The other day, a news agency posted opinion polls on Facebook asking whether or not the new Pope should “change the Church,” “allow women to be priests,” “approve contraception,” etc. Such opinion polls reveal at least two important things. First, society is generally clueless about authentic Catholic teaching and the Pope’s authority. Secondly, people tend to believe that Christ should serve them, not that they should serve Christ.
The Catholic Church (including the Pope) does not possess the authority to change Natural Law or the Law of Christ. Certain things have already been established by Christ. Some things the Church has deemed immoral and/or unnatural within the physical realm and the supernatural realm. The Church cannot say, “OK, those things are now considered moral and natural.” Morality and nature are not subject to public opinion. Catholic doctrine is not subject to public opinion. (Incidentally, there is a difference between Church doctrine and Church disciplines, a distinction many don’t consider). Christ’s Church is not a democracy. Catholic Christians are subject to the Church, because the Church is subject to Christ. The Pope has been given authority to protect the Deposit of Faith, not change it. Hence, the Catholic Church stands fast on matters of Faith and morals, even while other Christian churches cave in to public pressure.
We live in a fast food, have-it-your-way world. This is why so many people “church hop” and look for a church that agrees with their own opinions. People want to worship a Jesus that fits nicely within their zone of comfort. People want to shape God and the Church into their own images. This is upside down. Christians are supposed to be conformed to Christ, not to the world. Nevertheless, they often use the world’s standards to push for change in the Church. When those changes do not happen, they are indignant. This is not the humility of servants of Christ. It is ignorance at best, and rebellion at worst.