We here at Catholic Light are just as grateful as can be for the election of Pope Benedict XVI, and so are most of our readers.
Yet we cannot overlook the plight of readers who are disappointed or frustrated to find that this new Pope believes exactly the same faith as did Pope John Paul II. He believes the same as every other Pope before him, without subtraction or contradiction.
I do hope all these folks who are feeling frustrated today will come to accept what has happened, and understand that the outcome is nothing to be distressed or even surprised about: it’s the completely normal result of a papal election.
We Catholics should have done a better job before the election to help our diverse friends on-line set their expectations. Start with this, because you can rely on it above all else: the Pope will be an orthodox Catholic, one who holds and teaches the established faith of the Church. If there are any points of Catholic teaching that you might consider erroneous, misguided, or just unpleasant, please understand that he will not change them. It’s not his calling to do that, and he doesn’t have the power to do it. In fact, we believe that the Holy Spirit will not let him do it.
That’s because Christianity is a revealed religion — that is: a religion bearing spiritual and moral teaching revealed by God, and of course divinely revealed doctrines are true, because God cannot lie; and if we were to change our acceptance of those, we’d be falling into error.
This is how the Church understands herself: on a mission from God, to bring all of mankind into friendship with Christ, to receive salvation and truth from Him: or at least to bring to Him as many of mankind who will accept Him.
I can’t expect everyone to agree with the Church, but please do accept that this is our faith; this is who the Church is and what she’s about. Don’t be disappointed when the Church doesn’t fulfill the wishful thinking of pundits who profess with great self-assurance that some future Pope will change Catholic teaching on morals. Don’t expect the Church to fulfill even your own wishful thinking, if you want her doctrines to be reversed. The Church isn’t here to be constantly changed by the world; rather, she is here to change the world.