Pope Francis’ Wide-Ranging Interview with America – UPDATED

America Magazine has just posted 12,000 word profile and interview of Pope Francis, written by the wonderful Antonio Spadaro, S.J. (a beloved friend) and covering a broad range of issues:

The setting is simple, austere. The workspace occupied by the desk is small. I am impressed not only by the simplicity of the furniture, but also by the objects in the room. There are only a few. These include an icon of St. Francis, a statue of Our Lady of Luján, patron saint of Argentina, a crucifix and a statue of St. Joseph sleeping. The spirituality of Jorge Mario Bergoglio is not made of “harmonized energies,” as he would call them, but of human faces: Christ, St. Francis, St. Joseph and Mary.

The pope speaks of his trip to Brazil. He considers it a true grace, that World Youth Day was for him a “mystery.” He says that he is not used to talking to so many people: “I can look at individual persons, one at a time, to come into contact in a personal way with the person I have before me. I am not used to the masses,” the pope remarks. He also speaks about the moment during the conclave when he began to realize that he might be elected pope. At lunch on Wednesday, March 13, he felt a deep and inexplicable inner peace and comfort come over him, he said, along with a great darkness. And those feelings accompanied him until his election later that day.

I’m in the middle of traveling, so that means I’m still in the middle of reading it, myself, but I wanted to make sure you saw it and could get started reading it, too — and reading it through, prayerfully and openly, before allowing anyone else’s reactions to influence your own thinking. From what Fr. James Martin excerpted on his facebook page, it looks to be extremely interesting:

“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, or reject and condemn this person? We must always consider the person.”

“We should not even think, therefore, that ‘thinking with the church’ means only thinking with the hierarchy of the church.”

“If the Christian is a restorationist, a legalist, if he wants everything clear and safe, then he will find nothing.”

“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…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.”

“I am a sinner.”

Expect all kinds of fireworks and fallout before people even read through the thing. And then more fireworks and fallout. I’ve said from the start that this pope was not going to allow anyone to wallow in their comfortable ideas. Not anyone.

Sam Rocha says it well:

. . .it is a rich text that needs to be read and re-read on its own terms, without a defensive or fearful spirit, with no additions from the press or myself. Please, don’t read it for melodrama or controversy: read for what is there, no more and no less. Grab a cup of coffee and sit down for a few minutes to hear what Pope Francis — the man of flesh and bone — has to say. Breathe. Think. Ponder. Question. Imagine. Check. Double-check. Set it aside. Repeat. Then, and only then, perhaps, express an opinion or a point of view, with charity. Resist the temptation to objectify, politicize, and use the Pope’s words, given in a pastoral spirit.

The Holy Spirit DOES work in odd ways, no?
As we see people rush to excerpt this interview and spin it toward a reflection of themselves and their views, it’s good to remember that doing that makes it all about us! God’s timing. When I get a chance I’ll post my favorite excerpts.

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  • Fiestamom

    I realize you are a friend of Father James Martin, but seeing the highlights of the interview he chooses to put on his Facebook page doesn’t surprise me. 12,000 words, and Father Martin highlights liberal hot button issues like abortion, gay marriage, and Pope Francis’ comment that he is not a right winger? I’m sorry, but it bothers me.

    Father Martin tweeted a couple of days ago that anyone who doubted the power of the Holy Spirit should look at the last 6 months of Pope Francis’ papacy. It seems pretty close to Cardinal Mahony tweeting about Pope Francis’ simple clothes as compared to Benedict. I don’t want to see my Pope in political terms, I want to love my Pope because he leads Holy Mother Church. I loved Pope Benedict, and I think Pope Francis is really touching folks’s hearts.

    Sorry, I don’t mean to offend, and I will read the article, and try to do so with an open mind. But it’s no accident that Father Martin emphasized those comments.

  • MeanLizzie

    Read. Think for yourself. And don’t kvetch at me bc I excerpted from someone else’s excerpts. Blogging while traveling and nursing pink eye!

