Pope Francis, formerly a Jesuit, gave a series of interviews to the Jesuits. The interviews have been edited together, with parenthetical commentary and descriptions of the setting and so forth, and translated by lay people and Jesuits for publication in Jesuit publications. The English version is at the site of Jesuit-run America Magazine.
The interview is dense. There is a LOT going on in it. It is too much for the brain to take in at one sitting.
As you read the interview, and media coverage of the interview, you will find and this is consistent with Pope Francis style of talking off-the-cuff some truly quotable quotes, leap-out quotes that sit up and beg to be taken out of context. Look at what the MSM is doing with some of them.
For example, the New York Times leads with a headline Pope Bluntly Faults Churchs Focus on Gays and Abortion (By Laurie Goodstein). Oh really? Is that what Pope Francis did? CBS has Pope Francis: Catholic Church must focus beyond small-minded rules and goes on to say Pope Francis has warned that the Catholic Churchs moral structure might fall like a house of cards if it doesnt balance its divisive rules about abortion, gays and contraception with the greater need to make it a merciful, more welcoming place for all. Oh really? Is that what Pope Francis really said? The CBS statement makes the Pope sound as if he thinks that the Church has to change its teaching about abortion and homosexuality or it will collapse like a house of cards.
Even if you havent read the whole interview/article, some 12000 words, common sense tells you that that is not what the Pope said.
It is important when reading the interview, and media coverage of the interview, to keep your eyes on those leap-out quotes. When you see the MSM using those leap-out quotes in a way that doesnt pass the smell test, go back and look at the context, the whole paragraph.
The whole context of the paragraph deconstructs the leap-out quotes and makes those quotes make sense.
Also, think about the Francis effect in the reporting of this interview.
For example, if Benedict XVI talking in an interview about the need for a theology of women and a deeper discussion of the role of women in the Church had said what Francis said, the headlines would have screamed POPE DENIES EQUALITY TO WOMEN!. On the other hand, Francis, in this interview, spoke with real disdain for female machismo as a solution to the question of womens roles. When you read the paragraph on women and womens roles in the Church you discover that Pope Francis is NOT a fan of radical feminism. Francis spoke about what Popes before him have called feminine genius. Nothing new. He said, a woman has a different make-up than a man and we must not confuse the function with the dignity. But since this is Francis being interviewed, and not Benedict or John Paul, journalists will go with something like, POPE WANTS GREATER ROLES FOR WOMEN!. You wont read what the Pope really communicated: Yes, women must play an important role in the Church, but mens roles and womens roles are different, and that also means that women cant be ordained.
Thats one example. Another example we will have to look at along the way is what Pope Francis meant by right winger. I dont think he meant by that what the MSM and the catholic media - is going to make of it. I think there is more to it that the leap-out quote says in those few words. Ill get to that in another post.
Here is an overarching concern I take away from my first readings.
Through interviews and the coverage of interviews a virtual Francis is being created. An interview, by its nature, can only go so far. Short questions and short responses only go so deep.
We have to make sure that, with all the media attention, with all these interviews, that the virtual Francis is not stronger than the real Francis.
That is exactly what Benedict XVI in his last days as Pope said and warned about how the Second Vatican Council was interpreted. The media and others created a virtual Council. Remember that? There is a Council of the Media and a Council of the Fathers.
Week by week a Francis of the Media is being crafted.
Popes dont govern through interviews.
Pope Francis speaks about a lot of heavy and burning issues: the role of women, abortion and homosexuality, to name a few. There is not a word in the interview that changes the Churchs teaching. He indicates what his interests are and his focus for his limited time and energy is going to be. That is an important take away from the interview.
If this Pope isnt going to speak out a great deal about abortion or homosexuality, its because he knows that everyone is perfectly clear about what the Church teaches on these points. Francis as is consistent with his old-fashioned Jesuit training wants to be efficient in the use of his time and energy.
Because the Churchs teachings are clear, Francis will spend his precious time and energy showing a side of the Church that people, especially the MSM, hasnt paid attention to: that the Church is not a museum of the perfect, it is a field hospital for sinners. Pope Francis is reminding the whole world that we are sinners and that we have to have compassion for each other, patience with each other, that we have to work to help each other even at some great cost. Francis is, to put it simply, touching up the Churchs human face and presenting her anew to a jaded, fallen world.
Ill have more thoughts about particular segments and statements in the interview along the line. I wanted, however, to offer a few thoughts and lenses that might help you in your own reading of the interview and of the media coverage of the interview.
