Streams

Open Phones: The Pope's New Direction

Monday, September 23, 2013

Pope Francis in Varginha, Brazil, July 27, 2013 (Tânia Rêgo/(Agência Brasil)/Wikipedia Commons)

An interview with Pope Francis published last week revealed that his belief that the church "sometimes has locked itself up in small things, in small minded rules." Catholics, what did you hear in church about Pope Francis's remarks last week about sexual morality?

 

Comments [35]

buddy from Missouri

Hello. The Pope has of yet taken a written position directing cardinal,bishops and clergy of what to do with Pedophile Priest. He has given alot of verbal comments that are not directions. I hope he will soon.
Im just not sure how long this issue will fester before it blowes up...It will be to late then the church probably will meet it's demize that all the reorgs can not repair. Onece Trust is lost it's lost pretty much forever. Bishops continue to shuffle Pedophile Priest around keeping them from the court system. The Bishops also have compiled listings of these individuals and refuse to release them to the court system...The only thing that will stop this action is to cutt of all funding outside your immediate church of worship. Then instruct the Pastor of your church no funds will be provided to support Arch Dioceses directions to
use parishioner funds to support legal defence lawyers for Pedophiles. The only way left is to cutt off the head of the snake trying to do harm.

Feb. 26 2014 02:54 PM
Ed from Larchmont

In reality, the pope has a different tone than Pope Benedict - he is a different person, and the time is different. But he is teaching what the Catholic Church teaches. When he asks, 'Who am I to judge?', see the Letter of James, 'Who are you to judge your neighbor? and following'. God will judge.

Some think the teaching is new because they had a distorted view of what the Church taught in the first place.

As to racial murder, the Church (Pope Eugene 1453) wrote a Bull excommunicating anyone who practiced racial slavery. Of course it wasn't followed by the Protestant British and Americans centuries later.

Sep. 30 2013 07:59 AM

Independent_Noach:

Your poor justifications may sound reasonable to you, but they don't work for anyone NOT striving furiously to exculpate the Church.

1. Ridicule and accusations of an inferior, unworthy humanity do indeed contribute to an ethic that places others' lives on a lower plane, ie, more worthy of execution. You don't really have to worry about killing them--they're all going to hell anyway.

2. >> What is the connection of the Catholic Church (or any religion, for that matter) to the crimes perpetrated by Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot? (I could go on but that's a good start.)

Yes, do go on, & add Hitler if you want, but your feeble thesis would crumble even further. Hitler enjoyed especially strong ideological strength from predominantly Catholic Bavaria and Austria, his policies being strictly, viciously enforced by, say, Julius Streicher, etc.

It's the MORAL authority of the Church that was abdicated during these regimes. If Catholics--and all people--were told that racial murder was an unmitigated sin, perhaps these mass murderers would have been deprived of the widespread support they "enjoyed."

Sep. 27 2013 12:13 AM

With the preface that I am ever mindful of the admonition, attributed by the late Ed Koch to his grandmother, to
"Never mix into other people's religions"...

"An interview with Pope Francis published last week revealed that his belief that the church "sometimes has locked itself up in small things, in small minded rules.""

Nascent human life in the womb? A prohibition on snuffing it out?

The incredibly powerful force of sexuality, with all its potential to effect both good as well as evil?

Doctrine that restricts this force to the confines of a man and woman, a manifestly unique, complementary union, who are bound in holy matrimony?

These are merely "small things" and "small minded rules"?

Such a statement should be disturbing to anyone with a conscience, regardless of where they happen to come down on the issues in question. I can only hope that the quote, as presented here, was somehow taken out of proper context.

Sep. 24 2013 01:27 AM
Barbara McFadden from Northern NJ

The homily centered addend another appeal for money from a very sparsely attended mass. In his closing remarks the priest said the pope is ushering in a new era, and needs our prayers. That church laws remain the same, unchanged. Aside from the recent interview with Pope Francis, he appears to be a man of deep humility and spiritual depth. He is exactly what the church needs now.

Sep. 23 2013 08:08 PM

@ gene, 11:53 AM:
"But when my 7th grade nun says that all my non-catholic friends are going to hell, and raises laughter from the class by saying the Jews are still waiting for the messiah to come, I believe it all leads to and encompasses the racism and violence that so characterized the 20th century."

1.) /Doctrinal/ belief that condemns non-believers must be distinguished from _personal/communal/civil_ animosity, discrimination and persecution.

I am not threatened or insulted if, as a matter of doctrine, a Christian is convinced that I am doomed to eternal damnation.

2.) Regarding "the racism and violence that so characterized the 20th century":

What is the connection of the Catholic Church (or any religion, for that matter) to the crimes perpetrated by Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot? (I could go on but that's a good start.)

Sep. 23 2013 02:46 PM

@ Tony from Canarsie, 11:50 AM:

I never suggested that, "criticizing the church is on a par, if not worse, than abetting and covering up thousands of cases of child molestation."

I had written,

"But I am absolutely convinced that at least many of the Church's detractors and attackers have [at] least as much to answer for as the Church does."

1.) I neither wrote nor implied (at least not consciously) that it was for _"criticizing the Church"_ that the Church's detractors and attackers have much to answer for.

2.) You ellided the /context/ of my statement, which was my introduction to the article I had recommended:
"Homosexuality and the Church Crisis"
http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/clo/clo_09homosexuality.html

Perhaps if you would have at least had a look at it...

Some excerpts:

"NAMBLA is by no means on the fringe of the "gay rights" movement. For years, it was a member in good standing of the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA), and was only jettisoned by ILGA when the parent organization applied for United Nations consultative status in 1993. Years earlier, the ILGA itself had resolved that "Young people have the right to sexual and social self-determination and that age of consent laws often operate to oppress and not to protect."26 "

--------
"Opponents of the Church know that there is a well-documented and strong correlation between male homosexuality and child sexual abuse, but claim that there is no evidence supporting this connection."

"This paper demonstrates that there is indeed a very strong link between male homosexuality and child sexual abuse. It also shows that there is a similar rate of child sexual abuse among other very large groups of adult males (e.g., Protestant clergy, who are usually married), thus proving that celibacy is not the root of the problem - /homosexuality/ is."

"The situation has become so charged that anyone who even suggests that there may be a connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse is instantly and reflexively labeled a "homophobe" and a "gay basher.""

"Such wholesale dismissal of documented facts, and the accompanying refusal to even /discuss/ the possibility of a link between an active homosexual lifestyle and child sexual abuse, is a grave disservice not only to the victims, but to society at large."

Sep. 23 2013 02:05 PM

(Continuation of repy to Jennifer from Flushing)

"As for abortion, there's a lot of gray areas when it comes to that topic. Case in point, when the yound [sic] Indian woman in Ireland died of sepsis because the hospital would not act before she died of a miscarriage."

First, assuming the case you cite was as open-and-shut as you describe it and imply, how would it be a gray area?

The mother's life was clearly endangered by the pregnancy, no?

You had written,
"I will never believe that because you're gay or get an abortion that you're a "sinner." "

Perhaps you had meant to qualify your statement with the stipulation, "or gets an abortion TO SAVE HER LIFE...."; that only /in such extreme cases/ would you not consider abortion to be sinful?

Otherwise, how we are to understand your citing of such an extreme (and rare) case in the context of the rest of your post? How could it be logical?

Isn't it just a convenient red-herring; a smokescreen to avoid having to confront the hideous reality? The overwhelming majority of abortions are done for convenience; the price for sexual "liberation"; cannibalistic hedonism.

"Should we go back to the way it was before Roe v Wade when women died needlessly?"

This question:
a) assumes the cartoon-like characterization implied is accurate, established fact,
and then,
b) goes on to assume that the only other choice is the status-quo of virtually unrestricted abortion-on-demand

Sep. 23 2013 01:29 PM

Jennifer from Flushing wrote (10:54 AM):

"And if there was something wrong with being gay, then people would not be born that way."

First, and foremost, you completely conflate _orientation/desire/inclination/urges_ with _behavior/actions/culture_[1].

This is a fallacy so common and predictable when it comes to this topic, as to be a cliche`.

Second, the question of "nature vs. nurture" is only ancillary here. But your statement amounts-to a bold, naked, reflexive _assertion_ that the question has been answered definitively. "born that way" -- in such an absolute, binary manner no less. And that cannot be allowed to go unchallenged.

NOTES:
[1] And even within the latter, distinctions must be made-- such as the absolutely essential one between the empirically, manifestly vile and dangerous act of buggery (anal penetration) and acts such as frot (see my previous post) or intercrural. Even if the Church considers even the latter to be sinful, from just about /any/ other perspective, at least, there is simply no comparison.

