598 years ago Pope Gregory XII resigned from the holy office of the papacy during a time of severe confusion and moral ambiguity which threw the then current Roman Catholic Church into turmoil. Keep in mind that was before the Protestant Revolution when all Christians where Catholic and vice versa. (except for a few cases Nestorian’s  Greek Orthodox  and Waldenses )
Five months ago Pope Benedict XVI resigned from his role as Vicar of Christ during a modern “schism” of the Church. A schism not directed towards any particular movement or denomination but one of overtly passionate immoral behaviors. I describe it that way because I firmly believe that the world has taken a turn for the worst more abruptly in the last eight years or so.
Our newest Pope a man of equal stature and religious disposition to men like Blessed John Paul II and Benedict XVI recently conducted an interview with Fr. Antonio Spadaro of the Jesuit run journal America and other major Jesuit journals world wide. I write this blog today to curb any mass confusion on the purpose and the answers the Pope gave in his interview in August. As many of you have read in a rushed attempt to get the meat and potatoes of the interview as opposed to sitting down and reading the 33 page article the Holy Father allegedly has changed his opinion on doctrine and his personal beliefs on issues of homosexuality, abortion, and contraception.
This is entirely false.
I would like to let you know that except for a few bits and pieces the entirety of the interview was mostly Pope Francis speaking. As opposed to a news article in which the reporter writes about a story this was an interview where explicit questions were asked and deep moving answers given in response.
“Who is Jorge Mario Bergoglio?”… “I do not know what might be the most fitting description…I am a sinner. this is the most accurate definition. It is not a figure of speech, a literary genre. I am a sinner.”
The opening dialogue starts with a simple question, in which an ever so humble answer is given. Although I am sure the Pope knew people were going to read the interview, he answered the questions as one does when talking to a good friend. Responses given without afterthought of any person twisting his words into something demeaning or base.
Miserando Atque Eligendo, By having mercy and by choosing Him.
This is the motto of the Holy Father and although not as blatantly simple as Blessed John Paul II’s Totus Tuus, it is of equal measure in depth and spiritual meaning. A lot of good things were said in the interview and I am not going to quote the entire thing instead I will capitalize on important pieces and hopefully shed some light into the translation as opposed to making assumptions and jumping to conclusions like most of the world media did. They probably didn’t even read the whole interview.
“See everything; turn a blind eye to much; correct a little.”-Pope John XXIII
The first answer that I noticed that may need a little more explanation is when Pope Francis was asked about his experience with Church government, i.e. Roman Curia.
“My authoritarian and quick manner of making decisions led me to have
serious problems and to be accused of being ultraconservative. I lived a
time of great interior crisis when I was in Cordova. To be sure, I have never
been like Blessed Imelda [a goody-goody], but I have never been a right-winger.
It was my authoritarian way of making decisions that created
All Pope Francis is saying is that his demeanor as a leader prompts strict obedience which is what the Jesuits are known for. He was bred in the Jesuit order to be disciplined and obedient as prompted by St. Ignatius, the founder of the order. After this answer he goes on to discuss the importance of consultation with his bishops and priests, which since becoming pontiff individuals have tried to dissuade him from doing.
The next part that I will discuss was under the section “The Church as Field Hospital” and the answer he gives is what sparked a lot of the liberal curiosity and mis-quotation.
“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.”
Let us quickly and smoothly dissect the meaning of this section. Please keep in mind that the Holy Father did this interview over a period of three meetings, he had time to pray and ponder on the answers he would give and was not rushed to quotation like so many politicians are. Look at the first five words of this quotation for they mean more then they may seem. He used the word “only” meaning we can talk, discuss, and explain those issues, but we should not JUST talk about those issues. The Church is more then just a temporary solution to an everlasting problem. Then he goes on to explaining why he does not harp on those issues: “The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church.” Okay people, he just explained what you all might have skipped over, The doctrine was written, it is sound, and being a “son of the church” he has no intention of attempting to change or reinterpret what was already written in the most clearest of contexts. If you want simplified Christianity, without specific moral doctrine become Presbyterian where they believe the teachings of the Vatican are unfounded.
He then goes on to say finding “a new balance,” which could mean numerous things but most specifically it means finding a common ground in which to evangelize the world. A common ground based on an understanding of moral doctrine as a whole and not mere highlighted sections of un-equivalent teachings. The last sentence in that statement brings it all together: “The proposal of the Gospel must be more simple, profound, radiant. It is from this proposition that the moral consequences then flow.” All this means is that the way the Bible is preached either to the willing or the ignorant needs to be taught in a way in which there is no confusion or misinterpretation. It must be taught on the basis that all people are designed to go to Heaven. In understanding the simple words on the Gospel “moral consequences then flow.” Having knowledge of the design an meaning of natural law and the church’s interpretations of moral doctrine and dogma will prompt Christians everywhere to recalculate their own spiritual disposition.
The next section which was slightly overlooked I believe has even more meaning and importance then what I just discussed. Pope Francis goes on to talk about the role of women in the life of the Church.
“We must therefore investigate further the role of women in the
church. We have to work harder to develop a profound theology of the
woman. Only by making this step will it be possible to better reflect on their
function within the church. The feminine genius is needed wherever we
make important decisions. The challenge today is this: to think about the
specific place of women also in those places where the authority of the
church is exercised for various areas of the church.”
First of all not to insult anyones intelligence but I must make the point of saying that in the Church’s new found investigation into “a profound theology of the woman,” he is not saying that he has any intent on allowing them to be priests. Pope Francis has never made any attempt to subvert previous doctrine on the issue, and it is my belief that he never will. He merely has talked and acted differently than other popes in the recent past. It is very important and almost detrimental to the future of the Church for the role of women to be much more defined and even more predominantly elevated.
“Seek God to find him, and find God to keep searching for God forever.”-St. Augustine
The rest of the interview is filled with beautiful insight into the life of the newest visionary of the Holy Catholic Church, and I strongly encourage you to read the interview yourself.
“I have a dogmatic certainty: God is in every person’s life. God is in everyone’s life. Even if the life of a person has been a disaster, even if it is destroyed by vices, drugs or anything else-God is in this person’s life. You can, you must try to seek God in every human life.”
I leave you with that beautiful quote to ponder on and also with a new found understanding of the Holy Father’s interview. All quotations were taken from: http://www.americamagazine.org/pope-interview