Pope Francis candid about politics, morality and ministry in newly released interview
Riccardo De Luca, Associated Press
Pope Francis didn’t hold back in his recent interview with America magazine, which was unveiled Wednesday and will be published in its Sept. 30 issue.
The interview, which took place in Rome in three separate meetings in August, was originally conducted in Italian and then translated into English by five independent experts.
Francis touched on a couple different points throughout the interview, including times when he was reprimanded for not speaking heavily about abortion, contraception or homosexuality.
“The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time,” he told the magazine.
The pope, who took over the papacy in March, said the Catholic church’s “pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed” with these topics.
Francis also commented on some calling him conservative based on his authoritarian and quick decision-making manner, but he refuted the claims, saying he has never been a “right-winger.”
He was also very candid with how worshippers should view the confessional. It’s not a torture chamber, Francis said, but rather a place where God can motivate and inspire.
“I also consider the situation of a woman with a failed marriage in her past and who also had an abortion,” he told the magazine. “Then this woman remarries, and she is now happy and has five children. That abortion in her past weighs heavily on her conscience and she sincerely regrets it. She would like to move forward in her Christian life. What is the confessor to do?”
And, on a bit of a lighter note, Francis also revealed who his favorite artists are. He said “La Strada” by Fellini “is the movie that perhaps I loved the most.”
Religion News Service published key points from the interview, offering a little more insight into what the pope said in the exclusive interview with America magazine.
Mary Ann Walsh of The Washington Post wrote her reaction to the interview. She said it was an amazing feat in journalism that America magazine “sat on this interview” in the “nothing’s-a-secret-world of Wikileaks.”
Walsh especially praised Pope Francis’ frank and candid demeanor in the interview as “today’s leaders often say they want to speak without a filter,” she said. She also championed his use of metaphor and his claim that he is “a sinner loved by a merciful God.”
Sam Rocha of Patheos didn’t offer any commentary or analysis on the interview, but he did say he thought that the pope’s interview “needs to be read and re-read on its own terms, without a defensive or fearful spirit, with no additions from the press or myself.”
“Grab a cup of coffee and sit down for a few minutes to hear what Pope Francis — the man of flesh and bone — has to say,” Rocha wrote. “Breathe. Think. Ponder. Question. Imagine. Check. Double-check. Set it aside. Repeat. Then, and only then, perhaps, express an opinion or a point of view, with charity.”
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