I'll be honest. I was shocked at what Pope Francis said in an interview published yesterday. I was disturbed because I knew that his comments would be used against pro-life and traditional marriage activists. I knew that sidewalk counselors would be told by those supporting abortion that the pope told them not to be "obsessed" with abortion. Traditional marriage supporters would also be told that the pope said, "Who are you to judge?"
I'll be honest, I was disturbed. While it's clear that the pope is not changing Church teaching he is clearly changing the emphasis. The pope with a few words has unsettled so much. With a few words the pope has unsettled me.
But I thought and prayed about it yesterday and finally came to the realization that maybe that's not such a terrible thing. The Catholic faith was never meant to be a settled one. We are called to light the world on fire with love. And I wondered if this was a moment to afford me the opportunity to consider my faith differently. To deepen it. I know that I can be guilty of being a bit abrasive and mocking towards those who disagree with the Church's teaching on life and marriage.
Smarter people than me can tell you what the pope was saying but what I took from it was that the pope was telling us that there is so much more to the faith than the anti-abortion movement and the defense of marriage. He wasn't discounting them, but he was inviting us to a deeper understanding of the faith. Our faith is not an either/or. We are called to live in the fullness of the gospel.
We are called to love everyone. Everyone. And I think that's something I need to work on. It's not enough to be right. We're called to love. It's much harder.
I think the pope was reminding us that we are a religion of "yes." It's like when you get married your "I do" is also an "I never will" to millions of women on the planet. But that's, of course, not what we focus on.
This pope has unsettled me. And I am grateful.