In recent years I’ve noticed an incredible rise in the attacks on Pope Francis when observing social media platforms. The Pontiff is not the only Pope who has been criticized and certainly will not be the last. This new fresh criticism is more notable only because of the rise of social media reached it’s popular peak since his coming into office in 2013.
Young people are really engaged with social media and especially young converts are exposed now to the dirty sins (not crimes) of the brethren in the Church. On Michael Voris channel, he has done unbelievable damage to the image of the Church, to existing Catholics and new converts coming to terms with their faith. His mud-slinging reckless journalism has exhibited how criticism of the Holy Father and clerics in such a manner rarely achieves any results. It is not what you say, it’s how you say it and transmit the Gospel that matters.
In Michael Voris world only public confrontation not private dialogue works because he observes how John the Baptist and Jesus engaged in the same. However, he fails to observe that they were speaking to a group of deeply religious people and thus even the onlookers and listeners were mostly practicing Jews. In this way it was not public but within the community. Today the community we speak to is very wide and varied across the globe. Tuning in from around the world are a selection of people from all faiths and none.
St. John Chrysostom has an entire homily rebuking those who publicly publish the sins of others before the entire community. He really didn’t like it at all and used many scriptural passages to support his instruction never to bring before the public the sins of others.
hear what the Christ says.St.John Chrysostom, homily on publishing the errors of the brethren, 4If your brother have committed a fault against you convince him of it,and he did not saybetween him and the whole town,nor,between you and the whole people,butonly between you and him.Let the accusation, he says, be unwitnessed to, in order that the change to amendment may be made easy of digestion.
Add not therefore wound to wound by exposing him who has done wrong; but administer for yourself the counsel unwitnessed.St.John Chrysostom, on publishing the errors of the brethren, 4
Does St.John Chrysostom have an incorrect view of John the Baptist and his public approach? Of course not, as truth cannot contradict truth. As you can see even from these small quotes, that it is never good practice to engage in publicly criticizing the actions of the Pope or clergy, and if you’re doing so it must be done with great love and respect and within the community. If we feel the Pope is in error about something that is ok, there is no sin in this. It is only when you get confrontational and be critical in a bad spirit from the public pulpit of YouTube we encounter problems.
You can even discuss criticisms you have on social media if you are aware the platform makes up mostly the religious community and a private group or kept among Christian friends. The reason for this is because people ignorant of the faith can often get the wrong end of the stick, and the devil, manipulating and playing upon the persons conscience will deceive such people whose conscience isn’t fully formed on the matter. St.Paul talks about this regarding eating food of the pagans offerings and how a man informed on the matter that it’s only food may offend a weaker brother who will lose his faith by witnessing him eating the food. He instructs it’s better not to eat it if that is the case.
Therefore, we must be prudent when it comes to publishing the sins of others on a public platform. I understand that many are deeply hurt with the inaction of clergy, so they make it public in a last-ditch effort to bring about change but it never works. In Martin Luther’s case it only brought about the protestant reformation and the last thing we need is another schism. I am inviting you not to fall into the trap that many YouTube channels have done today.
Here is what I do. I talk to the priest. If I have a hunch talking to the priest will not work, I skip to writing a letter (I’ve only ever written a letter once I mostly e-mail). If my letter/e-mail is not received well (in which most cases was never responded to) then I skip to plan B. If it is not responded to and my concerns not dealt with, I go to a higher source and so it goes. If after all my efforts nobody gets back to me or responds here is what I do next.
I go over to the kettle and boil it. I make for myself a warm cup of coffee, relax and leave it all in God’s hands. Anything else is usually from the evil one for we must practice faith that God is in control. You see, it’s no secret that in the end…God wins. Always remember that. Always remember they must answer for the neglect, but at the same time don’t relish in that either but pray for them.
Criticize the Pope with love but make it rare and your prayer for him along with acknowledgement of your own great errors even more frequent.