Has the church become “obsessed” with moral doctrines, especially surrounding topics such as gay marriage, abortion, and contraception in recent years? Pope Francis would answer with a resounding “yes,” making his opinion clear in a recent interview published Thursday, September 19.
“It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time,” Francis said. “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.”
“We have to find a new balance,” Francis continued, “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.”
In the six months of his papacy, Francis has quickly established himself as a Pope with a more “modern” view on doctrine and how that plays in to living a daily Christian life.
As his comments make clear, Francis believes that Christians spend too much time hung up on the moral doctrines of the Christian life, which in turn prevents them from recognizing perhaps the truest characteristic of all people in relationship to the Lord.
In his interview with Francis for America magazine, Antonio Spadaro, S.J. asked the Pope point blank: “Who is Jorge Mario Bergoglio?” Francis replied, “I am a sinner. This is the most accurate definition… but the best summary, the one that comes from the inside and I feel most true is this: I am a sinner whom the Lord has looked upon… I am a sinner, but I trust in the infinite mercy and patience of our Lord Jesus Christ, and I accept in a spirit of penance.”
Francis’ unashamed admission that he is a sinner, but the Lord has looked upon him and the acknowledgment that judgment is reserved for Him and Him alone, is an attitude that seems lost on most of the church today. We are quick to judge, to the detriment of the marginalized.
Like St. Francis of Assisi, one of the early church fathers, Pope Francis has made it clear that his focus is on reaching and loving these marginalized people, rather than judging them as so many in the church are apt to do.
And as he established in his interview, this comes out of his belief that judgment belongs to the Lord alone. It is the responsibility of the church suspend our judgment and to share the love that the Lord has shown to us, with the world.
For the full interview with Pope Francis, click the link below: