This Extraordinary Pope, Ctd

Pope Francis Attends Celebration Of The Lord's Passion in the Vatican Basilica

Well, if the theocons hadn’t got the message by now, they can only blame themselves. The new interview with Pope Francis is a revelation. This Pope is not the Pope of a reactionary faction obsessed with controlling the lives of others – a faction that has held the hierarchy in its grip for three decades. He is a Pope in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council, a Pope with a larger and more humane perspective than the fastidious control-freaks that have plagued the church for so long. I need to read and absorb the full interview – it’s 12,000 words long – before I comment at any greater length. But here are the key phrases that are balm to so many souls:

“This church with which we should be thinking is the home of all, not a small chapel that can hold only a small group of selected people. We must not reduce the bosom of the universal church to a nest protecting our mediocrity.”

And this with respect to the near-pathological obsession of the theocons with abortion, gay rights, and culture war politics:

“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, 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.”

For me, obviously, it was wonderful to hear the true spirit of the Gospels with respect to homosexual persons:

“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.”

Why must we always consider the person rather than abstract theological certitude? Because that is what Jesus did. And Jesus, quite obviously, is breathing life back into His church.

More soon, after I’ve had some time to read and absorb the whole thing.

(Photo: Getty Images.)