The Church must “find a new balance” between insisting on its moral teaching and proclaiming the Gospel “in a missionary style”, otherwise “even the moral edifice of the Church is likely to fall like a house of cards”, Pope Francis has said in a major new interview.
The Pope was speaking to Italian Jesuit priest Father Antonio Spodaro and in the wide-ranging interview he covered a range of topics including including gay marriage, contraception and Curial reform.
“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,” said the Pope.
“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.”
In the interview Pope Francis spoke about the Second Vatican Council and women in the Church. He also revealed his admiration for the art of Caravaggio and Chagall and that Fellini’s la La Strada is one of his favourite films.
The interview is the first time Pope Francis has spoken to the press since he gave an impromptu press conference on the flight home from Rio after World Youth Day celebrations in July.