This New Pope is a Pretty Big Deal

I haven’t been a practicing Catholic for many, many years and strayed from religious views a while ago, but Pope Francis is kinda saying all the right things. Feels like the Catholic iteration of Gorbachev and perestroika.

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.”

And:

“A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. 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.”

I certainly don’t believe he’s going to fundamentally change the Church, but I believe he can convince Catholics to rethink priorities.

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  • Draxiar

    This Pope is one to watch.

  • CL Nicholson

    I certainly don’t believe he’s going to fundamentally change the Church, but I believe he can convince Catholics to rethink priorities.

    And that sir, is a good start. No one except the most cynical agnostic should want or expect the Catholic Church to change is millennium old teachings on a dime. No one should demand that muslimah stop covering their heads or Orthodox Jews to get their own damn mail on Saturday morning. (Long story involving my crazy brother.)

    But for the grand pubah of the world’s largest and most influential religion to tell adherents like my mother in law and wife that caring about poor people and showing compassion and love is more important to God that worrying about the sex life Ellen DeGeneres and Portia De Rossi is, in the illustrious and ahem, eloquent words of Vice President Biden “A Big F*** Deal”.

  • Art__VanDalay

    To the shock of no one, the Pope has failed Salon’s liberal purity test! Holy hell they’re getting dumb over there.

  • D_C_Wilson

    I wonder how much of this is the result of him being the first non-European pope. Growing up in South America, he’s had a different view of poverty than most of the isolated bishops of Europe. Combine that with his Jesuit training, it’s pretty shocking that Pope Ratzi, the chuch picked a leader who thinks helping the poor and the sick is more important than hating gays and covering up child rape.

    No, it’s not going to fundamentally change the church, but I think a shift in their priorities is the only way it’s going to survive the 21st century.

  • muselet

    One step forward, one step back.

    –alopecia

  • mrbrink

    I dig the Jesuits. Pope Francis is a rockstar. For Jesus.

  • Schneibster

    I think Ratz retired wisely, and has spared the church. I am personally firmly atheist; if I believe any deism, it’s Unitarianism, but that’s as close to a church as I come. I am, however, an amateur observer of the Catholic Church. I have some respect for it; I don’t believe in magic sky daddies, or people risen from the dead, but it has been a powerful institution and one can observe it with occasional admiration without being a sycophant, or for that matter a believer. Its role in history is sufficient to command attention.