Francis Speaks

A Sequel Unwritten

My Aunt is an avid reader and audio reader, and one day she suggested me read a book called The Third Secret. The book basically concerns the visions at Fatima and what may be contained within them.

It also hints at a struggle between traditionalists and reformers in the Catholic Church. After a reformist Pope commits suicide, a traditionalist who replaces him seems set on creating an "Imperial Papacy". He even takes the name "Peter". He is forced to commit suicide as well and it sets the stage for a reformist African Cardinal to take over.

I had wanted to do a piece where the reforms set the stage for a schism. The story went unwritten

But my progressive friends seemed excited when they read excerpts from the new Pope's Interview in the Jesuit magazine America. There was talk about the Pope's attitude towards homosexuals, and some of my atheist friends seem to almost be looking forward to the potential battles.

But what did the Pope actually have to say?

A Lot To Say

This interview was interesting in that it was the first time Pope Francis spoke at any length, and he had some interesting things to say.

I have never heard a Pope call himself a "sinner" or to mention his tastes in art, music, literature or film. He said that he is not a right-winger, and that he may have made decisions in haste.

He also seemed to hint that the Church needs to become more inclusive: "This church with which we should be thinking is the home of all, not a small chapel that can hold only a small group of selected people."

Perhaps this is a response to the shrinking numbers of Catholics in Europe and America. It can be hard to follow a faith that seems to be stuck in the Dark Ages as the world becomes more tolerant of women and homosexuals.

But Francis hints that this focus on hot-button social issues like abortion and reproductive rights and homosexuality is a problem. He says that the church has locked itself up in "small things."

Nothing Changing

What was missing from this interview was any hint of any major changes in dogma or doctrine. He did hint at expanding the role of women in the Church, but I didn't see any mention of any major change.

It could be that he's playing close to the cassock. Or that he realizes that he'll need to win over traditionalists in places like America.

Of course, I could also see America being the base of a sort of "Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church", based on the dogmas of the past.

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