The love affair between the media and Pope Francis continues. There is much to admire about the new Pope, such as his humble decision to take public transit, to answer his own phone calls, and to avoid some of the more gorgeous trappings of the papacy. He is doing his best to strike a balance, placing the traditional teachings of the Roman Catholic church (which he says that he continues to hold) in a broader context. That is presumably what he intended to do when he confided to interviewers recently that he felt that the church must “talk about them [i.e. the issues of abortion, contraception, and gay marriage] in a context”. The Roman Catholic church cannot focus only on these issues, and the moral structure of the church will “fall like a house of cards” if it does. “It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.” The media, which has decided that the new pope is radically different and much better than his more traditional predecessors, have seized upon his words as if he were back-pedalling on his church’s stands on these controversial issues. I personally think that this is to misread the pontiff, and that he is trying to broaden the discussion, and not simply back-pedal. But I would like to probe a bit further his statement that “It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time” and the implication that the church is somehow obsessed with these issues as it speaks to the world.
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