The Papal Interview: A Survey of Reactions

The latest exclusive papal interview published in the Jesuit journal La Civiltà Cattolica and in translation by 16 other Jesuit publications around the world, resembles the interview on the papal plane returning from the Rio de Janeiro World Youth Days. In both cases the pope fielded a wide range of questions and spoke extensively; 10,000 words on the plane and 12,000 for the Jesuit periodicals. Similarly, abortion and homosexuality were only addressed in a few words in each. This briefest of papal messages was, however, strikingly in the same vein.

He replied thus on the plane to a Brazilian journalist who asked why he had not spoken about abortion or same-sex marriage in Brazil?: “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!” When Patricia Zorzan followed up saying, “But the young are interested in this” he answered: “Yes, though it wasn’t necessary to speak of it, but rather of the positive things that open up the path to young people. Isn’t that right! Besides, young people know perfectly well what the Church’s position is.” She even followed up a second time: “What is Your Holiness’ position, if we may ask?” “The position of the Church. I am a son of the Church.”

To Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro, Pope Francis said: “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.”

In both cases the Holy Father affirms that the Church’s teaching is clear and that he is a son of the Church, but he is averse to speaking often about them. Despite both these interviews having a “speaking off the cuff” feel to them, the latest one was the fruit of three sessions that each went on for several hours. He was then given the opportunity to read over the text and approved it for publication. Pope Francis really seems to want to talk less about issues like abortion, homosexuality and contraception and more about other topics like the infinite mercy of God.

That may be what he intended, but it was not the result. Headlines around the world, but especially in the USA, trumpeted variations on the theme chosen by the New York Times: “Pope Says Church Is ‘Obsessed’ With Gays, Abortion and Birth Control.” It is interesting to note, however, that the European press generally had a much less radical take on the papal interview. In Italy, where the original language text was published, journalists emphasized other aspects like the “I am a sinner” affirmation of the pope or spoke about mercy or “openness” on the issues of abortion, homosexuality and divorce. France’s largest newspaper, Le Figaro, posed some thoughtful questions about what the interview means for Catholic moral teaching and Traditionalists as well as wondering if it was not meant primarily for a Jesuit audience rather than for the Church at large. The BBC, as one might expect, simply parroted the North American mainstream media line with a British accent.

Reactions from Catholic apologists and pro-life leaders were mixed. Jimmy Akin of Catholic Answers said: “Pope Francis’ strategy of focusing on the Church’s central message of salvation in Christ, while not devoting the expected amount of attention to “culture war” issues—like abortion, homosexuality and contraception—is a risky one.” Canadian John-Henry Westen of Lifesitenews drew a sharp contrast between Pope Francis’ remarks and those of his two predecessors. Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life wrote a largely positive column entitled: “Pope Francis Has Not Diluted the Pro-Life Teachings of the Catholic Church.”

Many rank and file pro-life people expressed their bewilderment on websites. Few could have previously imagined a scenario where pro-abortion zealots NARAL would pull a publicity stunt by expressing an enormous “Thank You” to a Holy Father. Catholic pro-lifers and marriage defenders might be excused for feeling that this pope is going after the lost sheep and telling the faithful ones they should not expect more than minimal support while he is on this mission. It is not an easy message to hear from one’s shepherd when faced with tremendous obstacles and slandered by the world while seeing the “wolves” running wild.

This is why it was so important that the very next day after the media frenzy on the papal endorsement of speaking less about abortion and homosexuality Pope Francis gave an enthusiastically pro-life address to the annual meeting of the International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations. He stated: “Every unborn child, condemned unjustly to being aborted, has the face of the Lord, who before being born, and then when he was just born, experienced the rejection of the world.” Pope Francis condemned a “throw away culture” that does not respect every human life as priceless and endowed with special dignity. The Holy Father was encouraging the troops, Catholic doctors in this case, showing that he not only accepts the Church’s teaching on the right to life but strongly endorses it.

Pope Francis has a popular style following on the heels of a great theologian who found it difficult to stand in the glare of the media. It is rather curious that the first Jesuit pope is not primarily an intellectual but a pastor. He has made a point in his young papacy to concentrate on a broad message of evangelization placing the accent on “mere Catholicism” to paraphrase C.S. Lewis. Among his favorite themes are the centrality of Christ as Savior and devotion to Our Lady and special appreciation for the virtue of humility and healing the wounds of the poor and sinners. A traditional image he uses to describe his approach is seeing the Church as a field hospital for sinners.

