As usual with Allen, this is expertly written but also avoids the obvious. He writes, "Given his endless capacity for one-liners, this pontiff may still sometimes leave the world scratching its head. Grasping the difference between doctrine and application, however, often will go a long way to getting the real Pope Francis on his feet." But why canon a seasoned pastor speak in such a manner that makes this distinction easy to grasp? Look at Cordileone is SF: no confusion whatsoever in these words:"...[No] teacher is being asked to sign a statement of faith or belief. No teacher has to change his or her beliefs. The belief statements that will be in the faculty handbooks begin with the phrase “we, the institution, affirm and believe.” ... The first reason for the language is to signal to the outside world that, even as many people change their minds about traditional beliefs, the archdiocesan Catholic schools are still fully Catholic. The institutions still profess these beliefs. And the second reason is to alert teachers to the fact that these affirmations, which are related to hot button topics in secular society and in the Catholic Church, remain the teachings of the Catholic Church. Therefore, teachers in a Catholic school are not allowed to speak against these important beliefs in the school, ***nor are they allowed to act in a public way contrary to those beliefs***, as this would compromise the Catholic mission of the school. Most teachers in our Catholic schools already behave this way. Inserting the language in the handbook is simply one way to memorialize the professional approach already taken by the teachers in our Catholic high schools."If Francis would simply talk in a manner anywhere nearly as clear as this, the confusion would dissipate. "I am a loyal son of the Church" means nothing, considering all the people protesting at Catholic high Schools would likely insist they are good and loyal Catholics. The degree of possible 'naivety' granted the Holy Father is a bit incredible, given if such is actually the case the situation out to prompt dismay and not patronizing attitudes about lovably unaware or pastoral Latinos. It might be argued that leaders, especially a Pope, are obligated to qualify statements that might scandalize the faithful. It might also be argued that Francis does not seem very interested in being pastor to "all" if all includes Traditionalists, for he has yet to throw them a rhetorical bone. In truth, Allen's spin is attractive, but it is hard to believe because it sounds like he is one among many adding a layer of intent to the pontiff's meanings that just hardly seems to really be there. Once again his spinners sounder Catholic than this Pope. Add to that my earlier lament about CRUX's reigning Anchoress Margery Eagan and her decidedly unCatholic musings, and I think we are left still asking for both the real John Allen and the real Pope Francis to please stand up. Clarity in doctrine and speech is aa necessary as well as reasonable request.
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