A common criticism advanced against Catholics by secular society, and also by “liberal” Catholics against “conservatives” is that they are obsessively concerned with sexual morality. In my personal opinion I think there is a bit of truth to this, though like any demagoguery it is often overstated and lacks nuance. Today, however, I found a brief quote from Pope Francis that also seems to lean in this direction. Sandro Magister has published brief excerpts from the autobiography of Cardinal Bergoglio—more properly, a book length interview published in Argentina in 2010. Here is what the Pope had to say:
In another passage of the interview, Bergoglio criticizes those homilies “which should be ‘kerygmatic’ but end up speaking about everything that has a connection with sex. This can be done, this cannot be done. This is wrong, this is not. And so we end up forgetting the treasure of Jesus alive, the treasure of the Holy Spirit present in our hearts, the treasure of a project of Christian life that has many implications that go much further than mere sexual questions. We overlook a very rich catechesis, with the mysteries of the faith, the creed, and we end up concentrating on whether or not to participate in a demonstration against a draft law in favor of the use of condoms.”
I think the Pope has a point. To get one straw man out of the way: I am not saying, and I don’t think the Pope is saying that the Church should not preach and teach on sexual morality. I think he is saying that this is not the sum total of Christian truth, and to focus on it is to both distort the Christian message and to prevent its effective hearing by a world that needs it.