The interview he gave to Fr. Spadaro fits this papal program, although the distorted media reaction to it around the world was nothing short of extraordinary. Pope Francis has consistently demonstrated a gift for generating enormous interest and enthusiasm, as opposed to comprehension of his message, among secular elites. Pope Benedict XVI and Blessed John Paul II were attacked and vilified consistently throughout their papacies when they spoke of a culture of death. Francis has enjoyed an unusually long “honeymoon” of praise and benevolent attitudes from quarters that rarely have a kind word for the Church despite his new pro-life catch phrase of a “throw away culture.” Part of this is certainly due to his general de-emphasis of hot button issues and humble tone. It is also clear that some secular groups are reading a great deal into his words and deforming his message. Sadly, caricatures of Church teaching are more widely “known” among the general public than the true Magisterium of the Catholic Church. The challenge for Pope Francis may be not only to reach out successfully with a strong Catholic appeal to those who are very far from Christ but to also encourage the faithful in the trenches of the culture war at the same time.

Joseph Meaney


Joseph Meaney is the Director of International Coordination for Human Life International. Joseph completed his PhD in Bioethics at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Rome in 2015. His bachelors and masters degrees from the Catholic University of Dallas and the University of Texas Institute of Latin American Studies prepared him for an international career that has included lectures and investigative journalism missions on six continents and over 67 countries. Before becoming Director of HLI's International Division, Joseph helped found and served four years as Vice Director of HLI's Rome Office. He speaks French, Spanish, and Italian fluently.

  • tom

    A well balanced article on the new Pope….for a change. Thank you.

    The Leftists, atheists, Trotskyites and New world Order creeps will always attack anything “Catholic”. They can’t do their diabolical work while the Church has residual power. Thus, they say nothing when Christians are slaughtered by groups these fiends finance.

    A real sign was the Vatican’s final conclusion that Nancy Pelosi…a self absorbed Trinity girl…is essentially excommunicated. “No Holy Communion for you!” Good for the Pope.

    • Bob

      Also, the pope has excommunicated a priest in Australia for going against Church teaching on homosexuality, amongst several things (see link below.) let this papacy play out, I believe pope Francis has far greater “teeth” than we believe. He is definitely a “love the sinner” pope, but obviously (as we also see with Pelosi) not afraid to protect the deposit of faith entrusted to him. God bless Pope Francis:

    • Marcellus

      It was Cardinal Burke who said that Nancy Pelosi should be denied Holy Communion. I don’t believe the Holy Father had anything to say about it, nor does this mean that she will in fact be denied communion.

      • jacobhalo

        The pope had a chance to deny communion to Pelosi and Biden but he refused to distribute communion to all when he was anointed pope. He had a chance to make a statement by personally refusing to give communion to Pelosi and Biden. Like all the popes since Vatican II, not guts.

        • tom

          Rome wasn’t built in a day. He already prevented an American attack on anti-Al Qaeda forces in Syria and has the atheist, Nancy Pelosi, barred.

      • Florin S.

        Sept. 26: A dissident Priest has been excommunicated but Nancy Pelosi, who continues to command her troops to carry out the mass slaughter of innocent babies in the womb – and does so publicly, consistently, and aggressively, is consider a Catholic in good standing with the Church and permitted to receive the Eucharist…while she continues to stand at the forefront of the anti-life contingent…confusing!

        • tom

          It ain’t so! The Vatican just excommunicated the murdering bitch.

          • Marcellus

            It ain’t so! The Vatican did not just excommunicate her. The question is, why not?

        • James1225

          but Nancy Pelosi, who continues to command her troops to carry out the mass slaughter of innocent babies in the womb – and does so publicly, consistently, and aggressively

          Nancy Pelosi has no say over abortion issues and can’t do anything herself to stop abortions. She is by no means doing anything even vaguely resembling what you say she is doing. As far as I’m concerned, if Nancy Pelosi wants to receive communion and has a clear conscience about how she is doing her job as minority leader, then she should go up to receive it and let the Catholic Church show its true colors by refusing to give it to her.

          • Adam__Baum

            “Nancy Pelosi has no say over abortion issues.”

            No, no raindrop is ever individually responsible for the flood, is it?

            Really? Then why doesn’t she shut up about it. Actually, why doesn’t she shut up, period.

            • James1225

              I think she deserves a lot of credit keeping her religion separate from her politics. The First Amendment was intended to prevent the formation of a state religion. Best way to do that is keep religious rules out of the lawmaking process.

              • Adam__Baum

                Under the heel of your jackboot is not “separate”.

                What lawmaking process? You mean voting on bills you don’t read and being unable to tell people the content? Even on narrow technical grounds she’s derelict.

              • Bob

                But that’s the thing…,in her public voice and private opinion she thinks abortion is OK. Essentially, the Church doesn’t need to excommunicate her, she has already excommunicated herself. She is a heretic.

                • James1225

                  She isn’t saying that abortion is “OK”. Not everything that is legal is “OK”. What is “OK” for you might not be “OK” for me, such as criminalizing abortion.

              • Pay

                Keeping moral truth out of politics, or anything, is sociopathy.

              • FernieV

                A Catholic should be consistent, and defend in the Public Square what he upholds as Truth, non-negotiable Truth, such as the sanctity of human Life in the womb, the evil of euthanasia, etc. Only then can he help in extending the Kingdom of God on Earth.

                • James1225

                  The truth is that a woman cannot be forced to carry and give birth when she doesn’t want to. No government can do that in a truly free society.

                  • FernieV

                    No truly free society should allow a defenceless unborn child to be killed!

                    • James1225

                      By saying that, you are advocating denial of a basic human right for women. They do not have to carry and give birth if they do not want to. It is plain and simple.

                    • Art Deco

                      This ‘plain and simple’ ‘basic human right’ was not, as recently as 1964, formulated and promoted by even the Planned Parenthood Federation. It was invented out of whole cloth in 1973 by a coterie of repulsive members of the legal profession.

                    • FernieV

                      Your hard-wired abortionist “logic” defies Logic. A person’s freedom ends where another’s freedom (in this case the freedom of the unborn child to live) starts. But I guess this argument will fail to impress anyone who has been brained-washed with abortionist (Pro-Choice, they call it) propaganda.

          • Bob

            One would have to conclude that the Eucharist really isn’t that important in Pelosi’s life, or else she’d repent of this sin.

            • James1225

              She hasn’t committed any sin. She rightfully refuses to be a part of anything that strips women of the right to choose. That is not a sin.

              • Art Deco

                Arranging to have your child dismembered by a perverted gynecologist is a sin. Sorry to break it to you.


                (You do realize this is a Catholic blog, don’t you?)

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

    The Holy Father may well be influenced by the success of Evangelical and Pentecostal groups in Latin America, whose preaching of the Good News is entirely focused on “Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”

    This is not a “pastoral” approach, as opposed to a “doctrinal” one; rather, they concentrate on certain key doctrines – Jesus Christ is “the one mediator between God and men” (1 Timothy 2:5), and “there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father but by me” (John 14:6). He is the holy and righteous one who was put to death for our sins, “the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). “He saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of His own mercy” (Titus 3:5) that “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13) and that “By grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8) They even believe that a personal encounter with Jesus has the power to transform lives.

    Perhaps, the Holy Father thinks we should try it some time?

    • lifeknight

      Michael Voris has a piece on Church defining pastoral and doctrinal approaches. It is worth watching.

    • Had you known any Evangelical and Pentecostal groups in Latin America you wouldn’t say that they focus on Jesus crucified. They do not and accuse the Catholic Church of preaching a dead Jesus, while they preach Jesus resurrected and ATM of prosperity.

  • Sygurd Jonfski

    The pope said, ““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!” But the Church also has a clear teaching on practically every subject the pope has ever touched, or dwelled, upon – poverty, hypocrisy, faith, etc., etc., etc. I find this a rather lame excuse.

