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Pope bluntly urges church to ‘find a new balance’

Pope bluntly urges church to ‘find a new balance’

In an interview published today, Pope Francis says the Roman Catholic church has grown “obsessed” with gay marriage, contraception and abortion, topics he has deliberately avoided during these first months of his papacy. The New York Times reports:

In remarkably blunt language, Francis sought to set a new tone for the church, saying it should be a “home for all” and not a “small chapel” focused on doctrine, orthodoxy and a limited agenda of 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.”

Read the pope’s interview in America magazine here. Read the full New York Times story here. And Jesuit writer Fr. James Martin offers his take on this at America magazine:

Part of the Jesuit spiritual tradition—indeed, the Christian spiritual tradition—is an “examination of conscience,” or more generally an examination of one’s moral activity. Here you can see the leader of the Catholic church doing just that.

To my mind, the church is in good hands with someone able to examine his conscience not only honestly but in the most open way imaginable–in a worldwide interview.


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Ormonde Plater

Did the Pope say anything about ecumenism? I can’t find anything, but the concept of a big tent would seem to include other churches.

Jim Naughton

Peter, tell your neo-con friends to read Mark Silk, who refutes what he calls conservative Catholic denialism in his column today:

Paul Woodrum

Francis speaketh Franciscan humility but practiceth Jesuit wile.

The ‘we have bigger fish to fry’ argument was used at GC to avoid issues of equality for gay people and women and to maintain the status quo every time they came up. There is no excuse for Episcopalians not to recognize Francis’s bait and switch tactic.


I decided to watch the EWTN weekly newsmagazine, “The World Over”, which was on live this evening.

About this interview they said

{sound of crickets}

They did however talk about a “Pencils for Benedict” program, to encourage “our beloved Pope Emeritus to keep writing”. No, I am not making this up!

It could well be that this story broke too late in the day for them to cover it . . . but I suspect they want to take extra time to SPIN it properly, when they do. ;-/

JC Fisher

Peter Pearson

When I commented on the web earlier today about this interview and some of the things the pope said, my neo-con RC friends told me that I was politicizing what had been reported and that I did not understand the broader context. I think I understood very well that things are changing once again and not a bit too soon for lots of people both within and without the RC church.

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