Sunday, September 22, 2013

Pope Francis Controversary

Last Friday I was approached by two people individually asking if I had heard what the Pope said in an interview with America magazine, that we, the Church, speak out about abortion too much. I had not. So of course I had to check in to it.

My immediate reaction was one of shock. This was the first negative I had heard about Pope Francis. This guy, excuse the colloquial term, has been great for the Church thus far. Then I tried to rationalize his statement. Well, Italian is not the Pope’s native language, perhaps he used the wrong term. Then, knowing America magazine’s leaning to the left, I thought perhaps they misquoted him. So I found the complete text of the interview online and read it a couple of times. It can be found here:

First, I must say I liked the interview. It provided a lot of insights about who Pope Francis is. I especially noted the honesty of the man in saying “I am a sinner,” as we all are. It is a rather long interview but well worth your time.

Back to the controversy. The exact quote is this:

“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.”

The emphasis is mine. This is rather disheartening to anyone involved with or cares about the babies. I understand this is a matter of perspective. Our liberal brothers and sisters are interested in the environment and social justice, but forget the babies. I/we on the other hand don’t think enough is done for the babies. It is addressed in homilies rarely, if at all. This spark of controversy overshadows the words just before it; “The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear…” Pope Francis is in no way changing the Church’s teachings. He is confirming them.

I agree with Cardinal Dolan’s response in an interview on NBC’s Today show, see link below. Rightly or wrongly, we, that is, Catholics, are seen by non-Catholics, liberals, and the pro-abortion people as always being in a negative mode. This does not attract people. The Pope is looking for a “fresh” direction. He is being Jesus. He is calling us to reach back to the basics. In that way we can change hearts and minds. No, we do not stop our efforts to protect the unborn, but we also must help turn others to God, we must evangelize. We can only win this battle when we change hearts and minds one at a time.