  • lifeknight

    Thanks for another article on the perspective of the Pope in these interviews. I am perplexed about his words, however glad he has taken the initiative to thwart Pelosi and the heretical priest of Australia. That’s something, I guess.
    Still, as an abortion-protesting mother of many, I am disappointed in his “throwing us under the bus”–or papal car, as it is. The prolife ethic has become part of our family identity and is tremendously important to us and millions of others.
    It reminds me of one of the questions posed to me by a child of seven: “Why do we have a group called “Priests for Life? Aren’t ALL priests for life in the Catholic Church.”

    • Bob

      If anyone wants to see pure evil at work, go in front of planned parenthood on the days they do abortion. Witness what the courageous and saintly pro-life protesters see: young women by the dozens walking in the front door with fully human, divinely gifted babies in their wombs. Stick around a couple of hours and watch those same women come out : no developing baby in their womb…..that baby is now torn to shreds in a trash can inside. And watch as the demonic planned parenthood “security” people mock the pro lifers all day as they try to pray their rosaries and persuade these young women not to kill their babies.

      Unless the Pope, cardinals, priests, nuns and laity are not absolutely clear in their statements that the Catholic Church is at absolute war with the abortion industry, abortion will continue and the efforts of these valiant prolifers that undergo white martyrdom every day will be for not. Christ told us, “If you are lukewarm about me, I will vomit you out!”

    • Florin S.

      I did not see where he thwarted Pelosi…where can I find this? thanks…

  • Florin S.

    Sept. 25th, I trust Pope Francis and believe he stands strong for primary issues, especially regarding the lives of the unborn. I don’t understand why only Jesuit periodicals were given the privilege of publishing this interview: it seems to show bias and, as we know, so many Jesuits are against some of the teachings of the Church on prime issues such as homosexual actions, abortion, women’s ordination…but it’s done. I don’t understand how we can be accused of being ‘obsessed’ with trying to save the lives of milliions of human babies in the womb…rarely is this spoken about in our Churches; and Pope Francis publicly spoke against the gas attack in Syria where bodies of victims were shrouded and placed side by side on the ground; that is tragic but does not even come close to the millions and milllions and millions of human babies who have been slaughtered in the womb and whose lives are exterminated every single day…let us shroud those little bodies and place them side by side on the ground…there would not be enough room in this country to fit them all. And keep in mind that for the pre-born baby, there is a small window of time in which they can be rescued – so, if we triage – we would place these little ones first – we can feed and clothe and house and provide medical care for the poor…over time. These little ones in the womb have so little time…Mother Teresa of Calcutta felt that the violence against the unborn baby in the womb is the source of all violence because, she said, if we would kill the baby in the womb, what would we not do?

  • Florin S.

    I didn’t see anything about Nancy Pelosi having been excommunicated…I believe she has excommunicated herself but i wish this issue would be addressed publicly. No one does more to aggressively push the death agenda than Nancy Pelosi…she even wants late term killings of viable babies to continue…she wants no restrictions on the mass killing of human babies in the womb. And yet, because the Bishops disagree, she is permitted to consider herself a Catholic in good standing with the Church and receive the Eucharist. Cardinal Wuerl (and Card. Dolan) has said he would not use the Eucharist as a weapon…so Nancy Pelosi continues to be at the forefront of an army of baby killers and that’s okay because she is being affirmed in her deadly sins by those who permit her to consider herself a Catholic in good standing with the Church…and so denies her the catalyst for conversion – and evil penetrates more and more deeply into her soul and she spreads that evil everywhere…and the killing continues!!!

  • The first Jesuit Pope is more than a pastor, he’s a missionary, in the very line of St. Ignatius.

    And, please, even a brief look at Wikipedia would show that as bishop of Buenos Aires, the Argentine capital, he publicly and aggressively opposed the government’s attempt to legalize abortion. The antagonism between himself and Cristina “La Loca” Kirchner was so great that she never granted him an audience, a first, something that he did not reciprocate granting her the first audience to a head of state as pope.

  • Howard Kainz

    The problem is that when the Pope mentioned obsession with “small-minded rules that have lost value or meaning,” the New York Times and just about everyone took this as a reference to abortion, contraception and gay-marriage. If it is a reference to something else, he doesn’t say. What small-minded rules does he have in mind?

