: "Homilía del Papa Francisco en la Misa por la Virgen de Guadalupe", (c) Copyright ACI Prensa, 2019