Pope Francis Gives an Interview. New York Times Re-Writes It.

Catechism

Pope Francis gave an extensive interview to America Magazine, which you can find here

The New York Times did an extensive re-write of this interview, which you can find here

Just for the record, the Holy Father did not say what the New York Times is claiming. The Times took quotes out of context, and re-interpreted them along the lines of the secular gospel. What the Pope said is simple, clear and obvious Christian teaching that the Church has proclaimed for 2,000 years. 

Here’s what the Holy Father said, and what, in Sunday School parlance, it means. 

What the Pope said:

“We need to proclaim the Gospel on every street corner,” the pope says, “preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing, even with our preaching, every kind of disease and wound. In Buenos Aires I used to receive letters from homosexual persons who are ‘socially wounded’ because they tell me that they feel like the church has always condemned them. But the church does not want to do this. During the return flight from Rio de Janeiro I said that if a homosexual person is of good will and is in search of God, I am no one to judge. By saying this, I said what the catechism says. Religion has the right to express its opinion in the service of the people, but God in creation has set us free: it is not possible to interfere spiritually in the life of a person.“A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. 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. Here we enter into the mystery of the human being. In life, God accompanies persons, and we must accompany them, starting from their situation. It is necessary to accompany them with mercy. When that happens, the Holy Spirit inspires the priest to say the right thing.

What it means in Sunday School:

Love the sinner. Hate the sin. 

What the Pope said:

“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.

What it means in Sunday School:

God’s mercy is greater than any sin you can commit and it is available in confession. Abortion and birth control are not the only sins. God has mercy for post abortive men and women. I am a shepherd of souls, including those who commit sins other than abortion and contraception. 

What the Pope said:

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.

What it means in Sunday School:

We can not earn salvation by picking out one or two sins and condemning them. That only makes us bitter and self-righteous. We must focus first on loving Jesus. Then, Jesus will change us and we will want to follow Him with our lives. The Church must preach Christ. 

 

There is a lot more to this interview. It is long and, as always with Pope Francis, completely candid. I suggest you go to the link I gave you and read it for yourself. 

For more information, check Frank WeathersSam Rocha and Elizabeth Scalia

  • Sus_1

    “I used to receive letters from homosexual persons who are ‘socially wounded’ because they tell me that they feel like the church has always condemned them. But the church does not want to do this.”

    No, the Church does not condemn homosexual persons. The MEMBERS do.

    • hamiltonr

      That’s too harsh Sus. The Catholic Church is the most loving, accepting and forgiving institution on this Earth. I know, from personal experience.

      • Sus_1

        You are right. Many but not all members condemn homosexual persons.

        • hamiltonr

          I think our experiences have been different, or perhaps our parishes are different. I have not seen this in my parish. I really haven’t.

    • Kathryn A. O’Keefe

      While some members do condemn the sinner, instead of just the sin, they’re generally severe fanatics, and not representative of the majority of the members. Besides which, fanatics in practically anything aren’t particularly popular. To judge the Church, or most of the members, by the actions of a few is ridiculous.

      • FW Ken

        Unfortunately, argumentation in the west follows the Rule of One. If I can find one Catholic who hates gay people, or, say a couple of guys from the parish beat up a gay kid, those individuals become The Church. People on the right do this as well. This all stems from radical individualism, as well as a general rejection of authority.
        BTW, I would not use the term “fanatic” in this case, but “bigot”. Both terms are overused, but someone who hates a gay person because of their disordered sexuality is a bigot.

        • Kathryn A. O’Keefe

          Fair point. Still, fanatic is also appropriate, since they don’t just display extremes of opinions on homosexuality, but also scientific advancement, abortion, politics in general, etc. While they’re bigoted, they also tend towards acting just plain crazy in general, so I felt the term fanatic would be more suited to their overall personality.

    • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

      Put yourself in a position where you reject anything the Church may have to say, and you are sure to get exactly that. We can’t spend our time trying to get through to those who refuse to listen. And that is the case with a good deal of the contemporary ideologues – of whom active homosexuals are not even a large minority – strengthened by the approval of the media and other areas of power. You people don’t expect to have to discuss anything except the excellence of your ideology, and, in fact, are not often very good even at that. The inevitable result is insulting rejection on your part, followed – illogical but very human – by a sense of being misunderstood and ill-treated.

  • pagansister

    If I understand correctly, the Church is not condemning the person because he/she is a homosexual. They disapprove of the physical aspect of a loving relationship of 2 same gender persons. It seems that as long as a gay/Lesbian does not act on their love physically, all is well.

    • peggy-o

      That’s correct pagansister. The Church considers the act not the orientation sinful. There is a very clear and merciful teaching on this in the catechism. It also mentions that it is morally wrong to mistreat or be unkind to anyone with this orientation. The church asks for chastity from homosexuals as it does from heterosexuals outside of a sacramental marriage. It may be hard but soul affirming and healing for those who have chosen to abide on their faith journey. Many of us in the Church want so much to love and welcome our gay brothers and sisters back home.

      • oregon catholic

        The brick wall the Church faces is that for too many people there is no sin to hate. So ANY mention of sin in regard to homosexuality is simply a rejection of the homosexual person. Even if they find the teaching merciful they also reject it as false and irrelevant. Since the true purpose of marriage is also rejected, there is little basis on which to get the culture’s attention.

    • peggy-o

      That’s correct pagansister. The Church considers the act not the orientation sinful. There is a very clear and merciful teaching on this in the catechism. It also mentions that it is morally wrong to mistreat or be unkind to anyone with this orientation. The church asks for chastity from homosexuals as it does from heterosexuals outside of a sacramental marriage. It may be hard but soul affirming and healing for those who have chosen to abide on their faith journey. Many of us in the Church want so much to love and welcome our gay brothers and sisters back home.

  • FW Ken

    I’m in the middle of reading the actual interview from America online. It’s dense, and, of course, the parts making “news” are a small part of it. I’m not in tears yet, but I am pretty happy. This pope is a great man.

  • FW Ken

    I’m in the middle of reading the actual interview from America online. It’s dense, and, of course, the parts making “news” are a small part of it. I’m not in tears yet, but I am pretty happy. This pope is a great man.

  • oregon catholic

    Pope Francis truly does not know how to speak/write for the US audience. He apparently just doesn’t get the give ‘em an inch and they’ll take a mile mindset. I know he is trying to downplay the harsh rhetoric but he is going so far the other way he will be misunderstood and he will have to dig himself out of a huge hole of misunderstanding before long.

    Also, a comment like “the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards” without a clear condemnation of the priest abuse scandals is a huge PR mistake as well. People want to hear that he is outraged by what priests and bishops have done – that would be a pastoral mercy too.The scandals have done more to ruin the Church’s moral authority than anything else.

    Late edit: I have just come off of a forum where people are interpreting the Pope’s message exactly as I stated above. They completely ignore the fact that sin is still sin. It’s mercy without any need for repentance.

    • TheodoreSeeber
    • FW Ken

      OC -
      I disagree. It is not the pope’s job to tiptoe around American/western obsessions. That the media misinterpret him is their problem, not his. For myself, I’m glad to have a leader who isn’t a PR man. If you remember, Pope Benedict and Bl. Pope John Paul II also had their times with the press. In any case, he is talking straight Catholic doctrine, which I trust has the power to straighten all this out.
      My observation from 15 years in criminal justice and another 15+ years in mental health services is that people have a powerful, innate sense of sin. Granted, a generation of propaganda has dulled and covered that sense, but all this talk about mercy may just be the ticket (as they say). Had he come out thundering about sin, they would have rolled their eyes and moved on. Now, they are talking about it, and I believe the Holy Spirit will eventually guide them to wonder why they need mercy, and the walls that propaganda built may just come tumbling down. I’m telling you, many gay people know in their hearts they are doing wrong. I’ve had them tell me that, usually when they are drunk or sad.
      The last part of the interview sort of lost me. Papa F and I have different tastes in books and movies. Apparently, he’s a Mozart man and I am a Bach man, with serious affinities for Russian romantics. But hey, diversity in unity. :-)

      • oregon catholic

        Ken, I wish I had your optimism. I think the Pope has just further divided the Church. The trads will reject this out of hand, the progressives (the New American Church) will take it as permission to continue in their relativism. I wonder if this isn’t leading up to the ultimate end of the world division of sheep and goats. People who have it within them to recognize their sinful nature and repent may be very moved to do so by the merciful language. Those who don’t, won’t. They will go on as they are, telling others that there are no sins anymore – the Pope said so- it’s all relative.

        • hamiltonr

          Oregon, I don’t want to sound like a Pollyanna, but trust God and don’t worry. There’s an old hymn — Trust and obey, there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey. Excellent advice for all of us.

        • Kathryn A. O’Keefe

          They’d do that anyway. People who don’t want to listen won’t, no matter what’s being said, unless they use what’s said out of context so that they can twist stuff around to justify their means and ends. That’s how it’s always worked.

          Pope Francis, through his preaching, and simple, humble ways, has attracted many non-Catholics to listen and learn about the faith though, converting many. He’s also attracted the attention of lapsed Catholics, especially teens, who didn’t understand why the Church teaches what it does.

          The people who don’t want to listen will continue to do so, no matter what is said by anyone, but the people who didn’t listen because they didn’t understand are beginning to want to, and that’s a major victory.

        • FW Ken

          It’s not really optimism, O.C. but an absolute conviction that the Catholic Faith is stronger than our sins, even the sins of a pope.

          I wrote some where else that it’s true that this pope may be the one who ends up with Benedict’s smaller, purer church. The trads, as you say, will be disaffected. The libs will figure out that the moral law hasn’t changed. Some of the pew potatoes, who don’t really have an ideology, will be offended by the message of mercy.

          But the church of Christ is strong.

  • Sus_1

    You all must not be reading some of the Catholic blogs and comments about gay people. Even here it gets nasty.

    • hamiltonr

      Actually, I was thinking of my parish, Sus. What happens on the internet is not really representative. You get a few people who dominate conversations, while the vast majority don’t say anything. Don’t let internet comboxes make you despair of the goodness of the people of God. It is a false picture of reality.

      • Sus_1

        I know you are right. Thank you.

        I loved what he said. I don’t agree with the press changing what he really said.

    • hamiltonr

      Actually, I was thinking of my parish, Sus. What happens on the internet is not really representative. You get a few people who dominate conversations, while the vast majority don’t say anything. Don’t let internet comboxes make you despair of the goodness of the people of God. It is a false picture of reality.

    • TheodoreSeeber

      It is only nasty because the homosexuals want it to be nasty. I still say that the gay agenda has one issue right on gay marriage, and has just come to the wrong conclusion. Enacting Christian marriage as law has resulted in discrimination. The answer is civil unions- for not just homosexuals, but for heterosexuals. Leave marriage to the Churches.

      For that I am vilified, but it is the obvious answer.

  • tom Quiner

    The NYT’s “rewrite” will leave many people convinced that the Church has changed its position on critical social issues. You succinctly put it into proper perspective. Thank-you.


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