  • MeanLizzie

    I understand. But this is precisely why I made a point of saying please read this through and think for yourself as you do. I don’t think Martin has been dissing B16, he loves Benedict. The Holy Spirit is always moving, esp where Peter is concerned, Benedict knows this too, knew it when he resigned. Let the Holy Spirits workings churn; I am confident that all works to Gods intent even if we need to die bf we see how.

  • Gail Finke

    Thanks for the reminder to read with an open mind and the warning to expect fireworks. I read Fr. JM’s highlights and was dismayed with some.. then I thought, “I’d better read the whole thing for myself!” You’re riight, this pope does not let people be complacent. But like Benedict – though in a different way – Francis seems to require time and effort. He’s too broad for ‘highlights.’ I suspect everyone will find something to be happy about and something to be unhappy about… but I will read it myself and try to avoid fireworks.

  • Almario Javier

    Inordinate emphasis on abortion and gay marriage I’ll somewhat give you, but, living in a “progressive” community, there is a (almost completely wrong) perception that to be an orthodox Catholic means you’re fully on board with the program of your local right-wing party. Now this is demonstrably not true, but that is the perception. If we dispel this notion, these seculars might give the Church more than a passing glance. And I agree with Ms. Scalia that Martin has not, to my knowledge, dissed the Pope Emeritus, at least not publically.

  • Kangwii

    It is one thing to preach what people want to hear and be applauded by them; or preach the hard hitting gospel of Christ and expect people to walk away, because those who remain are the true believers – there is something unnerving with this approach of Francis. The church is not a democratic institution to accommodate everyone feelings and attitudes and be politically correct. B16 will be missed for his orthodoxy.

  • Mandy P.

    I read through all but the last two sections (had to go to choir practice). It’s a very substantive interview thus far and I think I understand where he is coming from now. Especially in the sections that are bound to be controversial, what I think he is sayings that we have to lead with the love of God and not brow beat people to death with their sins. At this point most folks know what our doctrine is on these issues and that it’s not changing. But if you’re trying to win someone over to your side the first thing out of your mouth should probably be something other than, “You’re going to hell!!! Oh, and by the way Jesus loves you.” Which is not exactly what I think we do, but is clearly the perception of what be do in the minds of the larger part of the non-Catholic population.

    Let’s face it, we aren’t exactly living in a Thomist age. While I am partial to that raw, rational, logical thinking most folks right now are all-emotion-all-the-time. Trying to explain natural law to a world population that is increasingly feeling their way through life is a dead end. So I think the Holy father is largely telling us we need to lead with the love part and only when people are open to hearing that message can we start helping them with the morals part. We aren’t tossing those things, but prioritizing their introduction to people in such a way as to reach people first then guide them to the fuller truths of our faith.

    I hope that makes sense.

  • kerouac

    NEW YORK CITY sees an inventive theatrical response to the new pope in Playwright Larry Myers’ “Pope Francis Sketchbook.” Dr Myers has a show in the works about Janis Joplin simultaneous with this new play. Both are about energized souls. One worshsips the liberty of feelings & freedom of emotions. The other adores charity & authenticity. New York Daily News characterized Myers as “one of Off Broadway’s wittiest & more prolific playwrights.” He s been cited on page Six Celeb page of Post frequently.

  • vox borealis

    At this point most folks know what our doctrine is…

    I actually doubt this is the case at all, including (especially?) among Catholics. Sure, people have some idea that the Church thinks X or Y with respect to some hot button issue is “wrong”, but they usually get even that at least partially incorrect, and they certainly don’t know the underlying theology (regardless of whether they agree). But outside of those hot button issues, I suspect that the vast, vast majority of humanity is grossly ignorant of our doctrine.

  • Thinkling

    Definitely giving it a careful and prayerful reading tonight.

    This might be Francis’s “Caritas in Veritate” moment: “Don’t read it for the parts that affirm your prejudices, read it for the parts that challenge them” – Supreme Knight Carl Anderson

  • nannon31

    He just perfectly corrected my approach to a relative. And he just made the job harder for those in the legal battle on insurance contraceptive coverage. I need a drink. This man is all things to all people…but simultaneously.

