MIAMI SHORES (CBSMiami) – Pope Francis sparked a widespread controversy in the Roman Catholic Church with comments saying the church was unduly obsessed with “small-minded rules.”
“We have to find a new balance,” Pope Francis said in an interview with a Jesuit magazine. “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 Holy Father is trying to push the reset button,” Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski told CBS 4’s Lauren Pastrana Friday. “He certainly hasn’t said anything new in that article that he hasn’t said in the last six months.”
Pope Francis was elected the lead the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics in March.
Since then, he’s surprised some by being vocal with the media.
He’s the Pope who carries his own briefcase, posts “selfies” on Twitter, and takes phone calls from his flock.
In the interview conducted by the editor of Italian Jesuit journal “La Civilta Cattolica” and published in English in “America”, Pope Francis said that while he fully supports and embraces church doctrine against issues like abortion, contraception, and gay marriage; the pope said “it’s not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.”
Archbishop Wenski said he believes the Pope wants Catholics to pay attention to the way they’re perceived by those who do not share their faith.
“The Pope is not saying that he disagrees with those doctrinal positions. After all, the Pope is still Catholic. But he’s saying people don’t understand the context in which those questions are framed.”
“A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality,” Pope Francis said in the interview. “I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: When God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ ”
The comments elicited a wave of endorsements and outcry from supporters and detractors.
“The church will survive,” Archbishop Wenski said. “I think all of us should take the words of Pope Francis to heart and use them as an opportunity to examine our conscience.
Friday, the pope tried to mend some fences by issuing an anti-abortion message and saying Catholic gynecologists should defend the unborn.
“Every child that isn’t born, but is unjustly condemned to be aborted, has the face of Jesus Christ, has the face of the Lord,” the pope said. “Things have a price and can be for sale, but people have a dignity that is priceless and worth far more than things.”