Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Thursday 06 May |
Saint of the Day: St. François Montmorency de Laval

If you’re shocked by what the pope says, consider this…


Pope Francis wears a traditional Mexican sombrero hat received as a gift by a Mexican journalist on February 12, 2016, aboard the plane to Havana. Pope Francis headed to Cuba on Friday looking to heal a 1,000-year-old rift in Christianity before embarking on a tour of Mexico dominated by modern day problems of drug-related violence and migration. / AFP / POOL / ALESSANDRO DI MEO

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 07/02/16

I’ve mentioned this to people when they take objection to some of Pope Francis’s off-the-cuff remarks: like every pope, he is a product of a particular time and place and culture. When he speaks, he’s often referencing attitudes some of us don’t recognize. But they are attitudes (and in some instances, approaches to the sacraments) that, nonetheless, comprise nearly half the Catholics in the world.

Now the Rev. Matthew Schneider fleshes that out in the pages of Crux: 

Several times, Pope Francis has said things that have really shocked a number of North American Catholics.  Yet if we put the comments in the context of Catholicism in other countries, often we’ll be shocked by the situation in those countries, not by the pope. Pope Francis is Argentinian and, save a few years study in Europe, he’s spent his entire life in the Latin American Church. In many respects, the Church in Latin America is in a very different position from the North American Church, both internally and with respect to regional cultural perspectives. I spent three years studying in Rome in a college where the majority of the religious brothers were from Latin America, and I began to realize how different some of our cultural and ecclesial assumptions are. …[One] difference is how in the U.S. and Canada we struggle to form people’s consciences so they don’t receive Communion if they’ve committed mortal sin, while in Latin America the opposite problem is true: People believe they need to go to confession each time they go to Communion, even if they’ve committed no mortal sins. A recent example comes to mind where several American commentators I’d generally trust could not understand Pope Francis’ comment about priests denying baptism to unwed mothers. They wrote lines like, “I’ve never known a priest who would deny a child baptism just based on that.” I believe them, as I have never met a priest like that in the U.S. either. Yet, speaking to those from Latin America, this seems to be an all-too-common practice in certain areas. Unfortunately, priests there take Canon 868, requiring “a founded hope that the infant will be brought up in the Catholic religion,” and make an assumption this can only happen in married couples. …One of the things we have to accept with the Latin American pope is that when he talks about the situation of the Church worldwide, the church in Latin America will loom large. This isn’t necessarily inappropriate, as 41 percent of the world’s Catholics live in Latin America, while Europe – home of every other pope in the last 1000+ years – has 24 percent, and the U.S. and Canada have only 7 percent. If we get an American pope, he would have an obvious tendency to emphasize the situation of the Church in the United States and we would see little reason to apologize for this. Likewise, we shouldn’t see any problem with a pope from Latin America emphasizing the difficulties of the Church there. It should be even less surprising when Francis’ home comprises almost half of all Catholics in the world.

Read it all

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to the “Holy Mothe...
I.Media for Aleteia
These 30 shrines will lead the Rosary Relay for end of the pandem...
Cerith Gardiner
7 Ways to strengthen your relationship with the Virgin Mary
Philip Kosloski
How to pray the Chaplet of St. Joseph
Matthew Becklo
Yes, ‘The Chosen’ is that good—and just keeps getting...
SAINT Januarius
J-P Mauro
Watch the blood of St. Januarius liquefy in May 2021
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio’s favorite prayer of petition
See More