Pope Francis’ recent comments on abortion, gay marriage and contraceptives caused many conservative Catholics to shudder. What was he thinking? Why did he downgrade these important issues at a time when the Church is fighting hard for the moral precepts it embraces?
Catholic writer George Weigel has insight on what all this means. His article here: http://www.eppc.org/publications/the-christ-centered-pope/ explains it very well.
Briefly, the Pope is saying that we must put Christ first in everything. Once we love Him and worship Him we can then understand the Church’s position on these issues.
…how are the wounds of late-modern and postmodern humanity to be healed? Through an encounter with Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. “The most important thing, “ Francis insisted in his interview, “is the first proclamation: Jesus Christ has saved you.” The Church of the 21st century must offer Jesus Christ as the answer to the question that is every human life (as John Paul II liked to put it). The moral law is important, and there should be no doubt that Francis believes and professes all that the Catholic Church believes and professes to be true about the moral life, the life that leads to happiness and beatitude. But he also understands that men and women are far more likely to embrace those moral truths — about the inalienable right to life from conception until natural death; about human sexuality and how it should be lived — when they have first embraced Jesus Christ as Lord. That, it seems to me, is what the pope was saying when he told Antonio Spadaro that “proclamation in a missionary style focuses on the essentials, on the necessary things.” These are what make “the heart burn: as it did for the disciples at Emmaus. . . . The proposal of the Gospel must be more simple, profound, radiant. It is from this proposition that the moral consequences then flow.”
It is unfortunate that the shallowness of today’s journalists make them jump on any remark, take it out of context and then cast it in a light that buttresses liberal positions. But that is today’s world, unfortunately.