    • Which fingers the priest keeps together and when comes to mind. IOW, scrupulosity about church traditions, with an emphatic lower-case “t”.

      • Pay

        That is in the interview?

        • I’m answering the question on what the Pope had in mind. Evidently, I cannot read his mind, so take my post for what it is: a speculation in a comment box in the Internet. What else did you expect?

          • Pay

            We can all guess and that is exactly the problem.

          • Marcellus

            At the risk of seeing your little head once again, let me say that you have no basis for such a speculation at all. The Holy Father did not in any way indicate which “small-minded rules” he was talking about. However, he did mention abortion, gay marriage and contraception in his interview. I believe that is why it is not totally off the wall for someone to speculate that these might be the small-minded rules he was talking about.

            • How could this be when as archbishop of Buenos Aires he publicly and aggressively confronted the Argentinian president on both abortion and gay marriage? Cristina “La Loca” Kirchner antagonized Card. Bergoglio so strongly that she never granted him an audience, in spite of his persistence, something that he didn’t reciprocate when he became pope, giving her his first audience to a head of state.

              PS: your calling me names is something that I won’t reciprocate.

              • Marcellus

                Sorry, but I didn’t call you any names. I was only joking about the little picture of your head that appears on the side of your post. Don’t be so sensitive.

                In the context of this interview he never gave any example of any of the small-minded rules. However, he did mention abortion, gay marriage, and contraception, not to condemn them but to say that we cannot insist only on issues related to them. He then, in the next paragraph, said that the dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all equivalent and that the church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently. My point was, to say all this after referencing small-minded rules could lead one to infer that it might be the rules relating to abortion, gay marriage and contraception that had in mind. I am not saying that that was the case, just that it is not that absurd a conclusion to draw. At any rate, it was the conclusion that many drew.

                • Honestly, without ill will it’s impossible to draw that conclusion.

                  For instance, the pope mentions small-minded rules in the same paragraph which focused on dispensing mercy, in particular in the sacrament of reconciliation.

                  As a matter of fact, the pope mentioned abortion, etc in another paragraph much later. To pick these over others is a bias that only the media could, that insists “only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods.”

                  No, what the pope means with his comment on simple-mindedness is addressed to pastors, whose attitude he insists needs to be reformed. Note, it’s the attitude of the priest that needs to be reformed, not the teachings of the Church, which the pope would never refer to as rules.

                  • Marcellus

                    Do you mean their attitude of obsession with “the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently?” Or the attitude which causes them to “insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods?” In what parish is anyone being given the presentation of doctrines or moral norms, disjointed or not? Or in what parish is any priest insisting on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods? Certainly not in any Jesuit parish. The thought of priests, especially Jesuits, insisting on issues related to the use of contraceptive methods is especially laughable.

                    • The pope’s statement about small-mindedness is in his answer to one question and his statement about abortion is in his answer to another question and it’s in the context of mercy.

                      When literate people try to tie both statements together it requires malice.

                      Besides, the pope did not say “small-minded rules” “but small precepts” (“piccoli precetti”). Blame America magazine for putting words in the mouth of the pope.

                  • tamsin

                    Boy I’m sure glad I’m not one of those small-minded name-callers who have been parsing the Pope’s words too carefully, considering their relative location in the document in order to assign finer distinctions of weight and meaning and purpose.

                    • MJN

                      Uh…not to be nitpicky or anything…but context does matter. For example, If I say “That man is wrong” in a paragraph where I am talking about Joe, that phrase does not apply 3 paragraphs later where I am speaking of Jim. That is not parsing…that is called…well…reading. [Ignore this if you were just being sarcastic…]

                • Michael Paterson-Seymour

                  Perhaps, when he says, “There are ecclesiastical rules and precepts that were once effective, but now they have lost value or meaning. The view of the church’s teaching as a monolith to defend without nuance or different understandings is wrong,” this suggests that he is talking about those that are not part of Divine Law.

                  Few of us, I fancy, can read accounts of the Pascal Controversy or the Calixtines without smiling at those who could take them so seriously.

              • Bob

                I’ve got to agree with Marcellus about your floating head, Augustine… is distracting. Can you possibly remove it from your postings?

              • tamsin

                Boy I’m sure glad I’m not a name-caller, like those name-callers.