(In Judaism, while /all/ forms of eroticism outside of monogamous, heterosexual marriage are strictly forbidden, buggery is singled-out for special censure.)

Sep. 23 2013 01:06 PM
Dee from New Jersey

My son was confirmed on Saturday at a mass in which Bishop Serratelli of the Diocese of Paterson presided. Bishop Serratelli addressed the congregation by referencing that Pope's Francis was in the news and that we should remember that the media has an agenda. Very alarming to me especially after reading the interview online in a Catholic magazine.

Sep. 23 2013 12:19 PM

How many 10 kid catholic families do u know ?

Sep. 23 2013 12:18 PM
Sam from NYC

The Church has spent so long loving fetuses and hating so many actual people that this will be a very very difficult switch. Can they pull it off?

Sep. 23 2013 11:59 AM
A listener

Help the poor. Feed the hungry. House the homeless.

Sounds like the foundation for something good.

Obviously American Catholics, after a few generations, are using contraception and are making other choices that are contrary to church doctrine.

People are having as many children as they can afford to raise, not as many as god "blesses" them with.

Get off the fringe issues of homosexuality and abortion and watch your church re-set itself.

Sep. 23 2013 11:57 AM

Had a few popes previously exhibited this ethic, I MIGHT STILL BE A CATHOLIC.

But when my 7th grade nun says that all my non-catholic friends are going to hell, and raises laughter from the class by saying the Jews are still waiting for the messiah to come, I believe it all leads to and encompasses the racism and violence that so characterized the 20th century.

I remember seeing some Louisiana white race riots in the 50s, and saying in disbelief, "But mom--they're Catholics!"

Imagine if a Pope had provided just a little guidance in proper behavior, proper treatment of one's fellow human beings, creatures of God.

Sep. 23 2013 11:53 AM
Brian from manhattan

I'm speaking as a Catholic, who yes, Brian, if that's the qualification, went to Mass yesterday. Cardinal Dolan said, once again, and to my surprise and disappointment, "Love the sinner, hate the sin," and even more disappointingly attributed the remark to Jesus. The remark is a rough precis of something St. Augustine wrote. Used as Cardinal Dolan used it, it is akin to saying, "Many of my best friends are black."

Pope Francis needs to take Archbishop Dolan aside and tell him that a change in "attitude" is not
the equivalent of a mere change in tone.

Sep. 23 2013 11:52 AM

Actions speak louder!

Sep. 23 2013 11:50 AM
Tony from Canarsie

Independent_Noach -- "But I am absolutely convinced that at least many of the Church's detractors and attackers have least as much to answer for as the Church does."

I fail to see how criticizing the church is on a par, if not worse, than abetting and covering up thousands of cases of child molestation.

Sep. 23 2013 11:50 AM
Capper from NYC

Simpley put....Pope Francis has restored my faith.

Sep. 23 2013 11:50 AM
Sara from Bushwick.

I'm not Catholic, but am curious to see if this sharp shift in Church doctrine will have the effect of making Catholics question their religion and more generally question the idea of blindly following a doctrine decided upon by other humans.

Sep. 23 2013 11:47 AM
Bo

Whatever the Pope is trying to do, it isn't about real change. It is merely an change in rhetoric, not policy. he speaks of de-emphasizing abortion and gay rights and the very next day he calls for Catholic doctors to refuse to do abortions. Nice "not focusing" Frank. The thing is he can say whatever he wants...watch what he actually DOES.

Sep. 23 2013 11:47 AM
John A

Novello: you can pay anything you want to go to church, including nothing. I have seen people pay with a quarter. A better example than even socialized medicine...

Sep. 23 2013 11:47 AM
CAL from NJ

I'm a lapsed Catholic. At the invitation of friends, I went to mass yesterday for the first time in ages, and agreed to go in large part because I was curious to hear what the priest might say regarding the Pope's statements. I was disappointed--not a mention. After mass my friend tried to engage the priest regarding his thoughts on what the Pope had to say. The priest said he had not read the interview, and seemed uncomfortable: changing the topic, and just kind of nodding along to my friend's vocal enthusiasm for what he had heard from the Pope. I found the absence of any commentary or dialogue rather astounding and unsurprising at the same time.

