Michael Bayly has a post on his blog entitled Why We Cannot Cheer the Pope.
It’s difficult to cheer the Pope if you won’t first hear the Pope.
It’s like a child in the middle of a temper tantrum (“we do not want to listen to him.”) The parent might be offering the very thing the child needs, but the child is too busy with the tantrum to stop screaming, to listen, and to find out what is actually being communicated / offered.
It seems that dissenters have bought the lie of the serpent in Genesis and so interpret things through the lens of a power-struggle (cf. Genesis 3:5).
This is very unfortunate. Anyone who has taken the time to read what the Pope said during his apostolic visit to America would realize that he didn’t shake the finger at anyone, but was ready to put the best interpretation on everyone’s efforts to live the Gospel, and encouraged everyone to foster a personal, intimate, living relationship with Christ Jesus. The Pope wasn’t issuing mandates, but inviting fellow Christians to mature discipleship. It was a very hopeful message, not a shaming message at all.
He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
The culture of dissent in America runs deep… I think because we live in a country founded by Puritans deeply suspicious of authority and tradition and racked with Calvinist baggage… who sought escape from their dark, shame-based and dualistic world view in the sentimentality of transcendentalism. I think this history goes a long way toward explaining the way American Catholics tend to misunderstand the place of authority and conscience in the moral life, as well as the role of the Church as a mediator of grace and revelation.