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Pope Francis criticizes church’s focus on gays and abortion

by Speranza ( 33 Comments › )
Filed under Christianity, Headlines at September 19th, 2013 - 12:10 pm

The Republican Party platform committee ought to take note. Please note – he is talking about being “obsessed” over it, he is not supporting abortion, contraception or gay marriage.

by Laurie Goodstein

Pope Francis, in the first extensive interview of his six-month-old papacy, said that the Roman Catholic church had grown “obsessed” with preaching about abortion, gay marriage and contraception, and that he has chosen not to speak of those issues despite recriminations from some critics.

In remarkably blunt language, Francis sought to set a new tone for the church, saying it should be a “home for all” and not a “small chapel” focused on doctrine, orthodoxy and a limited agenda of moral teachings.

“It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time,” the pope told the Rev. Antonio Spadaro, a fellow Jesuit and editor in chief of La Civiltà Cattolica, the Italian Jesuit journal whose content is routinely approved by the Vatican. “The dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all equivalent. The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently.

“We have to find a new balance,” the pope continued, “otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel.”

[..........]

The interview was released simultaneously on Thursday morning by 16 Jesuit journals around the world, and includes the pope’s lengthy reflections on his identity as a Jesuit. Pope Francis personally reviewed the transcript in Italian, said the Rev. James Martin, an editor-at-large of America, the Jesuit magazine in New York. America and La Civiltà Cattolica together had asked Francis to grant the interview, which America is publishing in its magazine and as an e-book.

“Some of the things in it really surprised me,” Father Martin said. “He seems even more of a free-thinker than I thought — creative, experimental, willing to live on the margins, push boundaries back a little bit.”

The new pope’s words are likely to have repercussions in a church whose bishops and priests in many countries, including the United States, often appeared to make combating abortion, gay marriage and contraception their top public policy priorities. These teachings are “clear” to him as “a son of the church,” he said, but they have to be taught in a larger context. “The proclamation of the saving love of God comes before moral and religious imperatives.”

From the outset of his papacy in March, Francis has chosen to use the global spotlight to focus instead on the church’s mandate to serve the poor and marginalized.  [.......]

His pastoral presence and humble gestures have made him wildly popular, according to recent surveys. But there has been a low rumble of discontent from some Catholic advocacy groups, and even from some bishops, who have taken note of his silence on abortion and gay marriage. Earlier this month, Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, R.I., told his diocesan newspaper that he was “a little bit disappointed in Pope Francis” because he had not spoken about abortion.  [........]

The interview is the first time Francis has explained the reasoning behind both his actions and omissions. He also expanded on the comments he made about homosexuality in July, on an airplane returning to Rome from Rio de Janeiro, where he had celebrated World Youth Day. In a remark then that produced headlines worldwide, the new pope said, “Who am I to judge?” At the time, some questioned whether he was referring only to gays in the priesthood, but in this interview he made clear that he had been speaking of gays and lesbians in general.

“A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality,” he told Father Spadaro. “I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ We must always consider the person.”

[........]

The 12,000-word interview ranges widely, and may confirm what many Catholics already suspected: that the chameleon-like Francis bears little resemblance to those on the church’s theological or political right wing. He said some people had assumed he was an “ultraconservative” because of his reputation when he served as the superior of his Jesuit province in Argentina. He pointed out that he was made superior at the “crazy” young age of 36, and that his leadership style was too authoritarian.

“But I have never been a right-winger,” he said. “It was my authoritarian way of making decisions that created problems.”

[.........]

The pope said he has found it “amazing” to see complaints about “lack of orthodoxy” flowing into the Vatican offices in Rome from conservative Catholics around the world. They ask the Vatican to investigate or discipline their priests, bishops or nuns. Such complaints, he said, “are better dealt with locally,” or else the Vatican offices risk becoming “institutions of censorship.”

Asked what it means for him to “think with the church,” a phrase used by the Jesuit founder St. Ignatius, Francis said that it did not mean “thinking with the hierarchy of the church.”

He said he thinks of the church “as the people of God, pastors and people together.”

“The church is the totality of God’s people,” he added, a notion popularized after the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, which Francis praised for making the Gospel relevant to modern life, an approach he called “absolutely irreversible.”

And while he agreed with the decision of his predecessor, Pope Benedict, to allow the broader use of the traditional Latin-language Tridentine Mass, he said that the more traditional Mass risked becoming an ideology and that he was worried about its “exploitation.” Those who seek a broad revival of the Tridentine Mass have been among Francis’s harshest critics, and those remarks are not likely to comfort them.

In contrast to Benedict, who sometimes envisioned a smaller but purer church — a “faithful fragment” — Francis envisions the church as a big tent.

“This church with which we should be thinking is the home of all, not a small chapel that can hold only a small group of selected people,” he said. [.......]

