The Pope’s Pastoral Plating for the Synod on the Family

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Plating is a chef term for how to present a dish.  They say you “feast with your eyes” before you taste the food.  How you present an ingredient differentiates a cook from a chef!

We need to show our faith in a more beautiful way, like chefs present food beautifully.

I think that Pope Francis is a master at plating the Christian message for the families!  It’s interesting how people react to him, especially people who are accustomed to church teaching  presented as more being academic, philosophical and in some cases, intellectually over people’s heads.  Let’s admit there are many priests who may have something good to say, but present the message badly, boring, and without effect!

Now before I go on about what makes Pope Francis’ plating style more unique and sometimes more helpful in this day and age, I want to say that I LOVE all of the Popes for who they are: Vicars of Christ, the continuation of the Petrine Ministry, and the visible head of the Roman Catholic Faith. I am obedient to all of them and I respect the offices of all past popes.

Saint John Paul presented the Christian message in a dynamic way and helped me to discern my vocation to the priesthood.


I don’t like it when I hear people say I like this Pope “better” than the other.  I get equally frustrated (perhaps even moreso) with Catholics who are “anti-Francis” and ultraconservatives who belligerently (and ignorantly) declare with certainty that Pope Francis is somehow trying to “change” the Catholic Church’s traditional teachings.  Why do some good Catholics seem to have such a negative reaction to him?


Pope Francis has to also reach out and shepherd people of different faiths!

Here’s when we have to pay attention to style and plating!

This Pope, if you actually read his writings, listen carefully to his words, and pay attention to his actions – rather than just read a silly condensed headline in pop culture media – has not changed any of the church’s doctrines.  He does however, ‘plate’  the message differently than his predecessors.  Remember, the Pope has to shepherd, not just good, life-long practicing Catholics, but also reach out to “bad Catholics” or non-Catholic people who cannot handle, grasp or digest the entire Catholic Church’s teachings. Many people are ignorant of Church doctrine. For many, they have no interest in it. Unfortunately, some have been served a negative interpretation of it.  Let’s face it, there are many people not coming to churches and sitting in our pews.  How do we reach out them?!?

The Synod needs to stop speaking about the families only in intellectual ways, but also in pastoral ways.

I think Pope Francis has a winning recipe and an effective style of plating:  kindness, lack of destructive criticism, and trying to bring the good out in other people.

In the upcoming synod, there will be (as there have been) many people who think that Pope Francis is trying “change” traditional Catholic Families (i.e., a mom, dad and lots of kids).  But he has not said anything like that at all!  What he is trying to do is provide a pastoral message (i.e., plating) for families who are broken, along with single parent families, interracial and inter-religious families, and families that are trying to cope with divorces, gay children and non-practicing Catholics.  The fact is, the Pope has to shepherd them too.  How that’s done requires some serious plating and presentation considerations.

It’s great to know the Plating Grace Message is the PERFECT message for the Synod on the Family!)

As the Pope makes his pastoral visit to the United State, please don’t be fed lies that the Pope wants to change Church doctrine.  No Pope can do that, and Christ himself promised to protect the Church saying”the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18 ff). Pope Francis however can use his pastoral experiences as a missionary priest and Cardinal to present the Christian teaching in a way that the flock will want to eat up the message he’s plating for them.

Let us pray:  Lord, teach me how to present the Christian faith in a way that makes it easier for non-Catholics and even anti-Catholics to digest.  Teach me to present the faith in a way that serves GOOD NEWS.  May our Holy Father’s trip teach us all HOW to love God’s people – no matter their situation in life – as a Shepherd loves and feeds the flock. Through Jesus Christ, the Lord of all, who shared the Gospel Message to sinners in a way they could understand God’s love.  Amen.

Food for Thought:

(1)  How do you think Pope Francis helps non-traditional families?
(2)  When we talk about the Catholic Faith, do you help people to love it and possibly get more involved, or do your conversations end in arguments and anger at each other?
(3)  When you cook for your families, do you try to present it in a special way?

WMOF REMINDER: Come to the EWTN Meet and Greet on Friday September 25 from 11:00am-1:00pm at the Exhibition Marketplace Booth # 513 within halls B7C of the Philadelphia Convention Center.

2018-04-04T20:43:00+00:00 September 23rd, 2015|Blog, Dinner Discussion|