I do not know about everyone else, but I was rather turned off by the press coverage given to the fact that Pope Francis had renewed his passport. I understand the noteworthy item of that – he is doing this in lieu of his Vatican passport – but really it is not all that interesting and really isn’t worth my time.
In fact, a lot of the press thrown the way of Pope Francis is not worth our time.
“Pope hugs child; Pope phones woman who carried child to term”. These are all evangelical moves that are worthy of praise, but are they worthy of the media attention they are given?
This is not to say I am a critic of the Pope. I am not. I love this Pope, especially with deep sense of poverty. I am a critic of the media, and I am a critic of our society. And as someone who critiques the world around me, I have noticed a disturbing trend that perhaps ought not to be so disturbing: we love totalitarianism.
Deep down, the love of the media and popular culture with this Pope is based around some faulty inclination that this Pope will ‘modernize’ the Church, that it will allow for gay marriage, for a contraceptive mentality, etc. We as Catholics know that this is not possible because such positions are not for the Church to change: the Church is the servant of Christ, not His Master.
But try as we might to get this across to those in popular culture, they still think it will happen. Such mentalities are disturbing because it demonstrates what our political landscape is like. Whether we like it or not, we no longer are truly democratic. Democracy is founded on reasoned discussion and debate, to informing ourselves in making our choices. This is not the governmental system in which we live anymore. It is not longer about debate, discussion, and dialogue, but rather about popular opinion. And, because the opinion is popular – and for no other reason than that – it ought to be law in the land and the government ought to do everything in its power to push for such opinions to be law.
The same holds true for the view of many with regards to the Pope. They think “He will change things, with one swift stroke of the pen, he can act in an autocratic function and change the Church forever”. This is not only a faulty view of the Church – the magisterium serves the Church who, in turn, is a servant of Jesus Christ – but a demonstration of a deep desire for autocracy. The Russian spirit is alive in the heart of every human being. In fact, history demonstrates that when dissatisfaction occurs within a nation, the tendency is always towards an autocratic form of government – either extreme left or extreme right. The media, the culture with which we are surrounded, is increasingly desiring such an autocracy and it is due to a fundamental dissatisfaction with the world.
This is the reign of sin. We never are able to take transcendence seriously and seriously consider the possibility that the universe is not all there is. History constantly reminds us that sin is the governing force of our world, and sin wants to put the power into the hands of man which ultimately expresses itself in the universal figure of the dictator. The dictator, the emperor, becomes the divinity of this world. And thus our political aspirations and desires are not really political problems; rather, they are a manifestation of a religious question that is at the heart of humanity: what is man and what is his purpose in this world?
We thus ought not to be shocked by the media’s love-fest with Pope Francis. It is true, his style is different, but people see a different style as a different doctrine. It is not. The Church is not run by an autocrat, but rather a steward of the mysteries of God. As steward, the Church is not the possession of the Pope, nor is she the possession of the entire body. The Church is the body of Christ! The Church belongs to Jesus Christ and Him alone. We are but His humble servants and He, as the Divine King, will rule the Church by always respecting the freedom of His Body and her members. And you will find no form of government in this world that is as democratic as the Church because you will find no nation, no body, no state as respectful of human freedom as Christ does with His Body the Church.