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Pope seeks less focus on abortion, gays, contraception

In his first lengthy papal interview, Pope Francis says bluntly that the church has been too focused on the issues of abortion, gay marriage and contraception and suggests it find a "new balance" to deliver its message.

But he said there should be no retreat from the church's stand on the issues because he agreed with Church doctrine and considered the matter closed.


The pope touches on a wide range of issues, from life as a Jesuit to his favorite films. He does not suggest any changes in church doctrine, but is very pointed in remarks on how the church should conduct its teaching.

"We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods," Pope Francis said. "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," he said. "The church's pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently."

He said the church should delivery its message in a "missionary style."

"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 pope says. "The proposal of the Gospel must be more simple, profound, radiant. It is from this proposition that the moral consequences then flow."

• The role of the church: "The thing the church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness, proximity. I see the church as a field hospital after battle."

• Homosexuality: "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."

What do you all think? While I wouldn't necessarily call the new Pope tolerant, he seems to be inching in a positive direction.


Asked by Ballad at 12:36 AM on Sep. 20, 2013 in Religious Debate

Level 45 (193,996 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (3)
  • i may not agree with everything he believes, but man...i really like him. maybe its b/c the last Pope was such a jerk, but Francisco really seems to "get" the spirituality behind his faith, not just the law of it. i would never expect the Pope to break with Church tradition and doctrine, those who do will suffocate from holding their breath, but its nice to hear that he wants to move focus toward the positives of Christ's messages and away from the condemnation of personal beliefs of non-Catholics.

    Answer by okmanders at 5:01 PM on Sep. 21, 2013

  • Sounds like he is trying desperately to hang onto whatever is left of the integrity of the church. Which I don't believe is very much. And actually trying to focus on the real message of love and forgiveness. To a certain degree-as he obviously abhors homosexuality and won't be embracing the gay community at any point in time.
    It's hard though, to talk out of both sides of your mouth. The church has been trying, unsuccessfully to do it for centuries. They will continue to lose followers bc of this.

    Answer by sahmamax2 at 7:21 AM on Sep. 20, 2013

  • He is actually turning the focus in (IMO) the proper direction. It is not my job to condemn others. It is my job to follow the doctrine of Jesus to the best of my ability.

    Answer by Dardenella at 5:13 PM on Sep. 20, 2013