Bill O’Reilly was talking about the pope today. He’s Roman Catholic, so I guess he’s more directly effected by Benedict XVI’s election than am I (perhaps). That’s fine. And of course he was having his predictable go at the liberal media going nuts over the conservative Ratzinger. Ok. Then his commentary addressed the hot button issues of clerical celibacy, female priests, and homosexuality, as could also be expected. Saw it coming. But then he took it in a slightly different direction, albeit one that I’ve unfortunately heard.
It was something to the effect of, “This pope actually supported the withholding of the sacraments from pro-choice legislators. He can’t do that. It’s a state issue.”
I’m sorry? A church is not allowed to exercise church discipline over its own? How is that a state issue? How is this an issue of a meddling cardinal instead of a Roman Catholic acting contrary to his faith and being held accountable by his church? Listening in my car it hammered home again the folly of secular influence on the church.
America is a democracy; there you get a vote. In the church you do not. We have a King, and his name is not Benedict. Jesus Christ is His name. His Word is authoritative. Like it or not, absolutes exist that are simply not open to debate. Even as we are free from sin we are not free to sin. And certainly the church ought never to grant its blessing to sin, explicitly or otherwise. Where sin exists God works through His Law to bring about repentance. He then builds us up by means of the Gospel of Christ. And he works through means–through Word and Sacrament, through his called mouthpieces. No, you don’t get to vote on it. Ultimately, your opinions and political/social/secular bent don’t count.
To be honest, to hear those who profess to be Christians speak in these ways really breaks my heart. The task of correcting such secular influences is daunting. It is exhausting. But no one said it would be easy. Teach the faith. Proclaim the Gospel. God is faithful and continues to work.