UPDATE 2013-09-20 11:45 AM EST – If this is your first time to CleansingFire and you’ve come to this site from reading the D&C, you might be interested in reading this post which provides some background as to why this site exists.
I’m posting this more hastily than I’d prefer simply because I’m already seeing the MSM headlines and because my inbox is getting hit-up with requests for comments.
As far as I currently understand, this is the interview that the MSM is reporting from:
A Big Heart Open to God – americamagazine.org
One “juicy” excerpt being:
We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.
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. Proclamation in a missionary style focuses on the essentials, on the necessary things: this is also what fascinates and attracts more, what makes the heart burn, as it did for the disciples at Emmaus. We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel. The proposal of the Gospel must be more simple, profound, radiant. It is from this proposition that the moral consequences then flow.
You can get a taste of how the MSM is spinning the Pope’s words by reading this article on cbsnews.com – Pope Francis: Catholic Church must focus beyond “small-minded rules”
Below is what I sent to the D&C upon request for comment based only on the excerpt of the interview quoted above and from skimming the CBS News article. I plan to read the article in its entirety, but haven’t yet done so (I’m sure I’ve missed many points from interview, so please add your own voice in the comments).
Pope Francis is speaking about a matter of pastoral emphasis. He is in no way saying that the Church ought to change doctrines (which cannot change) or even disciplines (which can change). I can’t imagine any Catholic would disagree that the Church ought not underemphasize the core message of the Gospel (God’s immense love and mercy extended to everyone without exception). However, without further clarification from the Holy Father, it would be unwise to hypothesize as to particular people or circumstances that he is referring to as “transmitting a disjointed multitude of doctrines” while neglecting the “essentials”. The Pope is the leader of a world wide Church including over 1.2 billion members and it would be unwise to think he is speaking against a particular mindset in our little sphere of the Catholic world in favor of another mindset. Here in the US, I personally believe that the Catholic Church has underemphasized both the fundamentals as well as the peripherals (not that I’m conceding the above issues are peripheral) which has resulted in many of the faithful adhering to, perhaps unknowingly, moralistic therapeutic deism. Those outside the daily life of the Catholic Church might think certain issues are overemphasized simply because of what happens to make headlines in the mainstream media. The Church can spend 99% of her time talking about God’s love for humanity, his utter transcendence, and his desire to pour his mercy on all mankind and 1% of her time articulating doctrines such as the immorality of homosexual actions and guess which makes the headlines?