by Chris Haire
Jacquelyn Dupuy attends Mass every Sunday, as well as several days during the week. She gives daily lessons on the catechism to her two young children. And on the first date with her now-husband, she quizzed him about his views on abortion.
But she won’t be among the throngs crossing the Potomac River to see the pope during his time in Washington, D.C., this week. Because of her deep faith, she says, Ms. Dupuy is troubled by Pope Francis’ relaxed disposition when it comes to controversial topics such as homosexuality, contraception and divorce.
“I’m not exactly sure where he stands on issues that are really important to me,” says Ms. Dupuy, a 37-year-old stay-at-home mother. “I feel there is a disconnect. He seems to be saying things that contradict church teaching.”
“Conservatives worry about the way he seems to have turned from the culture war over issues like abortion and homosexual marriage,” says Robert Royal, president of the conservative Faith and Reason Institute in Washington, D.C. “The image that gets transmitted is that these are not ‘Francis issues’—that he’s more interested in income inequality, the gap between rich and poor, the environment,” adds Mr. Royal, who belongs to the Catholic diocese here.
In the past few months, we have witnessed the gravest attacks on life, marriage, and religious liberty that our nation has ever endured. Planned Parenthood is profiting from unborn babies they dismember. The Supreme Court has undermined the truth of marriage in all 50 states. And Christians are being fined, and even thrown in jail, for their faith. These recent actions are attempting to rip by the roots the tenets that have made this nation the freest on the face of the planet.
Yet this week presents an historic and a hopeful moment for the nation. Pope Francis is visiting the United States. In stark contrast to media elites and national leaders smothering the truth of life, marriage, and religious liberty, Pope Francis has unabashedly stood for these primary gifts to humanity.
We, like Pope Francis, must speak boldly on these central issues of faith and family. We need not be afraid of the truth, because the truth has power. On marriage, we cannot redefine what God has defined for us. We can call it any “enduring bond,” but then marriage ceases to be a sacred union ordained by God.
“It’s high time that he said, ‘here’s the church’s teaching and we will not change on these issues,’ ” says Patrick O’Neill, a father of three who attends another church in the diocese, Holy Trinity in Gainesville, and says he “humbly disagree(s)” with the pope on his decision to discuss allowing divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion.