The anti-Catholics have again latched onto Pope Francis’ words and taken them out of context. Here, for example, at the He is coming blog. And here, at Christian Reformed Theology [now deleted at the original site – thank you for your honesty].
In a sermon at Vespers at St Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, he used the words “cross” and “failure” in the same sentence. Now anti-Catholics who can’t read context are spreading the idea that the Pope called Jesus and the Cross a failure.
Let’s look at Pope Francis’ words:
We can get caught up measuring the value of our apostolic works by the standards of efficiency, good management and outward success which govern the business world. Not that these things are unimportant! We have been entrusted with a great responsibility, and God’s people rightly expect accountability from us. But the true worth of our apostolate is measured by the value it has in God’s eyes. To see and evaluate things from God’s perspective calls for constant conversion in the first days and years of our vocation and, need I say, great humility. The cross shows us a different way of measuring success. Ours is to plant the seeds: God sees to the fruits of our labors. And if at times our efforts and works seem to fail and produce no fruit, we need to remember that we are followers of Jesus… and his life, humanly speaking, ended in failure, the failure of the cross.
He starts off saying that our apostolic works are often judged (by us) by the definitions of success found in the business world.
He goes on to say that their true worth is measured by their value in God’s eyes.
We feel that our efforts produce no fruit. But he’s arguing that they DO produce fruit, in God’s eyes. We may not see that fruit, but God does.
He compares that feeling about our human experience with Jesus.
In human terms – “humanly speaking” – Jesus died, and wasn’t a conquering Messiah who would lead Israel against her enemies as a literal king.
We DO need to remember that – humanly speaking – Jesus, the cross, love, mercy … these are all failures. But not to God. Not in God’s eyes. And that is what Pope Francis is saying.
The wolves (or donkeys, depicted on the right) cannot read, or don’t want to read. They see the words “failure of the cross” and abandon context and honesty in order to promote their nasty agenda. I don’t see how any honest person can read the entire paragraph, notice the words “humanly speaking“, and misunderstand. The wolves bear false witness. It’s what they do.
True Christians see otherwise.
“These words ring so true coming from this man who so obviously cares not a whit for the attractions the world has to offer and who is, instead, content to life the simplicity the Gospel demands of its ministers.“
– Michael Winters at NCROnline