Sunday, 22 September 2013

Did Pope Say Obsessed?

Photo from New York Times Article Misquoting Pope Francis

Pope Francis sent shock waves through the Roman Catholic church on Thursday with the publication of his remarks that the church had grown ‘obsessed’ with abortion, gay marriage and contraception”[Sic]. Well, so says the New York Times anyway. I didn't believe it for a moment and I am sure that most other Catholics didn't believe this either.

Another publication, this time a Catholic publication - The Tablet - accused the pope of saying that the “Church must not obsess about small-minded rules”. I definitely didn't believe this, mainly because I have learned from experience not to trust the reporting of The Tablet.
Screenshot from The Tablet

The truth of the matter is that Pope Francis did not say that the Church is obsessed with abortion, gay marriage and contraception, nor did he say that the Church is obsessed with small-minded rules.

The pope only used the word “obsessed” once throughout his interview with the editor in chief of La Civiltà Cattolica, Antonio Spadaro S.J.

This is what he did say when he did use the word 'obsessed':

We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. 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 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. Proclamation in a missionary style focuses on the essentials, on the necessary things: this is also what fascinates and attracts more, what makes the heart burn, as it did for the disciples at Emmaus. 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. The proposal of the Gospel must be more simple, profound, radiant. It is from this proposition that the moral consequences then flow.

It seems as though you just cannot trust the media, not even some of the Catholic media. I think the truth is that the media is obsessed with concocting story-lines that suit their agenda, rather than on reporting the facts and leaving their readers to make up their own minds.

Oh, if you want to read the full interview with Pope Francis, you can find it in English here: A Big Heart Open To God