Francis and the Gospel

Pope Francis has not changed the teaching of his Church on homosexuality, but is nevertheless revolutionary. 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 church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently.

What, instead, does he preach? The Gospel, the Good News, simple, profound, radiant, fresh, fragrant. The first proclamation is of

Salvation

After that come the “moral and religious imperatives”. A bishop following this Pope might not seem quite as much of a bully to gay people outside his church.

If I see a church with a stern proclamation of Rules about sex, abortion, etc- they are also clear that Murder is a bad thing, but because this is less controversial, we hear less about it- I turn away. I am not interested. If I see a church where people seek to grow in Love, towards a Godly maturity, offering a welcoming community to everyone- I may be, well, tempted.

I also consider the situation of a woman with a failed marriage in her past and who also had an abortion. Then this woman remarries, and she is now happy and has five children. That abortion in her past weighs heavily on her conscience and she sincerely regrets it. She would like to move forward in her Christian life. What is the confessor to do? I would love to hear his answer, but he leaves the question hanging. We have to work it out together. That is the whole point.

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. I read that, and think, wow. He will not be ordaining women as priests, but this is striking in a church with such a static view of the Unchanging Will of God.

Which he then rejects. If the Christian is a restorationist, a legalist, if he wants everything clear and safe, then he will find nothing.

The fearful ones, who want the rules stated, will not find God, and will ruin the church.

in this quest to seek and find God in all things there is still an area of uncertainty.

I have a dogmatic certainty: God is in every person’s life. That of God in every one is the Quaker creed.

When does a formulation of thought cease to be valid? When it loses sight of the human or even when it is afraid of the human or deluded about itself.

It seems to me possible that this pope is better than the last one. The whole interview is worth reading.

6 thoughts on “Francis and the Gospel

    • Not too soon, the pendulum seems to be swinging. From an emphasis on Rules, Francis moves to an emphasis on Love. Both are inextricably Catholic, but the emphasis has been too much on rules, for my taste.

      I like him.

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      • I turned to Wikiquote, which includes this:
        This theory of the human person, intended to promote prospects for equality of women through liberation from biological determinism, has in reality inspired ideologies which, for example, call into question the family, in its natural two-parent structure of mother and father, and make homosexuality and heterosexuality virtually equivalent, in a new model of polymorphous sexuality.

        So I went to its source. With some sweet-sounding phrases, this is profoundly conservative, harping on the differences between men and women and women’s “nature”. It is better expressed than US Evangelicals’ “Complementarianism” but still prescribes roles which you and I do not fulfil, and which no-one fulfils as written- especially not the celibate Cardinal.

        We are dependant on media to learn of the Pope, and we hear the stories the media wish to tell, rather than the obscure contradictory facts which make up a human character. Yet the conservative Catholics seem dismayed by this pope, and enthusiastic about the last, and that is additional evidence for me to take the opposite view.

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