Pope Francis I says the Catholic Church must stop being “obsessed” with preaching about same-sex marriage, birth control, and abortion, or it may find itself extinct. In a lengthy, shocking, and blunt interview that was given and published in secrecy, the Pope added, “I am a sinner.”
“We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards,” the 76-year old pontiff from Argentina told La Civiltà Cattolica, a Jesuit journal.
“He said he had been reprimanded by some Catholics, who felt he had not spoken out forcefully enough on issues such as abortion and gay marriage,” the Independent reports:
In response, he said he did not see the need to discuss those issues constantly, because he agreed with Church doctrine and considered the matter closed.
“It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time,” Francis said. “We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods.”
Of the Catholic Church overall, he said: “We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards.”
The wide-ranging interview was due to be published simultaneously by 16 Jesuit publications around the world at 4pm UK time, in a dozen languages including English.
It was conducted and disseminated in the utmost secrecy, with even some Vatican officials unaware of its content, and was hailed as a “scoop” for the Jesuit movement.
The New York Times adds that the Pope “also expanded on the comments he made about homosexuality in July, on an airplane returning to Rome from Rio de Janeiro, where he had celebrated World Youth Day.”
In a remark then that produced headlines worldwide, the new pope said, ‘Who am I to judge?’ At the time, some questioned whether he was referring only to gays in the priesthood, but in this interview he made clear that he had been speaking of gays and lesbians in general.
“A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality,” he told Father Spadaro. “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.”
“This church with which we should be thinking is the home of all, not a small chapel that can hold only a small group of selected people,” he said. “We must not reduce the bosom of the universal church to a nest protecting our mediocrity.”
Image of Pope Francis I by Casa Rosada via Wikipedia
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