Some confused, curious, or rather higgledy-piggledy Catholic and non-Catholic millennials have raised the following issues quite persistently since 2013, the year the charismatic Pope Francis became 265th successor of Saint Peter and Vicar of Christ on Earth. Here are Pope Francis’ thoughts on them:
On nuclear and chemical armaments: “The catastrophic humanitarian and environmental effects of any employment of nuclear devices” will be doomsday for the entire humankind (Vatican City, November 10, 2017).
On transgender technology: Gender-changing technologies are “biological and psychical manipulation of sexual difference.” Sexual complementarity between a man and a woman is “creative and fruitful” (Vatican City, June 09, 2017).
On same sex marriage: Marriage is between a man and a woman and “it’s not possible to change it. It is part of nature.” Therefore, same-sex marriage is against the law of nature and the Law of God (Politics and Society, Dominique Wolton’s interview with the Holy Father, 2017).
On drug addicts (to addicts): “You are never alone.” While in Rio de Janeiro for the 2013 World Youth Day, Pope Francis visited St. Francis of Assisi Hospital and blessed a new wing dedicated to the treatment and rehabilitation of drug users. Mercy and compassion.
On euthanasia: Like suicide, euthanasia — or assisted suicide — is a “false sense of compassion”and a part of a “throwaway culture that treats a human person as a problem”(Vatican City, June 10, 2016).
On divorced/separated Catholics: They “are not excommunicated, and they absolutely must not be treated that way” (Vatican City, August 5, 2015). When in doubt, Christians must ask “What would Jesus do?” and offer them sympathy and much understanding.
On death penalty: It is “contrary to the Gospel” because it suppresses the “gift of life coming from God” (Vatican City, October 11, 2017).
On artificial contraception: It “is a sin” (Vatican City, September 2015). During Beatification process, Pope Francis described Pope Blessed Paul VI as “farsighted and wise, and at times alone, at the helm of the barque of Peter,” in reference to Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae, which affirmed the Catholic teaching against contraception.
On the ordination of women: It “is not open to discussion. Priesthood is reserved for men alone.” The Holy Father recalled the “indispensable role” of women in society. But the Church cannot change what Jesus willed, that is, women cannot be ordained priests and bishops (Vatican City, May 2014).
On internet pornography: It is immoral and an “abnormal consumption of internet sex”(Vatican City, June 09, 2017).
The millennial’s confusion begins when the secular mind alleges that the Catholic Church is as antiquated as a transistor radio in a digital age.
Reintroducing the old Roman idea of “democratism” into the Catholic belief system, some bamboozled laity and a few “more enlightened (sic)” clergy have advocated the policy of vox populi, which means that every socio-moral issue has to be put into a majority vote and that the Church should learn to accept whatever is popular (or what the people like).
Oddly, some defiant Catholic lawmakers in Congress, a few priests and religious insist on what they think is democratic, with each of them ready to tell Rome: “My way or the highway.”
Vox populi vox Dei or “the voice of the people is the voice of God” might sound ground-breaking when used in the Catholic context. But it could only make a “windsock” out of the Church that blows with the prevailing breeze, unfortunately confusing the truth with the majority opinion – to paraphrase Senator Jasper Irving in the 2007 drama film Lions for Lambs.
In other words, the truth is created neither by consensus nor by the majority opinion.
The official Catholic position on these most relevant issues is firmly grounded on the Gospel (Divine Revelation), Sacred Magisterium (teaching office), Sacred Tradition, and the natural law – and not on what is popular or convenient. Consequently, in the Catholic world, the obedience of the will is paramount.