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Pope warns church must find new balance or fail

Posted by on Sep. 19, 2013 at 11:49 AM
  • 31 Replies

(As a non-Christian, I am very impressed with this Pope.  It's heartening to see someone embracing the tenants of Christianity instead of the politics)

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis is warning that the Catholic Church's moral edifice might "fall like a house of cards" if it doesn't balance its divisive rules about abortion, gays and contraception with the greater need to make the church a merciful, more welcoming place for all.

Six months into his papacy, Francis set out his vision for the church and his priorities as pope in a remarkably candid and lengthy interview with La Civilta Cattolica, the Italian Jesuit magazine. It was published simultaneously Thursday in other Jesuit journals, including America magazine in the U.S.

In the 12,000-word article, Francis expands on his ground-breaking comments over the summer about gays and acknowledges some of his own faults. He sheds light on his favorite composers, artists, authors and films (Mozart, Caravaggio, Dostoevsky and Fellini's "La Strada") and says he prays even while at the dentist's office.

But his vision of what the church should be stands out, primarily because it contrasts so sharply with many of the priorities of his immediate predecessors John Paul II and Benedict XVI. They were both intellectuals for whom doctrine was paramount, an orientation that guided the selection of generations of bishops and cardinals around the globe.

Francis said the dogmatic and the moral teachings of the church were not all equivalent.

"The church's pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently," Francis said. "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."

Rather, he said, the Catholic Church must be like a "field hospital after battle," healing the wounds of its faithful and going out to find those who have been hurt, excluded or have fallen away.

"It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars!" Francis said. "You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else."

"The church sometimes has locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules," he lamented. "The most important thing is the first proclamation: Jesus Christ has saved you. And the ministers of the church must be ministers of mercy above all."

The admonition is likely to have sharp reverberations in the United States, where some bishops have already publicly voiced dismay that Francis hasn't hammered home church teaching on abortion, contraception and homosexuality — areas of the culture wars where U.S. bishops often put themselves on the front lines. U.S. bishops were also behind Benedict's crackdown on American nuns, who were accused of letting doctrine take a backseat to their social justice work caring for the poor — precisely the priority that Francis is endorsing.

Just last week, Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island, wrote in his diocesan newspaper that he was "a little bit disappointed" that Francis hadn't addressed abortion since being elected.

Francis acknowledged that he had been "reprimanded" for not speaking out on such issues. But he said he didn't need to.

"We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible," he said. "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."

Francis, the first Jesuit to become pope, was interviewed by Civilta Cattolica's editor, the Rev. Antonio Spadaro, over three days in August at the Vatican hotel where Francis chose to live rather than the papal apartments. The Vatican vets all content of the journal, and the pope approved the Italian version of the article.

Nothing Francis said in this or other interviews indicate any change in church teaching. But he has set a different tone and signaled new priorities compared to Benedict and John Paul — priorities that have already been visible in his simple style, his outreach to the most marginalized and his insistence that priests be pastors, not bureaucrats.

Two months ago, Francis caused a sensation during an inflight news conference when he was asked about gay priests. "Who am I to judge?" about the sexual orientation of priests, as long as they are searching for God and have good will, he responded.

Francis noted in the latest interview that he had merely repeated church teaching (though he again neglected to repeat church teaching that says while homosexuals should be treated with dignity and respect, homosexual acts are "intrinsically disordered.")

But he continued: "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. 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."

The key, he said, is for the church to welcome, not exclude and show mercy, not condemnation.

"This church with which we should be thinking is the home of all, not a small chapel that can hold only a small group of selected people. We must not reduce the bosom of the universal church to a nest protecting our mediocrity," he said.

http://news.yahoo.com/pope-warns-church-must-balance-fail-145841304.html

by on Sep. 19, 2013 at 11:49 AM
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Replies (1-10):
SuzCahn
by Bronze Member on Sep. 19, 2013 at 11:52 AM

 Hey, it looks like the Pope is saying the same thing the "I hate church" and the s/o posts are saying. LOVE

I wonder how this is going to go over?

LokisMama
by Bronze Member on Sep. 19, 2013 at 12:02 PM

I think he's going to anger a lot of people, both in the church hierarchy and in the general populace.  But I think he has the right idea. 

Quoting SuzCahn:

 Hey, it looks like the Pope is saying the same thing the "I hate church" and the s/o posts are saying. LOVE

I wonder how this is going to go over?


SuzCahn
by Bronze Member on Sep. 19, 2013 at 12:05 PM

 I agree.

Quoting LokisMama:

I think he's going to anger a lot of people, both in the church hierarchy and in the general populace.  But I think he has the right idea. 

Quoting SuzCahn:

 Hey, it looks like the Pope is saying the same thing the "I hate church" and the s/o posts are saying. LOVE

I wonder how this is going to go over?


 

gdiamante
by Silver Member on Sep. 19, 2013 at 12:10 PM

I didn't realize Francis was the first Jesuit pope. He's sounding awfully Anglican. I wonder if there will be a new schism?

