VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has given a very revealing and characteristically frank interview with Father Antonio Spadaro, the Jesuit editor of La Civiltà Cattolica.
The interview, originally given in Italian, was simultaneously published in 15 other Jesuit publications today, and it can be read here in America magazine.
One particularly interesting passage is when the Holy Father explains his perceived reticence to discuss issues such as abortion, contraception and the redefinition of marriage.
His answer is naturally more nuanced than his reply to a question on the issue on the press conference on the flight from Rio de Janeiro.
Pope Francis says:
“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 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.”
On the flight back from Rio, Pope Francis said of these moral issues: “The Church has already spoken quite clearly on this. It was unnecessary to return to it, just as I didn’t speak about cheating, lying or other matters on which the Church has a clear teaching.”
The Holy Father covers many other issues in the interview, including his past as a young Jesuit provincial in Argentina, his approach to Curial reform and his views on the Second Vatican Council.
The Register will be featuring in-depth coverage of the interview and its implications for the Church in the United States and around the world.