STUNNER from Pope: Church Should Stop Being "Obsessed" with Abortion, Gay marriage and Contraception (Ian Reifowitz - Daily Kos)

I really like this new Pope. A lot.

From the NYT:

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.

Pope Francis said the church needs to be a "home for all" rather than a "small chapel" sticking to a narrow set of so-called 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.”

This is a tremendous shift from the two most recent popes, and especially from Francis's predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI . Although consistent with statements Francis has been making since becoming head of the Catholic Church, he definitely broke new ground in terms of emphasis with these recent remarks. The article's author argues, rightly I would say, that these remarks set up a clash between the Vatican and some U.S. bishops who have essentially focused just about all their public energy on the 'holy trinity' of abortion, gay marriage, and contraception.

Rather than these issues, Pope Francis has focused his energies on other aspects of Catholic teaching that have been, shall we say, neglected in recent years by the church hierarchy. In particular, he has drawn attention to the plight of the poor and the deepening inequality in our world. Pope Francis is without question speaking the language of the 99%.

In a July visit to Brazil, for just one example, Francis spoke out:

"No one can remain insensitive to the inequalities that persist in the world!" Francis told a crowd of thousands who braved a cold rain and stood in a muddy soccer field to welcome him. "No amount of peace-building will be able to last, nor will harmony and happiness be attained in a society that ignores, pushes to the margins or excludes a part of itself."

(snip) Francis blasted what he said was a "culture of selfishness and individualism" that permeates society today, demanding that those with money and power share their wealth and resources to fight hunger and poverty.

Read the rest here.


It would appear that Pope Francis is both focused and determined in refusing to fit into the same mold as his predecessors have.  Rather than harp on the themes which became all too familiar coming from Karol Wojtyla and Joe the Rat, Francis has his sights trained on poverty and inequality!  And this isn't the first time he's refused to take potshots at easy targets like gays or abortions or contraception, but going after something a touch less facile and a LOT more difficult.

Ian probably likes this pope more than I do, mostly because anyone associated with the RC church starts out with two strikes against them with me anyway.  That said, I'm listening, Francis.  You keep talking sense and maybe I'll listen a bit more.

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Replies to This Discussion

I can't believe what I just read, after all the foolish, stupid, insane, absurd statements coming from the popes of the past, perhaps this man will be able to turn the behemoth of religious dogma to the 21st century. I have seen too much suffering because of dogma based on goat herder cultures of two to four thousand years ago, I never thought I would read any enlightened word from anyone of faith ... any faith. 

I believe the church is changing when a woman is named pope. 

The RC church has a LONG way to go ... though if they went all the way, I doubt the RC church would even exist, at minimum certainly in no way resembling the current church.  The one encouraging thing I see in all of this is Francis' change of focus from dogma to SERVICE.  It occurs to me that the whole concept of service has been lost, at least in the last three major popes (John Paul I wasn't in there long enough to do anything of substance), and it may be that we can now expect a return to it.

Whether Francis is interested in some genuine dialogue regarding other issues is yet to be seen.  Benedict talked about it not long after his election, yet I never saw any evidence of his actually attempting to FOSTER dialogue, and as I have said before, his words then were more disingenuous than genuine.

It may be that there has been a true change in the weather around Vatican City.  We'll see...

The new pope may, as you say, speak the language of the 99%, but he is of the 1%.  The church is, under his guidance, still shirking her duty to pay restitution to children raped, and girls enslaved (Magdalene laundries), by Catholic clergy.  The money is still flowing from the poor, to the Vatican, not the other way around.

No argument.  How aware Francis is of the multiple perfidies his organization is responsible for, I don't know.  At least he gives some indication of being willing to respond to them, once made aware ... or at least that would be nice to see.

I'm willing to slide him some slack.  The question becomes whether he hangs himself with it or does something constructive.

The very next day loose lipped Francis took it back.  Especially clarifying that there is no change in the church's stance about abortion.  He responded to criticism by his handlers, apparently.  And, by the way, you are still going to Hell.  No change there either.  My main "beef" with him is that he took the name of St. Francis, but does not follow or promote his teachings. It's always the hypocracy that riles me.

[wry chuckle] There are times when I find myself to be too much the curmudgeon ... and times when I'm not enough so.  Likely it is too much to ask for the RCC to have a sufficiently impactful revelation that they could be awakened from their 2,000-year-old sleepwalk.  I should know better.

Hope springs unbidden in the gentle heart.

It's time for the catholic church to sell all it's assets and give the money to the poor as Jesus of Nazareth would have done. The clergy can then walk the streets in sack cloth, flagellating themselves and begging for small change.

Wouldn't bother me at all, Nappy ... but you and I both know that's about as likely to happen as the cows coming home in a Cadillac.  Whether Francis ever read The Shoes of the Fisherman or not, I'd be dubious, but if he started moving in that direction, I would agree with one comment on this story I heard: 

Francis would want to retain a food taster ... and I would NOT want the job!

I won't be surprised if the news tells us Pope Francis suddenly died of a "heart condition".

Under the circumstances, Tom, I think there might be a bit more of an outcry than when JP the First croaked ... and a call for an independent investigation as well.  Shades of Godfather III, eh?




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