SuzCahn
by Bronze Member on Sep. 19, 2013 at 12:19 PM

 Perhaps. I read  somewhere here on CM the Pope was to be the Anti-Christ. I wonder if his "new" ways will solidify that for some? ;)

Quoting gdiamante:

I didn't realize Francis was the first Jesuit pope. He's sounding awfully Anglican. I wonder if there will be a new schism?

 

LokisMama
by Bronze Member on Sep. 19, 2013 at 12:21 PM

Teaching the ways of Christ makes him the Anti-Christ?

Typical CM logic. :-p

Quoting SuzCahn:

 Perhaps. I read  somewhere here on CM the Pope was to be the Anti-Christ. I wonder if his "new" ways will solidify that for some? ;)

Quoting gdiamante:

I didn't realize Francis was the first Jesuit pope. He's sounding awfully Anglican. I wonder if there will be a new schism?

 


SuzCahn
by Bronze Member on Sep. 19, 2013 at 12:50 PM

 I have learned a lot on CM. Too answer that other post asking if I'm smarter due to CM>>>NO!  LOL

Quoting LokisMama:

Teaching the ways of Christ makes him the Anti-Christ?

Typical CM logic. :-p

Quoting SuzCahn:

 Perhaps. I read  somewhere here on CM the Pope was to be the Anti-Christ. I wonder if his "new" ways will solidify that for some? ;)

Quoting gdiamante:

I didn't realize Francis was the first Jesuit pope. He's sounding awfully Anglican. I wonder if there will be a new schism?

 


 

AlekD
by Gold Member on Sep. 19, 2013 at 12:57 PM

More quotes from Pope Francis. Love him. Love the Church. <3

This is a list of 12 selected quoted from Pope Francis’ recent exclusive interview with La Civiltà Cattolica.

This interview with Pope Francis took place over the course of three meetings during August 2013 in Rome. The interview was conducted in person by Antonio Spadaro, S.J., editor in chief of La Civiltà Cattolica, the Italian Jesuit journal. The interview was conducted in Italian. After the Italian text was officially approved, America commissioned a team of five independent experts to translate it into English. You can read the full interview here

1. “I am a sinner. This is the most accurate definition. It is not a figure of speech, a literary genre. I am a sinner.”

2. “when I took possession of the papal apartment, inside myself I distinctly heard a ‘no.’ The papal apartment in the Apostolic Palace is not luxurious. It is old, tastefully decorated and large, but not luxurious. But in the end it is like an inverted funnel. It is big and spacious, but the entrance is really tight. People can come only in dribs and drabs, and I cannot live without people. I need to live my life with others.”

3. “In my breviary I have the last will of my grandmother Rosa, and I read it often. For me it is like a prayer.”

4.”This church with which we should be thinking is the home of all, not a small chapel that can hold only a small group of selected people. We must not reduce the bosom of the universal church to a nest protecting our mediocrity.”

5. “Pope Benedict has done an act of holiness, greatness, humility. He is a man of God.”

6. “I see the church as a field hospital after battle. It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars! You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else. Heal the wounds, heal the wounds…. And you have to start from the ground up.”

7. “The confessor, for example, is always in danger of being either too much of a rigorist or too lax. Neither is merciful, because neither of them really takes responsibility for the person. The rigorist washes his hands so that he leaves it to the commandment. The loose minister washes his hands by simply saying, ‘This is not a sin’ or something like that. In pastoral ministry we must accompany people, and we must heal their wounds.”

8. “We need to proclaim the Gospel on every street corner, 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.”

9. “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.”

10. “We have to work harder to develop a profound theology of the woman. Only by making this step will it be possible to better reflect on their function within the church. The feminine genius is needed wherever we make important decisions.”

11. “When we desire to encounter God, we would like to verify him immediately by an empirical method. But you cannot meet God this way.”

12. “Christian hope is not a ghost and it does not deceive. It is a theological virtue and therefore, ultimately, a gift from God that cannot be reduced to optimism, which is only human. God does not mislead hope; God cannot deny himself. God is all promise.”

12hellokitty
by Platinum Member on Sep. 19, 2013 at 1:03 PM
The message in "I hate church" was a good one we all need to be reminded of, being not to judge. Papa Francis takes the message one step furthur by reminding us Jesus is slow to condemn not based on our own goodness but in His perfect mercy.
Quoting SuzCahn:

 Hey, it looks like the Pope is saying the same thing the "I hate church" and the s/o posts are saying. LOVE

I wonder how this is going to go over?


SuzCahn
by Bronze Member on Sep. 19, 2013 at 1:08 PM

 I don't think he's taking it any further. I think he's saying what both posts were saying.

You (general) don't know how to truly love Christ- like, without knowing and showing His mercy.

Quoting 12hellokitty:

The message in "I hate church" was a good one we all need to be reminded of, being not to judge. Papa Francis takes the message one step furthur by reminding us Jesus is slow to condemn not based on our own goodness but in His perfect mercy.
Quoting SuzCahn:

 Hey, it looks like the Pope is saying the same thing the "I hate church" and the s/o posts are saying. LOVE

I wonder how this is going to go over?


 

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