Sep. 23 2013 11:37 AM
pliny from soho

if the pope gets rid of all the haters
there are going to be a lot if empty pews

Sep. 23 2013 11:27 AM

@ JL from NYC:

1.) Regarding sexual-predator-priests, I urge to you to read, 'Homosexuality and the Church Crisis' by Brian Clowes
http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/clo/clo_09homosexuality.html

I am not convinced by the author's arguments /absolving the Church/-- at least not to the extent that he does. But I am absolutely convinced that at least many of the Church's detractors and attackers have least as much to answer for as the Church does.

2.) Regarding, "Approval for condom use to prevent transmission of HIV"

Far more effective for preventing the transmission not only of HIV but a whole host of other nasty pathogens as well would be:
-Not sticking one's member in exit-only orifices of fecal excretion
-Not pricking one's vains with non-sterile needles

(This is appreciated by men as emphatically /pro-homoerotic/ as Bill Weintraub, who coined the term "frot" for the "phallic mating" that he promotes as the safe, natural, egalitarian man2man alternative to buggery. See man2manalliance.org but note graphic content. And Rob McGee of funfrotfacts.blogspot.com

Requisite Disclaimer: /Citing/quoting/ does not necessarily equate to /endorsement/)

Yet, we dare not even merely /discourage/ this gruesome, dangerous act that is an inordinate vector of deadly disease. See URLs above for specific, striking examples of this incredible triumph of agenda over public health.

Buggery: Just say NO!

Sep. 23 2013 11:23 AM
G. Sarducci from Vatican City, Italy

Subtext: We're losing parishoners, i.e. money. So...we'd better soften our stance to attract possible members who might be on the fence about Catholicism.

It's always about money. Don't buy any of his phony baloney BS!

Sep. 23 2013 11:12 AM
Anisa Mycak from Forest Hills, NY

The recent comments by Pope Francis on controversial topics such as homosexuality, contraception, abortion, etc. that are currently being quoted in the media are just a very small part of a broad, deep and remarkably frank conversation between the head of the Catholic Church and a fellow Jesuit. The complete interview conducted in August 2013 by Antonio Spadaro, S.J., editor in chief of an Italian Jesuit journal, was translated and released in, among others, Thinking Faith, the online journal of the British Jesuits (dated Sept. 19, 2013). The interview article, entitled A Big Heart Open to God, is extraordinarily interesting, and well worth reading in its entirety, especially by a thinking Catholic, or indeed by anyone interested in pastoral or spiritual matters.
Here is the link: http://www.thinkingfaith.org/articles/20130919_1.htm

Sep. 23 2013 10:57 AM
Jennifer from Flushing

My husband and I rarely attend Mass anymore but his mother is an Irish immigrant and until recently when she lost the rest of her sight and now has difficulty walking on her own, we take her when her friends can't. I have to say, my husband's church is pretty conservative, but I appreciated the priest's homily saying that the Church should be open to all. So, I'm cautiously optimistic that this indicates a shift, and I'm a great admirer of Pope Francis. He represents the Church I grew up on and admire. the church of Mercy and compassion. That protects and fights for the rights of the poor and oppressed. Like th missionaries in Central AMerica in the 1980s. However, I will never believe that because you're gay or get an abortion that you're a "sinner." God makes people in his image. And if there was something wrong with being gay, then people would not be born that way. As for abortion, there's a lot of gray areas when it comes to that topic. Case in point, when the yound Indian woman in Ireland died of sepsis because the hospital would not act before she died of a miscarriage. Should we go back to the way it was before Roe v Wade when women died needlessly?

Sep. 23 2013 10:54 AM
JL

Whoops! I apologize for the spelling mistakes in my original post. My secretary went out for coffee and didn't proofread it. (Just kidding.) The following is what I meant to post.

Don't be fooled by Pope Francis. Even if he is sincere, he is putting "the cart before the horse." Before I can listen to his words of welcome, I want to hear him speak other words:

1) A world-wide apology for the church's sanctioning of pedophilia;

2) Suspected priest-rapists and church documentation of their acts presented for public trial;

3) Approval for Catholics to use condoms to prevent transmission of HIV; and,

4) Identification of of leadership positions for women.

Also, on a personal note, the last time I stepped into a Catholic Church was for my mother's funeral five years ago. After I delivered the eulogy, the priest held the hands of my partner and me (we're gay) and told us that we would always be welcome at his church. While I appreciated his Pope Francis-like tone, it was an inappropriate comment at a funeral mass. I said nothing to him.

On another occasion, however, I would have responded, "No thank you."

