This is an excerpt from an un-broadcasted interview between then-Cardinal Bergoglio and CNN reporter Chris Matthews.
REPORTER: If you were Pope then you would not change anything.
BERGOGLIO: Certainly God would direct the new Pope to have more compassion for these newly created poor. And if there is any social justice in the Church, the new Pope would have a stern word for the creators of the new situation.
REPORTER: But you are staunchly orthodox on the issues of abortion, contraception, and same-sex marriage.
BERGOGLIO: I am Catholic.
REPORTER: You were punished for opposed same-sex marriage in Argentina. You opposed free contraception and the government exiled you. What do you have to say about that?
BERGOGLIO: I am Catholic.
REPORTER: In the secular world, as you say, you follow the conservative line. You oppose, uh, same-sex marriages, very popular with young people. You are conservative on birth control. Won’t that be the doom of the Church, alienating young people who support reality based faith?
BERGOGLIO: Since God created the world, He also created reality. You seem to be arguing that a man can’t be Catholic in reality… Young people are just as attracted to the truth as they are convenience and expediency.
Thank you, Pope Francis, for loving the young people.
It is definitely hard to be Catholic in the world right now. Anywhere you go, there are people telling you what you believe.
“Oh, you don’t support same-sex marriage? You’re a bigot and a hater of gays and of all people who want to marry but can’t, you are just so intolerant!”
“Oh, you believe that life begins at conception? You must know nothing of science and hate women and want to make sure that the populations in Africa continue having unprotected sex and creating horrible lives for themselves because they don’t know any better.”
Last time I checked… Yeah, nope. I’m not a bigot, hater of gays, lacking education, hater of women, or a fan of dooming third world countries. Last time I checked, I believe in a God who is the author of time, created the world, knows what He is doing with the population of said world, created men and women (equally but not the same), created science (shocker!), and loves each and every one of the people on this earth because He created them, too.
God loves me. Not because I am Catholic, or a virgin, or a woman, or straight, or a student, or any other label the secular world could give me.
God loves me because when He said in Genesis 1 “Let there be light!” He also said “Let there be, born on April 27, 1992, Catherine Elizabeth Naranjo, daughter to Michael Patrick and Catherine Louise. She will grow to be 5’1″, have blue-green eyes, and naturally brown hair. She will be baptized and confirmed, she will teach the youth. She will be the oldest of four children. She will love to dance and to sing and be right about everything. And she will be Mine, and I will be hers. And every day she will have questions, and there will be days of doubt, and periods of dryness, but she will never forget that she is the Daughter of the King.”
God loves me because He CREATED me. And God loves you for the same reason. You are inherently loved because you were knitted in to the fabric of creation. The world is what it is because you are in it. And God knew that. He wants you to be happy, he wants you to be joyful. He wants you to know how loved you are.
Here’s what happened… God created man second-to-last, and woman last (because we are the crown jewels of creation. You’re welcome), and they were specifically created to live in harmony with nature. Nature has obeying God easy, given the lack of free will, but until Adam&Eve sinned against God, everything was perfect. Humanity and nature lived together in the Garden, and it was very good. THEN Adam failed to protect Eve, Eve took initiative should not have, and BAM God is yelling, damning the snake, and causing women to experience labor pains. None of this was in the original plan. But we used our free will to break the relationship with God and nature.
God did not intend for suffering to ever occur. That we suffer at all is actually the fault of man. Man said “Um, God, listen, I know you gave us this great place to live, but, um, I’m not really sure how I feel about this whole obedience thing… Like, what could really happen if I ate this fruit?”* (side note– it SUCKS that we got screwed over by fruit. I mean, could it not have been something awesome, like prehistoric ninja battle?)
And God said “You have made me very sad. I love you, but you disobeyed me, and this is why you can’t have nice things.” *
See, God gave us free will. He does not want slaves. He wants us to recognize our dignity as His children. He wants us to LOVE Him, and forcing someone to love you doesn’t actually count (probably why I don’t have a husband). So we get to make the decision to love Him or not. Adam&Eve said “NOT” first, but almost every single other person in the history of the world (save 2) have said not at some point as well.
Suffering boils down to free will. We have chosen against God and nature; nature acts against us. Sickness, death, evil… all of these are natural reactions to our disobedience.
I just realized I’m super off topic. Reigning it in.
God loves all people perfectly. He loves you and me, even though we are sinners. He loves the women, the gays, the unborn, the still born, the broken, the proud, the vain, the children, the elderly, the atheists, the Christians, the Jews, the prosecuted, the lonely, the despairing, the joyful, the lost, the weak, the strong, the Buddhists, the sadists, the Satanists, the Americans, the Africans, the Asians… the whole spectrum of humanity. We were all created.
Pope Francis can see that. The political issues pale in comparison to love. Pope Francis is calling us to love Jesus by loving the people of the world. God did not intend for same-sex marriage. I know that this is not a popular opinion. But God specifically created “them male and female. For this reason, man shall leave his father and mother and the two shall become one flesh.” (Mark 10:6-8). St. Paul says in his first letter to the Corinthians that it is better for people to remain unmarried and chaste and to only get married if they can’t control themselves (1 Corinthians 7:8-9). In the end, marriage is not about sex. Life is not about sex. Society today has told us that all that matters is sex, and that sex doesn’t even really matter.
What the Church says is “We love the children of God. We want to see them in Heaven. Here are some guidelines to help you seek a virtuous life. We would not recommend having sex outside of sacramental marriage. Contraception does not allow for a fully united marriage. God created each and every life, would you consider an alternative besides abortion for your unplanned pregnancy? Please talk to someone if you have questions. All we want is for you to recognize how much your Father in Heaven loves you.”
As Catholics, our position on these controversial issues seems outdated. But there is a reason for them– first and foremost that life is about more than sex… It is about virtue. It is about authentic love. Pope Francis is doing his best to make sure we recognize that.
Above is the link to the interview if you want to read the whole thing.
Thanks for reading. Lemme know if you wanna chat about it. Also, my apologies for the scatter brained. Ha. It’s early.
*Paraphrased, though I like to think that Adam was sort of a bro and that God was like a patient mother in that moment.