      • PiusFan

        This important practice, which appears to not be an official part of Novus Ordo worship, has been intended to safeguard that every particle of the Blessed Sacrament is properly handled and retained and does not get sacrilegiously discarded. Showing utmost reverence for the Blessed Sacrement is small-minded?

        That aside, the Catholic Church does not traffick in small-minded rules, however questionable some of them may become over time. The pope had no business making such an impetuous, deprecating remark.

        • Yes, it is small-minded when it’s about which fingers and for how long, which is what I wrote, not what you read apparently.


          • Piusfan

            We’re talking about actions connected to the Holy Eucharist. Nothing is minor or neglible in regard to that.

            • So, when a priest rubs his fingers instead of keeping them together he’s being irreverent? Or would it be scrupulosity to think that a particle too small to be seen, which would not look like bread, therefore not be the Precious Body, could be on the priest’s fingertips? Could this perhaps be an obsession with rules that have lost value?

              • Piusfan

                The size and appearance of a particle are irrelevant. If it’s part of the sacrament, it’s part of the sacrament. Period. That’s definitive Catholic teaching. If one wants to make a case that not caring about the Body and Blood of Christ is a sound imperative in Catholic thought, then such a person should put forth their logic and proof.

                If a priest rubbing his fingers puts the disposition of any speck of the sacrament at risk, then, yes, it can be considered irreverent.

                It sounds like it may not be so much certain rules that have lost their value, but any number of Catholics who have lost their Sensus Catholicus.

                And even if someway, somehow, certain rules may not be the most sound over time, that’s no basis for tagging them as small-minded.

                • That’s not what Holy Mother Church teaches. Period. Rather, this is proof positive that some do indeed obsess about small-minded rules, especially those he makes up.

                  Again, QED.

                  • Piusfan

                    There is nothing here in your links in official Church teaching, neither Trent, nor any catechism, that says the smallest particle and spec is somehow not Christ’s body. And I’m fairly sure that before, during, and after Trent, priests were holding their fingers together. They were doing it for a very good reason.

                    Calling any officially enacted rule of the Holy See in conformity with tradition small-minded is a lack of proper regard and respect for the life of the Church.

                    • Had you any knowledge of Aristotelian philosophy, you’d know that when the Church says that Christ “endures as long as the Eucharistic species subsist”, size does matter. The other link explains this, but you obsessed about tradition, customary rules, so it’s clearly those like you who the pope talked about.

                      Now, you may think of yourself as more Catholic than the pope, but those with this self-assessment are commonly known as Protestants, in the line of Luther, Calvin and Zwingli.

                    • tamsin

                      Boy I’m sure glad I’m not like those other people, the small-minded ones the Pope talked about.

                • jacobhalo

                  Everybody and their brother handles the host. The Extraordinary ministers handout the host and their hands are not consecrated.

        • jacobhalo

          At the Youth rally in Brazil, communion was passed around in paper cups.

      • steve5656546346

        Augustine, the Church has no small-minded rules of which you speak.

        Moreover, rules are either of God, in which case they are NOT small-minded. Or, they are disciplinary rules of the Church, which if they are indeed small-minded, the Pope can change tomorrow!

        No matter how you look at it, the comment makes no sense.

        • As I stated in another post (v. ), the pope never said “small-minded rules”. That was a derisive translation by America magazine. The pope actually said “small rules”.

          Perhaps the fact that this interview didn’t stir up commentaries in Europe could be because they had more accurate translations instead of America’s, a magazine known for a dissenting agenda.

  • Pingback: The Big Interview of Pope Francis (Wednesday) -

  • Marcellus

    I am surprised that more people have not taken issue with the Holy Father’s statement in his interview that Vatican II produced a renewal movement whose “fruits are enormous,” or that the “work of liturgical reform has been a service to the people.”

  • anomalousprime

    Thank you for helping me consider reactions other than my own.

    I still think that if 10x’s more ink needed to be spilled and a lot more time needed to explain what the Holy Father said than you spent reading the interview, then I think it a fair criticism Pope Francis’s amiable style got in the way of the substance (Gospel) and the subject (Jesus Christ).