Read the rest -  Pope Bluntly Faults Church’s Focus on Gays and Abortion

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33 Responses to “Pope Francis criticizes church’s focus on gays and abortion”
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  1. 1 | September 19, 2013 2:12 pm

    I totally agree with him. Homosexuality is considered a sin in Catholicism just like cheating on your spouse is. He is trying to orient the Church towards love and understanding. If you right away call someone evil, they will not listen. If you show compassion, then you maybe able to win people over.

    Rick Santorum’s type of Catholicism borders on heresy, it is just based on hate. The Pope is reminding Catholics our faith is based on love, not hate.


  2. 2 | September 19, 2013 2:13 pm

    An example of hate is the thread at Hot Air discussing it. The anti-Catholic bigotry is disgusting. But hey Hot Air cares about hits and not standards.


  3. Bumr50
    3 | September 19, 2013 2:19 pm

    @ Goldwaterite:

    Yes. At many “conservative” sites he will be the Antichrist himself by days end.

    Sadly, NOT joking.


  4. Speranza
    4 | September 19, 2013 2:22 pm

    Goldwaterite wrote:

    An example of hate is the thread at Hot Air discussing it. The anti-Catholic bigotry is disgusting. But hey Hot Air cares about hits and not standards.

    Hot Air jumped the shark a long time ago.


  5. 5 | September 19, 2013 2:25 pm

    @ Bumr50:

    I will email you tonight. I have read some of your comments and see you are realizing something I noticed a few months ago.

    It’s funny the amount of Catholic hate I am seeing.


  6. 6 | September 19, 2013 2:26 pm

    @ Speranza:

    Their headline section has great articles, but the commentators are very hateful nasty people.


  7. 7 | September 19, 2013 2:29 pm

    The Republican Party platform committee ought to take note. Please note – he is talking about being “obsessed” over it, he is not supporting abortion, contraception or gay marriage.

    The issue isn’t our being “obssessed” with it. It is having it crammed down our throats 24-7. Gays are 1-3% of the population, but all you hear about are the demands the gay lobby puts on us. If they want it to be their private life, I suggest that they first start keeping it private. I have neither the need nor desire to know about someone’s gay lover.

    As for abortion and contraceptives, last time I checked the Constitution had in it a clause guaranteering the right to freely exercise one’s religion. Forcing Catholics to pay for things that contradict their religious principles violates this. They have “Conccientious Objector” options for people so inclined if they were to reinstate the Draft. But Obama wants to force the Churches to pay for abortions. Again, this is not consistent with the First Amendment.


  8. Bumr50
    8 | September 19, 2013 2:30 pm

    @ Goldwaterite:

    Looking forward.


  9. Speranza
    9 | September 19, 2013 2:35 pm

    Goldwaterite wrote:

    @ Speranza:
    Their headline section has great articles, but the commentators are very hateful nasty people.

    So has Ace of Spades.


  10. Speranza
    10 | September 19, 2013 2:35 pm

    Goldwaterite wrote:

    It’s funny the amount of Catholic hate I am seeing.

    The last “acceptable” bigotry.


  11. coldwarrior
    11 | September 19, 2013 2:36 pm

    soon il papa will be an anti-semite just like rand paul

    it so predicable.


  12. coldwarrior
    12 | September 19, 2013 2:42 pm

    @ Iron Fist:

    love the sinner, hate the sin.

    try to live the life as spelled out by the church.

    after all of that has been attained, then one can proselytize about betty down the street getting an abortion, or steve being gay.

    form where i sit, it was the far right suddenly making an issue about gays back in the 90′s that really gave impetus to a more militant gay movement.

    personal liberty, states rights, smaller government.


  13. coldwarrior
    13 | September 19, 2013 2:46 pm

    Iron Fist wrote:

    As for abortion and contraceptives, last time I checked the Constitution had in it a clause guaranteering the right to freely exercise one’s religion. Forcing Catholics to pay for things that contradict their religious principles violates this. They have “Conccientious Objector” options for people so inclined if they were to reinstate the Draft. But Obama wants to force the Churches to pay for abortions. Again, this is not consistent with the First Amendment.

    and that does not make it right either.

    “It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time,” the pope told the Rev. Antonio Spadaro, a fellow Jesuit and editor in chief of La Civiltà Cattolica, the Italian Jesuit journal whose content is routinely approved by the Vatican. “The dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all equivalent. The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently.

    “We have to find a new balance,” the pope continued, “otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel.”

    being stuck on one or two issues misses the big picture. for instance, we will never ever outlaw abortion even at the state level. why not a ban at 20 weeks and call it over.


  14. coldwarrior
    14 | September 19, 2013 2:48 pm

    later yinz…


  15. 15 | September 19, 2013 2:48 pm

    @ coldwarrior:

    The gays were militant going back to the ’60s at least. Stonewall Riots ring a bell? They’ve been completely in your face about it my entire life. If you want people to give you a pass on your personal life, then first you have to make it your personal life. At least in my lfetime, gays simply do not do that for the most part.