Sep. 23 2013 10:47 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

I think I just heard Mel Gibsons head explode.

Sep. 23 2013 10:47 AM
tombarlow1@aol.com from astoria

tom from astoria( CORRECTION OF EARLIER COMMENT)
For the first time in my life I got up and walked out of church last year in the middle of the sermon. The church has been alienating me with their dabbling in politics- always around election time, since the Kerry bashing I heard in 2004. Inserts in the bulletin tell us that Roe vs Wade is bad law, etc. Last Nov. when the priest in St Aloysius (Buffalo, NY) actually used the term "voting booth" --suggesting we think of unborn lives AT THE MOMENT OF VOTING, I walked out. So Im glad to hear the Pope telling American bishops to 'knock it off!' I think they are hearing from people like me that will not be bullied into voting Republican for the sake of one or two pet political stands that the Catholic bishops can't stop pushing. I go to church to get away from these temporal issues, and Ill pray outside in the gardens if propaganda is found inside the church. One wonders how Carl Rove & Republicans have encouraged this politicization within my Catholic Church.

Sep. 23 2013 10:36 AM
Score: 0/0

Sep. 23 2013 10:39 AM
tom from astoria

For the first time in my life I got up and walked out of church last year in the middle of the sermon. The church has been alienating me with their dabbling in politics- always around election time, since the Kerry bashing I heard in 2004. Inserts in the bulletin tell us that Rove vs Wade is bad law, etc. Last Nov. when the priest in St Aloysius (Buffalo, NY) actually used the term "voting booth" --suggesting we think of unborn lives at that moment, I walked out. So Im glad to hear the Pope telling American bishops to 'knock it off!' I think they are hearing from people like me that will not be bullied into voting Republican for the sake of one or two pet political stands that the Catholic bishops can't stop pushing. I go to church to get away from these temporal issues, and Ill pray outside in the gardens if propaganda is found inside the church. One wonders how Carl Rove & Republicans have encouraged this politicization within my Catholic Church.

Sep. 23 2013 10:36 AM
Catherine from Hamilton Heights

Hi Brian - When the Pope refers to the church as "She", he is in keeping with 2,000 years of tradition, which considers the Church (capital C) as the bride of Christ.

While I'm not Catholic, I used to teach religion at a Catholic high school and Francis is not saying anything new. What's refreshing is the tone. Francis is representing what the best of what Catholicism is -- a focus on the love of God. His catechism is no different than Benedict's was, but he's getting the point of it.

What's really sad to me is that he has apparently explicitly said that the ordination of women is off the table. There's not a good theological reason for keeping women from ordination (there's a theological reason, it just isn't a good one).

Even weaker theology undergirds the prohibition of marriage for priests. That would be a much easier change for him to encourage the Church to make (based on theology and tradition) and the single smartest thing for the Church to do in terms of its survival, in my humble opinion. For many centuries in the early church, priests and bishops married. The Bible makes reference to Peter's mother-in-law, so we know he was married (though the Catholic Church explains away that passage).

By the way, in case people need a reminder: the Pope does not speak "infallibly" except in limited cases. People sometimes misunderstand that doctrine to mean that every word out of a Pope's mouth is seen as infallible by Catholics. Also, he can't run around doing things like allowing ordination of women or allowing priests to marry. Sweeping changes like that would be made by major councils of worldwide bishops. But he can set a tone and encourage certain ideas and discourage others.

Sep. 23 2013 10:15 AM
JL from NYC

Don't be fooled by Pope Frances. Even if he is sincere, he is putting "the cart before the horse." Before I can listen to his welcoming words, Pope Frances, I want to hear other words:

1)And issuing of a world-wide apology for the church's sanctioning of pedophilia, priest-rapists

2)An act to present perpetrators for trial.

3)Approval for condom use to prevent transmission of HIV

4)Identification of of leadership positions for women

Sep. 23 2013 10:10 AM
John A

The news didn't register a peep at my somewhat over 60 parish. I am secretly very happy over the whole thing... For example if the new openness brings back unmarried women to the fold.

Sep. 23 2013 10:08 AM

Sure throws a roadblock in the way of those who dismiss the Church as hopelessly arrogant and ignorant.

The equivalency that immediately scratched into my consciousness was (the imaginary moment that) President George W. Bush suddenly declaring a war against unnecessary pollution and global warming. It would have forced billions to instantly stop and listen to him, most for the first time.

Sep. 23 2013 10:06 AM

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