conservatives 'disturbed' by Pope's new couse according to Archbold
(CNN) ‚Äď ‚ÄúRain on parched land.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúA bold new course.‚ÄĚ
That‚Äôs how liberal Catholics responded to the stunning interview published Thursday in which Pope Francis bluntly said the church shouldn‚Äôt be ‚Äúobsessed‚ÄĚ with culture war issues like abortion and gay marriage.
‚ÄúIt is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time,‚ÄĚ the pope said.
How did conservative Catholics, the church‚Äôs most ardent culture warriors, react?
‚ÄúI‚Äôll be honest; I was disturbed,‚ÄĚ writes Matthew Archbold in the conservative National Catholic Register.
‚ÄúWhile it‚Äôs clear that the pope is not changing church teaching he is clearly changing the emphasis. The pope with a few words has unsettled so much.‚ÄĚ
Archbold said that he‚Äôs concerned that anti-abortion protesters and opponents of gay marriage in the United States will be silenced.
MORE ON CNN: Pope Francis: Church can‚Äôt ‚Äėinterfere‚Äô with gays
Before the release of Thursday‚Äôs interview, Bishop Thomas Tobin of Rhode Island said he was ‚Äúdisappointed‚ÄĚ that Francis had not spoken much about abortion. On Friday, Tobin welcomed the pope‚Äôs comments, but said it won‚Äôt change his focus.
‚ÄúI have spoken out clearly about the dignity of all human life and the nature of holy matrimony as designed by God and will continue to do so whenever the situation warrants,‚ÄĚ Tobin said. ‚ÄúIt is a demand of the Gospel.‚ÄĚ
The bishop also said, however, that he welcomed the pope‚Äôs ‚Äúbalanced and inclusive‚ÄĚ approach.
Other conservative Catholics said the media and liberals had misinterpreted the pope‚Äôs remarks, made in a 12,000-word interview published Thursday in 16 Jesuit journals around the world.
‚ÄúThe pope is a reformer, but not a revolutionary,‚ÄĚ Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Civil and Religious Rights, told CNN‚Äôs Chris Cuomo.
‚ÄúThis is the problem with the left,‚ÄĚ Dohonue continued, ‚Äúthey are trying to take what the pope said and then run with it.‚ÄĚ
Donohue, a caustic and sometimes controversial critic of people he perceives as anti-Catholic, said the pope‚Äôs remarks won‚Äôt silence him.
‚ÄúThere‚Äôs nothing the pope said that should give relief to people who say all of a sudden now that conservatives should shut up,‚ÄĚ Donahue said. ‚ÄúWe‚Äôre not going to shut up because we‚Äôre in consonant compliance with what the pope said. ‚Äú
After all, conservatives say, it‚Äôs not like the pope changed Catholic doctrine in Thursday‚Äôs interview.
To underscore that point, the conservative blog Rorate Caeli posted a lengthy quote from the pope‚Äôs meeting with Catholic gynecologists on Friday in which he strongly denounced abortion.
‚ÄúEach child who is unborn, but is unjustly condemned to be aborted, bears the face of Jesus Christ, bears the face of the Lord,‚ÄĚ the pope said, according to Rorate Caeli‚Äôs translation. ‚ÄúThey cannot be discarded, as the `culture of waste‚Äô proposes.‚ÄĚ
Father John Zuhlsdorf, a conservative Catholic blogger, said the pope urged Catholics to find a ‚Äúnew balance‚ÄĚ between their moral and political missions. He didn‚Äôt say they should surrender the culture wars.
‚ÄúI think that Francis thinks that constant correction and condemnation does more harm than good,‚ÄĚ Zuhlsdorf wrote on his blog.
‚ÄúFrancis said `all the time,‚ÄĚ Zuhlsdorf said.‚ÄĚHe did not say `we should not talk about these things.‚Äô‚ÄĚ
MORE ON CNN: The pope said what? Six stunners from Francis
Other conservatives said the pope remarks are ‚Äúnothing new.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúThe Pope is not in any way proposing that the church should abandon important moral and social teachings,‚ÄĚ said Ashley McGuire of the Catholic Association.‚ÄĚ Rather, the pope is reaffirming a longstanding teaching that reaches all the way back to the founding of Christianity: love your neighbor.‚ÄĚ
And while most liberals praised the pope‚Äôs bold new vision, some took issue with his remarks about women‚Äôs role in the church.
‚ÄúWe have to work harder to develop a theology of women in the church,‚ÄĚ Francis said.
‚ÄúBreaking news, Pope Francis: There is already a profound theology of women, said Sister Maureen Fielder, a Catholic nun and longtime advocate of women‚Äôs ordination in the Catholic Church.
‚ÄúThere are libraries of feminist theology just waiting for you, and others, to dive in.‚ÄĚ
Fielder said she likes the new pope, but she thinks he ‚Äúsorely needs a course in feminist theology.‚ÄĚ
For the most part, however, liberals praised Francis.
Under previous popes, liberal Catholic nuns, politicians and theologians were castigated by church leaders, said John Gehring, a writer and advocate at the group Faith in Public Life. Now ‚Äúthe air is starting to clear,‚ÄĚ he said.
‚ÄúPope Francis is rescuing the Catholic Church from those grim-faced watchdogs of orthodoxy who in windowless rooms reduce Catholicism to a laundry list of nos,‚ÄĚ Gehring said.