Pope Francis -- in the first extensive interview of his young six-month-old papacy -- said that the Roman Catholic Church had grown "obsessed" with preaching about abortion, gay marriage, and contraception, and that he has chosen not to speak of those issues despite recriminations from some critics, the New York Times website reports today (September 19, 2013).
In the most challenging of several of his recent beliefs that are inharmonious with the traditional doctrines of the church, Francis sought to set a new tone for the church, saying it should be a "home for all" and not a "small chapel" focused on doctrine, orthodoxy, and a limited agenda of moral teachings.
"It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time," the pope told the Rev. Antonio Spadaro, a fellow Jesuit and editor in chief of "La Civilta Cattolica," the Italian Jesuit journal whose content is routinely approved by the Vatican. He added, "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."
The pope continued, "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."