  • Donna

    I’m saying this as much to myself as to you. Francis IS preaching the hard hitting gospel of Christ. It’s easy for those of us who aren’t contracepting, aren’t aborting and aren’t homosexual to focus on those sexual sins. It’s not easy for us to admit there is more, a great deal more, to the gospel. It’s harder to show true mercy and love and forgiveness than it is to criticize others for their sins. It’s easier and safer and more comfortable to focus on rules than it is to really love others and to go with Christ in an unfamiliar direction. Francis is challenging us to do all of this. It is uncomfortable and unsettling, but he is the vicar of Christ and the Holy Spirit appointed him and is moving through him. As Catholics, we have to listen and learn and try to follow.

  • Tony

    Lizzie, what are people worried about, it’s a pope that prays the rosary everyday and reads dosteosky, if liberals do those two things, they won’t be liberals for long

  • Joseph

    “I’ve said from the start that this pope was not going to allow anyone to wallow in their comfortable ideas. Not anyone.”

    I fear that those who advocate a more “progressive” Church will do just that, wallow in their comfortable ideas. He acknowledges that he has been taken to task for not speaking on these issues, but he should be mindful of the fact that we are living in age of moral relativism, and his silence on these “hot button” issues only serves to encourage it. Now, his criticism of the Church for “obsessing” on these issues. Okay, I admit, I haven’t read the whole thing yet, and I’m sure Pope Francis won’t change Church doctrine, which, we are taught, he couldn’t do even if he wanted. I also understand that he wants us to love the sinner, as we are all sinners. But doesn’t he also want us to hate the sin? “Progressives” are taking comfort in his remarks and are beginning to think the Church is rethinking its “position” on gay marriage and abortion. If a pope had said these things 50 years ago, it would have been fine. This, however, is not a good time.

  • MeanLizzie

    But really, how can you say that with certainty? God’s time is not our time, his thoughts and ways not our ways.

  • Joseph

    I can’t say it with certainty, anymore than you can say with certainty that things will be just fine. I’m sure, at the very end, they will be, but at this time I don’t see how Francis’ remarks will help. Moral relativism is, for now at least, being encouraged.

  • MeanLizzie

    But I CAN say with certainty that things will end up as God wills. I CAN say with certainty that things will be “fine” and you can too — you just said it yourself. What is troubling you — and you say this, too — is that you cannot currently see HOW. So ask the Lord to help you to see it. I know it sounds simplistic. It’s how I live. I’m simple. :-)

  • sally

    Christ came to verify God’s Truth. God’s Truth is not relative to the times; God never changes He is always the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

    As Catholics, would you prefer to know God’s Truth or some truth your Pope sets before you?

    More importantly, how can you know what is true mercy and love and forgiveness if you do not know that all sin is that which is against God’s Truth.

    We are all sinners even when we are not “contracepting, aren’t aborting and aren’t homosexual” and it is only when we repent are we sanctified and forgiven.

    To deny or brush aside some sins for the sake of satisfying the Worldly (ie contracepting, aren’t aborting and aren’t homosexual) is to deny God’s Truth, the Truth that Christ came to verify.
    Christianity serves God’s Kingdom, not the worldly kingdom.
    Serving God’s Kingdom is what a majority of Western Christians find to be most uncomfortable and unsettling; and, it is this message sent by this Pope that helps to appeases these uncomfortable and unsettled believers.

  • MeanLizzie

    No one is denying God’s truth, least of all the pope. One aspect of the truth is this: God has given judgement to Christ Jesus, and it is Jesus who said: “go and learn the meaning of this…’I desire mercy…’” People need to take a breath and let things play out a little.

  • Joseph

    Yes, in the very end, we are assured, things will be just fine. But that is not to say that we should pay no mind to how things are today. Sorry to be a downer, I just think that the Holy Father’s remarks are misguided, no matter how you spin it. And I repeat, moral relativism is being encouraged.

  • joshaurora .

    I’ve read a fair amount of the interview and I really like what he says. His focus on God’s mercy and love as foundational, as foremost, is so important. The people who do not know Jesus need to know that God’s loves them; me, too. That’s what I like–he does not compromise doctrine and he does first things first. I feel hopeful reading him because I remember that God forgives me of my sins.

