The 4 Reform Themes of Pope Francis in New Interview

  • Share
  • Read Later
Stefano Rellandini / AFP / Getty Images

Pope Francis addresses a World Youth Day crowd on Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana Beach on July 25, 2013. His trip to Brazil was his first foray abroad since being elected in March

Pope Francis has been a reformer from Day One of his papacy, and he has been reforming in ways many people may not have expected. The world has witnessed his compassionate, yet quietly revolutionary, spirit from the moment he chose to be named after Francis of Assisi, patron saint of the poor. Now Pope Francis has given the first extensive interview of his new papacy, jointly published by La Civiltà Cattolica and America Magazine, and it is an in-depth look at his vision for the future of the Catholic Church. Here are four key takeaways from what he said.

1. The church must have a pastor’s heart. For Pope Francis, the church must be a field hospital. “I see clearly that the thing the church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness, proximity,” he said. The church foremost is about healing people, emotionally, spiritually, physically, and even healing from wounds that the church itself has inflicted. He knows people do not want a church full of bureaucrats and officials — faith is not about just attending mass, following rules and asking forgiveness when the rules are broken. People need a church that loves in practical ways. Catholicism’s future, he explains, depends upon the courage to change and adopt this attitude.

2. True faith means putting people over issues. The Catholic Church has become known in recent years for its stance on issues like abortion, contraception and marriage. But Pope Francis argues that issues need to be based on people, not the other way around. Instead of starting with the issue of abortion and Catholic teaching about it, for example, priests must think about the person they are ministering to and what it means for her future — if a woman has had an abortion, a priest needs to help her move forward in her life, which means an emphasis on grace and not sin. The same is true for gay marriage. This reframes the emphasis in church life. “God is greater than sin,” the Pope said. “The confessional is not a torture chamber, but the place in which the Lord’s mercy motivates us to do better.”

3. The church must stop narrowing Jesus’ message to the old issues of abortion, gay marriage and contraception. Francis pushes the church away from its focus on culture-war issues. His words are simple but bold: “We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods,” said Francis. “The dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all equivalent … The message of the Gospel, therefore, is not to be reduced to some aspects that, although relevant, on their own do not show the heart of the message of Christ.”

Religious men and women are to be prophets, he says, meaning they must speak God’s love, and not condemnation, into daily life. At times that means they mess up the current order of things. It is a view he shared when he asked young people to stir up trouble in their dioceses and exchange the church’s traditional clericalism for a new attitude of compassion, especially for the poor. Sometimes the actions are just simple to start, and Pope Francis is doing his best to model this new lifestyle — he gave up the papal apartments for more simple living, and he refused a new car for one that works to be sure the money goes to the poor.

4. Women are essential to church life. On the Pope’s return trip from Rio de Janeiro, he hinted that the church lacked a strong theology of women and their participation in Christian life. He expanded on that thought in the interview released Thursday. On the one hand, the implications are very practical — the old boys’-club attitude of the Catholic priesthood has to go. “We have to work harder to develop a profound theology of women within the church,” he said. “The feminine genius is needed wherever we make important decisions.”

His meaning is also deeply spiritual. The feminine is part of God’s plan for the church, and the Catholic Church needs to better grow into that theological truth. Pope Francis’ own understanding of Christianity prizes women: “I dream of a church that is a mother and shepherdess.”

156 comments
David Dege
David Dege

နင့္ကိုဘာလုပ္လို႔လဲရိုင္းစိုင္းတယ္

David Dege
David Dege

ေသနာေကာင္ က်က္သေရကုိမရွိဘူး

Gmr Martin
Gmr Martin

Der hat auch jede Menge "Baustellen" offen!

Sonya Anjum Saba
Sonya Anjum Saba

@Eric quoting your own words... "Even Satan can quote scriptures..." Pope is as vulnerable to err as any other ordinary man... he's a man after all not GOD that you have started worshipping him more than God Himself... Bible also predicts about false preachers and asks believers to stay aware... They even perform miracles, call themselves Jesus but believers will know what is real...!! Plus I think he might not be the one to Judge homosexuals... but he's he the one to guide them towards what is natural, healthy, traditional and normal according to the BIBLE...

Omar Khalid
Omar Khalid

ps: i never used toaster so who cares how it works lol

Omar Khalid
Omar Khalid

And you are right. who am i to judge anyone. But whats written in the bible cannot be ignored.

Omar Khalid
Omar Khalid

See eric, its a trend today that people are being atheist and you cannot blame it on facebook. Many people still use fb and dont become atheist. and i will agree with soniya that pope is not just limited to religion only it is a matter of politics as well. These statements are just to increase the fan base.

Eric Laroze
Eric Laroze

Omar,business is good.Just as I suspected you Don't Know how a toaster works,and Facebook is a New American Religion.Anything that takes you away from worshipping God,or Allah,or Jehovah,or Yaweh-is considered idolatry.@Sonya-even Satan can quote scripture.Facebook makes each individual their own god.Silence!Thou shalt be blocked!

Georg Spalt
Georg Spalt

This Pope is on the right way at last!

Olanisinmi Oniwide
Olanisinmi Oniwide

The volcanic lava erupted by Pope will definitely polarize the Catholic Church like it did during Martin Luther time. Pope is too libera in his views and he should be taken issue like this personal.

Leo Lorusso
Leo Lorusso

wow, vatican is spending tons of money in the media in these days!

Linda Yaeger
Linda Yaeger

He is a Jesuit and is speaking and living his life according to those beliefs. As Pope he has so much he can do and give through his beliefs to bring the church back from the hole they have stood next to with the pedophiles in robes and once he makes clear that he will not tolerate anyone who abuses children and adults then all will be said to clear up so much left undone by several Popes who allowed those abusers to remain hidden and actually paid them to move. My hope is that those who are crazy enough to not want the changes he brings will attempt to kill him with his new fresh ideas and love! His vows of poverty have him driving a older car around the city and he lives in a visitor residence not the huge Papal apartment so when he makes calls to those in need and he tells his own church leaders to follow the poverty vows they said and to not judge those seeking God I am once again hopeful for the world to change.

Sonya Anjum Saba
Sonya Anjum Saba

Who said Pope serves faith only?? He serves Politics as well... and is considered a key figure to calm protests against certain govt's...

Omar Khalid
Omar Khalid

I think toaster or facebook doesn't have to do anything with religion. And my dear friend Eric, Being God is not a business, Being a POPE is.

Eric Laroze
Eric Laroze

If we could all co-exist,God would be out of business

Eric Laroze
Eric Laroze

How dare you question the Pope.He's devoted his life in service of his faith.What have any of us done besides waste time worshipping Facebook?You tell me you know what God thinks when you can't even explain how the toaster works??

vane72
vane72

I love this Pope!

Sonya Anjum Saba
Sonya Anjum Saba

"For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due." (Romans 1:26-27).

Sonya Anjum Saba
Sonya Anjum Saba

"You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination. Nor shall you mate with any animal, to defile yourself with it. Nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it. It is perversion. ‘Do not defile yourselves with any of these things; for by all these the nations are defiled, which I am casting out before you." (Leviticus 18:22-24).

Sonya Anjum Saba
Sonya Anjum Saba

BIBLE Forbids it all you MORONS... I know Catholics have played and messed a lot with the BIBLE... but this time you are even playing with the OLD TESTAMENT... making fun of Law of Moses...

Je Susridingonawhitehorse
Je Susridingonawhitehorse

Well, Jesus does love people and wants them to come to Him. But He also warns believers not to stay in their sin, but to repent and turn away from a sinful lifestyle. Of course women are part of the church...God created man AND woman to help and complement each other. And of course church (the believing people are the church!!!) should support women who had an abortion...that still doesnt make abortion right! Church should welcome homosexual people with open arms, but also should be taught what Jesus really said...and that is that no homosexual will enter the kingdom of God! We ALL are sinners! But God wants to free us from it! And therefore we dont need a pope. We just need a relationship with Jesus! He is still alive. We can experience His mercy and grace when we ask Him to help us with a humble heart. Repent and turn away from sin! Follow Jesus with all your heart and you will be saved. If people would read their Bibles they have at home in their draws they would have come to a godly conclusion and wouldnt need to listen to a mengiven leader of an institution which teaches NOT the whole truth of God's Holy Word.

Kindness Heals
Kindness Heals

I don't believe the Bible supports homosexuality. I agree with the Pope to be kind to the homosexuals & that it is their choice. God gave us all free will. Prayers

Elva Zhang
Elva Zhang

I am not religious at all, but reading his message, even I have developed a deep sense of respect and admiration for this new Pope. This path however is going to be a difficult, yet challenging one (mostly from within) - a Road Less (Never) Traveled... good luck!

Kate Schenck
Kate Schenck

i find this pope fascinating :) his un biased love of all an return to the basics of what the church should be is refreshing, good job

Penny Alexiou
Penny Alexiou

They should encourage the members to read the Bible instead of rituals. It's not only prayers, singing of gospel songs, but more time should be spend in teaching people about the Bible. Not teaching members commands of men

arvay
arvay

As one unalterably opposed to religion, I welcome this sign of sanity from the new Pope. I hope he survives the very powerful forces he's enraging. 

Atusà Ahmàdpoùr
Atusà Ahmàdpoùr

all christains around the world have not a single bible. There is many bibles that denies each others.

Omar Khalid
Omar Khalid

And as far as humanity point is concerned i think gays should have their rights. but a religious personality like Pope Francis should be very careful with his statements because it left conservative and traditionalist Catholics, and those who have devoted themselves to the struggles against abortion, gay marriage and artificial contraception, on the defensive !

Omar Khalid
Omar Khalid

Guys ! Its not the point of christianity, or being muslim, or even atheist. And yes maybe i dont have sufficient knowledge of bible but no religion allows the gay marriage. and as for the pope I think its just a marketing gimmick.

Will Tanner
Will Tanner

Not a religious person, but it's nice to see a Pope that is finally in tune with modern times. He seems like an honest one that doesn't care about or abuse the power he wields. Not many men are like that. Excellent photo and article.

Shantanu Sheshgir
Shantanu Sheshgir

I think this Pope will be remembered as the one that ushered in the long overdue Second Reformation. May his reign be long and fruitful... I hope other faiths follow suit.

Bettina Gies
Bettina Gies

Technically, no. And consider, other than the Muslim understanding of Qu'ran, Bible is indeed a compilation of books, collecting and filtering the teachings, each showing a distinct perspective of the author. If you want to capture the true spirit of what he is relating to, the sermon on the mount is a good start to understand, what Christianity was about in the beginning.

halaka
halaka

@Shantanu Sheshgir It will be a miracle if he last for more than a year with his pronouncements. Just think about the feelings of his cardinals and bishops who are used to luxurious life! Cardinals or bishops without luxury cars and big castles? Plenty at Vatican right now are wanting his throat.