Pope Francis has warned that the Catholic Church's moral structure might "fall like a house of cards" if it doesn't balance its divisive rules about abortion, gays and contraception with the greater need to make it a merciful, more welcoming place for all.http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-202_162-57603671/pope-francis-catholic-church-must-focus-beyond-small-minded-rules/
Yes, that is what Pope Francis said,but we have to consider exactly where this goes.CBS News and the media in general tried to wring out of his statements,"Church is ok with abortion,contraception and same sex marriage." It seems like the secular world was expecting-probably wishing for-a monumental change. 1. The Pope said nothing about changing the rules. Not a word. He said it must be balanced with the need to make it a welcoming place. 2. The Pope cannot change doctrine/dogma and that seems to be lost on the media. I even heard a Fox News anchor basically say (this is not verbatim)that Our Holy Father is going to emphasize salvation now rather than morality. I was astounded.How do you have one without the other? The anchor, whom will remain nameless here, is as smart as a whip.Evidently that goes out the window when speaking on matters religious.She's not alone though.All of the media is in that category.I wish just one reporter would do their homework and speak from knowledge and understanding.Instead of going through everything Pope Francis said in the published interview I want to focus on a paragraph that stood out to me.I think it sums up well where Pope Francis is taking the Church:
"The church sometimes has locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules. The most important thing is the first proclamation: Jesus Christ has saved you. And the ministers of the church must be ministers of mercy above all. The confessor, for example, is always in danger of being either too much of a rigorist or too lax. Neither is merciful, because neither of them really takes responsibility for the person. The rigorist washes his hands so that he leaves it to the commandment. The loose minister washes his hands by simply saying, 'This is not a sin' or something like that. In pastoral ministry we must accompany people, and we must heal their wounds."
First,the Church proclaims Jesus has saved you. The message the Church has always proclaimed. He,like his predecessors,calls on the ministers of the faith to be ministers of mercy. Unfortunately CBS used the Pope's interview to take a swipe not only at Pope Benedict the XVI, which they're are good at;they also took a swipe at John Paul II.There are volumes of works of his 2 predecessors that put out that SAME call.
Second,Pope Francis makes it clear that a confessor can neither be a rigorist about the rules or lax and care nothing for them.Another words we must admonish the sinner.It's a spiritual work of mercy.
Jesus Himself ate,visited,called out and associated with tax collectors,prostitutes,the Samaritans(His disciples were shocked)and adulterers.The religious leaders who opposed Jesus often called Him out for these associations. On the other hand He never once said go and sin some more.It was always,go and sin NO MORE.I believe that Pope Francis meant rigorist in the sense of extreme strictness rather than the definition of Catholic moral philosophy.
In Catholic moral philosophy of doubtful cases of conscience no course may be followed that is contrary to Catholic law and doctrine.IF in doubt...don't do. Remove the doubt then act.A Catholic has the moral obligation to follow his/her conscience but it must be an informed conscience.Not a misinformed or dead conscience.When it comes to certain matters i don't think anyone can make the claim they don't know what Church teaching is.I've met non Catholics who know what the Church teaches re contraception,abortion and same sex marriage.They may not agree with it;but i guarantee they know what she teaches.
Since the words Habemus Papam were pronounced and we received our new Pope he's had several encounters with the media that seem to have sent people into a tailspin.We were taken aback when our beloved Pope Emeritus Benedict stepped down.It was a shock(understatement).Then we looked at our new Pope with trepidation and questions. I think we can give Pope Francis some breathing room.He's finding his way too.IMHO He doesn't seem to be as media savvy as he ought be sometimes but the media is not as honest as it could be either.I disagree with our Holy Father on one thing he said-the Church could fall like a house of cards. This is not an infallible pronouncement and as much as i respect our Holy Father i have to disagree. Jesus gave the Church His word. Evil would not triumph over her and He would be with her until the end of time.