  • Donna

    I read the entire interview and nowhere did the Pope deny or brush off any sins. He said the church cannot focus ONLY on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and contraception. He wants the church to heal souls, evangelize, and bring people to Jesus. Giving up a focus on others’ sins is obviously just as uncomfortable and unsettling for some as the church’s teachings on abortion, contraception and gay marriage are for others.

  • MeanLizzie

    I really disagree. Looking at the big picture and it seems to me that what Francis is doing is continuing the lesson begun by Benedict when he announced his resignation — a lesson in rock-bottom trust in God. But I’ll end it there. May want to write about it when I feel better.

  • Joseph

    The big picture is well and good. My concern is this, that we in this age of increasing moral relativism need a pope to provide a strong voice against this tide, and this pope, by his own admission, is not doing that. But I’ll let you go, and I hope you feel better.

  • Gordis85

    Well said!

  • MeanLizzie

    Joseph, we HAD a pope with “a strong voice against the tide of relativism.” No one was paying attention anymore. And THAT pope was the one who — in an incredibly act of humility — set this in motion. Ponder that a while and be at peace. Goodnight.

  • Slocum Moe

    The Catholic Church is in schism. Liberal Catholics are not going to leave their “alternative” worship communities without the offer of a real place at the table and the reactionaries in control of the institutional church are making no such offer.

    It was a nice gesture though. This new, old pope is much nicer than the last couple of old, old popes. He’s kind of waffly though, don’t you think? A lot of smiling, touchy feely outreach but nothing substantial on offer. At least with Benedict and JP II, you knew where your place was, even if your place was under the bus.

    You have to ask yourself, is Francis reducing the majesty of the papal presence to the level of “Vic the ShamWow Guy” ?

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    I finally read the whole thing. It’s a great interview. There is much to admire about the man. I loved his analogy of the Church as a field hospital. That is so true and it’s what i find lacking in my personal experience with the Church. But that could be a failing on my perception. I enjoyed his relating of the writers, composers, and artists that have influenced him. There is no question that his gregarious nature is integral to his view of the church:

    “The people itself constitutes a subject. And the church is the people of God on the journey through history, with joys and sorrows. Thinking with the church, therefore, is my way of being a part of this people. And all the faithful, considered as a whole, are infallible in matters of belief, and the people display this infallibilitas in credendo, this infallibility in believing, through a supernatural sense of the faith of all the people walking together.”

    It’s the people who matter because the people are ultimately the church. I don’t know what to make of his notion that the people “are infallible in matters of belief.” He probably needs to flesh that out more or i can see issues with it. I loved his understanding of holiness:

    “I see the holiness,” the pope continues, “in the patience of the people of God: a woman who is raising children, a man who works to bring home the bread, the sick, the elderly priests who have so many wounds but have a smile on their faces because they served the Lord, the sisters who work hard and live a hidden sanctity. This is for me the common sanctity.”

    I don’t know if in his being he’s a natural liberal or conservative (there seems to be elements of both) but I think I’m confident enough to say that he is not following in the line of the last forty years of JPII and BXVI. There is a lot in this passage that is also open to question:

    “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.”
    There is much to admire in that statement but there is also an element that makes me nervous. Yes, the concern with people’s problems and sufferings in the complex world where black and white dogma doesn’t satisfy is refreshing. And shows true wisdom. However to decouple dogma and morality is in my mind to drift into a sort of protestantism.

    I do have one real criticism. If he’s going to minimize abortion I think it will be a failing on his part. First, if he doesn’t believe abortion helps in evangelization, I guess it must be different from where he’s from. I’ve seen many people come into the church because of our position of pro-life. Second, I can’t get away that abortion is the moral issue of our time. It’s at the heart of the sexual revolution worldview which is so contrary to the Catholic worldview. If he doesn’t confront the central moral issue of our time, then what kind of a Pope will he be?
    I hate to leave off on a negative note. It was a great interview and he’s a great man.

  • Gordis85

    Well said!

  • Gordis85

    “I’ve said from the start that this pope was not going to allow anyone to wallow in their comfortable ideas. Not anyone.”

    Just as our Lord Jesus Christ would want it. He wants a vibrant and merciful Church that loves Him above all else and LOVE OF NEIGHBOR no matter who it is. The greatest challenge to us all!

    No one group of Catholics will be spared…all of us must rise to the challenge and live in true authenticity of unity and fraternal love. I have heard Papa Francis calling us all to consider this and seriously too. Yet, here we are, resisting, ruminating, clinging to what we hold and know while the world awaits for the truth of Christ to be proclaimed.

    I am going to keep hoping and praying that I can get off my bum and start moving in the direction the Holy Spirit is calling the Church to follow…one already knows tis the road that will lead to Calvary with many misunderstandings, rejection, ridicule…but also one that leads to eternal joy and love and mercy for one another…much like the way Papa Francis is currently bearing witness to Christ. His cross is carried with joy, mercy and love…that’s the road I too want to take.

  • FW Ken

    The hot button issues are a small part of this interview. That American’s make a thing about them says more about Americans than Pope Francis. The last part of the interview lost me a bit, but that probably says more about me than Papa F. as well. But I’ve made a commitment to not parse his words out to infinity (and beyond) and remember that all we are promised is fidelity to the deposit of faith. We aren’t promised that we will like everything he says. We need a pastor, not another mirror.

  • Jen

    Well put Donna. There are plenty of non-contracepting, non–aborting, non-promiscuous Catholics who attend Mass each week…and then back-bite others on the way home; gossip at work; bicker at home, etc. Just because a person is not sinning in an obvious, public and mortal way, does not mean he is any closer to God’s heart. We – believers and non-believers alike – may put ourselves on a “scale” of righteousness, but from the Divine vantage point, all humans (except Mary) are sinners and all unworthy of salvation if not for the Death & Resurrection of HIs Son. Pope Francis makes us acutely aware of these realities.

    Interesting thought: Think of a couple of the most “orthodox” Catholic figures of late: Fr. Maciel and Fr. Corapi. Look at their falls. Turns out they led a double life, despite all their shoe-slamming sermons on moral issues. Should serve as a lesson for us not to be so quick to judge a person’s soul, for better or worse.

    And also remember this, RE “big” sinners: “Those who have been forgiven much, love much. He who has been forgiven little, loves little.”

    St Mary Magdelene, ora pro nobis!

  • HaroldWesterling

    “But if you’re trying to win someone over to your side the first thing out of your mouth should probably be something other than, “You’re going to hell!!! Oh, and by the way Jesus loves you.Which is not exactly what I think we do, but is clearly the perception of what be do in the minds of the larger part of the non-Catholic population.”

    I have never heard this type of position from anyone in the Church. In fact I think non-Catholics probably see this a more of a fundamentalist main-line Protestant type of position. The Church has the sacrament of reconciliation which offers the sinner a way out of a destructive lifestyle. I see this not as condemnation…but as unending, universal compassion!

  • Kimt

    I only hope this doesn’t inspire our Parish priest to deliver another unorthodox homily, like he did during Lent, about Jesus’ temptation in the desert. He told us that God would have still loved Jesus even if He had yielded to temptation. He then told us that it is basically okay to do what we want because God loves us. At that point my husband turned to me and asked me what the point of fasting. I ponder his homily and understand why many young Catholics do not attend Mass regularly.

  • Joseph

    I am concerned now that those who continue to speak out against legalized abortion and the increasing acceptance of gay marriage will find it more difficult. The rebuke will be, “The pope disagrees!” Of course he didn’t mean it that way, and the MSM have once again taken his remarks out of context, but he should be advised to consider how his remarks will be taken, even when he speaks “off the cuff”.

  • Adam Frey

    I really think we should start calling him “Pope Mirror,” because a lot of people are starting to see too much of themselves in his comments.
    That’s not a knock on the Pope, BTW. Rather, it seems to all time back into Elizabeth’s theory on idolatry and the search for oneself in the idol. I need to read the interview for myself, but I’m taking it on faith that he’s talking about altering the Christian approach, not sacrificing the tenets of the church for the sake of ecumenism. I am, however, appalled at commentary from conservatives and liberals alike declaring Pope Francis to be a liberal-progressive who will legalize abortion and allow women priests. Conseravtives are seeing what they fear; liberals are seeing what they hope for. There’s a piece over at Slate by William Saeltan which is just baffling me, as he goes through every word of the interview, looking for linguistic nuggets which prove that Francis is the anti-Benedict.

  • Mandy P.

    I suspect the vast majority of humanity is ignorant of the *reasoning behind* much of our doctrine, but not of the doctrine itself. I realize the plural of an anecdote is not data, however it has been my experience that most people are aware that the Church teaches against abortion, homosexual acts, and contraception. They don’t agree with it and think it should be ignored, but they are aware if it. And most folks I encounter are under the distinct impression that Catholicism is nothing but a man in a silly outfit and hat handing down ridiculous rules that you must follow or go to hell. As I said before, I know that’s not what we are, but that is the perception that’s out there. It’s not a correct perception, but it is what it is and we aren’t changing it by shouting louder.

    I am not completely confident that Francis’ approach is going to work. I think it is very possible that, in our crazy media obsessed environment, it will serve to cause more confusion. I think people tend to cherry pick out what they want to hear and ignore the stuff that makes them uncomfortable or challenges them and so this approach may make some people settle comfortably into their sins. But at least I now understand the Holy Father’s approach and will have an easier time discussing the things he has said with my atheistic, agnostic, and non-Catholic Christian friends, family, and acquaintances with this fuller explanation of his rationale versus just the random sound bites we have been getting from his daily homilies. And I’m willing to give the Pope the benefit of the doubt and wait it out a little to see whether or not this approach bears fruit before having a freak out and criticizing.

  • crossdotcurve

    “If the Christian is a restorationist, a legalist, if he wants everything clear and safe, then he will find nothing. Tradition and memory of the past must help us to have the courage to open up new areas to God. Those who today always look for disciplinarian solutions, those who long for an exaggerated doctrinal ‘security,’ those who stubbornly try to recover a past that no longer exists —they have a static and inward-directed view of things. In this way, faith becomes an ideology among other ideologies.”

    - Pope Francis, Supreme Pontiff and Vicar of Christ of the Holy Roman Apostolic Church

  • Tantum

    While we “cannot [as the Pope correctly states] be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently,” is the extinction of 55 million lives since Roe vs. Wade not a compelling moral issue that demands our attention? Is it not a violation of the most primitive of Christian contexts? Yes, upon an individual basis we should not condemn but rather forgive the sinner, but I think most Catholics would find this view uncontroversial. But what is accomplished by ignoring the enormity of a practice whose effects are often privately and collectively ruinous ?

  • Ann

    I think it would really useful if Pope Francis quoted his predecessors much more
    frequently especially when he delves into the thorny issues of the day. It
    would help people to see that there is continuity in what he is saying and
    would prevent absurd headlines like: “Pope Francis is turning Catholic
    teaching on it’s head”, and “Pope Francis’ views about abortion,
    contraception and homosexuality sharply contrast with his predecessors”. “Pope
    Shocks Catholics!”

    Benedict was all about “yes!” He said:

    “The core of faith rests upon accepting being loved by God, and therefore to believe is to say Yes! Not only to him, but to creation, to creatures, above all, to
    men, to try to see the image of God in each person and thereby to become a
    In Deus Caritas Est, he said something similar to what Francis said in his letter:
    “A Christian knows when it is time to speak of God and when it is better
    to say nothing and to let love alone speak. He knows that God is love (cf. 1 Jn
    4:8) and that God’s presence is felt at the very time when the only thing we do
    is to love.”

    Imagine if Francis had used one of those quotations and attributed to his predecessor.

    Other popes quoted their predecessors all the time. B16 quoted JP2 and previous popes very frequently. In fact, the reason he wore all those older vestments was not because he was a “clothes horse” as cynics have suggested,
    but because he was illustrating continuity with their teaching in a visual way.

    I understand that Pope Francis has a less formal style in his preaching and his
    lifestyle, and that’s fine, but I honestly think that he would…WE would all
    benefit if he took a bit more care in showing that he is not reinventing the
    wheel, by explicitly quoting other popes and the C.C.C. (I know that he
    paraphrased it, but a direct quote would be clearer).

    So much of what Francis does is wrongly interpreted as a criticism of Benedict and JP2. Shouldn’t he be more aggressive about making it clear that this is a false interpretation? It is really urgent that he personally correct this error or
    the Church is only going to become more divided, and his beautiful efforts will
    be misunderstood.

  • USKensington

    Based on the sneering, exuberant responses I’m seeing from progressive “Catholic” acquaintances, family members and co-workers, it seems to me that some people are, in fact, being allowed to “wallow in their comfortable ideas.”

  • USKensington

    But what’s the point of having so many more people “paying attention” when all they come away with is a sense that abortion’s not so bad, same sex marriage isn’t so bad, contraception isn’t so bad, etc.

  • Brian English

    Absolutely. Pelosi, Biden, Sebellius and Sullivan must be popping the champagne corks.
    It may make Elizabeth feel better to say that if you read all 12,000 words of the interview you can see that Francis has not undermined those fighting against the Culture of Death, but how many people are going to read 12,000 words? Francis may be taken out of context, but that is what happens when a pope speaks. At a certain point it becomes his fault when he does not speak carefully.
    The true test will be whether the Church is stronger five years from now. Not more popular, but stronger. I hope I am wrong, but I think that is extremely unlikely. Things like this are going to reenergize the Spirit of Vatican II crowd and their fellow travelers.

  • Brian English

    Exactly. If people are not being motivated to change their lives, what exactly is being accomplished?

  • Gordis85


    Who says he going to minimize abortion? He is as pro-life as they come but rather than keep barking about it, he lives it and wants us to live it as well. We can continue to support the pro-life issue and we must but without condemning or being self-righteous about it.

    I have seen many fall away from the Church these past years, members in my family included. Why? They claim they found the Church too condemning and too many folks who called themselves Catholic, too self-righteous and negative.

    Papa Francis knows as does Benedict that the Church of Christ is one of love and mercy, one of truth and forgiveness, one that professes the truth above all else but let’s not kid ourselves…many are turned off for the wrong reasons.

    I believe that when one comes to know Jesus in a personal way, when we commit ourselves to follow him, we will know the splendor of truth, the beauty of charity, the love of the law. The Lord himself will open our hearts and our minds and we will live by example much like the early Christians did. Mindful of the truth, obeying the moral law and all while loving our neighbor. That’s how I want to live my life as a Catholic Christian.

  • Carolyn

    The pope is poised on a knife-edge here. But it’s a necessary knife-edge, a good knife-edge. It’s the same one the New Testament is balanced on. The same one Jesus walked. http://crybelovedcountry.com/2013/09/pope-francis-interview/

  • Elizabeth K.

    Mmm, because–read today’s news.

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    I’m coming to the conclusion that he wants a break from the continuity of his past two predecssors. It’s down to the papal name he chose – Francis. That was a tip off of an outside the mainstream (and by that I don’t mean liberal Catholicism) Papacy.

  • Elizabeth K.

    I too, have found some of Father Martin’s reactions disheartening. This doesn’t mean I don’t like him, or that I think he is a not a good priest. But I think he is seeing a bit more of what he wants to see than is there. He just gave an interview to NPR where he makes a big deal of the Pope saying “I am not a right -winger.” Fair enough. But in an article all about context and discernment, readers like Fr. Martin seem to be doing little of both. It makes me wonder, though, if he reads the interview differently because he’s a Jesuit–it seemed to me, very much, that this was an interview given for Jesuits, just as Francis’ speech today was for gynecologists. So he picks up on certain things. Whereas I was very struck by Francis’ mentions of darkness and by his battlefield imagery, and his distinction between hope and optimism. To me, the interview spoke to a time of great spiritual battle just endured by the Church.

  • jenny

    When the Pope talk about small-minded rules, I think he talks about the rules used by some priests to deny baptism to a child who was brought to the church by the mother, while the father “disappeared” after procreated his child. He gave an example of such priests back home in Argentina.
    Those priests applied small-minded rules, making the mother feeling guilty of carrying the child in her womb, and not aborting , while the father did not bother for the baptism of his child at all.