I don’t worry all that much about what The Pope says from day to day. But when this pope speaks, journalists tout the latest liberalization with cheers.
“There he goes again.”
That’s what some of my Catholic friends have taken to saying every time Pope Francis makes a statement — usually off the cuff in a public forum — that appears to break from or raise significant, perplexing questions about some aspect of church teaching.
Such declamations are becoming more frequent.
Less than two weeks ago, the pope stated that because the West is dominated by a “culture of the provisional,” the “great majority” of Catholic marriages are “null” — meaning nonexistent. They never happened. At the same time, Francis also observed that a great number of romantic relationships in which unmarried couples cohabitate display “a lot of fidelity,” which makes them “a real marriage.”
In sum: The pope appears to think that most marriages are not marriages and that many non-marriages are marriages.
The problem for non-Catholics is that folks will now say “even The Pope says…” and follow it up with some liberalizing statement of The Pontiff. Linker seems to figure the Pope’s recent statements about Catholics apologizing to homosexuals is more ad libbing. He notes that the church still teaches that all homosexual sex is a sin:
Pope Francis’ suggestion of an apology to gays raises the question of whether he thinks it would be possible for the church to make such an expression of contrition while continuing to affirm and teach this view of homosexuality. I’m just going to go out on a limb and speculate that such an apology would not be especially well received in the gay community.
I put the word still in italics above, in part because you really never know where things are going. Maybe on the next plane trip, Pope Francis will casually mention that sex with another man isn’t such a bad idea now and again, or that blasphemy is just another word for breaking new ground.