By Mark Azzara
Twitter’s stock must be worth a lot these days (at the expense of the White House’s reputation) because you never know when President Donald J. Trump is going to create a new firestorm with a tweet that goes viral.
The Vatican’s stock also takes a hit on occasion when Pope Francis opens up about all sorts of issues, the latest of which appears to be an openness to ordaining married men as priests.
Both the White House and the Vatican (and often, bishops and even parish priests) must do damage control when the boss speaks without first having his words vetted by a team of advisers. But there is a big difference between the two.
In Trump’s case it sometimes comes down to a spokesman saying that he cannot explain the president’s latest tweet because it’s “beyond my pay grade.” At least, in the Vatican’s case, there are ways to make some sense of the pope’s words, according to one recent article.
The Vatican nevertheless has a dicier task than the White House because Francis’s pronouncements are expected to be thoroughly consistent with 2,000 years of Catholic teaching. It’s not so much that he’s breaking new ground because often he isn’t. It’s just that so many people are so ignorant of Catholic teaching that it sounds that way to them.
But what about prelates who vehemently disagree with Francis? Are they automatically wrong while the pope is correct? No, it means they disagree, and disagreement is OK in the Catholic Church, at least when it fosters genuine conversation that reveals truth.
That’s the source of the problem I’m addressing in this letter – the apparent lack of interest in conversation that leads to the revelation of truth. It’s a problem – a big one – whenever any man thinks he already possesses all the truth, because that attitude puts him way, way, way beyond his pay grade.
All God’s blessings – Mark
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