Here are the pieces I mentioned in the other thread.
Abortion apparently isn’t a big deal since, when Pope Francis was in Brazil he didn’t talk to their leader about the upcoming move to liberalize their abortion laws.
some needs to dump this link on the pope with his adult filter off
(EXTREME WARNING: liberal lifestyle on parade in public):
then ask him if this is alright with God (because it’s perfectly fine with Pelosi... this is her district)
the VAST majority of moral people have no idea what’s going on and who these people are
Francis urges priests not to push cohabiting couples away
09/16/2013 - Vatican Insider
don’t cast your pearls before swine. they will trample them underfoot.
don’t cast your godly wisdom before people who have no ability to appreciate it. they will disregard it.
there are some people that it makes sense to explain things to, namely the seekers, the humble, the genuinely interested, those looking for a real hope.you don’t waste it talking to walls, you don’t waste it talking to those that could care less about it. because they don’t see any value in it at all, and will just trample it underfoot.
God loves us when we come to Him as we are, but He does expect us to change, to conform to Him as we grow as Christians. he does not want us to stay the same and continue sinning and believe we can just keep being the active homosexual, the militant pro-abortion person, the person who stays’jealous of those that have better things, the person who gossips and bitches about everyone and everything, etc. After the “you are forgiven” always came the “Go and sin no more.” That means He expects us to do better than we did before. and keep doing better as we grow in Him.
With all due respect to the Pope, why doesn’t he include more of the Scriptures, particularly the teachings of Jesus which pertain to unrepentant sin, in his discussions about homosexuality?
More specifically, not only does Matthew 18:15-17 show that Jesus instructed Christian churches to essentially give the boot to unrepentant sinners, but 1 Corinthians 5 is an example of Paul doing just that. 1 Cor. 5 shows that Paul chewed out that church for not giving the boot to unrepentant sinners, sinners who just happened to be guilty of sexual immorality (it’s a small world), incest the problem in that example.
So I question the Pope’s seeming stance that the Church’s job is to be a “Mr. nice guy” and essentially give unrepentant sinners the benefit of the doubt in such situations. That’s the way I’m reading the Pope anyway.
In fact, 1 Corinthians 5:13 shows Paul referencing God’s command to the ancient Israelites to “purge the evil from among you,” meaning in NT times to expel such people from the congregation as Jesus taught, as opposed to putting them to death as God required in OT times.
The key Bible passage that people struggling with homosexuality need to understand, imo, is 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. That passage warns, “do not be deceived” about things like same-sex sexual relationships if you want to inherit the kingdom of God. That passage goes on to indicate that some members of that church had formerly struggled with such sin, but had evidently repented and accepted God’s grace to turn their lives around.
I think the Pope is making a distinction between what society calls homosexuals and what the church calls homosexual acts. Just as we don’t refer to someone who has committed fornication or adultery as the fornicator or the adulterer, as though that act defines their entire being, we should take care to separate homosexual acts from the value in God’s eyes of the person who commits them.
Dear Pope Francis, thank you. Signed, #prochoice women
I believe he has a homosexual past, or is currently practicing homosexuality.
It is most likely one or the other.
And this quote from him is absolute heresy to God's Word, the Holy Bible.
I appreciate your systematic breakdown of Francis’ words. You have put forth a fair analysis of the words and what the mean or may mean.
Honestly, your analysis is better than Weigel’s commentary on the interview. The reason I say this, is that you take it on in full and Weigel uses a strawman argument in his critique of we who are distraught over this interview.
He accuses those who critiqued Pope Francis as “misrepresent(ing) Pope Francis as an advocate of doctrinal and moral change. This is not the case at all. My point is that we live in a cultural depravity, where the gay lifesyle and abortion are intensively and consistently rammed down our throats. We need a strong Christian voice to stand up to these constant bombardments.
More importantly to me as a father, with two children in Catholic school, I have to consider if my children are capable of comprehending the subtleties of this Papal strategy.
“Dad, is it now wrong to pray and speak out against abortions? Is the Church changing on these issues?”
It makes our jobs as parents more difficult. Especially, as we let our senior children embark on to college, where the cultural indoctrination is inescapable.
Anyway, I still have major reservations about this new tone and this Pope. And I do appreciate the more Christ-centered approach, which you would think our Protestant brothers would be slightly more welcoming of lol.
Thanks for your analysis it is appreciated.