  16. 16 | September 19, 2013 3:13 pm

    @ Iron Fist:

    Yes there are militant Gays, but focusing on Gays and making them a political issue has made them martyrs and won them sympathy. I’m from the make people look like asses school.


  17. 17 | September 19, 2013 3:15 pm

    @ Speranza:

    Although hating Jews via being anti-Zionist gives Catholic hatred a run for its money.


  18. darkwords
    18 | September 19, 2013 3:27 pm

    Focusing on the “Good News” and how to deliver it in a modern Catholic tradition seems like a good thing to me. Institutions can drift off of their roots and not easily get back.

    I would like to see the Pope express marriage as an evolving divine institution between a man and a woman that the Catholic Church supports. Nature filled by Christ.

    In Corinthians Paul expresses much about being filled with the spirit as the true path. And along the ways he catalogs a lot of sins.

    Sin is everywhere and in everything. When we reach into the Church we want a tradition that allows love and shuns hate.

    Homosexuality is a sin. It it not equal. A dick in the behind is never going to be the same as regular intercourse. Disease results. That is what makes it a sin. Not functioning as nature intended. No amount of wishfulness will change that. Kids, Society, and Gays are healthier if they recognize that fact via a tradition. Is it the worst sin in the world? No. There are priests that commit much worse because they know better.


  19. Bumr50
    19 | September 19, 2013 3:35 pm

    Pope Francis is a scourge and a chastisement. Our Lord is ANGRY with His lukewarm, faithless people. Very, very angry. #AbortionIsMurder— Ann Barnhardt (@AnnBarnhardt) September 19, 2013


  20. Bumr50
    20 | September 19, 2013 3:37 pm

    @ darkwords:

    I’ve read the Bible.

    I noticed that Christ didn’t go around CONDEMNING the sinners and PRAISING his followers.

    Quite the opposite.

    In fact he made a POINT to do the opposite.


  21. Bumr50
    21 | September 19, 2013 3:42 pm

    AHA!

    The “Antichrist” already!!

    From the comments at Zip’s.

    1 1 •Reply•Share ›
    Avatar
    zxcvb • 25 minutes ago −
    church should be merciful with the ones who murder babies? This is an antipope, an antichrist.


  22. 22 | September 19, 2013 3:48 pm

    @ Bumr50:

    He raises a serious question, though. Why should the Church support people who kill babies? Think about that for a minute. We have a class of people who are presumed to be less than human based not on genetics but the personal whim of the respondent. It isn’t about “choice”. The abortionists support sex-selective and forced abortion in China. You’ll never hear them say a word about it. One of the reasons Kermit Gosnell was successful at his serial killing was because of the reluctance on the State to question homicide if the victim is unborn. Gosnell is the poster-boy for abortion, and they don’t even flinch from that.


  23. Speranza
    23 | September 19, 2013 3:53 pm

    Goldwaterite wrote:

    @ Speranza:
    Although hating Jews via being anti-Zionist gives Catholic hatred a run for its money.

    Hating Israel has become a religion for too many people on the Left and the leftist/Islamic alliance.


  24. Bumr50
    24 | September 19, 2013 4:00 pm

    @ Iron Fist:

    Legislative issues are NOT spritual issues.

    And if you follow Christ’s teachings, as disgusting as you may find it, you are indeed compelled to at least TRY and forgive even Kermit Gosnell.

    Saul of Tarsus led Christians to their executions regularly.


  25. 25 | September 19, 2013 4:37 pm

    @ Bumr50:

    I generally leave the forgiving to God. He’s better at that kind of thing than I am. But it is a very serious question. What kind of country does America really want to be? Abortion is a sacrement to the Left (just ask Nancy Pelosie about it). We are told we can’t impose our morality on society, but the Left has no problem imposing their morality on us. I find that entirely objectionable. But it is more than just a moral question. In China millions of girls have been killed over the last 40 years or so specifically because of their sex. Shouldn’t we be outspoken against that practice? The Left is silent on it, just as they are silent about the forced abortions or, for that matter, just as they are silent over slavery in the Sudan. Are we to become a society that treats a class of humans as less than human solely because we find that convenient? What kind of society will that be? We are already seeing some of the answers to that question, and they do not bode well for our society.


  26. Bumr50
    26 | September 19, 2013 4:50 pm

    @ Iron Fist:

    I understand your concern, but disagree with the “outspoken” tactic.

    It would seem to me that if your current method of “evangelizing” isn’t garnering you any new followers, even turning followers AWAY, then maybe it’s time to take a different approach to “evangelizing.”

    NOWHERE does the Pontiff say that Church needs to ABANDON it’s principles.

