Pope Bluntly Faults Church's Focus on Gays and Abortion

nytimes.com/2013/09/20/world/europe/pope-bluntly-faults-churchs-focus-on-gays-and-abortion.html?_r=0

snip

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.

  1. It’s the NY Times. Not a reliable source for interpretation of what the Church or the Holy Father says.

Having said that, IMO sadly we don’t hear nearly often enough strong teaching on moral issues in the pews. Obsessed? Not even close.

It was the NYT quoting the Pope’s own interview., I wish this was the case of a media hatchet job, but Pope Francis continues to disturb me more and more every day.

Here is a link to the actual interview, as published in America and other Jesuit journals around the world. Much better to read his own words:

americamagazine.org/pope-interview

And, AdvanceAlways, I think that it is, indeed, the Pope’s job to “disturb” us, lest we become complacent and smug.

Note the bold (which I added, I hope dixieagle doesn’t mind).

I can’t imagine allowing the media’s choice of headlines to make me feel “disturbed” about the vicar of Christ. He should be making us think. I love this man more and more every day.

Odd, I can’t seem to get to America Magazine’s website. Too much traffic?

It appears America Magazine’s website is down, probably over the surge in traffic after the NYT article. While yes, I do believe you are correct about complacency and smugness, I do think it is a problem when statements by the Pope will give every pro-abort Catholic the license they need to say “look, the Pope says I’m still Catholic!”

I agree - the interview covers a wide range of issues and is stunning in its range, depth and thoughfulness. A real inspiration - What a wonderful Pope we have. :thumbsup:

Here is the relevant section from the link:

“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.

“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. Proclamation in a missionary style focuses on the essentials, on the necessary things: this is also what fascinates and attracts more, what makes the heart burn, as it did for the disciples at Emmaus. We have to find a new balance; 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 proposal of the Gospel must be more simple, profound, radiant. It is from this proposition that the moral consequences then flow."

While I’m in no way a supporter of Gay Marriage or Abortion, I do believe Pope Francis has a point. We are the Catholic church, here for the salvation of all mankind. We can’t ostracize people, they are human beings as well. Preaching against gay marriage and abortion until we’re blue in the face won’t lead others to the Catholic church, living a Catholic lifestyle and being an example for others however will, and with that brings an end to things like abortion and gay marriage.

Notice he does NOT condone abortion, LGBT marriage, etc. Rather, he is trying to strike a balance, and I welcome his approach. The world knows where the Church stands on those hot-button issues, but the world also needs to hear the Gospel…

We can walk and chew gum at the same time.

I hear you and share your concerns, and I do think there needs to be more discretion given when doing interviews, in how words can and will be twisted. I can think of numerous times where a better choice of phrasing would have saved a lot of debate. Having said that, I do think the Times took it further than intended in this instance.

Amen, Amen, Papa! What a tremendous gift to the Church and the world he is.

I just read the America interview, and it certainly was not as sensationalistic as the NYT made it out to be, but it was still troubling. I just wonder how much passivity toward moral issues the Pope wants the Church to take.

Here is a slightly longer excerpt from the interview, taken from the America web site:

“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.

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. Proclamation in a missionary style focuses on the essentials, on the necessary things: this is also what fascinates and attracts more, what makes the heart burn, as it did for the disciples at Emmaus. We have to find a new balance; 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 proposal of the Gospel must be more simple, profound, radiant. It is from this proposition that the moral consequences then flow.

“I say this also thinking about the preaching and content of our preaching. A beautiful homily, a genuine sermon must begin with the first proclamation, with the proclamation of salvation. There is nothing more solid, deep and sure than this proclamation. Then you have to do catechesis. Then you can draw even a moral consequence. But the proclamation of the saving love of God comes before moral and religious imperatives. Today sometimes it seems that the opposite order is prevailing. The homily is the touchstone to measure the pastor’s proximity and ability to meet his people, because those who preach must recognize the heart of their community and must be able to see where the desire for God is lively and ardent. The message of the Gospel, therefore, is not to be reduced to some aspects that, although relevant, on their own do not show the heart of the message of Jesus Christ.”

I love this!

If I weren’t Catholic, I would come away from news about our bishops in the US thinking that being Catholic is nothing more than being against abortion, same-sex marriage, and contraceptives as part of health insurance.

The Pope is right. Being a Catholic Christian is about being a loved sinner, about having a relationship with God and being embraced by his love and mercy. Slightly before the excerpt I quoted the Pope talks about confession and says, “The confessional is not a torture chamber, but the place in which the Lord’s mercy motivates us to do better.” First come the love and mercy of God, then comes our ability to change the world. But we have to know that love in our heads and more importantly, experience it in our hearts.

Yes, the Church is about all of these things, as well as standing up for moral truths. We can’t cast aside one for the other.

I just don’t understand where he is coming from with the idea, that there is too much emphasis on these very important moral issues when they are rarely if ever discussed in the homilies I’ve heard. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a priest mention homosexuality and abortion has maybe been mentioned when there a local pro life event happening.

He is definitely not saying we need to be passive. He’s saying:

“We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods.”

“… when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context.”

“The teaching of the church… is clear…[and]… it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.”

“We have to find a new balance; 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.”

And yet I’ve never ever seen more than a casual reference to those topics at mass. Only doesn’t even come close to the reality of the situation. What we need is MORE discussion of it not less. I feel like I’m in Alice in Wonderland and reality is turned on it’s ear.

He is responding directly to a question from the interviewer:

I mention to Pope Francis that there are Christians who live in situations that are irregular for the church or in complex situations that represent open wounds. I mention the divorced and remarried, same-sex couples and other difficult situations. What kind of pastoral work can we do in these cases? What kinds of tools can we use?

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