Tag Archives: Pope Francis

Picking and Choosing

I like to pick and choose. My mom would have called it ‘being discriminating’. As in, perceptive, insightful, astute. Choosing to have only one drink at a party. Choosing to get eight hours sleep per night. Choosing to put the girls in private schools. Charting a difference in the options that are available and making choices, hopefully, good ones.

You can pick and choose your ideology as in a system of ideas and ideals, esp. one that forms the basis of economic or political theory and policy. And we do, pick and choose. We seek cogent arguments to back up our choices. We can be social and fiscal conservatives. Social conservatives and fiscal liberals or mix and match anyway we choose. Ideology allows us to build a system that works for us. I can like all or part of an ideology, I can blend ideologies and make that work for me.

It is difficult when we are ideological as in adhering to a system. It is also difficult when we use that term ideological as a pejorative when talking about those of a certain political party, usually the opposite political party, whichever that is. I see a problem today in the place where ideology and faith cross paths. There may be some ideology in faith, but there is no faith in ideology. Faith is a strong belief in God, or in the doctrines of religion based on spiritual understanding rather than proof. In faith, Catholic faith, there is no option to pick and choose.

I believe. I don’t know. I have faith.

Right now, Pope Francis is getting a lot of press for his statements, both verbal and visual. As a cradle Catholic, I would say, Francis has mastered the Marshall McLuhan ‘medium is the message’ ideal, lol, how like a Jesuit! Staying out of the Papal Apartments–brilliant. Talking about the inclusive Church–also brilliant. His most recent statement about the ‘tyranny of unfettered capitalism’ has the progressives cheering and the conservatives aghast. Why? Because they are trying to fit a faith based statement about the dignity of man into their ideology. Francis, no less than his predecessors, all of them, believes; he is speaking from faith. What both sides forget is that he believes that abortion is a sin, and so is same sex marriage, no matter how much his faith is inclusive. The Pope represents a total belief system, no options to pick and choose, a faith that has outlasted most ideologies. I believe. A lot. Totally. I have faith.



March 19. The feast of Saint Joseph, husband of Mary, father, well, of sorts, of Jesus. In my family we always said this was Dad’s feast day, for St. Joseph the Worker. Not that there wasn’t a Saint James, but there are a bunch of them and who knew which James Dad was named for. So Mom called it. March 19.

Raised in California we always knew this was the day the swallows returned to Mission San Juan Capistrano. A beautiful mission, the oldest in building in California still in use, since 1782, we never went on St. Joseph’s Day. It was full of tourists and gawkers. We went on an off day, not even a Sunday, to Mass in the coolness of the mission. All the missions were cold. You went in the middle of summer, you brought a jacket. The deep and wide walls created a stillness and a chill, and you welcomed it when it was ninety-five degrees outside.

It’s very fitting that Pope Francis chooses March 19 for his installation as St. Joseph was declared  the patron saint and protector of the Universal Church by Pius IX. It’s also the day the swallows come to San Juan Capistrano. Swallows, a favorite bird of St. Francis of Assisi. It is considered the ‘miracle’ as they return each year at the same time, to nest, to spend the summer growing as a flock and then to leave on the October 23.

March 19. A feast day.