  • CadaveraVeroInnumero

    The readers here should this one by George Neumayr:

    • Marcellus

      From the article by Neumayr: “It says a lot about the crisis in the Church that the first Jesuit pope in history came at the very moment the order was weakest and most corrupt. The Pope’s scolding of “small-minded” restorationists for “pastoral” incompetence is laughable in light of his own order’s disintegration: What exactly would the editors of America and the other Jesuits whose liberalism Pope Francis was flattering in the interview, know about saving souls? Just look at the U.S. Congress: it is overflowing with Jesuit graduates who have abandoned the faith and support abortion and gay rights. Oh-so-pastoral Jesuits, heal thyself.”

      • marguerite

        Bravo, Marcellus!

      • Florin S.

        That is why I could not understand why Pope Francis gave this interview – this coup – solely to the Jesuits. I don’t think it’s right to favor one’s own order over others…especially when the Jesuits are the most liberal, promoting agendas that stand blatantly against the teachings of the Church.

        • Marcellus

          A devout Catholic guy wants a Lexus badly and is considering saying a novena for one. He asks his parish priest if it would be okay to say a novena to get a Lexus. The parish priest said this theological question is beyond his competency and told him to see an order priest. The guy goes and sees a Franciscan priest and asks him if it would be okay to say a novena for a Lexus. The Franciscan asks him, “What’s a Lexus?”. Frustrated the guy seeks out a more worldly priest and finds a Jesuit. He asks the Jesuit if it would be okay to say a novena for a Lexus. The Jesuit asks him, “What’s a novena?”

          • Bob

            Chuckle….! that’s actually pretty funny!

            • John200

              No doubt about it, that is a good joke. I wish it did not correspond so closely to observed realities.

              It has been a long time since we could expect our Jesuits to know and practice the orthodox Roman Catholic faith. The root of the word “Jesuit” should help the heretics see the right way forward….

      • Marcellus

        Note to self: “In the 112th session of the House of Representatives there were 65 congressmen and women who attended Catholic colleges or law schools. Out of those, 35 support abortion rights. Out of the 12 Catholic-educated congressmen in the incoming freshman class for the 113th session of the House, six of them are pro-abortion rights. In the Senate, 11 of the 15 Senators who earned degrees from Catholic institutions have previously voted for abortion rights or related bills. Nearly every Congressman and Senator in the report has a zero percent rating by the National Right to Life Committee and a 100 percent rating by the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL).

        • Bob

          I heard one say that if you want to forward a Catholic pro life agenda through congress these days, solicit one of the Mormon congressmen.

          Then there’s Catholic congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey. The man’s a walking Catechism who would make Saint Tommy Moore proud……

  • Marguerite

    I wonder what an unborn baby would say to Pope Francis as he/she is about to be hacked to death in the womb.

    • Facile1

      The Pope stated: “Every unborn child, condemned unjustly to being aborted, has the face of the Lord, who before being born, and then when he was just born, experienced the rejection of the world.”

      I think the unborn baby would say: “Thank you.”

      • John200

        Dear Facile1,

        Pitch perfect. I cannot make a substantive addition to this perfect comment. Brilliant.

        Wish I’d said that. No doubt, I soon will.

  • archangel

    I believe the problem is the Holy Father speaks too much without giving thought that his words give aid and comfort to the enemy.

    • musicacre

      There is that problem also, but aren’t we always on enemy territory as long as we’re on earth? The media is there to distort, (mainstream media, owned by one family that feeds the other outlets) so they will, regardless of how careful one is.

    • Facile1

      We’re supposed to give aid and comfort to the enemy. Or haven’t you heard?

      The war ended when Jesus said, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” in Luke 10:18. The battles we see are merely part of a mop-up operation. And like the Pope said, that makes us a “field hospital”.

  • laurettas

    I have been pondering for days how to make sense of all of this discussion about the Pope’s words. It seems to me that we need to have a model to compare with when trying to determine the correctness of another’s actions. Christ seemed to be the appropriate model to use when scrutinizing a Pope’s actions and words. As I began to think about Christ’s words and actions, it seems to me that this Pope may have it right. We are at a point in history when so many people are far from God, steeped in sinful and destructive lifestyles. From the Gospels, the picture I have is one of Christ reaching out to the “sinners”, forming a relationship with them, giving them His love. And, after their hearts were opened and healing had begun to take place, then he admonished them to sin no more. But he BEGAN with mercy.

