Jeanette in Austin TX called The Patrick Madrid Show to ask for some advice. She and her husband are Catholic, but he doesn’t want to attend Mass anymore because he doesn’t like Pope Francis, particularly his views on immigration. Here’s what she said: “My husband, who is Catholic … is now against the pope. He does not like some of the things the pope has said. And he feels that if he goes to church and they pray the prayers of the faithful, where they pray for the pope – I feel like even if you don’t agree with him, that’s what you want to do because you’re praying for the Lord’s will and we always pray for the leaders during the prayers of the faithful – but he doesn’t want anything to do with it.”
“Your instinct is correct,” said Patrick Madrid. “I think the answer, at least in part, is found here in 1 Timothy 2, beginning in verse one.”
First of all, then, I ask that supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone, for kings and for all in authority, that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity. This is good and pleasing to God our savior, who wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth.
“So I think the answer to the dilemma here is on the one hand, you can say, ‘Alright, fair enough. You don’t agree politically with the pope’s positions—okay. You don’t have to agree with them! If the pope has a political theory, that’s not covered under the charism of papal infallibility. You have freedom to disagree with what any given pope might say about something like that.’ That’s different, though, than if the pope were to be teaching formally to the Church on a matter of faith and morals, but that’s not what he’s referring to here,” said Madrid.
“So you can say: ‘If you don’t happen to like this particular pope—you don’t like his personality, you don’t like the political opinions—okay, fine. But, you do have an obligation, as scripture says, to pray for him. And this includes everyone else that you don’t like, to pray for them as well,’” said Madrid.
“I would try to approach it this way so that he can repurpose his energies and not have his energies going in the direction of hating on Pope Francis just because he disagrees with him, but rather apply those energies in the form of praying for Pope Francis. Because, let’s face it—Pope Francis asks for prayers as much as anyone else does, why don’t we grant him his wish and pray for him! And perhaps, over time … maybe your husband will develop a different view of the pope or he may at least soften in his sense of compassion toward someone he disagrees with or dislikes.”