Dear Pope Francis-
What a week, right? Another plane interview. More media hoopla. More Catholics and non-Catholics alike left confused. Your comments about contraception use left pretty much everyone wondering what you meant.
I’m sure you’ve lost sleep. Who wouldn’t lose sleep over tending the flock, caring for and loving the people God has placed in their care? I know I lose sleep over tending my little brood, and there are only 7 of them–my husband and my six children. In fact, I’m up before dawn right now, with a fussy and restless baby. Over in Italy, you’ve been up for at least half the day. Hopefully you’re able to find some peace and eat a decent meal, and rest in the Lord. But, you’re the Pope and I’m sure you’ve even been to Mass. Me? I hope to pop in to my parish for a few minutes of Adoration.
So, dear Pope Francis, I’m praying for you. Daily my prayer lifts in the morning, that my work through the day may be offered for the intentions of Christ’s Sacred Heart, my friends and family, and for you. People say being a mom is the toughest job in the world, but somehow, I think my job doesn’t compare to yours. I pray for you, for your strength, for the Holy Spirit to continually guide you, and for the love of Christ to be what people see in you.
I am deeply moved by your ability to see Christ in others, to joyfully embrace the unwanted and unloved, to take on a role that is so difficult and under-appreciated.
You kiss babies. You pray with your predecessor. I truly believe you mean to do your best as the vicar of Christ, appointed by the Holy Spirit. You encourage all of us to do our best as children of God, to spread love, to make a daily effort doing works of mercy.
Because I believe the Holy Spirit is guiding the Church, and that papal infallibility does not extend–ever–to airplane interviews, I’m not overly concerned about this confusion. I still stand by the official Church teaching on contraception.
12. This particular doctrine, often expounded by the magisterium of the Church, is based on the inseparable connection, established by God, which man on his own initiative may not break, between the unitive significance and the procreative significance which are both inherent to the marriage act.
The reason is that the fundamental nature of the marriage act, while uniting husband and wife in the closest intimacy, also renders them capable of generating new life—and this as a result of laws written into the actual nature of man and of woman. And if each of these essential qualities, the unitive and the procreative, is preserved, the use of marriage fully retains its sense of true mutual love and its ordination to the supreme responsibility of parenthood to which man is called. We believe that our contemporaries are particularly capable of seeing that this teaching is in harmony with human reason.
14. Therefore We base Our words on the first principles of a human and Christian doctrine of marriage when We are obliged once more to declare that the direct interruption of the generative process already begun and, above all, all direct abortion, even for therapeutic reasons, are to be absolutely excluded as lawful means of regulating the number of children. (14) Equally to be condemned, as the magisterium of the Church has affirmed on many occasions, is direct sterilization, whether of the man or of the woman, whether permanent or temporary. (15)
Similarly excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation—whether as an end or as a means. (16) Humanae Vitae
Clarification from you would be great, to help alleviate all the concerns, and to allow each and every Catholic to continue faithfully following Church teaching (and to help those who aren’t, to work towards a more faithful following and understanding of that teaching).
I pray for you. Tending a flock is hard work. I know, and my little family is large by some standards, but so small compared to the Catholic family and global human community that you shepherd. I pray that God’s will be done through you, as the Holy Spirit guides you. I pray you faithfully uphold the Truth, instruct with clarity, and lead in love. I pray for the faithful, to remain steadfast, and for those who have fallen away or never believed, to gain deeper understanding.
Lord Jesus, shelter our Holy Father the Pope under the protection of Your Sacred Heart. Be his light, his strength and his consolation. Amen.
Another prayer for the pope can be found here.
Since it’s highly unlikely Pope Francis will read my blog, I’m thinking of writing him a letter. You can, too. Maybe you want to make it a family activity, and have your children write him letters or draw pictures. Here is his address:
His Holiness Pope Francis
00120 Vatican City
And thanks to Kendra, here’s the proper salutation for a Catholic writing to the pope: Your Holiness, or: Most Holy Father,
The proper closing for a Catholic writing to the pope is: I have the honor to profess myself with the most profound respect, your Holiness’ most obedient and humble servant, or: I am, Your Holiness, most respectfully yours in Christ,
Send the letter for $1.20, or 3 forever stamps.
Wouldn’t it be neat if he writes back?