Religion of Thursday, 19 September 2013
Source: Huffington Post
Pope Francis faulted the Roman Catholic church for focusing too much on gays, abortion and contraception, saying the church has become "obsessed" with those issues to the detriment of its larger mission to be "home for all," according to an extensive new interview published Thursday.
The church can share its views on homosexuality, abortion and other issues, but should not "interfere spiritually" with the lives gays and lesbians, the pope added in the interview, which was published in La Civilta Cattolica, a Rome-based Jesuit journal.
“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," Francis said in the interview.
"The church has sometimes locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules,' Francis said. "The people of God want pastors, not clergy acting like bureaucrats or government officials."
The 12,000-word interview ranges widely, touching upon the pope's personal faith, the role of women and nuns in the church, Latin Mass and even the pope's favorite artists.
"He's very open honest and candid like we have not seen in a pope before. He critiques people who focus too much on tradition, who want to go to time in the past that does not exist anymore," said Fr. James Martin of America Magazine, which published an English translation of the interview. "He reminds people that thinking with the church, in obedience, does not just mean thinking with the hierarchy, that church is a lot bigger than its hierarchy."
In the interview, Francis does not come out in support of gay marriage, abortion rights or contraception, saying that church positions on those issues are "clear," but he added that the "the proclamation of the saving love of God comes before moral and religious imperatives.”
“A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality,” he said to Jesuit priest Fr. Antonio Spadaro, who conducted the interview for La Civilta Cattolica. “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.”
The comments on gays and lesbians follow up on remarks Francis made aboard the papal airplane in July when asked about gay priests. "Who am I to judge?" the pope then said, in a quote that made international front-page headlines. In Thursday's interview, Francis clarified that those comments were about all gay people and not only priests.