I can’t quite remember how I ran across the article “What do liberal Catholics want?” last week, but I’ve been stewing on it ever since.
The gist is this: The columnist has been saying that while Pope Francis has said some things that could be interpreted as a softening of the Catholic Church’s stand on certain teachings, actual changes to church doctrine are likely to fall short of the desires of more liberal Catholics. Then a self-proclaimed progressive Catholic called in to a radio show he was on to say, basically, that the pope’s words are all she needs, because doctrine is no longer relevant anyway.
I have bones to pick with the article — for example, citing “too many institutional obstacles” for the lack of change in fundamental moral teaching, as though bureaucracy has an effect on Truth, or implying that liberals who ignore doctrine equates to a Church without doctrine. But more than that, I wonder about the implications of the idea that the pope’s words are “everything.”
On one hand, perhaps we can take comfort in the fact that at least a subset of the Catholics In Name Only are content to be just that and have no desire to try to change the Church in any substantive way. On the other hand, if these folks want nothing more than superficial validation of their own misguided beliefs, with no real desire to seek or understand, will the pope’s softened rhetoric draw them nearer to the Truth…or simply be used to justify their distance?