    Contrast that with Christ’s behavior toward the Pharisees, who claimed to be closest to God. He had hard words for them and pointed out how far they were from obeying God–by focusing on the small rules! Maybe we who are striving to be good Christians could do an examination of conscience. Are we reaching out to those who are far from God and offering them His love? I am thinking particularly of young adults who are faced with so many temptations. Do we reach out to college students and young married people, showing them they are not alone and offering our assistance to them in their need? How about those in prison or seriously ill from the effects of their sins?

    I am known as a hardcore, orthodox Catholic, but I think the Pope has given me a few things to think about.

  • rodlarocque1931

    I have come to the conclusion that Pope Francis is a modernist through and through and he has an agenda, to bring about doctrinal and ecclesial reforms in the spirit of Vatican II which is ultimately to make peace with the modern world on the modern world’s terms.
    I pray for is conversion, but all the signs are there. Jesuit, liberal attitudes, non confrontational style, and the fact that his archdiocese and the order that he led continued to be in complete decay during his reign as superior and archbishop.
    He is so drunk on the ideology of modernism that he thinks the solution is another shot of the same poison.
    He will lead the Church to destruction if Our Lord doesn’t intervene or he has a change of heart.

  • Pope Francis speaks like a local pastor who preaches to his parishioners without notes while Pope Benedict XVI spoke like a learned professor from his notes to his students. Just a difference of style, not content.

  • Helio

    It is not a tradition in the Church that Popes give interviews like these, for even they would be unequivocal –what is not exactly the case– the enemies would take advantage of them. And it is hard to believe that a Jesuit doesn’t know this.

    • Facile1

      So what if enemies take advantage of them?

      The Pope, like all Christians, is commanded by Christ to spread the Good News — even when there is no hope of being understood.

  • It should be clear that America is know for its dissenting agenda, so its translations should be taken with a pound of salt.

    What did the Pope really say? He said: “La Chiesa a volte si è fatta rinchiudere in piccole cose, in piccoli precetti.” How did America translate it? They said: “The church sometimes has locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules.” But I’d translate it as: “The Church sometimes has closed on itself in small things, in small precepts.”

    An Italian saying says: “traddutore, traditore”, or “translator, traitor.” Could America be betraying the Pope’s words in their translation, in spite of the Jesuit special vow of fidelity to the Pope?

    • Tony

      Augustine — that is astonishing, that bad translation. Small minded? How do you translate “piccole cose” as “small things”, but “piccoli precetti,” immediately following, as “small-minded rules”? And it isn’t “rules,” either — regoli — but precepts; perhaps things that do not even rise to the level of the moral law.

  • Anonymous

    These posts prove the pope’s point: Catholicism has become an agency for people who hate. You do not even know how the tone of your responses wound and from the sound of some of them, you do not care. All you want to do is to harm as much as possible those whom you cannot love, the one command of Christianity that makes this religion different from all others. You demonstrate the “small-mindedness” the pope refers to, and you, not Nancy Pelosi, are atheists.

    • Facile1

      Sometimes a call to repentance is misconstrued as being judgmental.

      Coming from figures of authority, it is terrifying.

      Coming from the poor, it is offensive.

      But there is no hierarchy in the Church of Christ.

      When in a position of authority, one must learn humility.

      When powerless, one must learn courage.

      Thus the path to repentance always begins by loving GOD

      … and forgiving the vitriol of one’s neighbors.

    • Pay

      Look in the mirror

  • Facile1

    We have a repentant Pope. That is why he always speaks of God’s mercy.

    Sadly, God’s mercy is largely meaningless to an unrepentant FREE PRESS.

    Regardless, the Pope will be able to save a few lost sheep.

    As sheep that never lost its way (I’m not speaking of myself of course), we need to trust in GOD that the Pope will return to us from his forays into the wild. And like the brother of the prodigal son, we also must learn to rejoice always at the return of our siblings.

  • steve5656546346

    For a non-judgmental Pope, the Pope sure has a lot of nasty, and untrue, things to say about many members of his flock.