The Church’s teachings on abortion, contraception, and homosexual marriage are among some of the hardest lessons to swallow. They are also the hot topics often discussed in today’s world. In a recent interview Pope Francis made the comment:
We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.
Many people misinterpreted the Popes words and rejoiced that the Church had finally ‘gotten over’ their old fuddy duddy teachings and have accepted that the culture will behave the way it wants and the Church has no power over the moral order. However, Pope Francis did not mean that the Church along with her faithful should abandon her teachings. He does encourage the Church and Catholics everywhere to take a better approach to winning over the stubborn hearts of the people.
To understand the Pope’s suggestion, you must only use common sense. How do we expect to change minds and hearts by pushing a moral agenda and blasting unbelievers with the Church’s hardest teachings. If you approach someone who has a hard time accepting the Church, why would you believe that getting on your soap box and rattling off cannon law and scriptures that support a pro-life, anti-contraception, anti-gay marriage stance would encourage them to learn more about the Church. Despite the fact that we are called to support the Church and the truths that she proclaims, we cannot use this approach at first.
If Necessary Use Words
To use an over-used saying, but with a twist, we must “preach the gospel at all times, and if necessary use words.” In this case I am using the ‘Gospel’ to mean the moral and ethical teachings of the church. We must not always use words when trying to prove that our moral and ethical teachings are correct and based in natural law. We must show the love and mercy and forgiveness that Christ taught. We must live our lives according to these laws. We must become true examples of how the moral teachings of the Church provide a foundation for a life well lived. We must approach our brothers and sisters as brothers and sisters in Christ. We must show them the beauty of our faith, the compassion of our love, and our inspiring hope in Jesus Christ. Through living in this way, we will win over hearts before we even open our mouths to evangelize. Then when we do come to a point where we can express the Church’s views to open ears, (and this point must come eventually) the hearts of our listeners will be softened by their curiosity and admiration for the way we live.
“The Lord counts on you to spread the ‘Gospel of life’” – Pope Francis