The Internet was all abuzz this week with news that Pope Francis had announced bold, sweeping changes to Catholic teachings on abortion, gay marriage, and contraception. Except, of course, that he hadn’t. Even a little bit.
This is the second time that Pope Francis has issued statements that amount to basically restating fundamental Christian theology, and has been met with awestruck praise from the mainstream press for revolutionizing the Catholic faith. Don’t get me wrong: I’m pleased (even as a non-Catholic) that everyone seems to love the New Catholicism so much. I’m just scratching my head because it is actually the same as the Old Catholicism.
Of course that’s a bit of an exaggeration: Pope Francis’s tone is markedly different. But that doesn’t actually justify all the “did you hear what the Pope just said!?!?!” coverage that is coming out, because the secular press is just as incapable of understanding the New Catholicism as it was of understanding the Old Catholicism. It hated the one and loves the other, but it understands neither.