‘It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time’

The New York Times on Pope Francis:

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. …

The new pope’s words are likely to have repercussions in a church whose bishops and priests in many countries, including the United States, often appeared to make combating abortion, gay marriage and contraception their top public policy priorities. These teachings are “clear” to him as “a son of the church,” he said, but they have to be taught in a larger context. “The proclamation of the saving love of God comes before moral and religious imperatives.” …

In contrast to Benedict, who sometimes envisioned a smaller but purer church — a “faithful fragment” — Francis envisions the church as a big tent.

“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,” he said. “We must not reduce the bosom of the universal church to a nest protecting our mediocrity.”

Here is the whole interview in English.

Pope Francis is a Roman Catholic

My friend Jeremiah Gibbs has written his response to media coverage of Pope Francis.

The media has made a big deal out of Pope Francis’s recent open letter. They have an uncanny ability to mess up all things theological, and I think this is no different. But then, “The Pope Teaches What the Church Has Always Taught” is not a very tantalizing headline.

His whole post is worth a couple minutes of your time, especially if you have people in your church or life who are reading the media coverage of the Pope and getting a distorted impression of his ministry.

If you are interested, Pope Francis’ full letter to the Italian newspaper that gave rise to the most recent flurry of media coverage is published in English here.

Canterbury & Rome

Here’s a British Catholic’s take on the similarities between the new Archbishop of Canterbury and the new Pope. It gets beyond some of the headlines and media glitz, especially on offering a picture of Pope Francis. For instance:

The future Pope Francis was never a typical Latin American Jesuit. He distrusted Catholic liberation theologians, preferring the company of evangelicals who entered the slums to preach about God and Satan rather than models of economic justice.