    He’s simply saying that a shift in focus may be necessary in order to bring the Church to those who feel alienated by it.

    The Pope is not mandated to be a “cultural WARRIOR,” and this Pontiff indeed seems that that philosophy runs at odds with Jesus’ teachings.

    You cannot “open” a “closed” mind by force.

    People are already FIRMLY polarized on this issue.

    The gay people that I know from my generation and younger DEEPLY BELIEVE that they were “born that way.”

    Read the interview.

    “This is also the great benefit of confession as a sacrament: evaluating case by case and discerning what is the best thing to do for a person who seeks God and grace. The confessional is not a torture chamber, but the place in which the Lord’s mercy motivates us to do better. I also consider the situation of a woman with a failed marriage in her past and who also had an abortion. Then this woman remarries, and she is now happy and has five children. That abortion in her past weighs heavily on her conscience and she sincerely regrets it. She would like to move forward in her Christian life. What is the confessor to do?

    “We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.”


  27. Bumr50
    27 | September 19, 2013 4:57 pm

    Also from the interview, and EXTREMELY relevant to what he’s saying:

    “We must not focus on occupying the spaces where power is exercised, but rather on starting long-run historical processes. We must initiate processes rather than occupy spaces. God manifests himself in time and is present in the processes of history. This gives priority to actions that give birth to new historical dynamics. And it requires patience, waiting.


  28. 28 | September 19, 2013 5:00 pm

    Bumr50 wrote:

    You cannot “open” a “closed” mind by force.

    Tell that to all the segregationists. It seems to me that on some moral issues (and both abolition of slavery and the Civil Rights movement started as moral movements from Christians) people are willing to take a stand, on others much less so. Obama is attacking the Catholic Church directly. He is mandating that the Church violate its own teachings on abortion and contraceptives. I believe that it is only a matter of time before Obama and the Democrats do the same thing with gay marriage. I’m really a live and let live kind of guy, but the other side is not content to do that. When the State mandates the immoral, you have a moral duty to break the law.


  29. Bumr50
    29 | September 19, 2013 5:24 pm

    @ Iron Fist:

    Principled civil disobedience is an effective way forward.


  30. 30 | September 19, 2013 5:40 pm

    @ Bumr50:
    It is. There are also the courts. I don’t know how the Justices are going to decide these kinds of cases. Kennedy used very strong language in his opinion on gay marriage. Still, the decision was 5-4. We won’t be replacing Kennedy as long as Obama is President. We’ll see what we see. I expect that as gay marriage takes its place in our society so will polygamy. If marraige can be expanded to cover gays, I don’t see any credible way to deny polygamists the same leeway. Polygamy, after all, is a cultural thing. There have been polygamous marriages since the dawn of recorded history. Marriage has always, across all human cultures, been heterosexual arrangements. I don’t know what is going to happen. I think the next ten years or so are going to be very interesting.


  31. coldwarrior
    31 | September 19, 2013 7:01 pm

    Bumr50 wrote:

    Pope Francis is a scourge and a chastisement. Our Lord is ANGRY with His lukewarm, faithless people. Very, very angry. #AbortionIsMurder— Ann Barnhardt (@AnnBarnhardt) September 19, 2013

    Bumr50 wrote:

    AHA!
    The “Antichrist” already!!
    From the comments at Zip’s.
    1 1 •Reply•Share ›
    Avatar
    zxcvb • 25 minutes ago −
    church should be merciful with the ones who murder babies? This is an antipope, an antichrist.

    right on time.

    let the catholic hate fest begin!


  32. coldwarrior
    32 | September 19, 2013 7:06 pm

    Iron Fist wrote:

    @ coldwarrior:
    The gays were militant going back to the ’60s at least. Stonewall Riots ring a bell? They’ve been completely in your face about it my entire life. If you want people to give you a pass on your personal life, then first you have to make it your personal life. At least in my lfetime, gays simply do not do that for the most part.

    really? we are just about the same age, i dont really seem to remember any gays in my face being militant. a riot in DC in the 60′s and protests/pride marches in SF do not make them all militant. i’ve never seen a gay pride parade or protest in person, nor has one ever effected my life. i never really noticed them. its been one giant non issue for me for decades.

    ( i lived in west berlin for 4 years, the gay/transgendered capital of europe)


  33. buzzsawmonkey
    33 | September 22, 2013 7:44 pm

    coldwarrior wrote:

    really? we are just about the same age, i dont really seem to remember any gays in my face being militant. a riot in DC in the 60′s and protests/pride marches in SF do not make them all militant. i’ve never seen a gay pride parade or protest in person, nor has one ever effected my life. i never really noticed them. its been one giant non issue for me for decades.

    ( i lived in west berlin for 4 years, the gay/transgendered capital of europe)

    Just because you don’t know how a protest has affected your life does not mean it hasn’t.


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