I see clearly, the pope continues, that the thing the church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness, proximity. I see the church as a field hospital after battle. It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars! You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else. Heal the wounds, heal the wounds . And you have to start from the ground up.
I know what the Pope means here, and hes right: there is so very much more to Christianity than its teachings on sexuality and abortion. But this is where I think he goes badly wrong: his remarks will be received as the Pope saying that this stuff doesnt matter all that much. Francis cant claim he was misquoted or that the article gave the wrong emphasis, because he personally approved it before publication. He may not have intended it this way, but it will be taken as such by a people, especially in Europe and North America, who have closed their hearts and minds to the Churchs unchanging message on these topics, precisely because these are the hardest things for modern people to accept.
Look at the weight the media, who amplify his words, put on the homosexuality, contraception, and abortion parts of a very long interview. The world wants to be told, Its okay, do what you like. He no doubt doesnt mean at all for that to be the lesson of his words, but thats how they will be received.