First, is the criticism the Pope has received from other Christians for his call to prayer and fasting, saying such acts are irrelevant to deal with the real issues of life. Moreover, I have read some real incendiary comments from anti-Catholic Protestants who will obviously oppose anything the Pope says precisely because he is Catholic. I wonder for some of these people if the Pope came out and said smoking was bad for one's health, they would take up the habit just because he said not to do so. It's all very discouraging.
Second, are some of the members of the media who take issue with the Pope wading into geo-political waters. Mark Phillips of CBS News stated the following:
This pope with the common touch has been uncommonly active, lobbying against an attack on Syria. He's used his last two major public appearances in St. Peter's Square to appeal to world leaders – and that primarily means President Obama-- not to do it....Pope Francis has followed up his appeal by writing to Vladimir Putin as current president of the G-20. 'Armed conflicts create profound divisions and deep wounds, which require many years to heal,' he said. It must have been music to the Russian president's ears.
The Pope may be taking a moral position, in his mind, but in arguing against military action, he has entered into the world of partisan international politics. He's taken sides.Well, Mr. Philips, it is not the task of Christians to attend only to the world of irrelevant private spirituality leaving the task of running the world to the nations. I have certainly been critical of the religious right and the left and their Christendom notions about politics, but one thing is certain-- Christian spirituality to be true spirituality cannot be divorced from the problems and the pain and the suffering of the world, and the Pope has a duty as a follower of Jesus to express his views on behalf of the church. And, by the way-- there is nothing partisan about this discussion. The latest polls reveal that partisans on the left and the right oppose a military strike in Syria. Actually, Mr. Philips, it is your partisan politics that has led you to call today's prayer and fasting "a religious street protest." Of course, it is that, but it is not a partisan protest, it is a protest against the ways of empires, which is not the way of God's kingdom.
As I have said before, too many journalists in the national media don't get Christianity in general let alone Catholicism, which is why every time a new Pope is elected, the talking heads are so surprised that the Cardinals did not elect a Protestant. And by the way, too many Protestants don't understand Catholicism either, which is why they are unfairly hostile to our Catholic sisters and brothers. As a Protestant, I have my disagreements with Catholicism to be sure, but too many Protestants just don't want to understand the Catholic Church in a way that their criticisms are at least reasonable and fair-- which has been seen this week in those who have criticized the Pope for a call to prayer and fasting...
...which is unbelievable, but not surprising.