Why I Cringe When Pope Francis Gets On An Airplane

Deal W. Hudson
June 27, 2016

Is it the altitude? Is it free cocktails? Is it the urging of a captive media hungry for headlines? Is it a loquacious and friendly Pope who likes to freewheel and think aloud? I just don’t know. But now we are told that Christians “have to apologize for so many things, not just for this (treatment of gay people), but we must ask for forgiveness. Not just apologize – forgiveness.”

I have no trouble apologizing for my misdeeds, even if they are corporate in nature, meaning if they are directed towards a group of some kind.  As a young man, I had to come to terms, and repent of, the racism I was raised with. I’m very grateful to the University of Texas student who taught me that lesson early in my freshman year.  After the initial hurt feelings, my reaction was, “Well, of course, he’s right!”

Towards gays and lesbians, I’ve never felt any prejudice.  Many of my close friends know this, and there’s no need to say any more than that.  So I am assuming that Pope Francis must not be talking about the prejudice of that kind, say, parallel to racism, because to say that all Christians need to apologize for casts a much wider net.

My interpretation of the Pope’s remarks is this: Pope Francis thinks that the Church’s teaching on homosexuality, it’s “intrinsically disordered,” and homosexual activity, they’re always “sinful,” has created in the minds and hearts of Christians a prejudicial disdain toward homosexuals, lesbians, etc. In other words, Christians have not been able to love them authentically because Church teaching, as well as much non-Catholic, has labeled them and their sexuality as unnatural and morally wrong.

I simply don’t agree, and, thankfully, I don’t have to in order to be a faithful Catholic.  Why? Because I don’t buy the argument that anyone who believes another person, or group, to be sinful or fundamentally disordered, is unable to love them, care for them, befriend them, feel compassionate towards them.  That’s refuted by experience and example over and over.

I think immediately of how Cardinal John O’Connor emptied bedpans in New York City’s AIDS clinics. The creation of the Terrance Cardinal Cooke Health Care Center on Fifth Avenue that was founded as a health care center for AIDS patients. A book could be written, probably in multiple volumes, on other examples of caring for those with whom we have such disagreements about lifestyle and sexual orientation.

Pope Francis did go on to spread the net even further,

“I think that the Church not only should apologize… to a gay person whom it offended but it must also apologize to the poor as well, to the women who have been exploited, to children who have been forced to work.”

Why not apologize for all the evil in the world or all the evil that has ever been perpetrated by anybody, anywhere? Doesn’t that make apologies meaningless, and the request for forgiveness as well?  I know only one person who took on the “sins of the world,” only one man who was capable of doing anything substantial about those sins, namely, offering a way of redemption to every fallen, sinful human being.

There are reasonable ways to talk about our responsibility towards the needs of others, even around the world.  Reasonable within a Christian framework, I mean. But to begin by taking responsibility for people you’ve never met, or for feelings you’ve never had, is to affirm that our sins are the products of social structures, rather than personal choices and actions.

If I must apologize to homosexuals, lesbians, the poor, exploited women and children, then that can only be because I belong to a society whose inherent class divisions necessarily do harm to certain classes of people, and create those classes at the same time.  This is a Marxist point of view, I am sure the reader recognizes it, but it’s a viewpoint now adopted by “social justice” Catholics.

Pope Francis appears to be saying that we sin necessarily due to the place we find ourselves in a layered society, compounded by the teaching of the Church towards gays and lesbians.  Thus we must apologize en masse. This is why I cringe whenever Pope Francis gets on an airplane.

By Deal Hudson

Deal W. Hudson was born November 20, 1949 in Denver, CO, to Emmie and Jack Hudson, both native Texans. Dr. Hudson had an older sister Ruth, and eventually, a younger sister, Elizabeth. Emmie Hudson, Ruth Hudson and Elizabeth Hudson now live in Houston, TX; Jack Hudson passed away some years ago. The late Jack Hudson was a captain for Braniff Airlines in Denver at the time of Dr. Hudson’s birth. Later the family moved to Kansas City when his father joined the Federal Aviation Agency. From Kansas City, the Hudson family moved to Minneapolis, then to Massapequa, NY, and finally to Alexandria, VA, where they first occupied a home overlooking the Potomac River adjacent to the Mount Vernon estate. After a year, the family moved to a home on Tarpon Lane a few houses up the street from the Yacht Haven boat docks. Dr. Hudson attended Mt. Vernon Elementary School from grades 4 to 6 and has a special gratitude for the teaching of Mr. Hoppe who first told him was a ‘smart lad.’ Having moved with his family to Fort Worth, TX in 1960, Dr. Hudson attended William Monnig Junior High and Arlington Heights HS. In high school, Dr. Hudson was captain of the golf team, editor of the literary magazine (Guerdon), and performed the role of Peter in the ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ during his senior year. Dr. Hudson graduated cum laude with a major in philosophy from the University of Texas-Austin in 1971 where his undergraduate advisor was Prof. John Silber. His teachers at the University of Texas included Prof. Louis Mackey and Prof. Larry Caroline. Dr. Hudson minored in both classics and English literature. Dr. Hudson lived in Atlanta from 1974-1989, where he attended Emory University, receiving a Phd from the Graduate Institute for the LIberal Arts. He also taught philosophy at Mercer University in Atlanta from 1980-89. In 1989 Dr. Hudson and his family left Atlanta when he was hired to teach philosophy at Fordham University in the Bronx. Dr. Hudson taught at Fordham, and also part-time at New York University, from 1989 to 1994. Dr. Hudson first came to Atlanta in after graduation from Princeton Theological Seminary (PTS) with an M.Div. While at PTS, Dr. Hudson managed the Baptist Student Union at Princeton University and became its first director. Dr. Hudson also was licensed at a minister in the Southern Baptist Convention at Madison Baptist Church in Madison, NJ. Dr. Hudson’s primary area of study at PTS was the history of Christian doctrine which he pursued with Dr. Karlfried Froelich. In 1984 Dr. Hudson was received in the Catholic Church by Msgr. Richard Lopez, with the special permission of Archbishop Thomas A. Donnellan, at the chapel of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cancer Home in Atlanta. Dr. Hudson has been married twenty-five years to Theresa Carver Hudson and they have two children, Hannah Clare, 23, and Cyprian Joseph (Chip), 15, adopted from Romania when he was three years old. The Hudson family has lived in Fairfax, VA for more than fifteen years, after having lived five years in Bronxville, NY and a year in Atlanta, GA, where Theresa and Deal were married.

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