From the greatest Holy Father Philosopher, John Paul II to one of the greatest Holy Father Theologians, Benedict XVI, and now, “Habemus Papam” the first Holy Father from the Americas and the first Jesuit Pope. Do we now have, not another great theologian or philosopher, but a great reformer?
That, as Cardinal George Bergolio, he appealed for reform in the Church tells us that Pope Francis will be a Holy Father of action and direction, even at the age of 76. And yet we can be sure that any reform will not be to the treasury of Church teaching, unlike that for which many liberal or progressive “Catholics” have been hoping. Papal infallibility ensures that the Pontiff will be free of heresy: of pronouncing any untruths in matters of faith and morals. This is the promise of Christ to Peter. When it comes to Church doctrine there is nothing to reform. That is the beauty of our Catholic faith: that truth is not relative to popular trends, but remains consistent with revelation theology, not liberation theology. Truth is unchanging and the Church would not be the Church without it. “Upon this rock” the Church was built and the papacy is its guardian.
Recent mainstream media interviews with feminist “Catholics” or fallen away Catholics lead us to believe the Church needs the type of reform that would allow women to be priests, homosexuals to marry in the Church, contraception to be accepted and the like. They and the media must understand there is no question that abortion will remain infanticide, contraception contrary to life and homosexual marriage unacceptable. These truths and others grounded in natural law, that is knowable by reason, will not and cannot be changed.
We do indeed have a reformer in Pope Francis. We have in the model of St. Francis of Assissi a leader who will “rebuild my Church” and “feed my sheep”. He will be a defender of the poor, a warrior of the faith and a servant of the most humble character, who will humbly wash the feet of the infirm, morally, spiritually and physically while holding accountable those who have been trusted with much, especially within the offices of the Church. We can with great hope, pray for our Holy Pontiff and know in faith that he will follow in Christ’s work of dealing with the money changers in the temple and saving the Magdalens of this world from stoning.