My main complaint about the leaders of the conservative Catholic subculture is that they speak and act as if they own Jesus, as if their understanding of Christianity is total absolute divinely-revealed-only-to-them dogma. They think that if they don’t preach (their messed up version of) Jesus, He will not be preached.
Here’s a true story that puts anyone with that attitude in their place. The story was told at my parish many years ago by the priest in question. Not a parable. Factual.
This missionary priest was working in Appalachia, where there are few Catholics and few Catholic churches. He was at the time the only priest for miles and miles around. And he didn’t say this, but I had the impression that he was acting as if he were the sole source of the Gospel for that region. But you can see why he would think that.
So he was working with a family that had recently converted to Catholicism. Their little girl had cancer, and was undergoing chemo therapy. The whole family shaved their heads in solidarity with the girl, since she was losing her hair due to the chemo.
At some point, the priest visits the girl in the hospital. He says to her, “When you pray, how do you like to pray best?” She says, “I like to pray best when Jesus comes and sits on my bed and tells me what to say.”
The priest was stunned. He was speechless. Here he was, somewhat arrogantly (according to his own admission) thinking he was the only one for many miles around who could teach this girl the true Faith. He was the sole source of truth for that large area, right? Who else was going to give salvation to this girl, if not him?
Oh yeah, that guy. Jesus. The Alpha and the Omega. In person.
The priest was greatly humbled by this experience. And the girl later recovered from her cancer.
So your understanding of Catholicism is not necessarily correct in every aspect. You are just a fallen sinner. You are not the Word made flesh. You are not perfect infinite goodness.
And don’t bother to tell me that this Pope was a heretic, and that Pope erred gravely. How would you know?
The Pope speaks for Christ. The Pope is the Rock on which the Church is founded. Each Pope has the gift of truth and a never-failing faith. And you don’t. You’re not the Pope and you’re not the Messiah.
So humble yourself before infinite truth made flesh, and open your heart to true faith, which believes the teachings of Jesus and His Church, even contrary to one’s own mind and heart. Who owns Jesus? Not you or I, that’s for sure.