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Catholic Conservatism and Pope Francis: Natural Law and the Pope

Pope Francis Bishop of Rome
Editors note: The Center for Garden State Families Board of Directors is a good cross-section of Christianity. We have Roman Catholic and Quaker. We have Reformed and Pentecostal. We have Calvinist and Arminian. Methodist and nondenominational. Yet we all have one common denominator and that is The Lord Jesus Christ. We identify ourselves as a Christian family advocacy organization. The Christian faith comprises 2.5 billion people worldwide in 2019. There are an estimated 41,000 Christian denominations. Roman Catholicism is the largest, comprising 1.3 billion, according to Pew Research.    
When the Pope speaks, it influences and has consequences for the entire Christian community. Biblical Christians, both Catholic and non-Catholic, understand and embrace the fact of natural law. Natural law is given by God and for Americans it is acknowledged and wholly embraced in our foundations. The article that follows was written by a young Catholic man. It has been reviewed by multiple devoted Catholics ranging from their 20s to those in their 70s and those in-between. I myself am an Evangelical Pentecostal minister. Many hours of prayer and thoughtful editing went into this essay. We prayerfully submit it to you. 
Rev. Gregory Quinlan

Catholic Conservatism and Pope Francis:
Natural Law and the Pope

By Christopher Jimenez 

As a young Catholic eager to join the conservative cause, I was surprised to learn about an apparent contradiction between Catholicism and conservatism. I am not referring to conservatism in merely the political sense; I am referring to conservatism in the broader sense of conserving traditional values, also known as Natural Law. Raised in the perennial tradition of the Catholic Church in a secluded environment where my world consisted of chapel and study, the “real world” has taught me things that never would have crossed my mind. One of these insightful lessons consisted in the difficulty to prove your dedication to natural law by simply affirming your Catholic identity. In my mind, how can you not be conservative and Catholic? The reasons for an apparent contradiction may seem plentiful in our modern times but are far from proving its conclusion.When trying to argue for Catholic conservatism (natural law), however, I cannot stop from disbelief and feeling shame when I look up at my Catholic Church leaders.

Starting from the tip of the hierarchy, all the way down to the laity, woke warriors have infiltrated the Catholic Church. How else could I explain the reprehensible actions of our current pope? His personal hand-picking of gay priests and bishops to the latest Synod on Synodality can only be explained if Pope Francis is an infiltrated woke activist hiding under the cloak of the papacy. Many I know had high hopes for Pope Francis when he was elected, but at this point in history, who can sincerely advocate for his innocence?A well-intentioned person retracts from his previous mistakes and avoids scandal through his actions. Has Pope Francis done any of these so that we can give him the benefit of the doubt? A pope who shies from condemning the heresies of LGBTQ clergy, enjoys private meetings with them behind locked doors, and then places them in a position to speak publicly to the whole Church, is not the least bit trustworthy, conservative, or even Christian for that matter.Therefore, why am I determined to defend the necessary complementarity between Catholicism and conservatism?

It is because no matter how woke, perverted, degenerate, or malevolent any Catholic Church leader may be, they can never change the teachings of the Catholic Church which I hold to be true. And because the scandalous example of Church leaders cannot alter the Catholic teachings in any way, there is no doubt that Catholicism by definition is conservative, i.e., adherence to natural law.          
How conservative is Catholic teaching? For every single culture war front, you could find the true (conservative, traditional, real) response to the situation in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Just to name a few examples:-  
Abortion: “Since the first century, the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law” (CCC. 2271).-
Homosexuality: “Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.” (CCC. 2359) (Can you imagine what would happen if we tell the LGTBQ community to simply refrain from sex? Their rage would be ignited by the simplicity of the solution!)-    
Family: “A man and a woman united in marriage, together with their children, form a family. This institution is prior to any recognition by public authority, which has an obligation to recognize it.” (CCC. 2202)           The list of quotes could go on and on and could include texts throughout different periods of the Church. Although it does not do justice to the richness of Catholic tradition, for the sake of brevity I will limit myself to the aforementioned passages from the Catechism. The usefulness of quoting the latest Catechism of the Catholic Church (promulgated by Pope John Paul II in 1992) is that it speaks much more pertinently to the modern man. Regardless of what Catholic text you read that is supported by the authentic Catholic Magisterium (the official teaching of the Catholic Church), you will always find deeply conservative values defended in it.   

If we have established that Catholicism is conservative, meaning natural law and our current pope is woke, why doesn’t he simply change the official teaching of the Catholic Church? After all, aren’t Catholics bound to follow the pope blindly as the supreme pontiff of the Church? The response comes in a yes-and-no format. Yes, Catholics are bound to follow the pope and always recognize his supreme authority, but NO he cannot change official Catholic teachings. Pope Francis knows this better than anyone. He can “unofficially” preach heresies in private interviews, writings, or conversations. Catholics are not obliged to follow papal teachings that are not presented with the full authority of the papacy. And if Pope Francis were to “officially” teach heresy to the Catholic Church, Catholics are again not bound to follow it. It is an already established truth that newly defined Catholic dogma can never contradict previously defined Catholic dogma. Therefore, even if Pope Francis tries to impose heresy on the conscience of Catholics, he has zero authority.  

The best route for a woke pope to teach heresy would be to create confusion through scandalous acts, which is exactly what Pope Francis is doing. By promoting gay clergy to speak at the Synod, Pope Francis is not directly teaching heresy; however, he is very openly promoting the LGBT ideology. The most destructive part of this scheme is that, when directly asked to clarify his actions, Pope Francis rarely does!  

Under these circumstances, I sadly nod my head when I hear about the evils of the Catholic Church when told by non-Catholics. I know and feel pain for them more than non-Catholics do. Regardless, though, the notion of Catholic conservatism meaning natural law, is not an ideal, it’s a reality. The Catholic tradition, which we have inherited from our Lord Jesus Christ through the Apostles, is and always will be conservative. Our Lord was obviously not worried about political labels or names when he gave us the Truth, but in our contemporary political scenario, His Truth, The Truth, can only align with what is commonly known as conservatism. Therefore, all Catholics who truly affirm the Faith they received in Baptism, must, regardless of any scandalous examples from our hierarchy, consider themselves conservatives, following the natural created order.And as Catholic conservatives, we are called not only to fight for conservative policies through political action, but also to pray for our misguided Church leaders.

Even when our prayers seem ineffective, we must not be disheartened. Jesus already warned us more than 2,000 years ago that our current dangers were coming: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.” (Mt. 7:15-16) Like ravenous wolves, many Church leaders do not intend to foster our growth but slaughter us. How can we find comfort in such a dreadful situation? Only in the promises of our Lord. Whether we have holy leaders showing us the path to Heaven, or ruthless mercenaries pushing us down the steps to Hell, we always know who is beside us and encouraging us to march forward: “And behold, I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Mt. 28:20).