“Who am I to judge?”
The one-liner answer of Pope Francis, when asked about gay priests, was a hit for Catholics and believers of other sects–even atheists—that led to a positive feedback stating that the new pope embraced changes towards hot topics that are constantly argued for over a decade.
This was further elevated when La Civilta Cattolica, a Rome-Based Jesuit journal, published their interview of the Argentine pontiff which tackled a spectrum of topics. Ranging from views about pressing issues like homosexuality up until his favorite artists, the interview provides surprising comments coming from the pope himself.
“The church has sometimes locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules,” Pope Francis said, reacting towards what he called an “obsession” regarding the uptight backlash regarding gays, abortion and contraception. He stated that by focusing on these issues, the church forgets the detriment of its larger mission: “a home for all.”
In the interview, the pope further stressed that, “We have to find 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.”He even added that the church can still insist on their ground regarding abortion and birth control, but must not interfere with the spiritual lives of gays and lesbians.
He further criticized the church for ending up as “clergy acting like bureaucrats or government officials” due to being harsh on the strict implementation of the dogma and for prioritizing moral doctrines. Instead on delving into heated debates, he suggests to promulgate love and to serve the poor and marginalized as the church’s precedence.
While Pope Francis openly stated an urge to change the views of the tradition-bound perspective on said issues, Philippine Catholic Leaders were quick to negate such. Contrary to what the Pope wanted, they said insisted that the dogma will remain in place.
Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) President Jose Palma is quick to respond regarding the recent papal statement. “He is not saying that what the church deemed before as wrong is now right. He is merely telling us to be more compassionate.”
The pope’s statements also struck gold towards on-going debate regarding the church’s advocacy against the Reproductive Health (RH) Law. But Archbishop Palma clarified what the pope had mentioned. “He won’t be saying contraceptives, and even abortion, are now okay. No! Do not expect that to happen.” He rebuffed.
One of the authors of RH law, Former Representative Edcel Lagman said that the Filipino Church Leaders belonged to an “ultra conservative wing,” especially on meddling in the affairs of the state rooted from history, which the pope wanted to change.
“I think they will have to reconcile their doctrines and make themselves attuned to the liberal thinking of the new pope. There is now way to go but to follow the pope.” He said.