It is not my place or even my responsibility to criticize the Holy Father. But I do have questions. The Pope need not and must not heed the opinions of the world, when he speaks to the Church. Is it, however, possible to completely ignore the consequences of what he says in an age, when everything is political, 24/7, and subject to spin and media manipulation? What does it say to the Faithful, when the Bishop of Rome appears at least to provide talking points to the most anti-Catholic President of the United States in modern American history, indeed a President who has declared war on the Catholic Church? In the vice-presidential debates was Joe Biden and not Paul Ryan faithfully presenting the Catholic teaching on social justice? What about those who in fidelity to the Catholic Faith have, often at tremendous cost to themselves, worked long and hard for the defense of Life and religious conscience and the sanctity of the Sacrament of Marriage? Does the Vicar of the Good Shepherd and the Successor of St. Peter, who was told by Jesus 'feed my sheep', have a pastoral responsibility to these courageous souls?
From time to time people ask me why do we Anglicans pray for the Pope? There is a dogmatic answer to that question: the unity of the Church and the role which the Pope has to play in that unity. But more often I say: if the Pope is as good and important as some think, then he certainly needs our prayers; if he is as bad as some imagine, then he needs our prayers even more. No, Pope Francis will not be dropped from the Diptychs. But we might pray for him a little more earnestly and urgently.