You may chose for yourself to read the entirety of Pope Francis’ interview with his Jesuit publication editor. My comments begin with his quote on dogmatic certainty.
“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. Although the life of a person is a land full of thorns and weeds, there is always a space in which the good seed can grow. You have to trust God.” Pope Francis; September 2013
So let me look for the open ground where the ‘good seed’ may grow where the recent media reports of his words focused on the social issues of the media’s interest. The ‘space’ must be that the conversation is now an open one again where these issues are the focal point; homosexuality, abortion, and contraception.
“Stop obsessing…” is how Diane Sawyer’s team put it in the opening of World News Tonight. ABC, in its presentation September 19th 2013, telling Orthodox Catholics what it wanted them to hear, rather than what the Pontiff was reported to say. It fits their mold, their goals for a secular society. Their story, along with the Huffington Post and National Public Radio, was a chiding ‘take a seat and leave us alone’ rebuke. Even FoxNews did not bypass this sound bite.
Not at all what Francis stated. Not even close.
“A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. 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. Here we enter into the mystery of the human being. In life, God accompanies persons, and we must accompany them, starting from their situation. It is necessary to accompany them with mercy. When that happens, the Holy Spirit inspires the priest to say the right thing.”
The Church as Field Hospital is the longest section of the written record of the interview has words for all the people of the world in how Jesus invited people to listen, walked with them where they are, catechized, and then expressed the morals of his teachings. His message to those who would begin with the preaching of the morals is that ideology;
“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.”
There is this caution, that speaking only of morals does not heal the wounds that caused the pain to begin with. As a Spiritual Director once cautioned me, and the Pope has stated here, we must maintain the compassion for the persons struggling through life with the burdens they carry.
The struggles will go on. The most vocal in any of these arguments have convinced many that the ‘field hospital’ is a butchery likened to those of the American Civil War, rather than places of healing and compassion. These (GLADD / ACLU) are likely to keep the arguments loud and raucous and ugly. Defenders of the faith will likely respond in kind. It is spiritual warfare for the latter, and social engineering for the former.
But the hospital is open to all, even as the Emergency Rooms of brick-and-mortar hospitals are open to all. Those weary of the battles will find respite within. Those strong-willed and thinking they are healthy will continue fighting until they fall or weary themselves and look for respite.
Much to the laments of the Pope who has surely found himself filling the ‘shoes of the Fisherman’ tending to the Body of Christ that is Humanity.
(It is to the detriment of our societies around the world that we allow those in the media, news and social, to determine what we will hear and learn, without considering and/or taking time to learn for ourselves. If you did not read what this man, this pastor, this ‘sinner’ has stated, please return to the link at the top and make time to read and consider his words. Too often I hear complaints that this man, this bishop, is not accessible. This Pope has opened his cottage to the world. Take time to walk in and visit, for your own sake)