Mainstream media has misinterpreted Pope Francis' recent remarks on abortion and homosexual behavior to mean the Catholic Church is changing its stance on the issues, say experts on Roman Catholicism.
In response to a recently published in-depth interview the Jesuit Pontiff gave, several new organizations may have missed the main points of his remarks, Michael J. Sheeran, S.J., president of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, told The Christian Post.
"Some mass media articles make it sound as if Pope Francis is saying abortion, homosexual behavior, etc. are okay. When they make that sort of claim, they really miss Francis' point," said Sheeran. "Before anything else, the Church, and every Christian, must take as their model the loving, forgiving, Jesus. We must preach the love of Christ in season and out. That's the Good News." more >>
Pope Francis stated in his most in-depth interview thus far on the Roman Catholic Church, published Thursday, that he affirms the social views of the Church, including on homosexuality and abortion, but believes that other issues should also gain focus.
Francis told interviewer, the Rev. Antonio Spadaro, editor of La Civilta Cattolica, that he did not believe the Church should only focus and speak on hot-button issues. "We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible," said the Pontiff in the recently published interview.
"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." more >>
Pope Francis has been in the spotlight this week after replying to an agnostic's questions, addressing whether God could forgive a non-believer.
The response was sparked by a question from a prominent Italian agnostic, and has led some media outlets to report that the pope was suggesting non-believers could be forgiven – even to the extent of salvation – without coming to faith.
The letter, written as a response to editorials from July and August by Eugenio Scalfari, an agnostic and the founder of the Italian newspaper, La Repubblica, addressed a question he posed about God forgiving people who do not believe in him or seek any type of faith. more >>
The pope has continued to surprise many with his show of humility, and after urging Church leaders to give up driving extravagant vehicles to instead donate the money to the poor, he has repeated led by example.
Pope Francis has given up the use of the famous "Popemobile," which was a Mercedes-Benz, and now it seems his latest ride will be a 30-year-old Renault 4 with 186,000 miles on the clock.
"I think the pope will drive it a bit himself inside the Vatican," the Holy See's deputy spokesman, Father Ciro Benedettini, said on Thursday. more >>
The Vatican's Secretary of State, the second in command behind Pope Francis, said in recent comments that the Catholic Church's tradition of requiring priests to remain celibate is a discipline, not a dogma, and therefore it has the possibility of being revised in the future. The Vatican official was quick to clarify, however, that the Church's long-held practice of priest celibacy was still a strongly-held Church value.
"Celibacy is not an institution but look, it is also true that you can discuss [it] because as you say this is not a dogma, a dogma of the church," Archbishop Pietro Parolin, the Vatican's Secretary of State, told the Venezuelan newspaper El Universal. Parolin added that changing Church tradition does take a lot of thought.
"We cannot simply say that it is part of the past," the archbishop continued. "It is a great challenge for the pope, because he is the one with the ministry of unity and all of those decisions must be made thinking about the unity of the church and not about its division. Therefore we can talk, reflect on these subjects that are not definite, and we can think about some modifications, but always with the consideration of unity, and all according to the will of God. It is not about what I would like but what God wants for His church." more >>
Pope Francis has called for a peace vigil on Saturday, urging the world to pray and fast for peace in war-stricken Syria.
"I appeal strongly for peace, an appeal which arises from the deep within me," Pope Francis said in his weekly remarks on Sunday.
"There are so many conflicts in this world which cause me great suffering and worry, but in these days my heart is deeply wounded in particular by what is happening in Syria and anguished by the dramatic developments which are looming," he added. more >>