Liberal news outlets cooed and conservative ones bemoaned the news yesterday that Pope Francis has apparently softened on the hard-line doctrinal policies of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI. "Not Even the Pope Likes the Church's Obsession with Abortion," said the New York Times. "Coolest Pope Ever Urges Catholics to Chill Out About Abortion and Gays," was Jezebel's headline. And true enough, that's how it sounded. Yesterday, Francis spoke with Rev. Antonio Spadaro, of the Italian Jesuit journal La Civiltà Cattolica, and decried the church's "obsession" with abortion and homosexuality. "It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time," he said. "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."
But that tone changed again today, when Francis blasted abortions as a symptom of today's "throw-away culture" and urged Catholic gynecologists to bring lives into the world. "Every child that isn't born, but is unjustly condemned to be aborted, has the face of Jesus Christ, has the face of the Lord," he said.
Is he flip-flopping to assuage the more conservative Catholics put off by his comments Thursday? Possibly, but it's also likely that those comments were misinterpreted by a public eager for papal reform, especially considering Francis' encouraging interview a couple months ago when he said that it was not his place to judge homosexuals.
The Vatican's senior communications adviser, Greg Burke, told the AP, "The pope is not condemning his predecessors. What he is saying is 'We've spent a lot of time talking about the boundaries. We've spent a lot of time talking about what is sin and what's not. Now let's move on. Let's talk about mercy. Let's talk about love.'" (AP)
Photo: Via The New York Times.